Breath the air – a Nexus 4 afterthought

Mobile Phone, Photography

Young & Old

Breath the air
I always wanted to do a review of my overall photography. A review of how I’m doing with my photo collection, techniques in shooting/post processing. As a reference, I had gone from going on the street daily and wander around and reduced down to 3-4 days a week. The duration of each session is not as long as before either. I travel not as far as I used to. Why is that? I think I slowly realized some of the better photos are usually not the ones that I travel far. They are the ones that I’ve observed enough and not too fatigued.

When the sun is above our head with plenty of jogging does make us tired eventually. It doesn’t matter if you’re athletic. Even a boxer would have a much slower reaction time and alertness one round after another. For a longer cycle, I try to be relaxed and easy. I even rest between the days when I shoot.

Old tree

I’d been framing my photos with the optical viewfinders. There were several occasions (Sunshine Stanley) I found myself failing in doing so, it’s when the sun is up ahead. It’d really kill my eye. There’s no way but to use the LCD screen (beauty of digital?). I, then realized there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. I get shots that I want, period.

The story does not end there. Until my recent phone upgrade, Nexus 4, it changed my shooting habit a bit. Not that because of the LCD screen, it’s the attitude towards photography. I learned to breath the air. I must also admit, slipping out a phone from my jean pocket is far easier than taking a camera out from my bag (which I never do it, either it’s in my hand the whole time or it’s not when done shooting). My phone is always with me, photos shot by my phone completes another part of life story.

An ordinary day: here & there

Seeing and using is believing. Either the LG or (the camera unit by Sony) is doing a good job at keeping the size of it so tiny! The lens just is 1.5mm in diameter. The color rendering and sensor are what I love about it. The exposure is always spot on, I’m amazed still. Just that, I could throw my GRD out the window. It’s got a dynamic range that I would not believe it has. By that means, the JPEG is good enough and very workable. You see I’m actually processing my photos as if it’s a camera, but not having it as 1:1 with image filter.

Their own world

The exposure maintains unbelievably spot on in dim lighting. A very high level accuracy even my real cameras won’t able to archive by default (auto) without the consideration of ISO level. The Nexus 4 does not pick up light when there’s no light at all, while our real camera is still able to perform. How often do I shoot in places that dark anyway?

The skin tone and color tone is even more accurate than my GRD. I actually see humans a human more than a ghost…colors are vibrant enough not to a point that’s over-saturated. Whether it’s balanced enough, I can tell the white balance is leaning toward the blue side. It happens to be my preference. A lot of these things can be post-adjusted.

I must mention again, I actually learned to use ‘Curves’ in post processing. Lots of credits goes to and thanks to the built-in image editor. I had never done that over on my Mac, I did not believe it’s that easy. And I’m tweaking my photos with the curves now. It’s really the basis of how to turn a vision into an expression.

5 thoughts on “Breath the air – a Nexus 4 afterthought

  1. Interesting to read that you consider the jpegs to be better than from your GRD. Quite fascinating how a modern sensor can improve the image quality despite it’s size. Reason why I think the Pentax Q does a better job than my GRD3.

    I really like the first and last photograph, Alan.

    1. Thanks Wouter! I think at the end of the day, the best reward for any photographer is the pleasing image results. My phone offers me a second chance to appreciate photography in an alternative way by framing with the LCD, i rarely do so.

      Man had set the standard film size at 35mm, it’s not 5mm more, not 5mm less. Man set it once, man can set it again. Sensor size to me is just numbers. It’s irrelevant to what I actually see from a photo.

  2. Wow, trading in a GRD for a phone, now thats a bold statement!
    Wonder what Ricoh will come up with this year (rumours about a larger sensor).

    Nice shots Alan!
    And nice to read you are enjoying yourself while on the streets, that’s whats its all about in the end right?

    1. Thanks Lenni. I doubt that I would consider a new camera even if it’s a much better GRD. I got just exactly the gear I need for what I do. GRD might just wow the crowd again. The true soul of GRD is really not the camera itself. It’s the influence on people. Much like the niche but strong loyal community I see from Leica.

      The size of the sensor would greatly determine the price of a GRD. Ricoh will be very careful with that. I would rather see them increase the quality of a small sensor, especially the performance in higher ISO, a lens unit update, sleeker body…

      I would not trade in a GRD for a phone. It’s just that my phone is always accessible when I’m not shooting with a camera or when it’s in my bag.

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