Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Monday, 27 September 2010

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Walk in Düsseldorf

After being inside at Photokina for the last two dazs it was good to get out and get some air so Düsseldorf seemed like the best place. Here is a small series from the walk all taken with the Ricoh GXR and A12 50mm module.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Photokina 2010 - Day 2

After the first day where it was more about trying out lenses and trying to see everything I had more time to relax and stroll around on the 2nd day. It was good to focus on taking some pictures but also having a chat with Ricoh and trying out the new 28mm f2.5 A12 GXR module.

This post will feature some of my favorite pictures I took during Photokina but also some news from Ricoh.

The most exciting thing about Photokina this time was how many serious compact cameras hav been announced and were available. Two years ago it was only Ricoh and Panasonic to offer interesting compact cameras, now almost every manufacturer had something to show.

Ricoh had more cameras than ever this time although most were modules for the GXR. The most interesting module is certainly their new 28mm module. First let me say that Ricoh has managed to get it to focus very fast and thankfully they have not compromised the module by including a macro mode. Funny enough they told me that the question they had most about it was how to turn the macro mode on ;).
It works great from my time with it and is the module I would have liked to see being released at the start to complement the 50mm A12 module instead of the S10 module whcih still does not really seem to make sense in the lineup. I can't wat to get my hands on a sample and try it out properly.

Now a lot of people will surely wonder what will happen with the GRD line now? This is indeed an excellent question, afterall the new GXR module offers the same focal length with a much bigger sensor and is only slightly bigger.
I have asked Ricoh and according to them the GRD is still their high end line and they will not abandon it although they could not say how the new GRD will look like but it will come out next year around September when the line is due to be renewed.
While I am not sure how the new GRD will fare against the 28mm A12 module for the GXR or even against the mirrorless interchangeable camera competition I am glad to hear that Ricoh will continue the line. My wish for the GRD IV is as often mentioned a b&w sensor and I also hope for a return to basics. The GRD I was so successfull because it was simple, it did not pretend to do much but what it did it did better than all other compacts at that time. Now the market is saturated with advanced compacts offering f2.0 lenses and most of these cost a lot less than he GRD III. Sure, the GRD III is the most adavanced small sensor compact camera and has the best lens but it is difficult to take it over a Panasonic LX5 for example.
Here Ricoh will need to offeragain something unique with the GRD IV and I like to see them using the GR1 body as is, even leaving out the LCD screen if necessary but making a digital back for it with a custom 2/3" or maybe even APS b&w sensor. Basically they should get rid of all the fancy stuff the GRD III offers and just go back to one aperture dial, one EV compensation dial and a bitton to change the focus mode, this with a OVF like the Fuji X100, phase detection AF and it would have something unique again that nobody offers.

The only other new camera Ricoh had was the CX4 and as you might know I am a big fan of the CX series and really like the new creative modes Ricoh has added to the CX4. One thing I don't like is the new handgrip design and the color choices. Ricoh really needs to stop messing around with the handgrip design, it was almost perfect on the R10 and has gotten worse since then. Also the color options don't look as nice as the bronze colored R10 or the rose colored CX1.

When asked about new GXR modules Ricoh just mentioned that they will indeed release a much requested sensor only module wih a lens mount but no decision has been made as to which mount they will use although it will have an APS sensor.
Ricoh will also release one or more non-camera modules for the GXR and most likely it will be the mass storage module to be relesased first.

Now if you're wondering what the GRD does on the peppermill then wonder no more, after my Flash Photography hints I give you another tip on how to best improvise and use your environment if you're out with friends and don't have the necessary tools to help with your photography.
Should you ever need a tripod in a restaurant to take a nice, non shaky picture of you and your friends you can make do with some glasses but you rish someone bumping the table and your camera getting drowned. The solution is simple, if the restaurant you're eating at has a Peugeout peppermill you can unscrew the top and screw the camera with the tripod mount to the peppermill. Voila, you have a nice table sized tripod which you cna even use to take a 360 degree panorama if you like by rotating the top :).

Friday, 24 September 2010

Photokina 2010 - Day 1

It has been two years since my first visit to Photokina and quite a lot has changed. Last time only Ricoh and Panasonic had interesting serious compacts to show and Olympus had their m4/3 mockup which ended up being completely different in the shape of the Olympus EP1.

This year almost all manufacturers had serious compacts even if for some it meant copying their biggest competitor (yes, I am talking about Nikon's G11 clone). At least it shows that the market wants serious compact cameras and expects more than just a simple point&shoot camera.

For me the first day was all about renting and trying out different lenses for my Panasonic GF1, it was a very interesting experience but more about this later. The main ting I wanted to see was certainly the most talked about announcement, the Fuji X100.

Fuji surprised everyone with their announcement and it certainlygot people talking and hopefully manufacturers thinking that maybe specs alone are not enough and sometimes you need to pay attention to design and functionality.
The X100 certainly got my attention with the retro Rengefider styling and controls. It is no surprise that I absulutely dislike dSLRs and especially the dSLR shape an form factor. Rangefinders on the other hand I like ver much and think this is exactly how cameras should be designed. The Fuji X100 reminds me a lot of my Panasonic LC1 and I am interested to get one just because of the build and controls of it and to support a manufacturer who goes against the trend of producing fake dSLR lookalike cameras.

The OVF with overlay is fantastic and aside from the body the only think which was finished but it is fantastic and provides a great experience, kind of what a Rangefinder these days should be if it does not have a red dot on it and is forced to live in the past.

Photokina was not all about the Fuji X100 though, it was also about new m4/3 lenses. The m4/3 format has really established itself as the best mirrorless format out there and now with not only Panasonic and Olympus but also Voigtländer and Zeiss releasing lenses for it, it gets better and better.
Since I took my GF1 with me I had to try all of the most interesting lenses for the format. First, I could not care less about the huge, slow and very boring telephoto zoom lenses for m4/3 and think they are mostly a waste of money and completely pointless. The lenses I was mostly interested in were the new 14mm f2.5 Panasonic lens, the 8mm fish-eye lens from Panasonic, their really cool 7-14mm ultra wideangle lens, the Panasonic/Leica 45mm f.28 macro lens, the new superfast Voigtländer f0.95 25mm lens and the only halfway decent lens from olympus the 9-18mm wideangle zoom lens. And I have tried them all, the rental system where one can try lenses and walk around with them is a fantastic idea.

The first lens I tried was the new 14mm f2.5 Panasonic but unfortunately it ended up being the most disapointing one. Sure, it is tiny, it is light and it focuses extremely fast while providing a very usefull 28mm focal length. Unfortunately as you can see above it is optically extremely poor and has actually more distortion than the 8mm fish-eye lens. Sure, with enough software correction it looks decent but not for he price Panasonic wants for it.

The next lens I tried was a completely different story, the 7-14mm lens is the most expensive m4/3 lens but it is worth every penny of the asking price. Not only does it focus very fast and has a constant aperture while not being very big, it is also optically excellent. There is almost no distortion at all and the lens performs well at any focal length. I lov the 14-28mm it gives and can't wait to get one. I just hope Panasonic will release more high end lenses like this which don't require massive software corrections.

The next les was the excellent Panasonic/Leica 45mm f2.8 macro and portrait lens. This is the best built m4/3 lens and fully deserves the price it's sold at. Optically it's excellent and it just fells nice to use. It works great for both portraits and macro. This is also a lens that I want to get at some point.

Next in line was the new Voigtländer 25mm f0.95 lens which should prove very usefull in low light, assuming one likes to manually focus. The lens itself was pretty light and well built but he lens hood looked weird and felt very cheap and flimsy. Unfortunately the lens does not have any electronic contacts to communicate with the camera o it acts lik any other legacy lens but a very fast legacy lens. Considering the only other f0.95 lenses are either overpriced c-mount lenses or the even more overpriced Leica 50mm f0.95 Noktilux this is certainly a very interesting alternative for m4/3 owners. This is a lens I really want but am not sure I will actually buy it.

Last on the list was the Olympus 9-18mm f4-5.6 lens. It is a nice lens and inexpensive so worth looking at. While i really liked he size and build it did not really impress me, 18mm is not really wide and f5.6 at 18mm is not realy fast either. It's more of a budget lens (as all Olympus m4/3 lenses I guess) and worth only if you can't afford the Panasonic 7-14mm lens.

I also had the pleasure to meet with felow blogger Björn and Hynek from the DP Review Ricoh forum and had a fantastic time and very interesting chat with them.

If you ask what about Ricoh, I have also seen them but this will be something for Day 2.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Waiting to Take Off

GXR A12, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 200, JPG, 50mm

Took this while waiting for the plane to take off to go to Germany to attend Photokina tomorrow.
Can't wait to try out he new Fuji X100, the new 28mm A12 module for the GXR and also the new 14mm f2.5 lens for my GF1 and hopefully quite a bit more.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Waiting for the Train

iPhone 4, f2.4, 1/450, ISO 80, JPG

I realy liked the diagonal lines here and this is why I did not mind that the picture is not straight.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Open Day at Lloyd's

While out in London, I have found out that it was Open Day. This was a great opportunity to see some of the buildings I always walk past from the inside. Although I did not have that much time after I found out, I managed to go and see the Lloyd's building. It is a really cool building from the outside and probably one of the most photographed buildings in the city next. Having the opportunity to go inside to take pictures was great though and I could not miss this. I had the GXR with A12 with me and although a 28mm lens would have been better I appreciated the high dynamic range of the sensor. I decided to post a series of 5 pictures I took inside the Lloyd's building.

Friday, 17 September 2010

The Lady in the Middle

GXR A12, f6.3, 1/660, ISO 200, RAW

This is one of my favorite pictures of the last weeks and also one of my street photographs that I really like. I had to straighten and crop it a bit but I liked even the original picture. I like pictures where there is a lot happening so that if you look closer you'll see more details in the background.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Rolls Ricoh

GXR A12, f2.5, 1/15, ISO 1600, RAW

Maybe not the most interesting of pictures but I really like the colors and the 'Ricoh Blue' in the sky so wanted to post it.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Another Morris

iPhone 4, f2.4, ISO 80, JPG

Another picture in my series of Morris cars, I will keep this series up and only use the iPhone for this so you might see some more pictures whenever I see more of them arround.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Welcome to Colchester

Today, I decided to go to Colchester and see the sights. After a bad start with the trains I got there and spent a very nice day wandering around the town and taking pictures.
I have used mostly the GF1 with the Leica f2.8 28mm R lens but have also been taking a few pictures using my iPhone and have posted pictures from both here.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Monday, 6 September 2010


GF1, f5.0, 1/50, ISO 1000, JPG, 54mm (Olympus f3.5-f5.6 14-42mm)

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Walk around the White Cliffs

While I have been to Dover before and got back fairly unimpressed I decided to go back there with friends today. We decided to take a walk along the cliffs and go to visit the South Foreland Lighthouse.

The walk was very nice and provided lots of photo opportunities, I took my LC1 with me since I love using the camera and have not taken it out much. I did not regret it and it performed very well so I decided to post a whole series of pictures.