Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Ricoh GX200 Review – Part 7

Long Exposure Comparison

Let's see how the GX200, GRD I, GRD II and R10 compare at long exposures.

Unfortunately, I did not have the GX, GX100 or LC1 with me on this day so could only compare these cameras but it is very interesting anyway. From experience all three deliver a quality similar to the GX200 and R10 in both JPG and RAW.
The color differences on the buildings have nothing to do with the cameras but with the simple fact that the lights on the buildings actually changed the colors during the time I took the pictures.
The RAW files are as before converted using RAW Therapee 2.4 and the 'Neutral' profile, no noise reduction or other edits have been performed.

All pictures are taken at f5 and f4.8 for the GX200 with a 2 seconds exposure at ISO 100.

Looking at these two pictures first, we can see that both GRDs deliver an unacceptable image quality. They are soft, smudgy and have lost every detail with the GRD II being by far the worst. Looking at the GX200 it is clear why I have been quite impressed with the long exposures I got from it, it is the best here and delivers a crisp and detailed picture. What is surprising is how well the R10 manages to hold up against the GX200, it is very similar in details and sharpness.

Even viewing them at 50% does not improve things for the GRD II, both GRDs are still the worst while the GX200 looks even better now with the R10 being a bit closer.

Developing the RAW files from the GRD I does not improve the quality by much but the GRD II looks like a completely different picture. Gone is the fuzziness, the picture is much sharper now and you have more details. This shows how bad the JPG engine really is on the GRD II. Again the R10 manages to hold up very well against the GRD II but does fall a bit short this time. The GX200 is again the best and easily delivers the most details and sharpest picture.

Overall, I can say that the GRD I is absolutely useless at long exposures, the GRD II has a horrible JPG engine that smears everything but is pretty decent when used in RAW mode. They seem to employ a very aggressive dark frame substraction routine, in case of the GRD I even in RAW, that leads to the overly smeary appearance.
The R10 is much better than expected and shows a very good quality that holds up very well against the GX200, the GX200 however wins easily every time and shows that it is the best camera in this test for long exposures. You can easily see the extra resolution and it pays off in these instances.

You can download the pictures from this comparison, including the RAW files here.

Continue to part 8 and read the conclusion.

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