Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Leica Q2 snaps Extinction Rebellion

Leica Q2 snaps Extinction Rebellion

The Leica Q2 did a good job at today's climate protests. No problem with 28mm, quick autofocus, no fuss


Today I took the Q2 on assignment to the London climate change protests, organised by an outfit called Extinction Rebellion.

For three days the protests on Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square, Marble Arch and Oxford Circus have paralysed traffic in the capital. In fairness, the protests have gained a lot of attention as a result. Drivers throughout the capital are reported to be in full solidarity with the protestors and are enjoying the traffic jams.

The pink boat slap in the middle of Oxford Circus. Next port of call Beijing, perhaps?


My first stop was the normally busy intersection of Oxford Street and Regent Street at Oxford Circus where I found the police preparing for a quick exfiltration exercise. The surface of the road was covered in soil or sand and the pink boat remained in the centre of the circus. It was almost a beachlike scene and everyone seemed good natured enough.

There were not as many protestors as I had been led to believe, it was all very much limited to the junction. I expect many more couldn’t get the day off work to come out in force. The main crowds were further down Oxford Street, doing their shopping.

Then it was on to Marble Arch at the far western end of the main shopping street, stopping off for a bun at my favourite Higgins coffee parlour opposite Leica in Duke Street.

For once, however, I am lost for more words on the event. I will leave it to our regular commentators to add their views.

Q2 performance

As for the Leica Q2 (this is a photographic blog and this is a photographic record of a day in London), it performed admirably. This is a very competent camera that responds well in photo reportage. Left the camera on full auto (A+A) and, as usual, stuck with centre-point focus. This enables a quick focus on the desired subject followed by a recomposition and a shutter press. For me, this works better than framing and then focusing.

The morning was not without its problems and, while I didn’t manage to get myself arrested, I was aware of an atmosphere where, if anything had gone wrong, we could all have been implicated. It wouldn’t have been the first time that peaceful protest had turned to violence, but both protestors and police were in good humour.

Once set up, the Q2 is a joy to use. It brings memories of the original Q flooding back. While it is just a bit larger and heavier than, say, the Fuji X100F and certainly heavier than the Ricoh GR, it feels good in the hands — in fact, very much like any M rangefinder I’ve ever used. The viewfinder is great, although not as large as that on the SL, but the operation is much quicker and surer than with the rangefinder, except, perhaps, when using zone focus.

Contrary to my oft-repeated comments about the inability to lock the focus patch to centre screen, I did not experience any problems with the focus point moving around. The four-way pad on the Q2 is small and has very firm movement. It doesn’t get in the way and it is actually very difficult to move the focus point inadvertently.

So far, I am very impressed with this camera.

Meanwhile, back in Oxford Circus

Protestors chained to the pink boat
A word to the wise, with orange-vested “Legal Observer” doing his observing
The Trespass Tent, no pun intended
Rebel for Truth as the capital’s traffic goes nowhere
In the absence of public transport, a bike comes in handy

Food for protests

Vegetarian food. no Big Macs here. All delivered on a bicycle
Delicious. No money changing hands to probably a freebie
The éminence rouge departs
One for the posters: Upholding the right to protest
Act Now or Ye Shall Perish!
Home sweet home in Central London
Solar panel and bongo drums: De rigueur for the savvy protestor
On the beach, just like Margate on a bank holiday
Tasteful tent, sure in the truth of its message
Frack off, pastel pencils excepted
Good Ship Lollipop
Cosy quarters: In for the duration, chained to the boat trailer. But where’s the loo, one wonders. They must have bladders like battleships
Good conversation among like-minded souls
Rebel for life or suffer the CRISIS
Park Lane at Marble Arch as you’ve never seen it before
Rebels with a cause

Arresting photos

The thin blue line, good natured, sets off to feel a few collars
A quiet chat: “Why are you sitting on the road in the middle of Oxford Circus, Sir” An amicable discussed ensues The orange legal eagle takes notes
Up you get, but gently does it under the gaze of the orange Legal Advisor. Well organised.
Last chance…..
But it’s off to the Nick, presumably as a volunteer. Meanwhile, one grey-haired lady climbed aboard, unbidden and unarrested, hoping to be incarcerated for the cause. Intrepid.
A less cooperative protestor on the way to the paddy wagon
More lack of cooperation as the bobbies remain patient and understanding. Doing their job. It takes a sergeant to manage a left leg
“Please let go of that Marks & Spencer’s carrier bag, Sir, and we can get you seated” The Orange Vest keeps a legal eye on proceedings in case the officers get too excited
Easter frisking with the blue gloves borrowed from Silent Witness

Last word

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  1. I can only hope the food tasted better than it looks.

    There is some nice images and reportage there Mike, and the Q2 has done you proud as a street beast, but then with its makers heritage that should be a given. I was looking for images of the sky, or your view after being hauled off the scene for protesting. lol.But alas it looks like you evaded the strong arm of the law.

    • Alas? I was ever so ‘umble, I was, and I didn’t sit down in the road once. I called the sergeant “officer” as one should. Any vacant cells in your neck of the woods?

  2. I’m so so glad that some people are taking climate change seriously. For us, now the change feels at the most like having a nice long hot summer like in the last year. But places like India where I grew up are getting hotter and hotter every year. The summers are unbearable. Everyone needs to be responsible and not just put it on supermarkets to do more. Buy reusable coffee cups and carry your own shopping bags everywhere to start with.. buy lose fruit and veg where you can. I don’t have the physical condition and dare to get arrested etc. But I applaud these protestors..

  3. Except for the close ups, pretty much everything is in sharp focus ..that’s, I suppose, because of the deep depth-of-field of the 28mm lens, (..and many pictures look as if taken from about 5 or 6 feet away).

    The photographer can’t draw the audience’s attention to a particular part of the action that’s in sharp focus, while blurring away what’s not relevant.

    So “The éminence grise departs” (..ninth big picture down, the man in red..) has the roadway, traffic lights, passers-by, large buildings, all quite sharp, and so the ‘éminence grise’ (or ‘rouge‘) is just a part of a relatively ‘flat’ picture. Imagine that same photo taken from a bit further back with a wide aperture short telephoto lens ..let’s say a 90mm.

    Or imagine any of the photos taken with a 90mm instead of a 28mm. That’d give separation between what you want to be the main feature of any shot – say “Easter frisking with the blue gloves borrowed from Silent Witness” – and all the background clutter.

    Choosing the right lens ..that’s the thing. ‘Cos I honestly see no difference between what these pictures look like, and what any of these would look like if taken with an iPhone.

    The only one – for me – with any impact is “Good Ship Lollipop”. Why? Because there’s no clutter. It’s a focused idea: “These are people on a boat, sharing solidarity with a man in the street”.

    I don’t think that the Q2 is the camera for this sort of lark; 90mm f2 would be more the mark ..for me, anyway! ..Or else an 18mm f1.8.

    Sorry, Mike!

    • In fairness to the Q2, all these shots were on auto. Perhaps if I’d shot on f/1.7 there would have been a tad more bokeh. But you do make a valid point. The 24-90mm Leica SL lens would have done a more effective job in terms of subject separation. I just felt that a wider depth of field might be more appropriate today.

    • John, I presume they are protestors with some legal background. They looked like protestors, walked like protestors, just making sure the Establishment didn’t do them down.

  4. I too am glad that action is happening. It matters. The orange vests are probably legal observers for the protesters. They keep a record of what happens to individuals and are witnesses in court if needed by the protesters. They will have had some training on this. This may all look chaotic from outside but I can assure you that the basic ideas are well planned and I suspect there will be very little aggression from the protesters. Although everyone, on both sides can get frustrated which is very understandable.

  5. I’m saddened by how little push back there is here in the US and what does exist is trivial, inconsequential and fringe. Pfft! Someone has put soma in our coffee.

  6. Good documentary work Mike. You enthusiastically depict first world issues as conveyed to us by the usual childish suspects.

    I see the socialist worker, accurately being represented by soap dodgers socialist workers, no doubt Hate not Hope are no doubt ably represented by the usual intolerant bunch of slackers. Oh and let us not forget the enthusiastic support that they are getting from our wonderful mayor.

    I wonder how the last few days would have played out had Notre Dame been a London cathedral? I suspect that the inaction of these louts would have “greened” it good and proper.

    The climate has been “changing” for billions of years, a bunch of childish lefties frolicking about with their Nikes and iPhones ruining the environment for grown-ups might have its place for a few hours to make their Malthusian declarations, but enough was enough on Monday afternoon, and it should have been swept from the streets, by Tuesday morning.

    I wonder how far these idlers would have got with this in Moscow or Peking? I wonder whether, as a result, the Indians or Chinese will be easing up on the construction of coal fired power stations any time soon?

    Still, it makes good TV, I suppose.

    Meanwhile the very real concerns being expressed by deluded Greeks and “gilets jaunes” goes virtually unreported.

    • You ask, Stephen, “I wonder how far these idlers would have got with this in Moscow or Peking?” ..here’s the answer..

      30 years ago this very month you may remember that there was a student demonstration in Tiananmen Square – in what was known as Peking, but is now generally known as Beijing – and Wikipedia tells us:

      “The protests were forcibly suppressed after Chinese Premier Li Peng declared martial law. In what became known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, troops with assault rifles and tanks fired at the demonstrators trying to block the military’s advance towards Tiananmen Square. The number of civilian deaths was internally estimated by the Chinese government to be near or above 10,000.”

      Under the present London mayor, and the present commissioner of police, Cressida Dick, the response to protesters in Oxford Street and elsewhere seems to be rather more civilised, I’d say.

      • Yes the Chinese seem to be quite embarrassed by that performance, they have just forced Leica to take down a video made on their behalf which mentions that event. If only our own authorities were as self-conscious by their inaction as the Chinese by their “action”.

        I am sure the family of Jean Charles de Menezes are very happy that his killer has been promoted.

        Oh, and did you know that Sadiq’s dad drove a bus for London Transport?

        • “I am sure the family of Jean Charles de Menezes are very happy that his killer has been promoted.”

          As you know Stephen, although that was an awful and terrible event, Dick didn’t pull the trigger, and she didn’t shoot him. And she seems to have learned from that event, too, so that, as I said, the police’s behaviour over the last week “..seems to be rather more civilised, I’d say”.

    • Hi Stephen,

      One has just sprayed half a cup of tea over my work PC. Thank you for reminding me of the term soap dodger. I havent heard that used anywhere for year, quite literally.

      Sides still splitting a I set off for home. Have a great Easter folks, some of us have to attend work during the long weekend, but I hope those who are able to enjoy the pending sun have a great one.


    • StephenJ, have you ever considered a career in journalism? Going by the tone of your post a brilliant career awaits you with one of Rupert Murdoch’s publications in the UK, the USA or here in Australia. Or maybe a gig with Fox News.
      In the meantime those of us who are really concerned about man induced climate change and the fact that our grandchildren may well inherit an unlivable planet can only look on in despair.
      I sympathise with the protestors-I live way too far away to have joined them. Their antics may appear foolish and extreme but sensible discussion and reasoning seems to be falling on deaf ears

      • JohnS, you’re too old to have an open mind. You need to tighten up and fear. “They” (all of them) are coming to take your stuff. And, that fat old white guy, Murdoch, is laughing.

        • Tuco, the old Murdoch is not the one to worry about nowadays. His son, Lachlan, is even more extreme right.
          Loads of old folk around here uptight, fearful and with closed minds. I see them lining up to buy Murdoch’s papers every day before they go home to listen to the morning shock jocks on the radio.
          Some days having an open mind can be pretty lonely in a town full of retirees.

          • Do people still read newspapers – that is so yesterday. I havent bought a paper for years, in fact the only time I do is for my father-in-law and that is because he just doesnt do the internet.

            As for climate change, I am not a believe. Yes I believe our activity on the planet has disrupted the natural flow of things. However, the one questin I have for the scientists, is – What is the actual natural operating temperature for the planet?

            I suspect personally (not based on science) is that the planet fluctates its temperature over thousands of years, and I suspect we are moving in to a warmer period – the poles will melt, and thus then cool down the planet. I reckon that if the temperature gets a little extreme for us, we will adapt and evolve again, so that we survive. The alternative will be we dont survive, and the age of man will be considerably shorter than the dinosaurs – perhaps proving the we are the worst virus on the planet.

            Right back to work, been here since half four this morning and only dropped by for breakfast.

            Enjoy Good Friday and the Easter weekend.

          • I too haven’t bought a newspaper in years so much of the stuff in them is a waste of time and a regurgitation of information I read 24 hours ago direct from the horse’s mouth. I do subscribe to one on-line newspaper because it was a good deal at the time but I doubt I will renew at the end of the first year.

      • Dear John, the so called science behind man induced climate change is pretty flawed and funded by big organizations that have money to make out of this. Man induced climate change is a set of various theories that get treated as fact. This is no different than the theory of evolution being treated as fact rather than as a theory. The local weather forecast is mostly way off where I live and that is a lot simpler computer model than climate change.
        Anyway, I had to respond so Stephen does not feel alone in his opinion. I have an engineering degree from a prestigeous university and I am shocked at the hysteria that is created by the fake news media catering to liberal objectives rather than seeking a balance of information. We need to be better stewards of our planet but when you get extreme suggestions such as get rid of all cows nobody is going to listen and start taking steps in the right direction. As for Fox news, Even the Washington Post that has just admitted that Fox was right all along about the conspiracy against Trump and ths media needs to relook at real journalism.
        Excuse me, I need to get back to real journalism on Fox news and hope that a few flaky idlers will go out and get a job and contribute to society in a productive way. By the way, even as a scientist I also see creation as more viable theory based on the complexity of nature…..

        • Brian, many days I despair and today is one of them.
          Although you have not specifically bought it up as a theory rather than fact I can attest that the earth is not flat having flown all the way round it without falling off the edge.

  7. The colours are wonderful and you did a great job covering the event. I do not see any photos needing any level of bokeh as you are showing environmental images. This is a photo blog so I will not get into a viewpoint discussion as this is not the place in my opinion. I think it is of more value to discuss and see how well a 28mm fixed focal worked for event photography. I think you showed how well the Q2 works for event photography in capable hands. Most people would have only considered a big zoom. The 28mm perspective has an immediacy due to being close that makes me feel I am part of the event rather than an observer. Love the images – well captured.

  8. There is such a thing as an ‘Extinction Meter’ for cameras


    I have one in my collection and I have never been sure whether it works properly. Anyway it seems like the ideal tool to meter with at an ‘Extinction Rebellion’. You look at a scale of numbers which is lit and the number just where the light runs out gives you your light intensity. Indeed the rebels might adopt this concept and project various numbers into the sky about the state of the planet with the number just before the light runs out indicating the state of the planet’s resources and flora and fauna etc. It would be much more fun than blocking streets.


    • But does it sit in the middle of Oxford Circus. Incidentally, I now hear the those wonderful folk at Extinction Rebellion intend to close Heathrow tomorrow because people shouldn’t be going abroad on holiday. Of course the Government will just allow it.

      • Liz was talking about this earlier – I think they may find little public support if they mess up peoples travel arrangements – more so when you look at the costs involved to fly away over a bank holiday.

      • Hi Mike, of course they didn’t attempt to close Heathrow until some time after one of their leading spokespersons had arrived from LA.

        Unfortunately she was spending her 60th birthday in the comfort of her own air conditioned mansion.

        Anyway at last, one of the planet’s most outstanding virtue signallers has now arrived on her jet from LA and is addressing the assembled masses from her pink boat.

  9. Mike
    Your little A+A experiment on the Q2 led me to a little of the same on my Q (classic). Something I have not done on any digital camera ever. I tried it on I think a canon AE1-program. The results are much better 40+ years later.

    Maybe not every shot in every outing but there is a place for A+A and the results are worth it.

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