camera

Fantastic user review on Ricoh GR by Richard Wanderman

My long time Flickr friend and a great photographer Richard Wanderman has published superb review about the Ricoh GR in his blog. Just go and read it if you are considering this camera or if you are already using it. He is using nice strap option which I find cool.

Check the review here.

I really recommend to read his blog. Fantastic writings and also great links to other people’s stuff.

You can find Richard’s Flickr photostream here.

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Lumia 1020

I have made quite big moves by choosing a new mobile phone. I changed from iPhone 4 to Nokia Lumia 1020.

The main reason to choose Lumia 1020 was its great camera. 41 MPix with very sharp 5 Mpix files and that crazy good zooming feature are really something. And that camera has very good manual functions too. You are able to change shutter speed, ISO, focus, white balance, and exposure compensation. I have to admit that most people myself included like to use their mobile phone cameras in full auto mode because it is fast and hassle-free. Now I will have a great P&S camera with me all the time because the phone is with me always. I am not carrying even my small Ricoh GR with me all the time. With those “real” cameras I need some special occassion to take them with me.

I am still not sure of this move though. This is because I like Apple stuff. I still have my iPhone 4 and iPad and Mac Mini. I will definitely keep and use my iPad and Mac Mini (I am not going back to Windows with computers or tablets). iPhone 5S with a 32 Gb memory is costing much more than Lumia 1020 (which has 32 Gb memory). That was also one (even if a minor) point to go with Lumia. I think Windows phone 8 OS is quite a decent one and I actually like the Live-Tile thing. Apps for WP8 are not so good (and there are not so many of them) than those for iOS but I have managed to find those I need in daily basis. I think I had too many apps in my iPhone anyways.

Maybe I will use Lumia 1020 untill iPhone 6 comes and see then what to do. Here are few recent shots with my Lumia 1020. The tunnel shot got huge amount of views in Flickr in two days and it was also in Explore quite much immediately. Quite unbeliavable. That has never happened to any of my mobile phone photos before. Lumia 1020 renders nice backgrounds for a mobile phone camera and it has decent close-up abilities (especially if you take into account that incredible zooming or cropping potential).

A tunnel vision Background blur test Close-up test

Some thoughts on the Ricoh GR as a travel camera

I had my Ricoh GR and my Fuji X-Pro1 with 35/1.4 lens with me in our Canary Islands vacation. Here are some thoughts on the GR and how I liked it as a vacation camera.

The absolutely biggest asset of the Ricoh GR was its small size. I carried it in my shorts’ pocket all the time and I never needed any special camera bag for it. Very easy and handy. I had the GR in my hand mainly using its wrist strap but sometimes I would liked to have it in a neck strap. Why so? Well, there are many situations, especially with kids with you, in which you would need your both hands. In those moments I had to put my GR in the pocket first and after that help my kids. With a neck or sling-type strap I would have had my both hands free when needed. This strap-question is one important thing to solve out soon. At least I have to think about other options in addition to the wrist strap.

I shot about 90% of shots in snapshot mode with the GR. I used snapshot distance of 2 m and aperture of 7.1 in TAv mode (so the camera decides the ISO value). The shutter speed was somewhere in the 1/250-1/320 s area. I had the back button focusing enabled too and that was a very nice thing because in that way I was able to override the snapshot mode if needed. In addition with the back button focusing the special macro mode button is not needed at all and this feature made the macro focusing much more faster to apply. I also had the ND filter in the auto mode (as I always do) all the time. This is so cool feature because it allows you to shoot wide open in bright daylight if needed.

I did not use in-camera effects at all and shot only RAW all the time. I think that was a good decision because there was heavy sun shine every day and you could easily have some burned areas in the shots.

The most difficult thing for me was the 28mm focal length of the Ricoh GR. I should go closer to my subject! There are many of those vast wide-angle shots which just give you the “blaah” feeling when seeing them on the computer screen. Fortunately, there are also those good ones where I have some foreground subjects and still nice background. I have to learn wide-angle shooting more. I have to admit that there were quite many situations where I missed a zoom lens. Me missing a zoom, oh my.

All in all, I have somehow mixed feelings about the Ricoh GR as a travel camera. My inabilities to use wide-angle lens is the main reason for those feelings. I do not yet have the proper touch and understanding of this camera and wide-angle focal lengths in general.

Fun in the pool Amadores beach - the rocky part Mud master

Leica Digilux 2 still amazes me

After our vacation I took my Digilux 2 out from the storage cabinet and shot some pics indoors in quite a poor light. As I can only (or at least mainly) use ISO 100 I once again utilized three-shot series to hopefully have some sharp shots. And I managed to get some. Some amazing shots. My Digilux 2 was in B&W white balance because I feel that this camera takes very nice monochromes. Every time I manage to get sharp shot with this camera I really like the result. It is very difficult to explain why those shots shine but there certainly is something in them. With other cameras the shot would just be one sharp shot among others, nothing special, but with this Leica it will be more.

Leica Digilux 2 is a tricky camera to shoot with that’s for sure. But the reward will be more than with those modern digital wonder-gadgets having all the bells and whistles. The shot below is one of those I love. F2.4, 1/4 s (hand-held), ISO 100, 90 mm.

Our hamster

A lot depends on batteries now

Our vacation is closing in. We are leaving Wednesday afternoon. I am still waiting extra batteries for my Leica Digilux 2, Nikon 1 V1, and Ricoh GR. For the GR I have ordered also the battery charger.

I have spare battery only for my Fuji X-Pro1 at the moment. This battery matter may be a decisive thing now. I would like to have an extra battery for the camera(s) I am taking with me. I have noticed that the battery life of the GR is quite mediocre so the whole day shooting with just one battery could be somehow risky.

Yesterday I already “decided” to take only the GR with me but as you have already guessed of I am not sure anymore. Maybe a two-prime two-camera (28mm and 50mm) option? 🙂

Smoky

I have to say that I love the photo below. Not only because there is my lovely son but also because how my Leica Digilux 2 renders the smoke. I know that Tiitus is not focused properly but the smoke is like magical to me. I used Digilux 2’s flash in its first position where it works as a bounced flash. For color photos you really can not use this camera over ISO 100 but that ingenious flash saves the situation.

Smoke
f/2.4, 1/60, ISO 100, 90mm, bounced flash

Friend’s advice

My good friend was visiting my son’s birthday party and we had time for short camera discussion (we usually do). He has been lately twice in vacation (in Spain and Turkey) with his family and I asked him which kind of camera gear he had with him. I also wanted to know if there were some camera features he was really missing during the vacations.

First of all he had Sony RX100 and Nikon D300s (with 18-55mm zoom) cameras with him at both vacations. The following things he pointed out:

– He said that he took most of the photos with the RX100 because of its small size. So, that is one big point here. You do not want to lug big equipment with you.

– He stated that a zoom lens is a must.

– He was missing a viewfinder a lot when using the RX100. The heavy sunshine made the LCD useless in many occasions.

– In-camera ND filter would have been great many times. He was not able to use wide apertures that much in outdoor shooting because of extreme light.

 

And here are my thoughts on those comments based on the cameras I have:

– My cameras in size order (from the smallest to the biggest): Ricoh GR, Nikon 1 V1, Fuji X-Pro1 and Leica Digilux 2 (these last two are actually equal in size). So, one point for Ricoh GR.

– I have only one zoom lens. It is the 10-30mm/3.5-5.6 for Nikon 1 V1. And of course Leica Digilux 2 has a fixed 28-90mm zoom. One point for Nikon and Leica.

– All my cameras except Ricoh GR have viewfinders. One point for X-Pro1, V1, and Digilux 2.

– Only my Ricoh GR has an in-camera ND filter. Nikon 1 V1 has, however, shutter speed option of 1/16000s which should be fast enough in strong light. So, I will give one point to Ricoh GR and Nikon 1 V1.

 

Now, let’s count the points. Fuji X-Pro1 = 1 point. Leica Digilux 2 = 2 points. Ricoh GR = 2 points. Nikon 1 V1 = 3 points.

So, Nikon 1 V1 seems to be a winner here per my friend’s advice.

Just give me a 50mm GR

I think fixed prime lens cameras are quite much unbeatable in image quality if they have top-notch lens design combined with great sensor and lens-sensor matching is done meticulously. There are such cameras. Ricoh GR, Fuji X100S, and Sigma DPM series just to mention some. But much more is needed for a great camera than pure IQ. That is useability. I think Sigma DPM series have the IQ but they are lacking in other features and their images are difficult to post-process (I have had DP2M). But what is really fantastic with Sigma’s DPM cameras is that they have three variants of them. DP1M, DP2M, and DP3M. 28mm, 45mm, and 75mm equivalent lenses. I can easily say that if those Sigma’s would work better in high-ISO situations and if the post-processing of their files would be easier I would have all three of them at the moment. It is as simple as that. Unfortunately, Sigma has not nailed this camera series in those two above mentioned areas. It really is a pity.

I have now Ricoh GR which has a 18.3mm (28mm equivalent) lens and the GR has all the bells and whistles I need. The GR is so great to use. Now I would like to have another GR with say 50mm (75mm equivalent) lens. Just in a way Sigma’s DPMs have. That would be a winner combination. Then I would have two GRs which together still are smaller than many mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras with two prime lenses.

Two GR bodies with fixed sensor-matched primes. That’s my dream. I could even see that happen.