Monday, 30 June 2008

Walking By

GRD II, f3.2, 1/160, ISO 80, RAW

Quick update for today since it's already late. Finally managed to upload my posts for the last days.
Took this picture today after work and while it was planned to be a b&w high contrast shot I decided to use the color version and recover some of the overexposed areas.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Important Notice

LC1, f5, 1/160, ISO 200, RAW, 90mm

Went to a Cuban festival in Canada Water and then to Brick Lane to meet friends and watch the Euro Cup finals. While waiting for the game to start I took a walk and took some street shots with the LC1 and GRD II. The LC1 has a great image quality if it gets the focus right but the AF is too slow for street photography and the camera too big and conspicuous. Today the compact cameras are what the Rangefinders from Leica used to be a few years ago for street photography. The LC1 or similar bridge cameras, small dSLRs or Rangefinders are too big and conspicuous so people notice you easier than when using a small compact camera.
I need more practice with the LC1 for street photography and will have to start using manual focus although I think the least a camera should do is focus automatically and this fast and reliable. Everything I can do but I hate manual focus and don't see the point unless I want a specific effect.
This is one of my best shots from today and I really like how the colors came out. The look is definitely different than when using the GRDs.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

The Battersea Power Station Project

This time it's not just a picture or a few random pictures from today but a project so you will have more pictures than usual.
The Battersea Power Station is one of the most iconic buildings in London and my personal favorite. The brick building with the four large chimneys is one of the largest brick buildings in the world and the largest in Europe. It has been designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the same architect who designed the power station that is today the Tate Modern museum and the red telephone box. It featured on the Pink Floyd cover art for the album
Animals and also in the movie Children of Men and has been referenced and used in numerous movie and film productions.
It is a big shame that it is literally only a empty shell of the past glories. It lays empty and exposed to the elements since the 80s when a project to redevelop it failed. The only thing this project managed to do is remove the big engines and rip apart the roof and interior of the building. Now after all these years and failed attempts to redevelop it seems like the next project has been drawn up by Real Estate Opportunities and should be done by 2014. Let's hope that these plans finally work out so that this truly amazing building can be visited by people and put to some good use again after all these years.
The pictures are a mix of the GRD II with 21mm lens and the LC1, all developed from RAW and some are cropped. No Exif this time since it's not important for the this time ;).

Friday, 27 June 2008

The Green Jacket

GRD II, f5.6, 1/500, ISO 200, RAW

Took this picture because I liked how her green jacket looked next to the green fence. Had to rush it a bit to catch up with her when I saw it and then wait for the right moment. Cropped it to the 1:1 format since I think it works better that way.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Behind the Yellow Line

GRD II, f2.4, 1/50, ISO 200, RAW

Today, I am back with a street shot from the GRD II after the last days when the focus was more on the GX series or adapter lenses. Took it after work while waiting for the tube. The light was great although I processed the shot slightly to give it a colder feel. After this I am in the mood of starting a Tube series but I have so man other projects and series I want to do that I need a lot more free time to be able to do it all. Also since it's getting warmer and it becomes more and more a nightmare to take the tube due to the heat, I think I will leave the tube series till the winter when it's colder.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Dark Clouds

GX, f14, 1/1000, ISO 64, JPG, 85mm

After reporting on the GX200 yesterday, I though it will be fun of going out with my GX and take some pictures for today. To see how a 4 year old camera performs. Well, it performs exactly like the Sigma DP1 ;). Just joking but it was fun using it and while it is not as fast and responsive as the GRDs or the GX100 you can still see the Ricoh UI at work that makes it so easy to change settings. The jpgs lack the flexibility that you get with the GRD I jpgs or the RAW files from the new Ricoh cameras.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008


Today, Ricoh have announced the new camera in the GX series. It is called GX200 after the GX100, the GX8 and GX. You can find all details and the press release here and the official website with sample images here.

The picture above is not from the GX200 but from the first GX released in 2004. So instead of posting a GRD II picture (although the GX picture is taken with the GRD II :D ), I decided to have a look at the changes made to the original GX now 4 years later. At the same time I have posted below one my favorite pictures from the GX and GX100 respectively.

So let's find out what we gained and what we lost in the 4 years of evolution.

The GX is a 1/1.8" 5MP camera with a 28-85mm lens starting at f2.5 at the wide end and f4.3 and the long end of the zoom, it has a 1,8" LCD screen and a integrated (as in all compact cameras pretty much useless) OVF. It has an ISO range from 64 to 1600, phase detection AF, full manual or A-mode and some scene modes, you can record images in TIFF format and it also takes AA batteries. The accessories offered were a 21mm wideangle lens and the adapter for it. You can read all of the specs here.

Now some of these specs would sound impressive even today, given that most manufacturers do not seem capable of putting a wideangle lens on their compact cameras at all or have no manual controls in them. So what has Ricoh done to improve on this.

Well, they have done quite a lot to be honest as you'll find out. I will skip the GX8 and GX100 since the GX8 is a refinement of the GX and has almost the same specs and the GX100 is very similar to the GX200 although the GX200 has been improved in all areas requested by the users.

The GX200 is a 1/1.7" 12MP camera with a 24-72mm image stabilized lens starting at f2.5 at the wide end and f4.4 at the long end, it has a 2.7" LCD and thankfully got rid of the integrated OVF and replaced it with a more usable external EVF. The ISO range is from 80 to 1600, it has full manual or A/P-modes and the same few scene modes as the GX offered, records RAW in the DNG format with a buffer for 5 shots, has an electronic leveler, auto rotate for images, 1:1 square mode, b&w color filters, three MY settings modes on the dial, two FN buttons, manual white balance adjustment and AAA batteries. The accessories are now up to a 19mm wideangle lens, a 135mm telephoto lens, a cable release and a new automatic lens cap.

So looking at those specs the camera has been improved in all areas but while it gained at the wideangle it lost the 85mm at the long end but you have the new tele adapter now to compensate for it. Unfortunately it also lost the phase detection AF so this could mean a much slower and less precise focus in good light, although to be honest the GX had issues with the focus but this has been addressed in the GX8 and GX100. A bigger issue is that the GX200 has gained the infamous "Smooth Imaging Engine III" that makes the jpgs in the GRD II more or less useless due to too much smoothing. Ricoh really needs to get their act together with their jpg engine, they went from having the best to having the worst jpgs (and I am talking worse than the Venus engine from Panasonic).

Overall, the new GX200 is a very impressive camera indeed and is better than the GRD II in some areas like buffer and flexibility thanks to the zoom. The question is now what will Panasonic come up with to replace the LX-2 and will Canon finally manage to put a decent wideangle lens on the G10 or maybe revive the S series? And what will Sigma do with the DP-2, will then finally put current technology (e.g. LCD and RAW buffer) in their cameras and iron their UI issues out?

GX, f4.3, 4 sec., ISO 64, JPG, 85mm

GX100, f6.2, 4 sec., ISO 80, RAW, 50mm

Monday, 23 June 2008

Fish-eye 3 - The Eye of the Fish

Ok, artistically today's pictures won't win any awards or are even worth discussing. I took a short walk and wanted to show the different field of view of the different lenses and the distortion you might expect from them and finish my report on the adapter lenses.
I already discussed the Raynox QC-303 that provides a 8.4mm field of view. On Saturday, I got the Raynox QC-505 that provides a field of view of 14mm and not 16mm as previously mentioned. The QC-505 is slightly smaller but thicker so you have to manually focus at around 4-5cm or use macro as with the QC-303. Overall the distortion is lower with this lens and you get more usable image with it. However I find it less fun to use since the distortion and huge field of view is what makes the QC-303 so much fun :). Overall there is not much to choose between the two lenses since none is suited for any serious photography where technical quality is important. Both however are a lot of fun to use and are suited to get an interesting look.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

360° Vintage

GRD II, f3.2, 1/160, ISO 200, RAW

I know I wanted to write a short comparison and summary on the Raynox fish-eye lenses but the weather was nice so instead I went for a walk and took some pictures around Greenwich market. This is one of them and the one I liked best. I cropped it to the 1:1 mode since I found it worked better here.
Will write more about the lenses tomorrow instead.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Fish-eye 2 - The Return

GRD II, f4.5, 1/320, ISO 200, RAW, 8.4mm

GRD II, f2.4, 1/40, ISO 200, RAW, 14mm

People are never happy with what they have and always want something else even if they don't need it. Since I am no exception to that I thought I have to try out the Raynox QC-505 adapter, too. So I went today to Tottenham Court Road and after some haggling got the adapter for a good price. While I tried it out shortly last week it was not long enough to really get to know what it can do.
Today I could try it alongside the QC-303 and while the QC-303 gives 8.4mm field of view the QC-505 is closer to 14mm so quite a big difference. On the other side it exhibits a lot less distortion and a more usable picture overall.
I will do a quick comparison tomorrow and show the different field of view plus other things I might find interesting.
For today enjoy these two pictures, one is shot with the 303 and the other with the 505 as you can see from the exif information.

Friday, 20 June 2008

The Pillars of Society

GRD II, f2.8, 1/100, ISO 200, RAW, 40mm

Took this picture while on my way to meet friends at Canary Wharf. Found the scene very nice, unfortunately the light was not great since it was grey and raining. I increased the contrast and have cropped the picture to the 16x9 format.

Thursday, 19 June 2008


GRD II, f4.5, 1/250, ISO 80, RAW, 8.4mm

Now, what can someone buy who has every extra from Ricoh for his GRDs? Simple, one goes and buys a lens to make a Lomo Fish-eye camera out of the Ricoh. You take what is one of the best lenses on a camera and make it to one of the worst, sounds simple enough. Sounds silly to do so but it's a lot of fun actually and I can recommend it to the person who has everything but wants more :D.
After reading on Flickr and in the GetDPI forums about the Raynox QC-505 and QC-303 fish-eye lenses for camcorders I decided to buy the QC-303. The QC-505 gives you an equivalent field of view of 16mm but this was not good enough for me and I wanted more, so I got the QC-303 since goes down to 8.4mm :).
Now the lens is pretty well made and a snap on lens for 37mm threads. One thing I noticed that although it is snap on, for better quality make sure you snap it on and then screw it on a little bit. This fixes it better and the quality improves slightly (as far as this is possible). Once it's on you have to use the macro mode to focus but if you want an instant response just use manual focus and set it to 2-3cm so you focus on the lens. This will give you the snap mode and everything will be in focus.
I hear you say this is all nice but what about the image quality. Well, it is as expected very bad and you have distortion, chromatic aberrations in all the colors of the rainbow, some lens flare and the metering of the GRD does not work properly with the lens on. This is without me getting started on the dark corners and vignetting, although there is hardly any vignetting visible to be honest.
You probably wonder why I would recommend this lens although it goes against the optical quality of the GRDs? The answer is simple, if you always wanted to have a digital Lomo this gets you as close as it gets. Or if you just want to have some fun with it, then it's great and worth the money.

The picture on the top is heavily edited so in order to give you a better overview see the picture below for a straight RAW conversion with all the faults left intact ;). Finally the last picture shows the GRD II with the lens on.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

The One's That Didn't Make It

Today is my 150th post on the blog! :)
Instead of posting yet another picture I decided to take "the day off" and not take any picture. So I will show you some of the pictures that did not make it for the one or other reason. The reason most did not make it was because I had to decide for only one picture per day.
This is a selection of 5 pictures that I really like, so enjoy.

I have added a few more links to fellow bloggers so be sure to check them out as well.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Out Of Use

GRD II, f2.4, 1/20, ISO 200, RAW

One of the hottest themes in the last days in the UK has been the strike by Shell tanker drivers. This caused some chaos since it disrupted the supply to petrol station across the country and caused over 100 petrol stations to close.
While this did not really affected me, since I don't have a car and instead have the pleasure to use one of the worlds worst and most expensive public transport systems, it got me thinking.
We are still so dependent on petrol and although we know it's going to run out soon we still did not manage to develop suitable alternatives. Or did we? The Is there interest to introduce alternatives at the moment or is there enough interest in keeping it the way it is? Would countries like Saudi Arabia be as wealthy as they are now and buy weapons from the US and UK without the demand for oil or would there have been an Iraq war without the prospect for oil? Whatever the answer, for now at least we will continue the way we are since the dispute has been settled. Too much money and too many interests at risk to let this escalate or go on longer, plus where would the government get their petrol tax money from?

Monday, 16 June 2008

Shelter from the Storm

GRD II, f4, 1/200, ISO 200, RAW

Took this picture today after lunch. The weather was a bit funny today and it constantly changed between sunny and rainy all day long. Found the scene quite funny since it was not really raining at that point.
First I wanted to use this picture in b&w but due to the green in the umbrella and leaves behind I think it does work better in color. I cropped it to the 1:1 format and changed the contrast.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Street Art

GRD, f3.5, 1/160, ISO 100, JPG

Today, I decided to go and see the 'Street & Studio' exhibition at the Tate Modern. Before going there I took a walk along the Southbank and took quit a few pictures on the way. Most were with the LC1 but the GRDs were also with me so got a bit of work to do, too. For quick street shots there is nothing better than the GRDs and I know I repeat myself here. The LC1 works great in manual focus mode but the AF is just too slow for some situations.
The exhibition itself was interesting and it was nice to see some classic street shots. I would have preferred it if the theme would be only 'Street' without the 'Studio' since my main interest were the street shots. Studio pictures for me are posed and "fake" so not really interesting. Nothing against studio photography but for me this does not capture the essence of "a moment in time that would be lost otherwise". This for me is photography, capturing a moment that will never return in the same form.

Saturday, 14 June 2008


LC1, f2.4, 1/40, ISO 200, JPG, 90mm

LC1, f2.1, 1/40, ISO 200, JPG, 52mm

Another day with the LC1. This time I got the chance to use it for documentary/reportage pictures. Then again, any street photography is documentary style anyway. While walking around central London I came across this accident and decided to stick around and take some pictures. It was very interesting since people thought I am a reporter. This and the bus driver got annoyed when I took some pictures of him :). Very pleased how the LC1 worked in this situation, the zoom ring is great although the auto focus could be faster and more reliable.
While I still shoot mostly jpg with it the RAW quality is impressive. A quick comparison with an M8 jpg shows that while there is a difference in the pictures it is not a difference to be worth almost 20x more in price.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Friday the 13th - The Writings on the Wall

GRD II, f3.2, 1/160, ISO 200, RAW, 21mm

GRD II, f2.4, 1/100, ISO 200, RAW, 21mm

Today you'll get another two pictures. The pictures fit well together and I like both. Besides it gives today a theme.
Today is Friday the 13th so for me usually a very nice and lucky day. So after finishing early I went for a walk and took some pictures. Went to the Tate modern and Borough market so I had quite a lot of pictures. Only to discover afterwards that my SD card was full so most of the pictures were only in thought but not in on the card ;). Lucky day it is but maybe I need to be more aware of what I am doing :).
Note to myself: "If you go out taking pictures with the screen off, make sure you have enough free space on the SD card." ;)

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Three for a Day

"Looking Back Over My Shoulder"
GRD II, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 80, RAW, 21mm

"Kite Runner"
GRD II, f5, 1/320, ISO 80, RAW, 21mm

"West India"
GRD II, f4.5, 1/100, ISO 80, RAW, 21mm

I had more time to take pictures today. I could not really decide which picture out of the three to take so decided to use all three. At the same time I did not use the 21mm lens in a while so with this I make up for it :). Now, I won't ramble on and bore you (not more than necessary anyway :P ) so instead enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Watching Over St. Paul's

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

Just a quick update and not my best picture but I did not have too much time today. Took it after lunch while the sun came through for a while today. It is my tourist snapshot picture ;).

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Walk the Dog

GRD II, f4, 1/200, ISO 100, RAW

Today it's again a Ricoh GRD picture and for a first a sepia image. I really like Ronald's sepia pictures and always wanted to use sepia in one of my pictures. Somehow I never chose to use sepia since I see a picture more in color or b&w. Anyway, today I decided to try a sepia conversion from RAW instead of going the usual b&w route. It does work for this image since it gives it a more appropriate warmer feel, I think. During the conversion I also tried to preserve a high tonality and not go for my usual high contrast look.

Monday, 9 June 2008

LC1 Day

LC1, f5.6, 1/1600, ISO 100, JPG, 90mm

LC1, f2.8, 1/80, ISO 100, JPG, 90mm

I am going to cheat today and not post any GRD or any Ricoh picture. Instead I will post not one but two LC1 pictures. I used the LC1 exclusively today and tried out various things with it. It works very well although the focus is quite slow, not DP1 slow ;) but not as fast as either GRD. Also the EVF has an additional lag so is not the best tool for composition if capturing the decisive moment is required. The LCD works fine though and there is no shutter lag when using manual focus.
Overall the camera needs a different approach and is not forgiving at all of focus errors and is heavy (for someone who used mostly compacts so far). What is great though is to be able to see all the important settings by just looking at the camera without the need of the EVF or LCD. The manual focus and zoom with the rings around he lens work great and are the best way to have this implemented.
I am having a lot of fun with this camera and will continue using it as often as I can. It won't replace any of my GRDs though ;).

As some might notice, the woman on the 2nd picture wears the same dress and shoes then the one in my 'Street Crossing' picture.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Ladywell Fields

GRD II, f5.6, 8 sec., ISO 80, RAW+JPG

We had great weather today and it being a Sunday I spent it mostly chilling in Regent's Park. Took some shots with the LC1 but this being the Ricoh GR-Diary I will post GRD or GR1 pictures.
This is an example of how the jpg engine in the GRD II ruins completely any long exposure. This is 8 seconds but it only gets worse from here so RAW is the only option. Don't think I need to point out which side is RAW and which JPG ;).
First time I took a long exposure I thought the camera misfocused or I chose the wrong focus since it looked completely blurry and washed out. After re-taking it 4 times I just switched camera and realized it's only the jpgs that look like this.

EDIT: Fixed the compression artifacts and uploaded the original image but can not link to it directly since it's on Picasa and I can only link to a resized version. When you click on it it will prompt you to download it though so you can get the original image to evaluate.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

British Beach Community

GRD II, f2.4, 1/500, ISO 80, RAW

Went to Brighton today and for a change it did not rain. Was a nice day out and I took lots of pictures with the LC1 to get the hang of it. Overall it is great but the focus and speed of operation are not quite there with the GRDs. The images have a whole different feel to them though. Need to use it more to be able to really compare them. So far I really like it and already would not want to miss it for certain pictures.

Friday, 6 June 2008

New Camera in Town

GRD II, f2.4, 1/30, ISO 200, RAW

Finally received my Panasonic LC1 today :D. It managed to fly halfway around the world in 2 days but from customs to the depot, where I even had to pick it up myself as to avoid further delays, it took 5 days! Typical efficiency in this country ;).
Anyway, enough rambling. Now on to the camera and most important the handling.
Wow, what else to say, the camera looks great and feels great. Like the GR cameras you can feel the quality when you hold it. Unlike the GRs it is big and heavy but does not feel 'too big'. It is not a camera for your pocket but the good news is it fits in my bag. with the UMPC and GRD lenses plus other accessories and stuff I carry with me.
The controls are great, everyone who has used a manual film camera will be straight at home and you never really need to go in to the menu. This was the main reason for me to get this camera although I had more than enough cameras already. Still it intrigued me and it does look great plus it has some of the best controls. Why do I say "some of the best controls" and not best although it is like a manual film camera? Simple, I think in a digital camera (where you use the screen) the GRD controls work a bit better although the manual focus is great as is the zoom.
The image quality in jpg (did not test RAW yet) is very good and images have a different look and feel about them. As for overall IQ, the LC1 is very close to the GRD I but has higher DR. It has a 2/3" CCD with 5MP but the overall detail and noise levels so far seem comparable to the GRD I or GX100.
The bounce flash is very nice and I sure hope Ricoh can implement something similar in their next GRD and GX cameras.
Overall I am very happy with the purchase and need to use it more to get a better feel for it. But since I evaluate cameras in the first 5-10 minutes whether they are suited for me I can say that the LC1 passed easily. It is big and heavy so I won't lug it around every day so don't expect a LC1 Diary ;). But when I am out on weekends or trips it will be there alongside my GRDs.

Here one random picture I took today. It is straight out of the camera and unprocessed.

LC1, f2, 1/25, ISO 100, JPG, 90mm

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Borough Market Goes Spanish

GRD II, f2.4, 1/30, ISO 183, RAW, 40mm

GRD II, f3.5, 1/500, ISO 400, RAW

The weather got better and we had a very hot and sunny day today. With the weather my pictures also got better ;). On my way home I stopped by the Tate Modern to take some pictures and then on the way to London Bridge there was a Spanish festival at Borough Market. This was a great opportunity to take pictures and also enjoy some of the free Paella and Sangria they had there.
It was pretty crowded so at first I had the 40mm lens on the camera but switched to 21mm and later to only 28mm for better shots.
Since my recent pictures were not so much to my liking I decided to post 2 pictures from today.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008


GRD II, f2.4, 1/20, ISO 400, RAW

I know, haven't been too inspired lately and my pictures are not my best. Maybe it's the weather or maybe I should take a break from posting one image every day. Then again, I do it for fun and to keep me taking pictures every day so this is ok even if some pictures are far from masterpieces. Did not have much time lately and the weather was not great for taking any interesting pictures. Need to focus more on quality from now on.