Leica Q2 Monochrom Vs Film
Seems kind of crazy to compare digital images to film shots. Obviously, a digital image would have more resolution, especially when comparing it to a 35mm film shot but shooting film is not always about resolution. It is about how the overall image looks. The grain, the tonality, and most importantly for me, the way it makes me feel when I am shooting it. I almost never convert a digital image to black and white(unless I have made a big mistake at work and the exposures are very wrong. Black and white music photos are always an attempt to hide an exposure mistake in my industry as most places would resist buying black and white images) and I think black and white film looks so much better than a converted digital image. If I wanted a black and white image, I would shoot it with a film camera but now that I bought the Leica Q2 Monochrom to shoot black and white, I am curious as to how the digital monochrome images will compare to film. I need to state right up front that this is not the best comparison, as I am going to go shoot some locations that I shot before with film in the past and compare the images. This means that the film shots could come from multiple cameras and maybe 35mm shots or even medium format. Secondly, I will be shooting the images on the Leica Q2 Monochrom and I will try to recreate the film images that I can remember. I am not taking any reference images with me. So maybe the composition will be a little different but you should still be able to see the differences and similarities between the two files.
Roughly the same composition but clearly I shoot the film image a little wider. The Leica Q2 Monochrome image clearly has more resolution. 35mm film cannot compete with a 47.7-megapixel sensor. The second thing that you will notice is that the lighting is completely different. I shoot the film image early in January in China and the sky was bright blue so it is mostly blown out. The Leica Q2 Monochrom was shoot on an overcast morning with an orange filter, so there is a lot more definition in the sky. If I had to compare the two images, according to my own personal taste, I would say that I think the Leica Q2 Monochrom image was too clean and I prefer the grain in the film shot but I don’t hate the digital image.
Looking at these two images, clearly, the exposure is very different. The film shot was shot in the midday sun while the Leica was shot just after sunrise. The first thing that I noticed between the two images is the depth of field. The Leica clearly has a shallower depth of field. As far as sharpness goes, clearly, the Leica is sharper and has more resolution but I am more than happy with the NikonF2 shot. I like the way the Leica Q2 Monochrom renders the image but once again I prefer the film shot.
The same location but at a slightly different angle. The Leica Q2 Monochrom clearly has way more resolution than a medium format 645 shot. This time I think the tonality is similar but the Leica Q2 Monochrom has slightly more contrast. Comparing the two images, I actually prefer the Leica Q2 Monochrom shot. It seems that as the Leica Q2 Monochrom reaches higher ISO settings, the files take on a more film-like look.
Not the same composition but I was shooting an 80mm lens on the Mamiya and the Leica Q2 Monochrom 28mm lens does not have the same reach. The Leica Q2 Monochrom is obviously sharper but I also prefer the tonality of the Leica image. I think ISO4000 or higher is where the digital files really start to shine.
I didn’t shoot this at the exact same location, but it is the same skyline. I shot the Nikon file in January and this is where I started to have a lot of problems with the film I was buying. You can still see some spots and weird blobs in the image but I did like the grain in the image. When I look at the Leica Q2 Monochrom file, I like it. At ISO 6400 there is a real nice look to the image. I think that the Leica Q2 Monochrom file is slightly better here or more to my own liking.
So where does this leave us after comparing 5 similar shots. I think the best conclusion right now is that the Leica Q2 Monochom is a fantastic camera and the images that it produces are very similar to film. I will still go around and shoot some old locations that I shot in the past but it takes time to go to different locations and shoot. I have only had the camera for around 10 days now so I still have a lot to learn about it. I will keep updating this blog post as I have more images to do the comparisons.