May 27, 2024

Chapter 8: How can my images have GPS when my camera doesn’t have GPS?

The Leica Q2 Monochrom journal.

It’s true: The Leica Q2 Monochrom has no internal GPS. But Leica has a clever way to geotag both JPG and DNG files. Your phone (that’s with you all the time) does have GPS. And the Leica FOTOS app on your phone wirelessly relays that GPS information to the camera that imbeds it in the image file. So as long as your geolocation services on your phone are on and the FOTOS app has access, all your files will be geotagged. This was one of the appealing things about the Q2M to me and what had kept me shooting everything on iPhone instead of a full-frame sensor. And so far, it’s worked flawlessly.

One of the great benefits of shooting everything on an iPhone Pro for me had been that geotags are a practical way to search. The Places folder in the iPhone Photos app shows me a map with thumbnails of where all my photos were taken. If looking for a photo and I know where it’s taken, I can zoom in on the map to find it. Since I’m importing all my Q2M files into the iOS Photos app I can find those now too.

Lightroom not showing GPS.

After trying Lightroom for iPad and importing DNG files from the Photos app I suddenly realized that the sparse data Lightroom shows about the DNG files doesn’t include GPS coordinates or a map. A few searches told me that Lightroom for iOS doesn’t transfer the geotags to Lightroom. As it turned out, the information was old, false or both. The geotags are intact in the DNGs and JPGs, but Lightroom for iPad doesn’t make them easily visible. There are two ways to examine your images to make sure the GPS data is imbedded:

  1. In a folder in Lightroom, tap the funnel icon and then tap Places. The locations show up as a list of places. This is awkward and the names of places can sometimes different than you’re expecting.
  2. Login to lightroom.adobe.com and the info panel for each photo shows the GPS and map. Tapping the map opens the location in Google Maps. But it’s one photo’s location at a time, not the whole library.

My take.

For how I shoot and scout, neither of these are very practical so I’ll continue to import photos through the Photos app and not rely on Lightroom as my library. When visiting a place I take at least one photo to confirm I’ve been there on the map. I also use the map to look at photos shot there to determine see if the place is worth revisiting.

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Photography Leica Q2 Monochrom


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