Leica Q3

Via Jack Baty, here’s Om Malik on “What’s Wrong with Leica Q3,” which, okay: “introducing the flippy-tilty screen takes away from Leica’s uniqueness. The company has been able to charge more for offering less.” Citing their monochrome cameras as an example of that is … a take.

Tilting screens add to the versatility of the device. That’s all. They make certain situations easier to manage, especially with the kinds of things you want to shoot macro, and they give you more flexibility in street shooting situations where you don’t want to have a camera up to your face.

A camera like a Q3, I’d argue, should be making some concessions on design austerity, because the machines themselves exist for the times you can’t take everything with you that you wish you could, so you’re compromising and taking just one thing.

Now, he goes on to point to the Verge review, where it sounds like the implementation is lacking:

“… the worst part of the screen, aside from it looking like it’s just been grafted on and makes the camera appear and feel bulkier, is that there’s no groove or grip on its left side to dig your nail into or grab with your finger. It has grooves on its top and bottom, meaning you have to make a much bigger reach to move it.”

That doesn’t sound great. I do like the way the Fuji X100V and X-T5 are built. It’s a simpler, easier motion, sort of planting your thumb and kind of twisting each hand to get the screen undogged and moving. I don’t like anything I need to pry open.

Om’s concern that the Q3 “design disaster” is going to infect other Leica product lines didn’t ring great with me because I don’t like the button layout on the Q2 as well as I like it on an X100, or X-T. The Q3 looks more like a Fujifilm camera in that regard this time around (well, now the Leica people are really gonna hate it). Yeah, you have an extra target to distinguish when the camera is up to your face, but you figure it out.

I’ll also admit that when it comes to a Q-series camera – $6k just to get in the door, then close to another $1k to get it fully provisioned – it’s a little harder to smile and say “well, they’ll get it right in the next rev.” I did that with three generations of Fujfilm X100s, but they hold their value about as well as a Leica (I checked a few generations and used street prices for my last post on the Q3) so that’s less of a sting.

Anyhow, I welcome the addition even if it sounds like it’s imperfect.

Every time I’ve tried to compare the Q-series to the X100-series, I walk away with a sense that the X100s are inferior on every spec (except the hybrid viewfinder), but manage to stay in the ring because they’re scrappier and looser cameras.

The thing that blunts my joy about the Q-series is pretty similar to what makes me unhappy about very early Apple products and tools: There’s a bias toward the austere that sometimes stifles. It was an easy matter for me, for instance, to perambulate between OS X and Linux for a period, because Apple was doing the “slow layering” thing and the customization ecosystem hadn’t caught up yet. Once people figured out how to leverage the BSD userland and third party people began to figure out the new APIs, we were off and running.

Even a not-perfectly-realized tilt screen, and a reconfiguration of the control scheme to introduce more flexibility and easier one-thumb use while shooting, feels less to me like Violation of Holiest Ascetic Precepts and more like an opening up and loosening appropriate to a camera that manages to be both shockingly expensive and be the thing you shrug and grab when you can’t take everything you’d like, or make up your mind about what you need.

Succession ended with integrity

Spoiler culture is out of control, but … spoiler.

I wrote that Succession was a tragicomedy and therefore needed to end a particular way to keep its integrity. It ended about the way I felt it should have, and even smeared a little spit on the rims of select audience brandy snifters with its elevation of the closest thing to a lens character had to a kind of hollow power that nonetheless commands deference from people newly laid low.

Tom Wambsgans disgusted you all along? You felt a warm glow when Shiv perforated him with as a grasping climber? Reminded you of that one VP you worked for who never fooled you but somehow fooled everybody else? Well, he’s here to put a sticker on your forehead, and he doesn’t need you to mean it when you hold his hand.

Who will win? The cockroach won. But it isn’t even winning.

A reviewer referred to Roman’s final little smile as “twisted.” I think he was the only one of the three who knew enough to feel liberated. The other three siblings were clowns masquerading as serious people. Roman was the clown who knew better than any of it. He drives Kendall to rip of his own mask, then quietly declares them all shit. His comedic aspect is reunion with himself. His tragic aspect is the relationship he lost one of the few times he tried to play things straight.

With a good ending, it joins The Wire, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Justified, Halt and Catch Fire, Six Feet Under, and The Sopranos in the “stuck the landing” club.

Denote just makes sense to my brain

Well, after a few days of fiddling and trying this and that, I think I’m all in on Denote:

  • No external dependencies
  • Convention-based naming
  • Portable
  • Simple

… and an ecosystem is forming around it that respects its conventions but smooths out its UI. So if you want to just manage Denote via dired, you’re welcome to do that. The fontification of Denote directories is enough to make the titles and tags clear when you’re looking at a simple directory listing.

But there are also packages like denote-menu and consult-notes that provide light wrappers and convenience functions if you’d like a cleaner view, where, for instance, the title, keywords, and date are all displayed in their own columns; and there are features that help quickly filter down your view based on keyword, etc.

I sort of want to compare it to what I admire about Markdown: Fine on its own, able to support more, probably you could go a little nuts trying to do more with it. I appreciate that it participates in the broader org ecosystem, and equally admire that you’re welcome to use Markdown/YAML if that suits you.

This is occurring to me because I spent a bunch of time fiddling around with a few Denote wrappers over the weekend and ended up in that weird “why did I do this” state of mind where all the single-minded optimizing and tweaking felt sort of like a high-carb meal. Then I just opened up my notes directory in dired and realized Denote is great at its most basic.

If you use zsh, this will give you a colorized ls for a Denote directory, btw:

dls() {
    ls -1 | GREP_COLORS='mt=1;32' egrep --color=always '[0-9]{8}T[0-9]{6}' | GREP_COLORS='mt=1;34' egrep --color=always '__.*$'


While I was watching Prot’s Denote demo video I noticed his keystrokes and commands were echoed to the modeline, which seemed pretty cool, and was also helpful to me trying to figure out what on Earth he was doing. Then it occurred to me this afternoon that one thing I’ve been struggling with as I try to untangle what’s going on in Doom with some of the stuff I’ve wanted to fix, has been what’s going on in Doom when I use certain commands.

Like … previewing a file under point, which you invoke with CTRL SPC.

The sort of low-rent debug method I’ve observed is that people just ripgrep their ~/.emacs/ for any mention of C-SPC to see what’s bound to that.

Well, joke was on me:

Maybe it was ivy-call-and-recenter, maybe company-complete-common, prolly not org-agenda-show-and-scroll-up. PROBABLY +vertico/embark-preview, but who can say in these troubled times?

So I went looking for whatever it is Prot was using, and found something called keycast.

Its obvious utility is for screencasting, but it also has keycast-log-mode, which sends all your commands to a buffer, and which helped me establish it was, indeed, +vertico/embark-preview.

To get it to work in Doom Emacs you need to add something to your config:

(use-package keycast
  (define-minor-mode keycast-mode
    "Show current command and its key binding in the mode line (fix for use with doom-mode-line)."
    :global t
    (if keycast-mode
        (add-hook 'pre-command-hook 'keycast--update t)
      (remove-hook 'pre-command-hook 'keycast--update)))
  (add-to-list 'global-mode-string '("" keycast-mode-line)))

There are a bunch of issues mentioning problems with Doom and Spacemacs all over the place, but this is what worked for me, here in late May, 2023.