Friday, 29 February 2008

No. 1 London Bridge

GRD, f2.4, 1/40, ISO 400, RAW

This is another shot of a building in London but I think it's good to post some more pictures like this or street photos from London. Like this more people living in other places can experience London and London life. Don't worry, I won't start posting only pictures of buildings from now on but will try to get a few here and there.
Took this picture as I liked the light and especially the "Ricoh blue" that you sometimes get when using Auto WB and longer exposures. It looks a bit surreal but definitely nicer than the grey sky we had today. Could've fixed the WB to have it look more "real" but this just looks better and the colors are nicer.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

The Call

GRD, f3.5, 1/160, ISO 64, RAW

Took this picture while out for a walk during lunch, realy liked how the shadows looked and the texture of the pavement. I cropped it and played around a bit with the contrast to get it to look more 3 dimensional.
First I wanted to use a grainy "tourist" shot of the Tower Bridge but decided against it when I got there. I already had this shot and a few other nice ones so it was not necessary but maybe another day. Edited it on the UMPC while waiting for the movie to start at the cinema, am always glad to be able to do this everywhere to pass the time. The more I use the UMPC to edit pictures the more I realize that London needs more free Wifi hotspots or I need to finaly get HSDPA for it.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

DVD Collection

GRD, f7.1, 2sec, ISO 64, RAW, 40mm

After all the street pictures recently I wanted to do something different again so I decided to show off a little part of my DVD collection :). Did not do a lot of post processing other than to add noise, something I've been doing a lot recently as I like the effect.
While I've seen a similar picture somewhere this is not an attempt to copy it but more to do what I wanted to try for a while.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008


GRD, f4, 1/6, ISO 800, RAW

Took this picture after the cinema today, went to see "My Blueberry Nights" and really liked the cinematography as with all WKW movies. This shot was taken on the way out and I tried to process it a bit like the movie, while it's not really as good I still like it and will do fine for today.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Sitting on the Bench by the Church

GRD, f5, 1/250, ISO 200, RAW, 40mm

Took this as my only picture today on my way to get lunch and I realy liked it so decided to keep it as my picture for the day.
I will follow up on another theme from my visit to the Focus show yesterday. First is that a lot of people are impressed by the Ricoh GRD and they do stand out in the crowd, especially with the OVF and 40mm lens attached. Second I do believe that Samsung and most UMPC manufacturers are completely miss-marketing the devices.
Everytime I take the Q1U out people are impressed and want to know more about it. I think I've sold more people on the Q1U or the idea of UMPC recently than Samsung has done with their marketing. As mentioned before especially for photographers these devices are perfect as they can replace a picture viewer and a notebook in most circumstances. I can't imagine why the manufacturers try to market these devices for business applications to replace a BlackBerry or notebook. UMPCs are not as small as a BB and not as productive as a notebook for business people. But UMPCs are great for photographers to store images, edit images and upload images on the go. UMPCs are also very good for travel as a mediaplayer and checking emails. Why no manufacturers markets the devices like this but always try to go for the business route I'll never understand.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Focus on Imaging 2008

GRD, f2.4, 1/30, ISO 200, RAW, 40mm

Today I went to Birmingham to the Focus on Imaging 2008 show mainly for two reasons. First in the hope to see Ricoh there, have a chat and maybe try out the new R8. Second to try out the long awaited and often delayed Sigma DP-1.
The first reason did not work as Ricoh was not present but this meant I could spend more time at the Sigma booth and getting large format prints from the GRD done.

Now let's start with the report. Although it took place in 2 halls there were not that many camera manufacturers there and the ones who've been there did not show off too many exciting cameras. What was nice though is to see all the companies providing largeprints and print products. This allowed me to get a few large prints from the Ricoh GRD and they came out very nice considering the size. The colors are great, no visible noise but slightly soft when looking close. I guess with more PP you can get better results though.
On the way to the Sigma stand I had the chance to test the GRD and 40mm lens with studio lighting and take a few pictures of a model. I am very impressed with the quality and details the GRD captured, the colors are great as always from Ricoh cameras.

Now once at the Sigma stand was where the real fun began. The long awaited DP-1 finally there to see and handle.
Even before holding it it strikes you as to how big and chunky the camera looks, it is pretty long (like the old Ricoh GX/GX8) but with the portruding lens it's wider although it has the same height as the GRD. Once you hold it you'll realize three things, first that if feels kinda plasticky and not very solid, second thing is that it is lighter than it looks and the third thing is that there is no grip so is a bit like the "soap-box" cameras. Both GRDs have a much better build, grip and are a lot smaller.
Now when turning the camera on you're either relieved or disapointed as it makes no audible noise like the gool ol' GRD ;) . The lens extracts smoothly to it's indended position, this is not very fast and more in line with the Ricoh GX (original GX and not GX100) so both the GRD I and GRD II are slightly faster. This is the time I realized the biggest flaw of the DP-1 and this is the LCD. It is not very bright, has a low resolution, low viewing angles and washed out colors. Still, it's not that much worse than the GRD I screen and I could live with that. However the refresh rate is reallywhat kills it. It is slow and creates ghosting everytime something moves or you move the camera. You can forget using it for action shots or panning with it. This is a big disapointment and should not be like this on a camera this expensive, I can forgive the cheap build quality but not this. The GRD II screen is miles ahead in brightness, resolution, refreshrate and the colors are more accurate.
Now let's move to one of the most important things for me, the controls and operation. It was always clear that the DP-1 won't come close to the great (and IMO perfect) Ricoh controls so let's see what works well and what not. The best thing on the DP-1 is without doubt the focus wheel, great feature and very fast to use. Now you have to use it quite often as the AF is quite slow although nowhere near the useless AF found on Nikon Coolpix cameras. Unfortunatelly the rest is also not really convincing.
The mode dial works like any mode dial but is IMO too big and not positioned well, still this is not a big deal. The zoom buttons only zoom in playback mode and can't be assigned any other function. This is not very good and Sigma should fix this with a firmware update and allow them to be used, like on the GRD, for EV compensation or assigned other settings (like the Ricoh Adj. menu). The AE lock button works and does exactly what it says it does.
Now the EV button changes either the EV compensation or in Manual mode between shutter and aperture selection. One weird thing is that in Manual mode the camera always displayed EV -3 on the display, think this is a bug within the beta firmware. The left and right arrows change the selected shutter speed or aperture but it is not very fast or convenient. The buttons are in general too small and as the symbols on them are black it's not easy to see what they are used for so it needs getting used to. Overall I am not impressed with the controls and why not the worst I've seen not good either.
The menu is ok and easy to navigate but the response is slow and you always have the live preview as background so it can make certain things difficult to see depending on what you have in front of the camera. I very much prefer the Ricoh GRD II menu over this and even the GRD I menu is better although some things are more cryptic in the Ricoh menu. Maybe I just prefer the Ricoh menu because it allows you to customize the camera so much that you don't have to go in there afterwards. Overall the DP-1 feels a bit slow and you always have to wait for the camera unlike the very responsive GRD II or still fast GRD I.
RAW write times are around 4-5sec and it has no buffer so you have to wait for the camera to finish writing. While it's almost 10sec faster than the GRD I it is slower than the GRD II as it does not have the 2nd shot buffer.
Now a quick look at the external OVF compared to the GV-1 and GV-2 from Ricoh. The Sigma OVF is tiny and feels cheap and flimsy as it'splastic, it's dark and the framelines are very hard to see. The GV-1 is so much bettter that Laurence from the Sigma stand grabbed my GRDand tried to use it on the DP-1. It does not work however as it's too big and comes against the mode dial, the Ricoh GV-2 should work finehowever. The Sigma OVF is very small and won't take much space but that's about it.
Now I am pretty disappointed from what I've seen. Sure, the IQ should be superior but I am not sure this is enough to make it worth the asking price. Overal the DP-1 in the current state is too slow in operation and too big to always have with you. Reminds me of the Fuji F30, a great sensor in a so-so camera. But not everything is lost and Sigma can improve on this so I hope the DP-2 will be out faster than the DP-1 and adresses some of the issues with the speed, LCD and controls.

As a side note while having the GRD on the counter some people were clearly more impressed by it than the DP-1.

Saturday, 23 February 2008


GRD, f5, 1/400, ISO 100, RAW, 40mm

This is a common sight all around London. Took today while out in town with the 40mm lens. Edited and posted again with the UMPC but I need to swap the battery so will keep the writing short.
I really like to use the adapter lenses and the quality of both is great. Makes the GRD a lot more versatile.

Taking Pictures

GRD, f2.4, 1/80, ISO 800, RAW

Yes, I am late again with uploading todays (yesterdays) picture. I think I need to get myself HSDPA to be able to upload it from a pub.
Maybe not that exciting but it is amazing how many people take pictures mainly/only with their mobile phones. I see it every day, people standing in front of St. Paul's or any other sights in London and taking pictures with their mobile phones. This either means that mobile phones have become very good or that most people's expectations are not very high when it comes to taking pictures. Guess what I believe to be the case ;).

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Keeping London clean

GRD, f4.5, 1/125, ISO 400, RAW

Yes, it's another street shot today but I like to get back into it and will probably post more over the next days. Thook this while on my way to a client meeting and it's one of only 2 pictures that I managed to take today, so not much choice what to post.
Still, I like the picture especially after bosting the contrast and adding noise to it. This guy clearly has a presence and stands out from the crowd. While I see them every day in London cleaning the streets I, like most people, never paid much attention but when I saw this guy it occured to me that these guys make more of a visible difference in London than most politicians. London is not the cleanest city but I wonder how it would look like if these guys would not show up for work.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The One

GRD, f4.5, 1/400, ISO 200, RAW

Ok, some more street photography today but better than yesterday and with selective coloring. The weather was pretty bad for taking pictures as it was gray and hazy. The light was pretty flat and so did the pictures look. This came out nice though and I like that this guy was the only one with some color on the Millenium Bridge. I could've left the picture in full color without adding a lot of other colors to it.

As a sidenote, I can only recommend that anyone interested in photography gets a UMPC. I edited and uploaded this picture fully from my Samsung Q1 Ultra while having a coffee. Great for surfing, storing and editing pictures or just taking along every day. Now if Samsung would make it slightly smaller, let's say 4.5" and capable of doubling as a phone I'd buy it straight away. The iPhone is useless to me but this would be perfect.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

"What can I do for you?"

GRD, f2.4, 1/40, ISO 400, JPG b&w

When I started this blog I thought it will be easy to take a picture every day. While it is easy to take A picture every day it is not as easy to take a good picture every day. Did not have much time today but wanted to try some street photography, just to miss a great shot because I did not have my camera out. So this is the best I got for today, sraight out of the camera with minimal cropping.

Monday, 18 February 2008


GRD, f4.5, 1/6, ISO 64, RAW

We had a very cold morning today but since it was clear the light was great to take pictures. When I saw this light on my way to work I had to stop and take a picture. This is my first picture I took today and I really like the colors. I could've made the sky a bit more red to have it exactly as it was but I like the blue in there. While it's one of those "sunrise/sunset" images that always look good it was worth being a bit late at work to take this shot. Guess it has advantages (sometimes) to start early and freeze a bit in the morning.
When I got out of the cinema this evening there was thick fog everywhere. I took some nice shots around Canary Wharf and was close to post one of them but decided to have some color on my blog instead. Will post the other images on my other sites tomorrow though.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Together Into The Sunset

GRD, f5.6, 1/1250, ISO 200, RAW, 21mm

Tooks this picture while out for a walk today. Realy like how it came out even with the lensflare.
When I saw the scene it reminded me of a Western for some reason. First I thought of converting it to b&w but it does not work quite as well.

Comfort Matters

GRD, f2.4, 1/10, ISO 1600, RAW

Came across this window decoration today while out shopping for a bag. Comfort really matters in every situation ;). This is either a very strange way to depict a pillow fight or an employee has a sense of humor. It definitely attracted a lot of attention although it was mainly guys looking bemused at it.
Shame the light was turned off and I had the reflection in the window but it still came out nice at ISO1600.

Friday, 15 February 2008


GRD, f3.2, 1/3, ISO 64, RAW

Yes, it is another macro but while it might seem lazy at first sight I actually spend quite some time preparing and taking the shot.
At first sight it looks unimpressive, upside down and not very bright. So let me explain it a bit more and my thoughts behind this. This is the view through the film and the lens of a Yashica Electro 35 camera, that I also used for the "Through the Looking Glass" picture. I used a developed slide film from my Ricoh GR1 as it just looks better than a negative and placed it in the way the camera would see the scene. By using the Bulb setting and the lens wide open at f1.7 on the Yashica with a light in front it gives a feel of how a camera or film would "see" a scene.
While it might not look like much I am realy pleased with the result and like this picture.

Another non blog related thing is that I won the January 2008 Ricoh Forum competition! :)

This is the picture I used and the theme was "Celebrations" (for a bigger version check the forum or my other sites).

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Valentine's Day

GRD, f2.4, 1/8, ISO 400, RAW

Yeah, I know. It's Valentine's Day and I upload a cheesy rose picture but this is one day when it is ok. ;)
Since I wanted to upload the b&w image originally but also liked the color version, I decided to do a composition of the 4 images so that I only upload one picture. I added noise to the b&w and sepia images but removed color noise on the other to to smoothen them a bit. I like how it came out and even the negative filter in woks quite well here.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Phone Booth

GRD, f2.4, 1/2, ISO 200, RAW

Did not have too much time to take photos today but I always wanted to take a photo in a phone booth. Although this did not come out exactly as I wanted so I will have to retry it at a later stage.
Did some selective coloring and added noise to the image, I like the result but it's not quite as I wanted it. Something is missing but I can't put my finger on at the moment. So stay tuned for the next version and feel free to leave comments or suggestions for it.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

At the Beach

GRD, f5, 1/400, ISO 64, RAW

Yes, it's surprising but London does have a "beach" ;) . After the recent b&w pictures here's a color one, slightly cropped since I changed my mind about the composition.
We had a very nice day but the morning was really great for taking pictures. It was quite foggy and I've seen a lot of great photo opportunities on my way to work, unfortunatelly I was late so could not take any pictures.

Ray of Light

GRD, f5.6, 1/111, ISO 64, JPG b&w

I am a bit late with uploading the picture but I took it after work today (yesterday). I rotated it and croped it slightly.
Yes, it is taken at St. Paul's again but since it's near where I work it might serve as a backdrop for more pictures.

Sunday, 10 February 2008


GRD, f3.5, 1/203, ISO 64, RAW, 40mm

Today I went to the Chinese New Year celebrations in London and had everything prepared to take some nice pictures. Well everything except a fully charged or my spare battery so I had to keep it down with the pictures. I used again the 40mm lens and while it was nice I think I have to stick with the 28mm or 21mm as it feel I'm too close with the 40mm lens. I like to be closer to people when I take a picture and the 40mm lens just does not allow for that. It's great to have the choice though.
So this is my favorite picture from today where I think the 40mm lens worked well although I had to slightly crop it.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

The Eye

GRD, f5, 1/400, ISO 64, RAW, 40mm

Took this picture today with the 40mm lens. It was a very warm and sunny day here in London. I experimented a bit more with the 40mm lens and like it although I am so used to the 28mm lens that I have to step back sometimes. Will have to see how much I end up using it but it is a nice piece of glass.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Under The Bridge

GRD, f5, 1/500, ISO 64, RAW, 40mm

I got my 40mm lens today and had planned to post a portrait photo with it or even a comparisson between the 21mm, 28mm and 40mm lenses. I did take a portrait shot and was about to take it with the other lenses but decided against it for now. I will post it but on Flickr and not on my blog. The quality of the lens is very good and while it does have some issues with flare it does not occur very often and only when the light strikes the lens at a certan angle. It is easy to avoid so not really an issue.
Anyway, this shot is taken under the Milenium Bridge on a very nice and warm day in London with my new 40mm lens but it has the right side cropped to make for a better composition.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Gong Xi Fa Cai! - Gung Hei Fat Choi! - Happy New Year!

GRD, f2.4, 1/10, ISO 400, RAW

Today is Chinese New Year so "Gong Xi Fa Cai" to everyone! This is the year of the rat.
Although the big celebrations in London take place this Sunday today is the day to celebrate so I went to Chinatown to take this picture.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Why Macro?!?

GRD, f2.4, 1/5, ISO 64, RAW

Yes, I know what you might think. "What does every photographer do when he runs out of ideas or inspiration? - He goes ahead and takes (flower) macros."
I admit I was a bit lazy and not very inspired today plus I also recycled my GR1 again for a shot. But then the Ricoh cameras are great for macros and the Ricoh Forum contest theme for this month is "Macro". Not one of my best macros or pictures for that matter but that's it for today.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

The Tate

GRD, f5, 1/400, ISO 64, JPG

Took this today and liked the rays of light between the clouds. Waited there for a while till the light was right. Took this in color but the b&w version works better and I also added some noise.

Monday, 4 February 2008

The Doorway

GRD, f4.5, 1/25, ISO 64, RAW, 21mm

Although I did not want to upload images from the same place twice I like this shot and think it's best for today. It is difficult not to be in the same places on most days if you work and go home after so I guess I will have to break that rule.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

The Protest

GRD, f3.2, 1/160, ISO 64, JPG, 21mm

Took this picture while on my way to Regent's Park in front of the Chinese Embassy.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Spring Again

GRD, f5, 1/40, ISO 64, RAW, 21mm

Took this while out for a walk today since the weather was very nice. I came by this small garden in the Ladywell park and really liked the colors. I wandered around and took a few other shots but like this first shot best.

Friday, 1 February 2008

The Coliseum

GRD, f2.4, 1/13, ISO 400, RAW, 21mm

Today I have my tourist shot of the Coliseum in London. Although I lived here for a few years now I never really took any pictures of it. The 21mm lens makes is very easy to get a good shot from just the other side of the street.