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.
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.
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.