Wednesday, 30 April 2008


GRD II, f2.4, 1/8, ISO 800, RAW, 40mm

After taking 100 pictures yesterday I did not really have time to take many pictures today. The weather was pretty bad again with rain all day long and I've been out with friends so did my usual "Paparazzi" duty but these are not really pictures for the blog.
Still, I managed to take this shot and while it's cropped, I also removed some color noise and changed the levels. Initially I thought of converting it to b&w but for some reason I just can't get images from the GRD II to look good in b&w. The color version always looks better so I think as a color camera it's the best compact available since the colors are very accurate (unless you manipulate them in post processing as I did here).
What I tried to do with this shot is get the colors and mood a bit similar to the painting 'Nighthawks' by Edward Hopper. This is why I also allowed the people to be slightly blurry to gain the sense of a paintery effect, although I resisted to overdo it with the noise reduction in order to get this effect more pronounced. I really like this painting and think it's a perfect example of how a painting can look exactly like a photograph and have the same dynamic and mood.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008


Today is my 100th post on the blog! :D
Can't believe I managed to keep this up and never skip a day. As I said on my 50th post, it is a very interesting experience and I really enjoy updating the blog every day. I am happy about the comments I recieve and glad that people follow it.

To "celebrate" I decided to try out a different blogger page and at the same time create a backup of my blog. So I started to play around with Wordpress since quite a few people use it so I thought I give it a go. While I don't think I'll move my blog there it certainly is very nice and offers some advantages. You can check out my blog at Wordpress via this URL but it is still "under construction":

For my picture for today I decided to try something different and not just have the number 100 in my picture or just using any picture. Instead I set myself the target of taking 100 pictures in one day. And not just any 100 pictures but good pictures that could each stand on their own as a picture for the day. This by itself would not be such a big problem since I took more than 100 pictures on certain days while in Japan since there was so much to see. The problem is trying to do this on a working day and a rainy day at that (this is the reason for the mostly greyish pictures). Anyway, I managed to take exactly 100 presentable images after deleting a lot since these were blurry or not good to begin with. I am quite pleased with the images and think that most could have done well on their own as my pic for the day. By the way, there is one picture there that has the number 100 :).

I used the program Andrea Mosaic to create this 46MP image, this beats my previous 26MP picture I had for Valentine's day. It is very good and freeware so check it out since you can create different mosaic pictures and it's very fast in operation. The only downside is that I could not find out how to stop the program from using all pictures in landscape mode but if I do find a way I'll re-upload the image.

Monday, 28 April 2008


GRD II, f3.2, 1/15, ISO 80, RAW, 40mm

It is very simple to take a picture of a beautiful sunset or sunrise and have it look good. I mean, you can point any camera at it and chances are it won't turn out disapointing. What makes it difficult is being in the right place at the right time since even a short walk for 5 minutes can mean that the best light is gone and what remains is not nearly as impressive.
This happened to me today, I got out of the cinema and saw this great light in the sky, perfect to take a picture. But how do you take a nice picture with a 28mm or max 40mm lens when you're in the middle of houses. Even a short walk to the Thames (and I walk quite fast) was too long to capture the best moments of this. So I tried to make the best out of the situation and took a few shots anyway. This is the one I like best out of the few shots I took.
Usually I am not a big fan of sunset/sunrise pictures since I believe there are to many of these already and as mentioned it is not that difficult or challenging if you're in the right place at the right time. Still, I like taking these shots and am also interested to see how the GRD II handles them. The higher DR and lower noise of the GRD II really help here although you start to notice for these shots the limits of the small sensor.
Then again, limits or not, as long as the camera is small and can be always available you won't miss out on a photo opportunity. So the pictures are always better than no pictures with a dSLR that would sit at home gathering dust. At the same time it is more challenging to try and push the limits of the equipment you have. This applies to every camera you have.

Sunday, 27 April 2008


GRD, f5, 1/400, ISO 200, JPG

Well, it was a lazy Sunday today but nice after working yesterday. The weather was also not very nice so this is an improvised shot. It's from the GR1 and GRD II taken with my GRD. This also brought me on the idea to use the GR1 for the comparison between the GRD cameras but only from a handling and build point of view since printing images is more difficult. I can't just swap between color, b&w and different ISOs with film. That said I already have a small comparison between the GR1, GRD and GX online:
Ricoh GR1 vs GX vs GRD Comparison

Saturday, 26 April 2008

City Police

GRD, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 200, JPG b&w

Today the weather was great but unfortunatelly I had to work. Still, I managed to take this picture on my way to the office. Used the GRD I again and am still very happy with the quality. The picture is straight out of the camera without any post processing.

Friday, 25 April 2008


GRD, f4.5, 1/250, ISO 400, JPG b&w

I got my GRD I back from Ricoh today after a handgrip change, now aside from the buttons it looks like new but I kinda miss the "feel" of the old handgrip ;).
After using the GRD II for the last weeks I started to miss the GRD I. There is no other camera, the GRD II included, that has the same "feel" to it. As soon as I set it to b&w mode with Contrast +2 and Sharpness +1 and took the first picture, I knew why I can't just leave this camera at home. The b&w jpgs are simply outstanding, there is no better camera for b&w out there than the GRD I. The grain, the contrast and sharpness of the images is impressive. The images are so crisp that it is almost impossible to get anywhere close to this using RAW or any other camera. I surely hope Ricoh can somehow add this processing to the GRD II via firmware.
While my GRD II street shots are shot in b&w jpg mode I almost never end up actually using them but process the RAW and use the color version of the picture. So as I said befre, the GRD I is a b&w camera while the GRD II is a color camera.
Took this picture over lunch at Ossie's and while it's not the best picture to demonstrate what I was saying about the GRD I b&w jpgs it does show what is possible and has the GRD I "look". I don't even use RAW on the GRD I anymore since now it became my b&w camera. No post processing other than slightly croppng it.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Smoking in the Rain

GRD II, f2.4, 1/80, ISO 100, RAW

Today I could not decide between 4 pictures which one to take for the blog. I finally decided to use this but will upload the other pictures on Flickr plus some other images that did not make it on my blog recently.
The reason I took it as the pic for today is that the more I looked at it during post processing the more details I found in it that I was not even aware when taking it. If you look closely you can find that a few items are available twice. I also like the mix between static and movement in the image.

Since my GRD I is with Ricoh now for a handgrip change and electronics check-up I've been using exclusively the GRD II and the My 1 and 2 modes are great, allow for very fast switching btween different settings and make it so easy to take pictures. There are people out ther who will say the most important thing about a camera is the image quality but I say the only most important thing is the handling and controls of the camera. A camera with great handling and controls will get shots that no other camera will get just because one likes to use it and it's easy and fast to set up so you can get the shot. During my comparisons for the GRD I and GRD II and the GX and GX100 I'll go into more detail about his. I will also post something about this on SeriousCompacts as soon as I have more time.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

The Bench by the Lake

GRD II, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 100, RAW

I though of caling this picture "The Bench and The Goose" but this would have sounded again like the name of a pub so I changed it. Took the picture while looking for a flat in Blackheath. After a gray and rainy morning the day went on to be warm and sunny.
I really like the GRD II now and think that it is a great improvement except the b&w jpgs and the freezing screen when half pressing the shutter. While this is not important for this kind of picture it is something that happens randomly but is very annoying for me. I really hope Ricoh can sort this out, need to send them an email with my improvements and wish list. At the same time I need to start getting the GRD I vs. GRD II comparison ready and posted on my blog.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Sweeping My Way

GRD II, f4.5, 1/320, ISO 100, RAW

Since it was nice and warm today I went for a walk during lunch and took some pictures. This is my favorite one since it captures a moment and freezes acton. I know that every shot captures a moment and freezes action but some shots still look static. I featured the people who clean the streets in London before but think they are very important and deserve more recognition for their job.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Mother and Child

GRD II, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 100, RAW

Took this picture while on my way home. I know it's not perfect but I really liked the expression on her face and had only a split second to capture it. Her face was heavily underexposed due to me shooting almost into the sun but I liked the scene so much that I decided to use it for anyway as today's picture. The shot matters more than the technical quality although getting the shot in the best quality is desirable.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Through the Lens

GRD II, f5, 1/320, ISO 100, RAW, 28mm+40mm

Only recently I've read an article about people who use Holga and Lomo cameras for their unpredictable quality and found it quite intriguing. While this picture is not meant to be a copy of this it is more an experiment. Took the picture today during a brief time when the sun actually came out. While experimenting for this shot I got another idea for a picture I want to try out soon. The image is heavyly cropped since half of it was black borders anyway and I changed the contrast to get this look. Although I did not add any noise to it the noise became more pronounced after the contrast adjustment.

Saturday, 19 April 2008


GRD II, f3.2, 1/160, ISO 100, RAW 1:1

A gray and cold day in London, one could think it's December and not April. Took this picture while on my way to get a coffee in town. Used the 1:1 mode again since it allowed for a better composition without cropping.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Friday Street

GRD II, f4, 1/50, ISO 80, RAW

Hey, it's Friday! So what better to do in London or the UK for that matter other than going to a pub and having a few drinks. After having to call t-mobile 4 times in 4 days since taking on the contract, I really needed some drinks. It could've been so easy to just set up the account properly but somehow it does not seem possible with them. Anyway, this is sorted now and I got what I wanted.
If you need a cheap data and phone contract the Flext25 + web'n'walk for 12 months with the additional web'n'walk+ option and specific mention of the free wifi hotspots will get you everything you need. To get this all properly set up could however be a painful process and involve a considerable amount of complaining.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

The Fish and Tate

GRD II, f2.4, 1/200, ISO 100, RAW 1:1

This title sounds like the name of a pub but hey, I'm in the UK so this is fine. Took the picture today while out for a walk, enjoying the sun and complaining to t-mobile once again. This must be a record for me to complain every day now since taking the contract. They really need to get their act together and have clear details on their offers and contracts. Still, if you complain enough you get what you want ;).

One thing I noticed about my blog is that I never provided the EXIF information so I have added it for all pictures now. If you were interested on the settings I use you can now go back and revisit the images.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Red Dragon

GRD II, f2.4, 1/50, ISO 100, RAW 1:1

Took this picture after work while on my way to get a coffee. I used the 1:1 mode and changed the levels to get this look.
I finally managed to get my plan set up properly with t-mobile so now I have unrestricted hsdpa from my mobile phone and can use it just fne from the Q1U via Bluetooth or USB. Another nice touch is the free t-mobile hotspot subscription that allows me to surf faster from a lot of locations. Now I really have no excuse for not updating the blog in time ;).

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Fire in the Hood

GRD II, f5, 1/320, ISO 100, RAW

'or: Why you should always have your camera with you at ALL times. ;)'

There are days when I hardly manage to take the picture for the day, on some days I take one picture and know this is THE picture for the day. On days like today I have too many pictures or as here a full series of pictures to choose from. Took the pictures while on my way home from the station. While this guy was not the driver he was good fun and fits perfectly as a contrast in this image. While taking these shots I was very glad about the GRD II RAW write speed and buffer.

First I thought I would not have any picture to show for today since I spend most of my free time complaining to t-mobile about the speed restriction they put on their plans. Of course they do not mention this anywhere when you take on the contract so I need to shop around and see what I can get out.

Monday, 14 April 2008

One Nation Under CCTV

GRD II, f4, 1/320, ISO 100, RAW, 21mm

I finally did it, after 4 years I decided to replace my aging Nokia phone for a more up to date version with 3G and quad band. Reason was primary to use HSDPA when on the go from my UMPC without the need of an additional modem and me being annoyed that I could not use my phone in Korea or Japan. So I got a Nokia E51 since it has a proper keypad and all other features I wanted, like mini SD-card suport (would've preferred normal SD or MMC but anyway), Bluetooth, wifi and a radio and MP3 player.
Long story short, on my way to get this in Oxford street I saw this big writing on the wall and decided to check it out and take a few pictures. Yes, it is a Banksy and I believe one of only 2 or so that I've seen. This is one of the pictures taken with the 21mm lens, since 28mm was not wide enough to show the real size, and the GRD II.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Council Flats at 1600

GRD II, f2.4, 1/13, ISO 1600, RAW

The title refers to the ISO setting I used and this was a test more than anything. It is the first time I used this on the GRD II and I can say that I definitely need a different processing for this. I knew quite well how to process ISO 1600 files from the GRD I to make them look acceptabl even in color but the GRD II is more difficult since it has a different noise pattern. The picture in b&w did not really look better so I need to find a way to get more out of the files. Was a good experiment though and you can even see the "Ricoh Blue" in the sky, a feature that I really like and unique to Ricoh cameras. Overall the image is not great and shows the limits of the small sensor but for an experiment quite good. I have to say that the GRD I performed better at this ISO in b&w and color at first look. Need to make a few tests on this for my review.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Rain is Coming

GRD, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 200, JPG b&w

After all the recent street shots I think something simple is good to have on the blog. Yes, I could not resist to use the GRD I again for some b&w work. Had it out while going into town today and took this picture while waiting for the train. Really need to do a side by side comparisson of the GRD I and II in b&w to show the differences.

Friday, 11 April 2008

The Police

GRD II, f5.6, 1/500, ISO 100, RAW

Took this picture while out for a walk during lunch today. It's not quite as good as the pictures I took recently but I still like it.
As you might've noticed I took all pictures this week with the GRD II and all are streetshots but only one is b&w. I mentioned it before but I believe for b&w work the GRD I is much better and the GRD II shines for color work. All pictures from the last days have been taken as b&w jpgs but I've left the RAW conversions in color since they work much better.

Looking through my recent posts I completely forgot to mention that I've been asked to contribute to Armin's 'Serious Compacts' page. I am very glad about this opportunity and am looking forward to. The site provides all the information about interesting compact cameras. Since I would never use any camera that does not fit in my pocket, so serious or advanced compact cameras are very interesting to me and I hope to see a lot more models in the future. But enough of me talking about the page, just go and have a look and make sure you check out the Flickr group for some great images taken with compact cameras. and

Thursday, 10 April 2008


GRD II, f4.5, 1/320, ISO 100, RAW

Took this picture today when going for lunch here. Ossie's is a great Cafe near St. Paul's in London and the best address to have lunch in the City. The staff and service is great and food very good without costing much, I usually go there once or twice a week for lunch and am one of the regulars :). The post is not meant to be advertising but just a tip where to get very good food and great service while in the City.

I first wanted to use the picture in b&w but although nice it did not work for me, neither did the color version converted from RAW. What I tried to do is to have a mix of the "50's American Diner" pictures and Joel Meyerowitz's work. With the curves tool I got it to look the way I wanted and am very pleased with the result. The only other modification is a slight cropping at the bottom and left side.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

In the Mood for Coffee

GRD II, f2.4, 1/30, ISO 566, RAW

Yes, it is another "streetshot" but then I want to see how the GRD II performs at this. As mentioned before I'll use the GRD II exclusively this week to see how it performs for me compared to the GRD I. So far I am quite impressed although there are things I miss or do not quite like about the GRD II.
This picture is again inspired by Wong Kar Wai this is the reason why I chose this title. I used the reflection in the window on purpose and made curves and color balance changes to give it this blue-ish look. While not everyone will like this picture I have to say that I really like the result and it is again a shot where I experimented more with, both while taking the shot and also during post processing.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

The Three

GRD II, f4.5, 1/400, ISO 100, JPG b&w

After writing very long (winded) posts recently I won't write much today other that I took this picture when going out for lunch. It is a straight out of camera jpg from the GRD II without any post processing. While I still prefer the GRD I jpgs for b&w work I think it is pretty good. The latest firmware update improved on the jpgs so I hope for further updates in the next firmware updates.

Monday, 7 April 2008

One Way

GRD II, f2.4, 1/60, ISO 100, RAW

Well, holiday is over so it was back to work today. Takes some getting used to after a long holiday, definitely makes picture taking more difficult.
After using both the GRD I and GRD II with the 21mm and 40mm lens on holday I decided to only take one camera and no extra lenses with me for this week. Want to keep it simple and focus on the camera alone. I took the GRD II since it delivers overall better mage quality, although the GRD I will still remain my main b&w street camera. The GRD II is great and delivers better image quality when developing the RAW files but the b&w quality no match for the GRD I jpgs. I like the high contrast and grainy look the GRD I jpgs provide and see no reason to spend time developing RAW files and converting them to b&w since it offers no real advantage. As it is I am still not 100% taken over by the GRD II and still need my trusty "old" GRD for certain tasks before it can retire ;).
Took this image after work on my way to the train station. I saw this place before and always wanted to take a picture there. Sometimes if you see a place you have an idea for a picture in mind but need to wait for the right time and moment to take it. This happened here but this is not the shot I saw and had in mind. Still, I liked this shot so much that I decided to post it for now and retake the original planned image at a later time. Cropped the image slightly to achieve almost the 1:1 ratio.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

The Big Sleep

GRD II, f2.8, 1/160, ISO 100, RAW

Holiday is over and it's back to London and work tomorrow but I'll come back to Japan, love this country and the people here. Tradition and moderne merge together and create a unique experience. Japan is not only technologically advanced but also socialy. I can only recommend a visit here, especially a stay in Kyoto. Depending on the time I might write a little report on my blog about this but I have other things to get on with first so it also depends on my interest after finishing the other things.
Since I'll be spending over 15h in planes, trains and at airports I won't have much time for taking pictures so this is the first picture I took today and really liked. It was on the train to Narita Airport and taken with the GRD II. It will probably reflect well on how I'll look for most of the time ;).

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Closer Look

GRD II, f2.4, 1/50, ISO 100, RAW, 21mm

After a 5h journey with the Shinkansen from Hiroshima I got back to Tokyo today. After some last minute shopping I went to Ginza to have a look at the '7th Ricoh Exhibition'. It was very nice and well worth the visit. Ricoh decided to print and display not only the winning pictures but all entries (about 1,100). This was great news since it included my picture and pictures from Wouter and Pavel.
Another cool thing was the posibility to see prints from almost every Ricoh camera. An interesting observation at this that for the displayed A4 prints straight out of the camera the jpgs from the GRD, GX100 and GX8 were best followed by the R6 and R4. The GRD II jpgs looked even at this small size smeared. While processing the RAW from the GRDs and GX100 will produce better prints (Ricoh have a few A1 prints of the GRD I at Yodobashi on display and these do look impressive), I was very surprised at how well the Rx cameras performed.
There were also some bigger prints from various photographers on display and a few were from the R8 and looked pretty good considering the camera. I am sure for holiday snapshots and normal use the R8 will deliver for most people. It is a very popular camera in Japan and seems to do well considering all the shelf space it recieves at the big camera stores and there were always people trying them out.
Before I drift off too much let me get back to the exhibition report. The Ricoh representatives were really nice and quite surprised to see non-japanese showing up. Were particulary impressed to see me walking in with both GRDs and started laughing when I showed them my GR1 ;). Now I am 'officially' a extreme Ricoh user :). This prompted me to log a few compliments but also complaints about the GRD II with them. The focus priority got noticed but a fix is unclear, unfortunatelly the phase detection will not come back in the next cameras :(. Regarding my complaint regarding the rear wheel versus the rocker switch now they were reluctant but saw my point and said "maybe" to bring back the wheel. It does not look like they will put real leather on the handgrip though. I asked this because they had thee really cool new GRD bag on display made out of very nice leather. The GB-1 bag is really cool but the price is with around £180 a bit high even for the great all leather finish. Well, since I did not really speak Japanese and their English was limited we just continued to have some small talk and looked at my picture before I left. Overall a very nice experience and as mentioned before well worth the visit. Was really impressed that Ricoh really printed all entries of the competition. Also with the lack of advertising or brand placement at the exhibition. There was only one Ricoh logo at the entrance and a small table with current camera models plus accessories, even the Pictures only mentioned GR Digital etc. and never Ricoh.

Friday, 4 April 2008


GRD II, f9, 1/2000, ISO 80, RAW

This is the famous Torii gate on Miyajima that stands in Water at high tide. Last full sight seeing day in Japan before heading to Tokyo for some shopping and the Ricoh exhibition.
Took this with the GRD II and the screen turned all green in the process, funny thing is that both the GX and GX100 have this problem in bright light but not the GRD I. The pictures turn out fine though so just a nuisance while taking the shot.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Reminder of the Past

GRD, f4.5, 1/320, ISO 64, RAW, 40mm

Arrived today in Hiroshima and after visiting the museum and taking pictures in the Peace Park, I decided to use this image for my blog. Took it with the GRD I and 40mm lens in b&w but this is the processed RAW file. I added noise to it and overexposed the image even more to give it a gritty look.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008


GRD II, f2.4, 1/200, ISO 80, RAW, 40mm

Last day in Kyoto today and there is still so much to see here. This is the second time I've been here and everytime I want to spend more time here. Need to come back.
Took this while sightseeing today with the GRD II and 40mm lens. I used the GRD II almost exclusively aside from a few b&w street shots I took with the GRD I that is mainly set to b&w and display off these days. Really happy to have both GRDs and adapter lenses with me. Makes for a very versatile combination and I can continue shooting when the memory card is full on one camera. This happened a few times although I had the Q1 Ultra with me all day but sometimes there is no time to copy pictures over.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008


GRD II, f3.2, 1/50, ISO 80, RAW, 21mm

After a few days I managed to find another place with stable Wifi connection :). I will try to respond to all posts today but if I don't manage I will do so as soon as possible.
Who said that small sensor cameras have problems capturing details in trees? I really like how this shot came out and the details it contains. This also explains why the converted jpg is 9MB. The GRD II did a great job with the 21mm lens although there is minor fringing visible which I did not correct due to time restraints.
The GRD II is becoming more and more my main camera, the fast RAW writing, higher dynamic range and better colors all attribute to that. I also found a way to post process the files and get more out of them, it's amazing how much you can get out of the RAW files of the GRD II. Another nice thing is the slightly improved jpgs with the new firmware 2.0.