Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Ricoh GX200 Review – Part 4

Part 4 - Image Comparison GX200 vs. GX100, GRD I and GRD II

This part will compare the GX200 with the GX100, GRD I and GRD II in JPG and RAW at ISO 100.

All pictures are taken at 28mm in A-mode at f5.4 (GX100 & GX200), f5.6 (GRD I & GRD II), all cameras were set to Auto WB and ISO 100. All JPGs are unprocessed and the cameras were set to the ‘Normal’ image setting.
The RAW files are converted using RAW Therapee 2.4 and the ‘Neutral’ profile, no noise reduction or other edits have been performed.

Picture 1 - JPG

Looking at the JPGs, all cameras perform very well. The GRD I has a blue tint over the image due to the Auto WB, this happens quite often. The GX200 performs well enough and so does the GRD II, the GX100 has a slight edge since the image is more pleasing and the shadows look cleaner.

Picture 1 - RAW

Looking at the RAW conversions the differences become even smaller, only the GRD I has a lower resolution and you can see that. Otherwise you won't be disappointed with the output from either camera as long as you fix the WB on the GRD I picture.

Picture 2 - JPG

Here you can see the higher dynamic range from the GRD II and also the difference in contrast. There is some smearing going on but overall the GX100 has a slight edge when it comes to the JPG details where the GRD II and GRD I have a better dynamic range. The GRD I however has quite a lot of noise in the picture although the details don't suffer much. The GX200 does a very good job here and is only slightly behind the GX100 when it comes to details and the GRD II when it comes to the dynamic range.

Picture 2 - RAW

In RAW it is even clearer that the GRD II has the highest dynamic range and the GX100 the lowest dynamic range. The GRD I files could benefit from more sharpening but is ok otherwise. The GX200 is right there with the GRD II and both do a great job.

Picture 3 - JPG

The dynamic range differences here are not massive but the big surprise is that both the GRD I and GX100 show some fringing but the GX200 and the GRD II show no fringing at all. A different lens coating or some changes could be one explanation as mentioned before but my guess is the processing engine. The RAW files will tell more.

Picture 3 - RAW

Looking at the RAW files shows two things. First, the fringing in the GRD II and GX200 is minimal so it is indeed a better coating on the lens. Second, the GX100 has a much better dynamic range when using RAW. The GX200 can't quite deliver the same dynamic range as the other cameras here but this could be due to a different metering.

Picture 4 - JPG

Comparing the cameras in difficult light condition on an overcast days shows that the GX200 does a very good job in these situations while the GRD II maintains the lead when it comes to the dynamic rage. The GX100 and GRD both had problems with the infinity focus and produced a slightly out of focus image. The GRDs have as expected the least distortion where the GX100 and GX200 have more distortion.

Picture 4 - RAW

Not much change in RAW with regards to the distortion but the dynamic range delivered is very similar now. The GX200 still has the edge when it comes to the details resolved.

Overall, comparing the GX200 to the GX100 and the top of the range GRD II and GRD I shows that under overcast conditions it actually delivers better results in both JPG and RAW. In good light however the JPGs are a bit smeary and this is where the GX100 is the better choice. When using RAW however you won't notice a big difference and all cameras are equally capable. The GRD I falls a bit short due to the lower resolution and more noise in the files.

Click here to continue to Part 5…

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