Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Stocks and Casualty

GF1, f2.8, 1/250, ISO 640, JPG b&w, 100mm

Yesterday, I received my Canon FD adapter and could now use the Canon f1.8 50mm lens I bought for 5 pounds on ebay last week.
The lens is in very good condition and great fun to use although I do struggle with the 100mm focal length after the crop. This is however the fun part and reason why I bought the GF1 and what makes the m4/3 format so great, the ability to use all kinds of lenses on the camera and look for good bargains.

So despite the battery annoyance, the GF1 is right now the best camera around if you ask me and I hugely enjoy it. I just wish Panasonic would finally get a decent camera design done and improve on their interface a bit.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Green Passage

GXR, f2.8, 1/52, ISO 400, JPG, 50mm

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Pimp my GF1

GXR, f9, 1/48, ISO 1600, RAW, 50mm

I only took two pictures today and did not really like either. So instead of posting another picture from my archive, I decided to post this picture of my GF1 with some slight modifications to show Panasonic how the GF1 should have looked like.

Th GF1 seriously needs a decent handgrip made out of rubber or leather (how come only Ricoh figured this one out?)and also the lenses (and this also goes for Ricoh) need distance markings for the manual focus on them and maybe even an aperture ring.

And Panasonic, please stop plastering the front of the cameras full of silly advertising stuff like Lumix, AVCHD Lite and so on. I don't wat to buy a camera that only comes with a 'Lite' version of anything and feel the need to advertise it to the world, a sticker would do just fine. Keep the GF1 and the classy 'L' logo or even better only the 'L' logo in the front. Also if it would be possible to put a bit less shiny chrome stuff on the camera is would be much appreciated.

Overall for the GF2, why don't you just look at your LC1 and L1 cameras and simply put a m4/3 sensor and mount in a GF1 sized version.

Now, the modification is simple but very efective, it not only covers the silly Lumix and AVCHD Lite text but it also provides a much better grip. So if you have a GF1 or think of getting one, you should consider this leatherette kit. This together with any legacy lens on the front shows how this camera and lenses for it should have been designed.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Blossoms

GF1, f1.4, 1/3200, ISO 400, RAW, 80mm

Today I went into town and bought a spare battery for the GF1, since I did not want to pay Panasonic's rip off price, I got a equivalent Energizer battery. Now, I have read of Panasonic being difficult with them accepting 3rd party batteries but guess my surprise when the camera refused to use this battery with a 'This Battery Can Not Be Used' message and there is no way to force the camera to use the battery.
If there is something I really, REALLY hate is locking devices down for no reason and using proprietary stuff to force me to buy the manufacturers own accessories.
So shame on you Pansonic!!! This is NOT how you go about things, either sell your own batteries at competitive prices or allow people to use any battery they want in your cameras.

I HATE proprietary stuff and being locked down for no reason, which I why I would never buy any Sony products for example. I am actually very tempted to return the camera just for this. It certainly is my last Panasonic camera that I bought unless they change their stupid policy.

So while I could recommend the GF1 before, now I can only say stay away from it and any other Panasonic camera until they change this behaviour.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Pigeonwatch

GF1, f1.4, 1/1600, ISO 400, RAW, 80mm

A few days ago I received my m-mount adapter for the GF1 and yesterday I borrowed a Voigtländer Nokton 40mm f1.4 lens to try with the adapter. Due to the crop this lens becomes a 80mm lens but it feels and looks great, thi is how lenses are supposed to look and not like the modern lenses which only have the infinite focus ring around the lens.
I sure hope that manufacturers and here especially Ricoh will abandon the silly focus-by-wire systems and produce lenses with proper manual focus rings and maybe even aperture rings around the lens barrel.

The picture shows a bit the quality you get with this lens at f1.4. One thing to note though is that I have edited the file a bit and added some vignetting.
Also something to be aware of is that the distance markings on the lens don't work with the GF1 and adapter and you can focus over infinity.
Still, it is great fun to be able to use so many lenses on the GF1 and to get a different character from each lens.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Development House

GXR, f4.5, 1/1070, ISO 200, JPG, 50mm

Today, Ricoh has released a new firmware update for the GXR. It addresses the biggest problem with the camera and this is the extremely slow and unreliable AF.
Ricoh have now added a slower AF mode which does not freeze the screen and a fast AF mode which freezes the screen during focus but focuses faster.
Since I complained and have criticised Ricoh a lot for the poor AF in the GXR, I could not wait to try the new firmware out. And indeed, Ricoh has addressed both of my complaints with the AF, unfortunately I can only have one at a time. So it's either the same slow AF but no screen freeze or the very annoying screen freeze during focus but a more usable AF speed.

Ok, to make it clear, the AF has been improved and this is great. It is great to see that Ricoh does listen and keeps improving their cameras. Make no mistake though, compared with the GF1, the AF speed is still way behind but now it's at least in good light much closer.
So while Ricoh has disappointed a bit with the initial GXR modules, at least they don't disappoint when it comes to improving their cameras through firmware updates based on feedback from users.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Blossoms at Night

GRD II, f2.4, 1/15, ISO 200, RAW - Taken on 31/03/2008

Think I might enjoy looking through some of my old pictures too much recently.
But since I won't be able to go and see the cherry blossoms in Japan this year, I thought this is at least one alternative.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Purple Bike

GXR S10, f5.2, 1/410, ISO 100, JPG, 35mm

Not a very exciting picture but I really like the light and the black colors in this picture so have decided to use it for today.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

The Merchant of Luxor

GRD, f5.6, 1/500, ISO 64, JPG - Taken on 23/01/2007

After my time in New York and being out quite a lot recently I decided to just take it easy for today. This means I don't realy have any picture that has been taken today to post.
Since I have a lot of older pictures I would like to go over, this is a good opportunity to post one of them.

This is one of the pictures I took on my visit to Egypt in 2007 with only the GRD I as my camera and the ocasional use of a friend's D70. The GRD I performed very well during the trip and I got some great pictures from the trip, especially the colors I really like.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

London City Photography Walk


Tom has organized a photography walk around the City of London. This proved a great opportunity to take my new GF1 out for a spin. It performed excellently and I never missed a shot or had to wait for the camera to focus.
After I made some changes to the JPG settings the image quality straight out of camera improved and now reminds me of the GRD I and LC1 character. Even at high ISO where there is quite a bit of noise, the pictures look very good and crisp.
Here are the settings I made:

1. For color I started with the Dynamic film mode and made the following changes:
Contrast +1 (+2 at times), Sharpness +1, Saturation 0, NR -2
For this I also use the Cloudy WB setting since this gives the best colors outdoors.

2. For b&w I started again with the Dynamic b&w mode and use now:
Contrast +2, Sharpness +1 and NR -2 again.

Just as a disclaimer, I like high contrast images and am not concerned with either a high dynamic range nor do I like or want noise free images. This could help explain my choice in settings.

After today, I think my dream camera would be the GF1 electronics and m4/3 mount in a GXR body with the excellent Ricoh UI.

All pictures aside from one are JPGs from the GF1, the other is a JPG from the GXR.




Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Bars

GF1, f4, 1/2000, ISO 400, RAW, 40mm

A lot of people don't understand the GXR concept, especially if you look at the DP Review forum. I mean, why mate a sensor to a lens when the sensor is going to be outdated in 6 months yet the lens will always be excellent and deliver the same quality.
They are quite right in a lot of ways, especially considering just how much better the Ricoh lenses really are compared to the competition. Also when looking at the relatively poor m4/3 lenses which just don't have the optical quality of a Ricoh or Leica lens. They look great because the camera software is great and correcting for most issues but not because the lenses are any good technically.

So at the moment you have the choice of going for the GXR and have excellent optics done by Ricoh or going for m4/3 and have great software fixing any lens faults in camera.

This picture is a great example of how poor optically the highly praised Panasonic 20mm f1.7 lens really is. The bars were all straight and from a 40mm lens I expect them to be straight, as they are in the JPG but not when looking at the RAW file.
At the same time I much prefer the image quality of the 4/3 sensor to that of the APS sensor in the GXR which is too clean and digital looking, here I have some noise and some character. I will never understand people shouting for less noise in pictures and who are looking or perfect pictures. Perfection is boring and looks fake and digital, there is no life or character in technically perfect images.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

The Lamp

GF1, f4.5, 1/200, ISO 200, JPG, 40mm

I really like the speed, responsiveness, image quality of the GF1 and think it's a huge step up from the slow and sluggish performance of the GXR. At the same time I wish I could use the GXR instead, the handling and controls are so much better there.

This is just a quick observation, I will write more about the GF1 in the coming days.
For now, the reason for buying it was to get some decent AF performance, a responsive camera witgh larger sensor and the ability to mount any lens on it so this gives me the opportunity to experiment.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Focus on Imaging 2010


This years 'Focus on Imaging' exhibition was a bit of a letdown. Other than the announcement of the Panasonic G2 and G10 cameras and the first chance for me to try the Samsung NX10 there was not really much to see.

The usual models on stage were also very rare and aside from a few places most did not even have models.

Never Love A Stranger

GXR S10, f4.9, 1/620, ISO 100, RAW, 50mm

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Eyes Wide Shut

GXR, f5.0, 1/270, ISO 800, JPG, 50mm

There is something about New York and street crossings since a lot of street photographs are taken there. Maybe it's because these are places where people get together and spend some time together before all heading off in different directions.
I am not sure but like to take pictures at street crossings.

Monday, 1 March 2010

New York 2004


Thanks to my ever expanding collection of pictures I had to buy yet another pair or hard drives today. This actually prompted me to think of how it all started and funny enough it started right here in New York.

It was here in 2004 when I bought my very first digital camera, it was the not so impressive but quite capable Pentax Optio S40. The camera works to this day and aside from using up batteries in only 30 pictures it's quite nice.

This made me look back and I decided to post a series from 2004. These are some of my more interesting pictures from that time and my first digital pictures. Don't expect much as my understanding of photography at that time was zero and got only as far as choosing a scene mode. I also had the stupid idea that pictures taken at 1600x1200 resolution are enough since it would fill my screen.
The pictures are all taken with the Pentax S40 and the Canon G3, that I had with me for that trip but disliked due to the size.