Sunday, 31 August 2008

Lonely Guest at Yellow's

GRD, f2.4, 1/400, ISO 200, JPG

My short trip to Germany is over so I am back at the airport. While waiting for the flight to board I've been walking around taking some pictures.
I like the colors and light from this bar at Cologne/Bonn Airport. Since this airport is never really busy there is a quite serene feel about the place, especially in the late afternoon and evening.
While I love flying, I don't like airports and especially wasting time at them. Going through all the security checks is a pain and takes ages without really doing much for security anyway. Most airports are modern, big and bright but also cold and without character. It is always a rush through or a long wait, never really relaxing.
It is great to see old movies where airports resemble a train station where you wait for your flight and then just walk to your plane. I know this is not possible anymore but it's a nice reminder of what once was possible.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

The Scribblings on the Wall

GRD, f5, 1/410, ISO 100, JPG

A post from Hilden in Germany today. Am spending the weekend here so this is why I did not have much time for posting on my blog.
The weather was great and a very nice change from all the grey skies in London. Took this picture while walking around town. I liked how she stood in front of the wall and the colors. However, I do not like stupid scribblings on walls. If people want to spray graffitti on a wall, they should do something more interesting. How about a nice drawing, a social commentary Banksy style or just a interesting or meaningful message written in nice letters? But not just stupid scribblings. This is not art, it is no social commentary and nothing meaningful. It is just vandalism and for this people should be punished harder. This was my social commentary on my blog where I can have my own scribblings on the net ;).

Friday, 29 August 2008

Hello Sunshine

GRD, f4, 1/125, ISO 100, JPG

A quick update today. Thanks for all your comments to yesterdays post, very interesting. Need to respond to the comments.
Now to the picture for today. As mentioned before, walking around London you never know what you'll encounter. I certainly did not think I will see a Laura Croft lookalike and sonic holding hands with a girl in front of St. Paul's when I went out for lunch today. But there they were and made a good picture opportunity and I even chose color since the blue and red of Sonic looked very good with the light.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Ricoh GR Evolution - Wishlist & Thoughts

I received my 2nd and new GRD I camera today :). Now if you followed my blog you will probably know that I planned this for a while but if you ask why I would do this, here's why. I bought it for two reasons, first and foremost because it is the best camera I ever owned and second, the warranty on my old camera ran out so I wanted a spare in case anything goes wrong.

I wrote a lot and posted different comparisons between the GRDs recently so here is my take on the GR line and how I would like to see it continued.

The GR line has always been different, it was all about the handling and usability instead of features. The GR1 is still a highly regarded film camera and people are impressed with the lens and quality of it. The GRD I produces some very unique pictures with a different look and feel, especially in b&w. The GRD II is one of the best compact cameras technically but produces some of the worst JPGs, too. Unfortunately the GR1 is film, the GRD I is discontinued and the GRD II has been overshadowed by the GX200.

With the recent releases of the DP1 with it's large sensor, the LX3 with the fast f2.0 lens and Ricoh's own GX200 that has everything the GRD II has but better and as a bonus you even get a wider lens, zoom and IS, it will be difficult for Ricoh to follow up on their flagship camera.
Having said flagship camera, this can only apply to the GRD I since it is in most aspects superior to the GRD II and GX series.

Now there is a lot of talk about the new micro 4/3" format and some people wonder if Ricoh would use it for the GRD III. While it is interesting I don't see them using it for the GRD III since the GRD philosophy is that of a small fixed lens camera that fits in your pocket and I don't see a m4/3" camera being that small. Maybe m4/3" would be an option for the GX series.
Putting a APS sized sensor in the GRD III like the DP1 has would be nice but make the camera bigger and the lens slower so I don't see this happening either.

What I believe would make Ricoh stand out in the serious compacts segment is something radical and different. It needs to make the GRD again the flagship camera for Ricoh and not the camera trailing behind the GX series. But it also needs to compete with the other manufacturers.

I have two ideas of what Ricoh could do to make sure they get both things done.

First idea is to make two GRD IIIs.
The first would be a GRD IIIb with a very fast lens (f1.0 or f1.2) a small sensor (1/1.8") with 8MP but without the color layer so a pure b&w camera. This would make it the best low light camera around, since the DOF would be much bigger than on any dSLR or RF with a similar lens, the camera would be pocketable and would stand out as being one of two pure b&w digital cameras. Ricoh could add weather sealing to it, would have to use the GRD I engine and add a very fast AF system, plus a better and easy to use MF system.
The second would be a GRD IIIc and offer a slightly slower lens, f2.0 or 2.4 but a slightly larger full color sensor (2/3"). Here again, add a very fast AF system and make it weather and maybe shock proof.

The more realistic ides however is for Ricoh to try and squeeze as big a sensor (1" or 2/3") as they can in a similar sized camera with a similar lens (f2.4 or f2.8 as on the GR1) but to improve the focus speed, change the camera back to shutter priority, add the wheel on the back and make the dial on top of the camera similar to the Epson RD1s so you can also change the ISO with it. If they can now make it a weatherproof and add some gauges to display the remaining pictures but more important act as a light meter and show the exposure it would be perfect.

What are your thoughts on this, what would you like in a new GRD?

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Looking Back Over His Shoulder

GRD, f4, 1/1050, ISO 400, JPG b&w

Took this one after work on my way to London Bridge. Liked how the leaves framed him and when he turned round to see what I was up to I got the picture I wanted. Without him turning around it would have been a bit lifeless but so it works much better. Really like the grain I get when shooting at ISO 400 and overexposing slightly.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008


GRD, f4, 1/850, ISO 400, JPG b&w

Today I finally ordered my 2nd GRD I to have a spare but more for the warranty extension. Since my GRD II has either disappointed or been gathering dust, aside from me taking it out for the comparisons, recently I wanted to make sure I have a GRD I in case something happens with mine.

Took this picture while out for lunch today, just cropped it slightly.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Sparkling Diamonds

GRD, f3.5, 1/640, ISO 400, JPG b&w

We have a bank holiday today so this automatically means that the weather is bad. While it's not raining it is grey and dull. So while taking a walk I came across this and decided to take an abstract picture. Added some vignetting, increased the contrast and sharpened it. Had a color version but while I changed the colors slightly the colors would give away easier what it is.
The noise in ISO 400 pictures from the GRD I is great, especially in black and white and when overexposing the image slightly. Underexposing causes a different noise pattern but a correct exposure or slight overexposure plus some USM gives a very nice grain like noise.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Curious Goose

GRD, f4, 1/750, ISO 200, JPG b&w

Did not have much time for taking pictures today but while walking around Blackheath I took a few pictures of the geese at the pond nearby.
This goes in my animal series with the snail and pigeons :). Wonder if a picture taken of animals but on the street and in black and white would qualify as 'Street Photography' or rather 'Wildlife Photography' or simply as a (boring?) snapshot of a goose ;).

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Color Comparison - Part 2

We finally had a nice day where I had time to go out and get some pictures for the 2nd part of my color comparison.
While I did this yesterday, I found the burning bus more interesting for a post.

All cameras were set to ISO 100, A-priority f5 and f4.8 on the GX100 respectively. I shot JPG only at the highest quality. The JPG settings for the Ricohs were all Contrast -2, Sharpness +1 and Color Depth +1, the LC1 had everything set to normal apart from Contrast to low. While I prefer my images to be quite contrasty, I use a low contrast setting in-camera to preserve highlights.

Lets start with the pictures and I will comment on each:

The GRD I has the correct red in this image but a slight blueish cast in the greens, the LC1 managed to get the most detail in the leaves while the GX100 has the highest noise in the shadows but more details in the phone booth.

You can see the blueish cast the GRD I produces best in this picture. It is easy to get around the problem by just selecting daylight or shade WB but I left it on Auto since I wanted to show this. The blueish cast is probably also the reason why the GRD I produces the best 'Ricoh Blue'.

This is a difficult one, the LC1 produced the warmest colors but they are not really a representation of the real colors. The GRD I produces the overall best image with low noise n the shadows and very good colors. The GRD II has indeed the best colors but also the highest smearing in the leaves. Finally the GX100 has the highest detail and sharpest image but the noise is very visible and it looks like a grey cast over the image, setting the Contrast higher will take care in part of it but will blow highlights easier.

This is interesting in so far as the LC1 i the only camera that got the correct color of the flowers. All Ricoh cameras rendered them with too much blue and the GRD I just turned the purple flowers to blue flowers. This seems to be something with the GRDs as both have more blue in them then the GX100. Ricoh mentioned trying to get the blue color of the sky very accurate in the GRD processing so this could be responsible here.

This is a very interesting picture and the only one shot at ISO 400. I was quite surprised by the result. The LC1 has quite a lot color noise in there, while the GRD II smeared away all the noise and detail and the GX100 shows again the most noise. The GRD I is very good and shows hardly and noise while it preserved most details. The GRDs also preserved the highlights best and you can see some of the sky in there while both the GX100 and LC1 have blown the highlights completely.

This is a normal shot on the street but shows as before that the GX100 has the lowest dynamic range so needs EV -0.3 constantly dialed in (something I did not do on purpose for this test). The GRD I again has the best colors and nicest blue in the sky. The smearing of the GRD II is actually not too bad in this image and it does not stand out much.

I will leave it up to you to evaluate the individual images but it is the same as before. The GRD I offers best overall image, the LC1 has metered it differently but has a high dynamic range but some splotchy noise in the shadows, the GRD II has the worst smearing and least detail, the GX100 offers the sharpest and most detailed image but at the cost of high noise in the shadows although it is mostly luminance noise.

The conclusion is more difficult this time. Overall the big surprise was the GX100 that managed to have very sharp and detailed pictures but suffers from high noise and low dynamic range. The GRD I while it produces occasionally a blueish cast had in almost all pictures the most true to life colors. Not surprisingly the LC1 had the highest dynamic range and most details when it comes to leaves but has quite a lot of color noise in the shadows. The GRD II is as expected very capable but only when used in RAW since the JPGs are overall very disappointing and did not stand out at all other than due to the smearing of details.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Bus No. 56

I have another series for today that I just happened to come across after work. This was not what I planned to post today but it is a lot more interesting.
Sometimes just taking a walk instead of the Tube or bus is a lot more rewarding. You never know what you come across (remember my Fire in the Hood and the Stranded posts). This reminds me of a quote from Sin City: "Walk down the right back alley in Sin City and you can find everything". It certainly is true that by walking around and keeping your eyes open you can find a lot of very interesting things. These don't have to be burning cars or accidents but a nice and calm moment that would be lost in time otherwise like this. The important thing is to slow down and look around you. And yes, having a camera ready to record it is even better ;).

All pictures are taken with the Panasonic LC1 and this although I also had both GRDs and the GX100 with me but the extra zoom of the LC1 worked better here, especially since I could not get too close and did not have the 40mm lens for the GRDs. I cropped all to the 16:9 format to give them a cinema flair although this time I did not compose them for this format but they still work.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Peter at the Rider Court

GRD, f5.6, 1/500, ISO 200, JPG b&w, 40mm

The sun came out again today for a big part of the day. It was about time after all the bad weather, just hope it will stay like this. Although the weather was nice I did not have much tme for taking pictures so took only a single picture.
Saw this guy while sitting outside for lunch. Walked past and took the picture after I finished. Really liked his looks and that he was leaning against the street sign. Cropped it to 16:9 and changed the contrast slightly.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Running on Water

GRD, f5, 1/570, ISO 400, JPG b&w, 40mm

Unlike yesterday I had more time to take pictures and thus more pictures to choose from today. After I took this picture I kind of knew that I want to use it as my picture for the day but at the same time wanted to make a change from posting street pictures. In the end though it is the best picture I took today and I like it. I cropped it, sharpened it slightly more and adjusted the contrast to have it slightly lower in this case.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

VP 31B

GRD, f2.4, 1/100, ISO 100, JPG, 40mm

A quick update today and a color picture from the GRD I. Took it after lunch today with the 40mm lens that I started using more for this week. It's nice to be able to get a different field of view and have a change sometimes.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Mobile Fascination

GRD, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 400, JPG b&w, 40mm

Haven't used my 40mm lens in a while and decide to take it out and use it for this week. Been out for a bit today in between the rain and took some pictures. As you might notice, I chose again the GRD I over the GRD II. Cropped the picture to the 1:1 format and sharpened it a bit.

Sunday, 17 August 2008


GRD, f9, 1/1600, ISO 400, JPG b&w

It has been a quiet Sunday for me today. So I only have a few pictures that I took while out for a walk. For some reason I am quite fascinated by dandelions and think they make a very good subject for macro shots. I know, you'll probably think why am I bothering with flower macros today when it was only yesterday that I pointed out how boring they are. Well, I tried to make it more interesting and my Pusteblume picture is my most successful picture on JPG Mag so this is kind of a tribute to my own work ;).
I also really like the grain in the ISO 400 images from the GRD I, which is why I use it even when it's bright enough and I could use ISO 64.

Saturday, 16 August 2008


LC1, f2.4, 1/1000, ISO 100, RAW, 90mm

Been out for a walk around Greenwich park today and decided to try out the close-up lens for the LC1. It is nice but does not come close to the great macro capabilities of the Ricohs and the focus is more a hit and miss and very slow. I got a few quite nice pictures nonetheless. Yes, they are boring flower macros and this is why I won't post them here. Instead I post a picture of a typical British sport that I don't understand at all. England invented it and won all matches till other countries figured it out. Yes, I am taking about Cricket ;).
Cropped the picture to the 16:9 format since I composed the picture with this format in mind.

Friday, 15 August 2008

In The Spotlight

GRD II, f2.4, 1/40, ISO 1600, RAW

Been to a concert after work today. While I don't remember the names of the bands it was quite fun. It was a small venue and this meant that I could get close to the stage and take pictures of the bands. I did not have my GRD I with me so had to use the GRD II.
One thing is sure, for concert photography you need a very fast lens and high ISO, something the GRDs are very good at. Most people say the high ISO on the GRD II is improved, I think it is the exact opposite and the GRD I performs much better. It is also easier to remove the noise, something very difficult on the GRD II. Overall the pictures came out ok aside from the jpgs being horrible to look at. This is my favorite picture from the evening. I changed the contrast and colors with the curves tool and removed some color noise.

For the GRD III my wish would be to put a faster lens on it, a f1 would be great. Or hopefully Panasonic or Olympus will bring out a small micro 4/3 camera like the Leica/Minolta CL that takes Leica M-mount lenses.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

The Three Pigeons

GRD II, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 200, RAW

Used the GRD II again today but regretted not having the GRD I instead. Using it at high ISO in good light did not produce the images I wanted or expected, especially not after getting used to the GRD I. The noise is more fine grained on the GRD II but impossible to remove or sharpen well enough to look like the nice grain you get on the GRD I.

Liked the texture in this picture and the way the shadows are. Not a big fan of the 'flying rats' you can find in most of London but the work well as a subject here.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

The Sign

GRD II, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 200, RAW

After the last weeks with my GRD I, I decided to take the GRD II with me today. I did not have too much time for picture taking so took only this one.
Writing this from the train on my UMPC so will keep it shorter today. Having a UMPC and a 3G phone you can use as a modem is great, especially for bloggers.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

London Fashion

GRD, f6.3, 1/500, ISO 400, JPG b&w

I haven't been to Notting Hill in years now but went today to get tickets for the cinema so used the opportunity to snap some pictures on the way. Did not have too much time so did not take too many pictures. This is the best one of them, I made no changes other than sharpening it some more. I really like ISO 400 on the GRD I when used in b&w mode (but even color can be very nice) so I use it quite often, even in bright daylight.

Monday, 11 August 2008


GRD, f5, 1/500, ISO 400, JPG b&w

Took this picture while out for a walk during lunch today. Liked the scene with the kids climbing on the Millennium bridge. Cropped it to 16:9 to get more impact from it.

Before I took this picture I ran across a Korean Girl with a Ricoh GRD I and 21mm extension lens mounted on it. I looked at her and smiled and she smiled at me once she saw my GRD. This always happens if you come across people with GRDs and sometimes GX cameras and is the advantage of using a niche camera :).

Sunday, 10 August 2008

The End of the Rainbow

LC1, f5.6, 1/40, ISO 100, RAW, 50mm

Again a mostly gray and rainy day. But the nice thing of a rainy day is when the sun comes out after the rain. The light, air and smell are great and with some luck you can catch a rainbow. Where is the end of the rainbow and what lies at the end of it? What lies at the beginning and where does it start? These are questions you ask yourself when you're young and that you still don't have any answers when you're older.
I used the LC1 today due to the zoom and higher dynamic range it has when compared with the Ricohs.

Saturday, 9 August 2008


GX100, f3.5, 1/10, ISO 400, RAW, 50mm

After using the GRD I for the last week I wanted a change today so decided to use the GX100. It is a great camera as I mentioned before and produces better jpgs than the GRD II but is not as good as the GRD I.
The weather was really bad today and it rained almost the whole day so I decided to go to the British museum and take some pictures there. I took a few but liked this most, it is abstract and the colors and details came out very well. The image stabilizer worked very well here although I find that the GRDs without are actually better due to the faster lens so you can use the same shutter speed.

Friday, 8 August 2008


GRD, f4, 1/70, ISO 100, JPG b&w

When I saw him staring like that I took the GRD, pointed it towards him and took the shot while walking past. This is why the picture has some slight motion blur but I still like the expression and decided to use it as my pic for the day.
Cropped it to 1:1 and added some noise as this works better overall. I chose the title on purpose to be 'Untitled' although 'Grumpy' or 'Starring' would have fitted better.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

It's A Rainy Day

GRD, f3.5, 1/810, ISO 200, JPG b&w, 21mm

Took this shot in front of St. Paul's while out for lunch, it was raining at that time but a few minutes later the sun came out. The weather can't really make it's mind up recently. I always use the hood with one of the lenses now when taking pictures out in the rain. This goes a while back to me almost killing my GRD I when the lens barrel got wet in the rain and retracted, afterwards the camera started acting up. Lucky for me it fixed itself and works fine now. So one of my wishes for the GRD III would be to make it completely weather proof.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

A Kiss in the Park

GRD, f4, 1/270, ISO 100, JPG

Took this picture on my way home while taking a stroll through Greenwich and Greenwich Park. The original picture was in color and missfocused so I changed it to b&w, added noise and boosted the contrast as much as possible. The result is much better now and more as I saw the picture in my mind after reviewing it on the camera.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Going Up or Down?

GRD, f4, 1/52, ISO 400, JPG b&w

Sometimes you can see a picture in your mind and have to take it or you won't get rid of it. Today it was this picture that I wanted to take, can't explain why exactly this or why today but there you go. So I went to Canary Wharf after work to take it. It came out as I had in mind and I am quite pleased with it, I just cropped it slightly. The funny thing is that it has been exactly one week since I posted my other Canary Wharf architecture shot.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Color Comparison - Part 1

Today it's another pure comparison post without picture for the day. The last b&w comparison is the most popular post on my blog so I thought a follow up would be a good idea.

This time I wanted to compare the GRD I, GRD II, GX and GX100 JPGs when it comes to color images. Unfortunately the weather was still not very nice and it even rained during my testing so I had to keep it short and will have to do a more thorough comparison soon.
All cameras were used at f4 (both GRDs), f4.3 (GX100) or f4.7 (GX) respectively and at ISO 100 in A mode again. The jpg settings were on both GRDs set to 'Contrast -2, Sharpness +1 and Color Depth +1', the GX100 'Contrast -2, Sharpness +1 and Color Depth +2' and the GX was left to standard since it does not offer these options. I use the cameras this way so this is why I do not set the parameters to normal since it would not be a real life test for me. The metering and focus on the GX are not working properly so I had to use infinity or macro focus instead of spot, also the camera underexposed most shots so I had to meter the scenes differently. Due to this I will use the LC1 next time for 'Part 2' and also to give and impression of what a larger sensor with less MP brings.

Anyway, enough talking, now to the actual pictures.

Ok, I will leave my final verdict till the next time but will say this for now:

- The GX100 has the lowest dynamic range when it comes to JPGs, although the GX is also struggling with it.
- The GRD I has the most natural colors and is the only camera to get the correct color for the purple flowers in the first picture or the red stop sign.
- The GRD II has as expected the highest dynamic range and shows almost no chromatic aberrations.

This is it for today, weather permitting I will have the 2nd part up on Sunday. The 3rd part will feature a low light comparison between these cameras (the GX might be substituted for the LC1).

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Life at Snail's Pace

GRD, f4, 1/17, ISO 400, JPG b&w

I planned on uploading a color comparison between the GRD I, GRD II, GX and GX100 today but the weather had other plans. I has been gray and raining almost all day so there was no chance of taking any decent color pictures to show any difference. This comparison will have to wait till tomorrow if the weather permits.
The rain stopped in the evening so I went out for a walk but it was too dark to take pictures (as you can see from the exif information for this picture) so I only took a few to have some choice for today's blog pic. I cropped it to the 1:1 format but did not process it further.

Saturday, 2 August 2008


GRD, f4, 1/380, ISO 100, JPG b&w

Did not have too much time for taking pictures today, unlike most Saturdays, so I had to choose one out of three pictures. I liked this one and especially the look of the guy when I took the picture.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Clan T3

GRD, f4, 1/79, ISO 100, JPG b&w

Did not have time to take too many pictures today so this is one of the two pictures I took. I really liked the scene when I saw it and when he turned around I knew this is the picture. The title is taken from the picture and you can find this in there. Maybe not very innovative but better than 'Untitled' and it is different after all ;).
Really love the GRD I, glad to have it back from Ricoh. Thinking of trying to buy another new one just to have a spare in case anything happens with mine, the warranty will expire in a few days now.