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 :).


  1. Great tip with the pepper mill, my friend. It's almost worth buying one and posting a photo of the setup. In a fine restaurant, of course.

  2. Hey, the best ideas come when you are out drinking with people and have to improvise ;).

    How did you get on with the beer flash photography by the way?

    Hope we can meet up again soon in a restaurant or bar so we can practice these things.