Thursday, 31 July 2008

The Dark Tower

GRD, f4, 1/1410, ISO 200, JPG sepia

Another sepia and architecture picture, sepia works sometimes better to give the image a different feel than black and white could. The sepia mode out of the GRD I is great and better than what other cameras offer.
This church tower somehow reminds me on one of the covers I've seen used for Stephen King's The Dark Tower books. It was also on my way home and the strange weather today made this the best picture although the clouds were not dramatic enough.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008


GRD, f4, 1/23, ISO 800, JPG b&w

If you want to control what London thinks get control of the Metro and Evening Standard, both are from the same publisher and both contain the same rubbish inside. If one would believe the headlines or "articles" in there one could not leave the house and even there it would be very dangerous ;). One thing that the papers do well enough is keep one entertained with the trash inside when the train or tube are late, yet again.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

All About the Lines

GRD, f4, 1/35, ISO 200, JPG, 21mm

Back to my one picture a day after the recent comparison. This time it's a color picture with the GRD I and for me rare architecture shot. Something that could also work well in b&w but I still decided to leave it in color. I liked the lines and the light.
Funny thing is that after I took the picture I noticed other people taking similar pictures :).

Monday, 28 July 2008


GRD, f5, 1/1000, ISO 64, JPG b&w

After the post today I will post again a picture for the day but also as mentioned in yesterday's post the new RAW conversions.
Took this picture today after work with the GRD I, it is unprocessed and straight out of the camera.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Black and White Comparison

After mentioning it quite often on my blog and in forums, I thought it time to really see how the GRDs compare for black and white images. There is a lot of talk about the special quality of the GRD I when used in b&w mode, some even bought the camera only to use it in b&w. While I believe the b&w jpgs the GRD I produces are the best and was disappointed by the poor jpgs the GRD II produces, I think it is time to do a test and see how good they really are. Can I get the same quality out of the GRD II when using RAW and what about the LC1 jpgs?
Since it was Sunday and the weather nice, I decided to go out and find out. I set all cameras to A-mode and f5.6 at ISO 100 with EV -0.3. The GRD I and II jpgs were processed in camera with Contrast +2 and sharpness +1 since this is how I use it. The GRD II jpgs are foe me unusable so I ignore them completely but decided to post them anyway. To make the test more interesting I use the LC1 in-camera jpgs that are created with the RAW files but are higher compressed then the best quality jpgs. I tried whenever possible to get exact the same scene (this is why I haven't used any of the street shots I took at Greenwich market) and used the same focus options. This is not a test of the pure quality of the cameras so I won't pixel peep and look at 100% crops but more at full size images or larger crops.
A few interesting things I noticed that have nothing to do with this test:

- The GRD I seems least sensitive and constantly chose the slowest shutter speed,
- The GRD II underexposed a few shots without any apparent reason,
- The LC1 seems most sensitive and chose the fastest shutter speed,
- The lens of the GRD II seems to capture slightly more then the GRD I or LC1 at 28mm.

I hear you say, all nice and well but what about the pictures? Here are the pictures, all except the GRD II RAWs unprocessed and out of the camera jpgs.

My conclusion for now is that:

1. I still prefer the GRD I jpgs and can always point them out straight away.
2. I messed up the RAW conversions and instead of going for the GRD I look I went for higher tonality so will re-do this and re post the images.
3. The GRD II RAW files have the highest dynamic range together with the LC1, that is still a bit better.

So this said and done I will re-do the RAW tests tomorrow and work more for the GRD I look. If you want to have a go at the files yourself and compare the output yourself download the files here.

Saturday, 26 July 2008


GRD, f5, 1/90, ISO 64, JPG b&w, 21mm

It was a quiet and relaxed day without many pictures today. Quite unusual for a Saturday but nice to do. I only took this picture while walking around Blackheath. Unfortunately I forgot to swap the GRD I back to ISO 400 so the dog ended blurry. Since I want to always post the first picture, I had to use it. Overall I started to like this picture more the longer I looked at it and had an idea how to process it.
I cropped it to the 16:9 format to make it reflect the movie format better, added noise and some vignetting on the edges. I then sharpened the picture using unsharp mask and changed the contrast using the curves tool. Overall I really like this picture now for some reason although it would've been better with some dark clouds above.

Friday, 25 July 2008


GRD, f5, 1/640, ISO 64, JPG, 8.4mm

I finally got my GRD I back from Ricoh after they changed the lens assembly. Really missed the camera. It does feel different using it.
Using the GRD I for the first time with the fish-eye lens showed that although it has the better noise and colors to emulate a Lomo it does not remember the manual focus when turned off and the metering is more affected than on the GRD II.

I liked this scene due to the curves on the road, the car and the lens. I added some noise and increased the contrast even more than I did in-camera. Now it looks more like I had in mind when taking it. While I usually keep the jpgs from the GRD I as they are out of the camera the fish-eye lens pictures work better with some post processing.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

My Own Small World

GRD II, f5.6, 1/400, ISO 80, RAW

I really liked this scene when I saw it and could not resist taking a picture of it.

Today, Ricoh released the new firmware update for the GRD II. It offers the following function enhancements:
- Auto aperture setting to avoid overexposure,
- White balance adjust option like in the R8 and GX200
- Noise reduction on only when over ISO 400, 800 or only at ISO 1600

Of all these features I expected the NR option to finally bring some change to the smearing but I've been wrong, jpgs are still unusable although slightly better. Tested with two GRD II's next to each other and the one with the new firmware had slightly more noise and was sharper but this could have been just different metering. The GRD I produced better but underexposed images at the same settings.

The Auto Aperture setting works as long as you don't reach the lowest aperture and fastest shutter speed or the camera will crash. So not really usable in all instances and could cause you to miss shots.

The WB adjust option was the feature I thought least useful since the jpgs are not really useful for me and it looked too slow to adjust when shooting. The good news is that it is the best feature and pretty fast and easy to adjust when shooting. Yes, the jpgs are not usable and it does not apply to RAW files but it's a cool idea.
Be aware that you can adjust it during shooting even when using RAW but during playback only when using jpg WITHOUT RAW. Also as mentioned, the settings do not apply to RAW even if you select camera WB.

The other enhancements were not really important for me. Like displaying the correct ISO when using Auto ISO or Auto High ISO.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008


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

A very interesting thing I found during my recent trip to Korea was the amount of churches they have. Considering that most countries around are more Buddhist it was something I did not expect. So when I saw this group in front of St. Paul's today, I could not resist to take a picture.
It was a snapshot more than anything and I took it because of my observation while in Korea. While usually this picture would not have ended up on my blog, I had no choice but use it today.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Man on Wire

GRD II, f2.4, 1/8, ISO 200, RAW

The "challenge" I've set myself for this week is to literally follow the 'One picture per day' theme. So I will try to only take one picture every day or in case I see some great photo opportunities to only use the first picture I took.
So far this has worked and I only took one picture yesterday and today. This is important to try for one of the next weeks and my planned project.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Hello or Goodbye?

GRD II, f4, 1/540, ISO 100, RAW

One of the most interesting things about street photography is that some shots allow you to make up the story when looking at the picture. In this case if they said hello or goodbye to each other or neither. It is not clear and I did not stick around to find out. At the same time I wonder what the guy in the background did with pointing at his belt. Some things like that I only fully see when post processing and looking closer at the picture.

Sunday, 20 July 2008


LC1, f5.0, 1/2600, ISO 100, RAW, 90mm

For the last picture in the LC1 week I decided for something simple. While I enjoyed using it and it is indeed a great camera, I am looking forward to get back to the Ricoh. Overall, I wish Panasonic could make a smaller LC1 with a faster and more precise AF, some gauges like the Epson RD1 and the same system to change the ISO.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

High in the Sky

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

Last Saturday's picture was from Blackheath and had dark clouds in there and this week is no different. Same place, same kind of weather but they sky is not quite as dramatic.
This was a week with the LC1 and I enjoyed usig it instead of the GRD but it can not replace them and is too big and heavy to carry with me everyday. Still, it was good to have a change and try a different camera. Soon I will try to use only the GR1 film camera. This would mean I have to wait till the end of the week to post the pictures but it could be a fun experience.

Friday, 18 July 2008


LC1, f2.4, 1/2000, ISO 100, RAW, 90mm

One thing I noticed with using the LC1 this week is that although it has zoom I stay mostly with one focal length and then go between 28mm, 50mm, 70mm or 90mm.
By using manual focus the camera is fast enough for street photography. After getting used to the different field of view when using 70mm or 90mm I can take shots from the hip without problems.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Slippery When Wet

LC1, f2.2, 1/640, ISO 100, RAW, 71mm

The LC1 week continues but don't worry, I won't rename my blog and from next week I will be posting more GRD pictures. Hopefully Ricoh will have my GRD I fixed soon so I can use it again. Have been really missing it and the GRD II does not cover everything and is more to complement the GRD I.
Some color for today and kind of a remake of my Yellow picture or a picture in the same style. I find these signs quite funny and like the yellow with red colors. Cropped it to the 1:1 format and changed the contrast to boost the colors.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Keep Your Head Down

LC1, f6.7, 1/500, ISO 100, JPG b&w, 51mm

Another picture for the LC1 week. So far all have been taken using manual focus.
While walking past this building site I noticed the reflections and decided to hang around and snap a few shots of people passing by. This was the best, there is something about her and the way she has her head down.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

IR Railway

LC1, f6.7, 1/320, ISO 200, RAW, 90mm

My first attempt at IR photography but since I have no IR filter, I had to do it in post production. Not great but the best result after a few tries. Need to get a proper filter to get better results. While I could have posted a different picture I wanted to post my attempt and apart from the noise I am not too unhappy with it.

Monday, 14 July 2008

"Can I see the Camera?"

LC1, f6.3, 1/20, ISO 100, JPG b&w, 28mm

Another 'non photography' picture today. More a lucky mistake than anything else but I really like the result. The funny thing is that I never managed to get any good panning shots and this is the best that comes close :).
I had the LC1 with me again and might use it for this weeks pictures to get a change although the blog is more for the Ricoh GRD series. The LC1 would also not really work quite as well for a daily picture since it is too big and heavy to just bring along.
The picture is unprocessed and a straight out of the camera.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Moore Challenge

LC1, f5, 1/1000, ISO 100, RAW, 90mm

LC1, f4.5, 1/1000, ISO 100, RAW, 90mm

LC1, f4, 1/1000, ISO 100, RAW, 90mm

First day in the new flat and the t-mobile HSDPA reception is pretty bad (or almost not existent). There is no way I can keep updating the blog on time or I need to go outside. Ah well, hope it won't be too long till the broadband is installed.
Aside from this and the unpacking of boxes there was also the Cancer Research marathon in Blackheath. Good opportunity for taking the LC1 out. It performed very well in manual focus, auto focus is still too slow and the EVF has a lag. Once getting used to this it works a lot better and manual focus is very easy and fast to use.
I only caught the end of the marathon and while I took quite a lot of pictures, these are my 3 favorite pictures.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Under a Dark Sky

GRD II, f5, 1/400, ISO 100, RAW

Been moving today so did not have that much time for taking pictures. At first I thought it will end up being just a picture of boxes ;). In the end I got everything done a lot faster than anticipated (pays off not to collect too many possessions) and could go for a walk.
The sky looked spectacular and it was a great backdrop for taking pictures. Unfortunately, I noticed dust on the sensor while reviewing my pictures. But a few knocks against the camera later and everything is fine again :).

Friday, 11 July 2008

Look Behind You!

GRD II, f4, 1/320, ISO 200, RAW, 21mm

Took this again during my lunch break while out for a walk. Liked how he was just standing there smoking and looking at his phone, unimpressed by the things behind him.
I had the 21mm lens on and used the OVF, the problem with the OVF is that it is not always very accurate but a bigger problem is that I do not see when my SD-card is full ;). Missed a few shots because of that but this is my fault for not checking in between.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

C.I.B. - Cameras In Black

GRD II, f2.4, 1/55, ISO 100, RAW, 21mm

Ok, a geek post today and another boring camera picture. A friend got his Epson R-D1s yesterday so it was a good opportunity to do a quick comparison.
As you can see, the R-D1s is a bit taller than the LC1 and a lot taller than the GRD, it is however slightly thinner and the lens is smaller than the one on the LC1. On the other hand to get anywhere near the speed and versatility of the LC1 lens you would need around 3 lenses for the R-D1s and then it would take up more space.
All three cameras feel heavy and very solid. It is impressive how close the GRD is to the build and feel of the R-D1s. Both have the same metal, with the same texture, the hand grip is the same soft rubber (again with the same texture) and both feel literally like a brick (in a very positive way). The LC1 is on the same level although the metal is smooth and the hand grip is hard rubber that does not feel quite as nice to hold. Overall they all have a great build and if you hold either you know why they cost as much as they do and you can feel what you pay for. I haven't held many better built cameras and especially not digital cameras.

A quick image comparison revealed that the R-D1s has (unsurprisingly) the highest dynamic range and the GRD I and II the lowest, the LC1 has the higher noise and due to the 5MP captures the least details. The GRDs can hold their own very well with the R-D1s and capture the same amount of details but have more noise. The depth of field is the highest on the GRDs and even at f4 the lowest on the R-D1s.

As a summary I can say that if I would not know that Epson (with help of Cosina/Voigtlaender) made the R-D1s, I would think it's a Ricoh ;).

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Keep Your Head Down

GRD II, f2.4, 1/80, ISO 400, RAW, 21mm

Very depressing day, it has been gray and raining from the morning till the evening. Not much chance to take any nice pictures. This picture is cropped to the 1:1 ratio and has some noise added.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Gate 2

GRD II, f5.6, 1/400, ISO 200, RAW

When I was younger I liked drawing scenes with a lot of people and action inside and my favorite paintings also have people and something happening in them.
In photography people often try to use shallow DOF to get rid of distracting elements I find that this also takes away any life in the image. I find that street photography using shallow DOF is lazy and lifeless. I really like busy scenes since they reward someone for looking closer and even after seeing the picture a few times one can still find new things in there.
While this picture today is not a perfect example of this it is close enough. I cropped it to the 16:9 format since I find that it enhances the composition.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Look Right

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

Another rather wet and dark day in London. Seems we will have one of those typical British summers.
Took this picture while on my way home and liked the fact that the GRD II indeed managed to get a reasonable shallow DOF.
What I also wanted to do is show one of the typical signs for pedestrians in which direction to look when crossing the street. Since the British all drive on the wrong side instead the right side it seems even they need a reminder of which way to look for cars. Or they will probably tell you this is for only tourists ;). Have to admit though that these signs come in handy when you are not quite sure which way to look for various reasons.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Rain at the End of the Tunnel

GRD II, f2.8, 1/125, ISO 200, RAW

A rainy Sunday in London. It means the Wimbledon finals were on and it is always raining during it.
After using the LC1 yesterday it was again time for the GRD II. The My settings are really great since it makes for very fast and convenient changes of the main settings and allow to take some fast shots after taking the camera out.
On this picture I liked how the GRD II rendered the light but decided to increase the contrast a little bit more. The GR lens certainly has a very different character than the LC1 lens and is more contrasty, plus the sensors in the GRDs have a lower dynamic range which works in my favor when going for a high contrast look.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Painted Faces

LC1, f5, 1/500, ISO 100, RAW, 28mm

While walking around central London I realized that the Gay Pride is on in Soho. So what better way to spend some time and take some pictures. It was pretty crowded and had some very colorful characters around. This also allowed me to see how the LC1 performs in manual focus since the AF is way too slow for street photography. It performs very well indeed although it still has a slight shutter lag, nothing beats the GRD I here. But the dynamic range of the LC1 is indeed very good and helped a lot with the changing light conditions.
This is the picture I liked most and while it was tempting to just post more pictures I need to get back to the "One day, one picture". But I will post the other pictures on Flickr as soon as I get around to.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Guy Smoking

GRD II, f4.5, 1/250, ISO 100, RAW, 40mm

I usually try to use titles from songs, movies or words in the picture for my posts and pictures. This time I simply decided to use a description of the picture for the title.
Today, I used my lunch break again to walk around the City and take pictures. My timing was pretty bad though and I missed some nice shots due to that. Still, I got an idea for my theme for next week and also found the right location for it.
This shot came out very nice and I like the fact that he is looking right at me. While I usually try to avoid interaction with people so not to intrude and influence the scene I think sometimes the interaction makes for a better picture.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Spare A Little Change

GRD II, f5.6, 1/400, ISO 100, RAW, 40mm

This guy has been in the same spot since the first time I've been to London 5 years ago. He is always at the walkway up to the Millennium Bridge on the Tate Modern site and always with his dog. I had him before in one picture but liked this shot since I always wanted to have a picture taken from above.
I changed the contrast and colors and cropped the image slightly.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Green Leaves

GRD II, f6.3, 1/320, ISO 80, RAW, 40mm

Haven't had a macro picture for a while and I wanted something simple again so this is why I chose this picture for today.

Dog Day Afternoon

GRD II, f2.8, 1/100, ISO 80, RAW, 8.4mm

The weather was great, warm and sunny and by finishing work early I had enough time to go to the park in Greenwich and enjoy the sun. While walking around I decided to use the fish-eye lens again.
Dogs are great subjects for fish-eye photography, their long noses and curious nature means you can get some very interesting shots. I left the vignetting at the corners as it was but cropped the image slightly and changed the colors and contrast with the curves tool to give it more of a Lomo feel.