first impressions

Feeling GReat already!

I got my Ricoh GR yesterday after waiting over a month for it. For starters I can say that all the waiting seems to be worthwhile.

Wouter Brandsma, Jorge Ledesma, and Richard Wanderman have been positive about the GR, and those are the guys with that kind of experience in photography that you can trust them.

Here are, however, my own very initial thoughts of the GR.

First of all GR felt nice in my hands from the beginning. Grip is very nice and GR is easy to operate with one hand even if I can’t make all the adjustments by one hand. I have to get more used to the camera to master that.

GR is highly customizable. Can’t say much more of that at the moment. It is a very good thing but could be quite overwhelming when you realize all the possibilities. So, lots to learn in the coming days!

I just charged the battery and went outdoors to shoot few initial shots with it. I put it in TAv mode just because this is my first camera to have that mode. And I immediately realized that this mode is going to be my absolute favorite. Pick your aperture and shutter speed and let the camera decide the suitable ISO. Cool. And it works. Because GR has the fantastic auto ND feature, you can shoot wide open outdoors in the sunshine without remembering to active the in-camera ND filter by yourself. Really, really nice. I used F2.8 and 1/250 plus macro mode for the close-ups. I feel that GR is very nice camera for shooting close-ups. Perfect DoF, beautiful bokeh, and 28mm focal length which gives you some background in the shots making them more environmental.

I didn’t get full understanding about all the focus modes GR has. That’s part of the learning curve thing. I mainly used Pinpoint AF because I felt it was more accurate than the Spot AF. Just my feeling, nothing else. I tested also the Snap focus system and it may well be useful for my kind of shooting, at least in some situations. For example when I am photographing our lively sons. Choose f-value between 5.6 and 8 , and shutter speed less than 1/250 with Snap focus and you are set up for that situation. Of course that kind of apertures will work nicely mainly outdoors in good lighting but it really is worth of trying. Kind of “street” photography at our own yard.

And by the way, I was shooting JPEGs. GR may well be a JPEG camera for me. Of course I have to test out DNGs too before judging but if GR is exposing well (and I learn to use exposure compensation properly) I may end to shoot JPEGs with it. There are some nice in-camera effects (like high contrast B&W and bleach bypass) which I find interesting ones to test out.

I have found a new main camera for me. That says quite a much.

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Come-back

I am now back to Micro Four Thirds. I bought Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Olympus M.ZUIKO 45/1.8 and Sigma 30/2.8 lenses. In addition, I have my old Panasonic lenses, 20/1.7 and 45-200 zoom. That's quite a cool set!

First impression with OM-D was that it is small! Smaller than I really thought of. But that's a good thing. Of course it feels small after D600.

Then the absolutely best thing. The autofocus is blazingly fast! I mean DSLR-fast. No, actually it is faster than that in real use. At least so in my hands and that's of course what really counts here. I had time to test OM-D yesterday only with 45/1.8 lens but at least with it I can truly say that this camera has the fastest AF I have ever used. Period.

Also IQ seems to be top notch. 45/1.8 is very sharp wide open. Very, very nice. Also noise seems to be very controllable at least up to ISO 3200, maybe up to 6400. That's a very good achievement for m4/3 sensor. That together with fast lenses which provide just perfect DoF wide open, and the best image stabilization system I have ever encountered, I really think OM-D and m4/3 system is deserving those praises all over the photography web pages.

And by the way, I just sold my Sigma DP2 Merrill. 🙂 I thought that it would be difficult to sell but…

 

Small hat, big chin


 

Got Lightroom 3 immediately when it was launched and I though I would like to share my first impressions of it here.

For the above shot I tested direct upload to Flickr from Lightroom 3 and it worked nicely. You can even see the comments (and comment by yourself) through LR3! It also updates your photos automatically (of course you have to first “publish” the new version through LR3) if you tweak them more in LR3.

The new Import dialogue box was littlebit hard to understand in first place but now I think it is better than the old one in LR2.7.

Lens correction feature is fantastic. It has preloaded profiles for certain lenses and you can also use it manually e.g. for perspective corrections. When using preloaded profiles you still can tweak distortion, chromatic aberration, and vignetting corrections.

You can embed music in slideshows now. Very nice even if I do not use slideshows that much. But soon I will need that nice feature and I will definitely add some audio file with it.

Last but not least. The noise reduction is now totally in a new level. It handles noise very nicely and preserves details. I really think that I will not need any third-party NR plug-ins or programmes anymore.

There are many, many smaller improvements which help your everyday use of LR but more of those later.