Leica Q (Typ 116) Leica T (Typ 701) and Nikon D750 - Hybrid doesn't always mean mirrorless - Mirrorless myopia

Stills and footage above shot with Leica Q (Typ 116)

Stills and footage above shot with Leica T (Typ 701)

Stills and footage above shot with Nikon D750

'And Fuji with their awful video and overwhelming and unnecessarily complex noise reduction don't get me hot and bothered any more either.' When I wrote those words in a previous post, I did think that they might elicit a reaction. I might have hoped that my long term and extensive use of the Fuji X system which was accompanied by many articles about the poor video and (for my taste) extensive use of noise reduction in the files and the 'watercolour effect' might have counted for something. I did of course only get confirmation of just how blinkered brand fanboys can be. Along came the accusatory comments (since deleted) including 'So you hate Fuji now.

Of course I don't 'hate Fuji'. Never have, never will. But this attitude demonstrates depressingly (yet again) the lack of any kind of acceptance of a camera's strengths and weakness from many logo worshipping recreational photographers. And yes they are much more concerned with expressing their ownership of the 'right' camera rather than actually using it to create images, but I would have thought that what I'm constantly arguing for might have got through by now. But alas no. 

I guess I'll just have to accept that to some, the fact that I can use a camera while acknowledging it's imperfections is actually impossible for them to understand. If people are so immature that they need constant reassurance that they have made the best possible purchasing decision then there is nothing I can do about that. But as ever I make that point that if you want constant upbeat 'See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil' journalism about your chosen gear, you won't find it here. And yes (Shock!! Horror!!) I do change my mind, see new possibilities and move on. And my tastes have always been and always will be secular. And if people can't cope with that, there are plenty of other brand worship sites to confirm their prejudices.

There are of course plenty of cameras that will shoot extremely good video. They tend to get dismissed by those who somehow require full professional broadcast quality before they even consider shooting video. I always wonder what TV programmes or Movies all these people are making. The answer is they aren't of course doing anything of the sort. And just as in still photography where the most vociferous proponents of 'pro' quality are often hobbyist leisure photographers, the same seems to apply to video. This applies also to many review sites whose video assessments seem to consist of walking out the front door, shooting a few seconds of meaningless footage and then just quoting the specs. Now I'm far from an expert at this, but when I shoot some video samples I do take some trouble over them. Even before I was submitting them to stock libraries for sale. And as a result of doing that, I find that there are very marginal differences between supposed 'pro' quality and something that gets dismissed out of hand. 

Take a look at the samples above, from my Leica's and Nikon D750. Not bad at all. Because the place where this footage ends up will be on the internet, or on a computer, laptop or even smartphone screen. Again I would be interested to know just where the footage all these demanding hobbyists ends up. My suspicion is very little, or none at all ends up commercially broadcast on movie screens or high definition TV sets. And, for me, that's the whole point of stills / video hybrid cameras. It's for the internet and therefore I would argue that broadcast standards are irrelevant here. Is my footage 'fit for purpose?' i.e does it look good on a website or some social media outlet? Which is the probable destination of most of my stock clips anyway. And all of the above pass that test quite nicely. 

It is also, as with stills photography, much more important to get the basics right. Is the footage good to look at? Is it sharp? Is the colour right? And above all is it stable, smooth and doesn't exhibit that shaky, jerky, home movie look? And that's where something I keep on writing about (but no-one else ever seems to bother to even try out) comes in. The Leicas have this really good, in camera, software stabilisation. Both the Leica clips above were hand held and then processed in iMovie adding that apps. software stabilisation as well. As you can see they have a very smooth look. I was particularly pleased with how the Leica Q performed for the Canal clip. Really impressive.

Now I think Leica are missing a trick here. This kind of stabilisation is not unique to them. It's in the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II as well. But with no IBIS or lens stabilisation (The lens IS in the Leica Q turns off for video) the results from the two Leicas are just as good as the much hyped up IBIS in the Olympus and / or new Sony FE cameras. So why don't they make a big thing of this? And why haven't they included 4K options in a camera yet? They are after all partners with Panasonic who know a thing or two about high quality video. My only reservations about the Leica T (Typ 701) are the sluggish AF and the quality of the video (Though as you can see above it's actually not that bad) If Leica 'fixed' these (i.e.improved them) then the T would probably get a much better press. Incidentally, I think the video stabilisation in the Q is better. Though that might have something to do with positioning of the viewfinders, which I use for my hand held footage. 

So, while cameras like the GH4 and G7 are certainly excellent video / stills hybrid cameras and the Sony A7r II looks promising to say the least, there are other options, including DSLR's and even smartphones. All of the phones I have shoot excellent HD video, including my Blackberry Q10. And I just wish that firstly video got treated more seriously in camera reviews and secondly that an appraisal of what it offers is seen in terms of how it will be used. But then unfortunately that's often not the priority in what gets written. It's much more about specs. than performance and about bragging rights rather than results. And that's unfortunate because a lot of people miss out on really learning what their gear is capable is. Assuming that is something they want to find out of course.