Monday, 31 October 2011

Red Wall

GF1, f0.95, 1/25, ISO 100, RAW, 50mm (Voigtlander Nokton f0.95 25mm)

I just love the Nokton lens for m4/3 and it is together with the 7-14mm lens the only reason for me at the moment to keep the GF1 or keep m4/3. The feel of the lens and build is fantastic and in this respect it's one of the best lenses I have.
I tried the Nokton f1.1 50mm M lens over the weekend and need to try the new Nokton f1.2 35mm M lens to see if any can replace this lens for me on the GXR.
After using the GXR for the last weeks it was not easy to go back to the GF1 in terms of handling and usability, also manually focusing with the GF1 is nowhere near as good as on the GXR.

Today, was a try to see if it's worth taking the GF1 with both or one of the lenses with me on my trip to Vietnam, Cambodia and Hong Kong. Right now I am not sure if it's worth to take along the GF1 for use with only the 7-14mm lens when needed.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

5 from the Meetup Walk

This is a series with some pictures I took during the photo walks that did not fit in yesterday's post.
All are JPGs out of the camera and except from the 1st one taken with the Nokton f1.4 35mm lens, all have been processed on my Asus Transfrmer using Pixlr-o-matic.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

4th Ricohforum meetup

What better way to start my article about the 4th Ricohforum meetup than with a picture of the new Ricoh GRD IV and of course a thanks to Ricoh for attending this meetup.

Today was the 4th Ricohforum meetup and it was intersting in a lot of ways, not least because of the Pentax buyout by Ricoh but also because of the GXR Mount A12 module for the Ricoh GXR system.
This meant that this time the focus was also on legacy M lenses and not just on the Ricoh cameras, wether this is a good thing or bad thing is certainly up for debate. Still, seeing that the GXR Mount A12 modue is one of the most successfull cameras for Ricoh and hard to find, I believe it to be a very good thing for Ricoh.

We started off with coffee and a chat about Ricoh cameras and lenses. It was interesting to see the different lenses we had on te table and the unique character and look each produced. It was also intersting to see that everyone used Mode 2 to manually focus the lenses and we agreed it is the best way to focus once you get used to it and way superior to the peaking Mode 1.

We also had a Leica M9 there and while a completely different class of camera it was great to have the ability to swap lenses around, the GXR also handles the Voigtlander 15mm lens much better than the M9 but it is of course not full frame and the crop should make it easier. There is no question though that it is easier to frame and focus with the GXR when using ultra-wideangle (under 28mm) or telephoto (90mm-135mm) lenses where it's not possible to eiher have or see the framelines well enough.

I also got a change to try out the new Ricoh GRD IV camera and I was quite impressed, it is indeed a small step up from the GRD III but it feels more finished and more refined due to the changes Ricoh have done to both the body and the firmware. Althogh they have put in the often requested (and in my view pointless) RAW only shooting mode, Ricoh needs to start saving a higher resolution embedded preview file since it will be pretty much improssible to check focus or anything from the RAW only review image.
There are a lot of other changes and adjustments and I hope to get a review sample at some point after my upcoming holidays to be able to better compare it to the predecessors.

I have asked Ricoh about a GXR roadmap or more details of what will come out of the Pentax buyout. It is still early days for Ricoh and the Pentax buy certainly has changed a few things for Ricoh so before comitting to any more GXR modules they will have to first evaluate the different camera lines and see how to best integrate everything. They are however aware of the demand for a FF mount module and a K-mount module and looking at the success of the GXR Mount A12 module it seems clear where the focus for the GXR system should be.
For the Pentax users out there, the dSLR line will be continued since it complements Ricoh's own offerings, the most changes will probaly emerge for the lower end compact camera lines.
It's still early days though so nothing concrete is known yet until Ricoh had a chance to evaluate the different cameras lines. They will provide an update as soon as there are details and I am sure the next Photokina will be interesting for both Ricoh and Pentax users.

The already announced GXR Zoom module has been delayed due to the floods in Thailand and the reduced availability of sensors from Sony, which will most likely also impact the GXR Mount A12 availability.
What I could find out is that it will have a zoom range similar to the GX100/200, so from 24-80/85mm, it will not be GR labeled and will not have a constant aperture.
It should be available early next year from the looks of it.

Afterwards we headed out for a photo walk and checking out some camera shops to try out some legacy lenses and also got the change to play around with the Nikon V1 and the new Fuji X10.
I was really underwhelmed with the Nikon V1, it felt cheap and plasticky and had only a slow kit zoom lens attached to it in similar size to the Olympus m4/3 kit lenses.
The Fuji X10 looks very nice and looks like a muc better camera than the V1 but it's not the hoped for Panasonic LC1 replacement, the OVF is pretty useless and has no point being there and the firmware seems as bad as on the X100 at first look. So I was again not tempted.

Wat really tempted me was the Voigtlander Nokton f1.1 50mm lens (pictured above) which seems an excellent lens capable of producing some very nice images and it's actually lighter than expected although not small as ou can see. Now I just need to try out the Nokton f1.2 35mm before deciding which one to go for. Having the GXR Mount A12 certainly is not a good thing for my bank account ;) .

While trying out lenses and cameras we also got a few people very interested in our GXR cameras and after seeing how well they performm and the easy of using the MF assist functions with legacy lenses it was not difficlut for them to see why the GXR is such a great system for using legacy lenses on.

The last stop of the day was the British Museum to take some more pictures before heading to a pub for a well deserved pint.

It was a great day and I like to thank everyone who joined, I hope you all enjoyed it.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Double Reflection

GXR A12-M, f8.0, 1/870, ISO 200, RAW, 22mm (Voigtlander Heliar f4.5 15mm L)

I really like wide angle lenses and find them a lot more interesting than focal lengths over 28mm, while it's more difficult to work with the you always get a more interesting perspective on things.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

What a Difference a Lens Makes

Top: Voigtlander Nokton f1.4 35mm (JPG) / Bottom: Leica Sumicron f2.8 50mm (JPG)

This post is based on a discussion I had recently with Tom about lenses and the different characters they produce. While this is no scientific comparison, it shows quite well how different lenses produce a different and unique character even when used on the same camera. In other words it shows that the lens is more important to the look and character you get than the camera or sensor behind it, then again this will come to no surprise to most people. 

Just as a note, this comparison is just for the character of the lenses and the exposure is not exactly the same, nor is the field of view due to the different focal length. The character however remains the same and is visible irrespective of these differences.

Both top images are straight out of camera JPGs while the bottom pictures are RAW files developed with RAW Therapee and the 'Natural 1' setting and using the Auto WB.

Were I to choose between the pictures I would go for the Leica Sumicron JPG since it has a more dreamy an warm look out of the box without any PP. This does not apply for all situations though where the Leica look can be quite distracting at times.

 Top: Voigtlander Nokton f1.4 35mm (RAW) / Bottom: Leica Sumicron f2.8 50mm (RAW)

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Rain Drops

GXR A12-M, f4.0, 1/2500, ISO 200, RAW, 53mm (Voigtlander Nokton f1.4 35mm)

Took this while out for lunch, in between the rain today.

I hope the weather will be better for the Ricoh meetup on Saturday, we'll be meeting from 9:30am onwards at the Fix Coffee place near the Barbican on Whitecross street so if you want to join and ask Ricoh some questons or just have a chat please come along.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Friday, 21 October 2011

Foggy Mountain

A small series from my drive up to the top of the Semenic mountain nearby. The weather was grey and rainy at the bottom and foggy at the top, a complete change from the sunny weather of the past two days.

Just as a reminder, the Ricoh meetup will go ahead in about a week's time on the 29th in London. The location will be confirmed shortly, due to my travels it got pushed back a bit.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Parked on the Street

GXR A12-M, f5.6, 1/570, ISO 200, JPG, 75mm (Leica Sumicron f2.0 50mm L)

Went around the little village in Romania to take some pictures, the weather was really nice and great for walking around and taking pictures. Nothing too exciting since the place is not very exciting so no series but just a single picture.
I like how the Leica renders light, it also produces a very warm and soft image compared with the more contrasty and sharper Nokton or the GR lenses in the A12 modules.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Toy Train

In Romania now but I had to spend the day sorting out through pictures since I ran out of space and needed to create a backup. Since I have been travelling a lot without access to the internet I also had to prepare my blog pictures and posts so it was a light day for photography but a productive day in other ways.
This is not a exciting picture but I quite like the result from the Pixlr-o-Matic app.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

In the Driving Seat

Spent the day mostly travelling to Timisoara so did not take many pictures, this is actually one of only 4 pictures I took. I had some fun with it and the Pixlr-o-Matic app on my Asus Transformer tablet.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Back to Berlin

Another day, another city and this time it's Berlin. I used mostly the Voigtlander Nokton f1.4 35mm lens and the A12 28mm module today.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

A Day in Potsdam

After the day in Werder, I had a day in Potsdam to walk around and take pictures. The GXR is a great travel camera and the A12 modules complement each other very well although I ended up preferring the GXR Mount A12 and use the manual lenses on it sinceit was faster and more reliable to get the focus right.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Impressions from Werder

Spent the day in Werder (Havel) in Germany and got out early to take some pictures of the island while the morning fog was still there. Missed out on the best light since I did not get out early enough but it was still not too late.