Sunday, 30 November 2008

School's Out

R10, f4.2, 1/150, ISO 80, JPG

Not much time for photography today and I also had to finish my report about the Ricoh meetup yesterday. So only a quick picture to showcase a bit the dynamic range of the R10. I am really impressed with it and after seeing the brown/bronze R10 yesterday I want one just because it looks so cool. Wish Ricoh would release a firmware to include RAW and manual controls, the joystick on the R10 is wastly superior to the fiddly one found on the LX3 so it could work very well.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Ricohforum Meetup

Today was the day of the first official Ricohforum meetup. You might remember we had a previous Ricoh meetup in London but this now was the official meetup.

Unfortunatelly, due to sickness no Ricoh representative could attend but we had another special guest in Frazer, the owner of Alpha Digital Services, the main distributor of Ricoh cameras in the UK. Ricoh also made sure to send me a parcel with books, calendars and other giveaways for the people attending the meetup.

The meetup was again really fun and very interesting. It is good to meet people with similar interests and hear their opinions about the cameras they use and also learn about how they use their cameras.

We started off in the Bridge Lounge and had coffee while getting to know each other, discussing Ricoh cameras, trying out the various models we had with us (Ricoh R10, GRD I, GRD II, GX100, GX200, Panasonic LX3, Leica Digilux 2 and Epson RD1s) and looking at prints people brought along.

Comments from people at the meeting about Ricoh cameras indicate that most wish for a bigger sensor and with it an interchangeable lens camera but some would be happy enough if Ricoh would have faster, sharper and more contrasty lenses in the GX series but also more dynamic range. The JPG engine of the GRD I was found to be quite superior and a few people are quite interested in "upgrading" from a GX100/200 to a GRD I. After hearing the comments here and also posts on my blog and emails I've recieved I can say that the GRD I is a very underrated camera. Ricoh needs to bring the GRD I JPG engine back and step away from the 'Smooth Engine' they are using now, although the GX200 is an improvement.

Since no one from Ricoh was at the meeting we could only speculate what Ricoh will release soon but Frazer as the main distributor had some insights and as per my chat with Ricoh at Photokina we can assume Ricoh will release something big next year with possibly a larger sensor and maybe interchangeable lenses. These rumors have been around for a while and wether true or not, this is what Ricoh will have to do in order to compete in the market.

After the inital introduction and chat we headed off to take pictures, afterall this is the main reason we bought Ricoh cameras. This is also the most interesting part of any meetup since it allows you to see how other people use cameras and go about taking pictures. The walk along the Thames and then at Borough Market provided some very good opportunities to take pictures of people and architecture.

We stoped along the way for coffee and headed off to the Tate Modern afterwards before going to a nearby pub for refreshments and to review the pitures of the day. By that time we were only a few people left but we cold still review pictures from 5 different cameras (GRD I, GRD II, GX100, GX200 and RD1s). The interesting thing is that each camera had it's own look and character.

You can also read Steven and Tom's reports of the meetup. Head over to their blogs to also see more pictures from the day.

Friday, 28 November 2008


Ok, this is another boring picture and shameless gear show off ;). Still, this time I am asking for your opinion. I will go to Hong Kong on holiday next week and plan to make it mainly a photo trip. Now the downside of having all these cameras is which one(s) to take along for the trip?
The GRD I with adapter lenses is certainly in but what about the rest? Should I bother carrying the heavy and bulky Panasonic LC1 for the higher dynamic range and very good low ISO pictures although it is limited usable for street photography and unusable for any low light photography? How about the small R10 with the highly versatile zoom but no manual controls and slow lens? Is it worth taking the GRD II along if the GX200 can do everything it does but better and is more versatile? Or how about the GR1, it is a great camera but film is highly limited and restrictive?
So what would you take along? I am thinking to limit myself to only 2 or max. 3 cameras but which?

A reminder, the Ricohforum meetup is tomorrow. So if you are around do join us, even if you don't have a Ricoh camera but are interested in them it could be worth coming along.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Saatchi Portraits

There won't be any update on my blog tomorrow, this is the only day I will take off from posting anything so I decided to have a slightly longer than usual series. Following Yesbuts' recommendation I went to see the new Saatchi Gallery in London today and see the exhibitions. It was very interesting and well worth the visit. I tok quite a few pictures but realized that most are portraits so I decided to post a full series based on this.
This month's Ricohforum contest theme is also Portraits. While I don't think I will use any of these pictures for the contest it makes a change from my usual pictures. All are taken with the GX200 in RAW mode at various ISOs but it's mainly between 64 and 400.

On a side note, there is also a new firmware available for the Ricoh GRD II you can download it from here. I already installed it and the new "shutter priority" mode is very nice and should come in handy.
Finally, it also has a moving AF target but no AE target? This is something Ricoh implemented since the R8 in cameras except in the GR series. I still don't understand why it hasn't been implemented fuly like in the other cameras, afterall the GRD II is the flagship camera. Still, good to see another firmware update for the GRD II.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

View Through the Fence

GX200, f6.3, 15 sec., ISO 64, RAW, 72mm

While on the bus today I saw this scene and had to get off and take a picture, or a few to be honest. Sometimes I see a scene and know exactly how I want the picture to look like. This was one of these occasions and while it is yet another long exposure I really like the picture. Also reminds me to get out more after dark and take some pictures of the industry around North Greenwich.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Between Good and Evil?

GX200, f4.1, 1/200, ISO 64, RAW, 24mm

Took this picture of the protest while walking in the City today. I was not the only one to take pictures of this though, quite a few people took pictures but mainly with their mobile phones. The good thing about the City is that there s always something happening so I like working here for that reason. It is also very interesting if you're interested in architecture photography with a lot of very interesting old and new buildings.
The GX200 is very good for this and has a great resolution but not enough contrast and the dynamic range is too low, this was always a problem with the GX series. The resolution is there and you get a lot of details with little noise at base ISO, especially when using RAW.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Little Poledancer

R10, f5.2, 1/25, ISO 800, JPG, 200mm

Took this while having coffee at Canary Wharf. The 200mm zoom of the R10 allowed me to take it without having to crop it massively. I did nothice one thing, the lens is too slow at 200mm and it takes me to long to adapt to this massive zoom so I always get lost and have to find where I am to compose my shot. I would say everything over 90mm is a bit of overkill for me and I am also too detached from the scene to take any really good pictures of people. I really need to try some wildlife photography with the R10 and I also have a particular project in mind but need to find the time for it.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Ricohforum London meet up

Ok, today's post is more about the reminder for the 'Ricohforum London meet up' than about photography although the picture is taken with the GX200 and demonstrates the impressive macro capabilities the camera has at the tele end. Ricoh cameras are known mostly for their excellent handling and controls but also for their great macro capabilities.

In exactly one week, on the 29th November, we will have the first official Ricohforum meet up in London. It will take place at the Bridge Lounge from 11am and we will be joined by Ricoh representatives but also a few other guests. This is the chance to meet up with other Ricoh users from London but also to give feedback and ask questions directly to Ricoh. There will be a photo walk along the Borough Market and more. Head over here to find out all the details.
If you can't make it but would like to forward any questions or feedback to Ricoh please post this here or in the Ricohforum.

Friday, 21 November 2008

London skEYE

R10, f7.1, 1 sec., ISO 80, JPG

Been to the Landscape Photographer of the Year 2008 exhibition as recommended by Yesbuts. There are some really cool photos there with great colorful and very detailed landscapes. Still, for me the best photos are a few grainy b&w and sepia pictures. Having been a bit inspired I went out and tried some cityscape pictures with the R10. This while different is my favorite although not as detailed as I would have liked.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

In the Train

GX200, f2.5, 1/7, ISO 154, JPG text, 24mm

Took this picture in the train on my way home today while playing around with the GX200. It came out pretty well and is a different kind of picture so I decided to post it today. I used the text mode a few times to take pictures and really like the results if you can get the contrast just right.
In the evening I got out to experiment a bit more with the GX200 and tried some very long exposures of the sky but found that they did not come out as I wanted. Need to try again soon.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

St. Paul's

R10, f5.6, 1/760, ISO 80, JPG

There are some days when I'm very inspired and take lots of pictures and like quite a few of them. Then there are days when I am not very inspired or don't have time to take pictures. While I had enough time today and went for a walk to take pictures with both the R10 and GX200, I did not take many pictures and most are pretty bad or at best average.
Take this picture for example, it has very nice colors but is aside from that more a typical tourist snapshot so not very arty or interesting as such. Then again, I took it with the R10 and it is nice to use it sometimes in pure point and shoot mode and be like a tourist. The geek in me is now more interested to see how the picture came out, it is the best case scenario for the R10 or any camera. It is taken in bright light, at base ISO with a fast shutter speed so it should show what the R10 can do best. I based the image parameters on Pavel's recommended settings for the R8/10 (Contrast +2, Sharpening -1 and Color Depth +1). I think the result is very good and as usual the colors came out very well. This is one of the reasons I prefer Ricoh cameras over any Nikon, Fuji, Canon and the likes, the colors are just more natural and not over the top saturated.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Running Ahead

GX200, f3.6, 1/200, ISO 64, JPG b&w, 24mm

I mentioned it before but I really like the GX200 JPGs at ISO up to 200. They are very good and I have no problems with using them. Especially the b&w JPGs finally look more like the GRD I. No idea what went wrong with the GRD II but for a flagship camera to have such excessive noise reduction in JPGs that can't be turned off is not good. The GX200 and even R10 are a good step in the right direction even if they are still not where the GRD I was.
The handling of the GX200 is great but not as refined as the GRDs, you can also not quite use it with one hand as well and the GRDs just 'feel' better.
One thing though if you consider the GX100 or GX200, get the LC1 lenscap. This is the best accessory Ricoh produced and will make your life much easier, the lenscap is a pain. It is a simple but great design and if you search about it you will see adaptations for the Sigma DP1 and the Panasonic LX3.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Smoke Rising

GX200, f6, 4 sec., ISO 64, RAW, 28mm

I started to like taking long exposure shots recently. Due to it getting dark pretty early it is a good time to do this. Took the GX200 again with me but realized that I need to get myself a small and light tripod so I am not depended on ledges and other items to rest the camera on. Really like how the shot came out and think the GX200 does a very good job at this.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

High-ISO Comparison - Teaser

Ok, this is the last technical post for the next week where it's more about cameras than the pictures. I've planned to do this for a while but never got round to, so last week at a concert I finally managed to get this started.
The high-ISO comparison this time is only a teaser, this is due to the very slow shutter speeds and moving subjects which make it difficult to compare the cameras properly. All pictures were taken at ISO 1600, f2.5 and a shutter speed of 1/15 so this will account for loss of sharpness or motion blur in some pictures. Anyway, I thought it good to do a quick comparison and see how bothe GRDs perform. I ran Noise Ninja on the GRD I JPG and the GRD II RAW file with the same settings. The in-camera JPG settings were set to Contrast +2, Sharpness +1 and Color Depth -2 on both GRDs.
Hopefully I can do a better comparison soon. This is therefore not a final comparison and the results might be different for the final comparison. Noise Ninja also turned the GRD II file slightly blue so I need to work on that profile.
You can download the files here so you can have a look for yourself.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

GX200 Walk

First day out with the GX200 and I am very impressed. It is in almost every respect better than the GRD II as long as you don't go over ISO 800.
The lens needs to be faster though, especially as you zoom in you lose too much. The JPG quality is very good though even if it does not get close to the GRD I JPGs. Even long exposure pictures can be used from the JPGs, something that is impossible with the GRD II. So far my impresions of it are very good and I would say from the current Ricoh cameras it is the best right after the GRD I. The RAW files are as good as the GRD II but with less contrast and not quite as sharp but this can be easily fixed. The only most notable differences are the distortion and the size of the camera. I was even quite impressed with the EVF. More will be posted in my review. For now have a look at some pictures

Friday, 14 November 2008

Two People and Two Macros

This is another day with the R10 and I am still quite impressed by it and so was the guy at Jacobs when I went to pick up my GR1 pictures. Went for a walk during my lunchtime and tried to take various pictures with the R10. The best thing is how versatle this camera is, from wideangle to extreme closeup, everything is possible in a very small package. I was quite impressed with how well it performes. Sure, the IQ is not great and the lens is slow but it is the price to pay for having such a wide zoom range in a small package. None of the pictures is post processed, only one is cropped to 16:9 format and all are shot at ISO 80 or ISO 100.
Finally managed to pick up my pictures from the development but to be honest I am very disapointed, both with the prints and the bad quality JPGs they put on the CD. I just can't see film being worthwile since GRD I prints looked better, there is not sign of better dynamic range or better colors in the prints. The only visible difference is the shallow DOF but this can be worked around even with the GRD. Will replace and post the pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Green Chairs

R10, f4.1, 1/7, ISO 200, JPG

After recieving both cameras for review I thought I take the R10 with me to get used to it a bit before reviewing it. The first impression is very good and I really like the camera. More will follow in a review but I am very glad Ricoh dropped the 'soap-box' design, flimsy build and controls from the R5 and improved the interface from the R7. While I have no extensive experience with the previous R series cameras, I think the R10 is the best yet. The great build and design alone are worth the upgrade.
This picture is straight out of the camera with minimal cropping and contrast adjustment.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Ricoh Diary

Ok, the post today will serve more as an announcement for a few things.

First, a big thank you to Ricoh for sending me the GX200 and R10 for review. I will try to write a comprehensive review of each camera in it's own right and also compare it with the other Ricoh cameras. This will all be done in the next weeks depending on time and more on weather.

Second, the Ricohforum meet-up is approaching so be sure to check out the thread or the details on my Wordpress blog. We will have someone from Ricoh and a few other guests taking part in it so it should be very interesting. Post in the forum if you're coming or if you want to forward any feedback or questions to Ricoh.

And third, I've had a quick look through some pictures for my low light/high ISO comparison and the results are very interesting. Will post a first teaser soon on my Wordpress blog.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


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

Ok, the GR1 week is over and now I have to wait for the film to be developed. This should hopefully be done by Friday. This is really a pain and the reason I will not use film again in the near future. While I really enjoyed the week with the GR1, it is a fantastic camera to use afterall, the drawbacks of film are just too much to make it worthwile. The quality is not better either, on the contrary, it is worse, unless you pay extra for your prints or print big.
Since I've used the GRD I a lot recently, I decided to use the GRD II for a while now.
The weather finally got better an we had some sunshine. Makes for a much more pleasing experience to go out and take pictures if it's not dark and raining. So I used my lunch today to go out for a walk and take some pictures.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Ricoh GR1 - Day 7

As you can see from the picture, I finished the film and the week with the Ricoh GR1. Now I will have to develop the film tomorrow although I haven't found a cheap and good place to do so in London. The biggest problem is to get my pictures in digital form and high quality. As nice as negatives and prints are, as useless are they for day-to-day use and won't work to post on my blog either.
The problem with getting pictures on a CD is the poor quality of the scans you get. This is the worst part of using film and the main reason I don't like shooting film. Too much hassle and costs involved to see your pictures. Digital is so much better in this respect and works for me much better, more convenient and cost effective. Developing 20 film rolls and putting them on a CD will cost me more than a Ricoh R10 here and the quality of the prints will be quite poor anyway so pints from digital are usually superior these days.
Ok, today's picture shows another problem with film, the WB.