Guide to Ricoh GRD IV – Hi Contrast Black & White


Another round of Photographer Digest (my first & previous one was about Zone Focusing). This is my second one with a bit more samples. So, Here it is!

I normally shoot with the plain black and white filter. Usually I got nice results from time to time depends on the mood. Tonight I forced myself to try with the hi-contrast black and white filter. It’s got a very coarse grainy film like effect.

I came up with a few thoughts after shooting with this filter tonight. To be fair I had not taken any good shots and basically all of them go in to my trash bin. It’s always good to see realize my own failure and correct it on the next shoot.

It’s extremely difficult to get a good shot with the right ‘CONTRAST’ given I set my exposure to -0.3EV the whole time (at night). It’s challenging to have any contrast when the environment hardly had any light on. It’s not ideal to use this filter in dark places. The high ISO will make your photo even worse.

Right before I go to bed, I played with my Ricoh’s exposure. I wondered why the filter is  always making my photos so damn dark. I bumped up the exposure value to give it a shot. Surprise! I got myself a hi-fi black and white photo that retain most of the details I want. Speaking of enlightenment.

With the Hi-Contrast Black & White filter, exposure control is your stick shifter.

When it’s dim, bump up the exposure value marginally – so as the ISO (as you’re going to get a slower shutter speed). When it’s bright, tune down your exposure value to get more details off the shadows and such.

-0.3 EV
+1 EV
-0.7 EV
+0.7 EV
0 EV
+0.7 EV

As you see the samples i’ve taken, the exposure requires changing, even the lighting it’s pretty much control indoor. We can’t just stick with the 0 or -0.3 EV the whole time like how we do everyday. And at last I’ll show you a hi-fi black & white of myself by bumping up the EV to 1.7. I’m backlighted in the mirror. It’s perfectly normal to set the EV above 0.

0 EV
+1.7 EV (i like posing with a camera :P)

I know this is not an orthodox method of producing images in the standard photography world. But this is how I get the best result out of the Ricoh image filter. See for yourself!

Any other thoughts you would like to share are welcome 🙂

P.S. I’m putting up a Tumblr blog titled: Alan P. in Hong Kong. It can be accessed from my header link all the way at the top. It’s basically a supplement of this blog with odd/offbeat/blurred/random street encounters in images; not necessarily street photography per se, as some are not qualified to be. Go follow me if you’re using the Tumblr platform too.

Push to The Limit with Ricoh GRD IV + GW-2

Blogroll, Photography

Some described the Ricoh GRD as a photographic sketchbook. I don’t disagree. It’s a camera that has all the controls that a pro would use, just the sensor and quality can’t compare to the DSLR. But how bad can a GRD IV be? I’ve always asked.

Right. A compact point & shoot can never match up with the mirrorless and DSLR in terms of control and quality. I won’t say further as there’re tons of reviews, impressions, field test reports out there, you could read it all you want. I’m not here to persuade anyone to go out and get a compact camera. I’m only showcasing what accessories Ricoh are offering for their GRD series.

Ricoh has been very smart when it comes to releasing accessories. The wide angle conversion to change from 28mm to 21mm requires 2 components that we need to buy , GH-2 adapter & GW-2 wide angle conversion lens. They both bear a heavy price tag even though a price reduction can be done if you find the right shop. The conversion can actually make your camera very useable in real life practices. I’m saying if you go travel and don’t want to carry heavy equipments. This is the best possible setup you could shoot ultra wide angle photos with.

Ricoh GRD IV + GW-2 + Voigtlander 21/25mm OVF

The wide angle lens adds about 150g to the camera. Making it front heavy (i’m getting used to it though. Not really affecting during my actual shoot. Only awkward when holding at rest). The rubber lens hood is really made out of rubber. It’s elastic rubber!! Some people complain about it. I understood the reason behind why they make it as such. The adapter is doing a great job attaching the GW-2 lens to the camera body. It’s just that the adapter mount is external, meaning in short, it can’t take a huge hit like all the outer interchangeable lens mount. The rubber petal hood was designed when it’s taking a hit, the rubber can both protect the lens’ front glass and take out some of the impact to the GH-2 external adapter mount. That’s my own observation. 🙂

To complete the 21mm conversion, I paid for a Voigtlander 21/25mm OVF..why the Voigtlander? it’s cheaper than the Ricoh GV-1. I love their logo anyway

The OVF is accurate. Absolutely a must-have for landscape photography which I still do from time to time.

Tonight I brought this setup with me and tested it out at night. It’s a harsh test for a compact camera to shoot at night by any means. I attempted to push the camera to the limit to see what this thing can do with my limited skill and experience. I’ve seen great photography being done by many folks on Flickr with the GRD IV. I’m a believer. It’s the skill that makes a photographer good, not entirely the gear.

View from Ferry Pier, Central , Hong Kong
ISO 250, f8, 3.0s
View from Central, Hong Kong
ISO 125, f6.3, 3.0s

Seriously, I think they’re great although I don’t know how i’m doing. They’re perfectly fine if you don’t try to zoom in too much. SOOC colors were slightly washed out from the original standard image setting. Only minor contracts, white/black points and midtones had been adjusted.

I’m convinced that my GRD IV can do great photography to the extend which I thought it’s not possible until I spent time with it (other than my routine candid shooting).

Plus, it gets me excited to customize the GRD. It’s A TOY to me. So damn fun.

P.S. It’s an extremely windy day. Almost thought the typhoon was striking HK…those were hard earned photos.

Continue to Push to The Limit with Ricoh GRD IV + GW-2: Episode II – Tamar CGC

Today was a day of sacrifice: Ricoh GW-2 Conversion

Blogroll, Photography

Sacrifice? I’m not a religious man. I love my Ricoh GRD IV so much and convinced myself to get the wide conversion kit (GH-2 + GW-2). And the grand total did not come cheap for a compact like GRD.

I’m not sure if it’s worth it yet. All I could say is, the conversion does add weight to the camera. The camera immediately become front heavy. Makes it not too easy to shoot with one hand. My GV-2 OVF becomes obsolete. Either I go get a 21mm one or just remove it (too much of a hassel to remove it anyway). The GH-2 was made with hard plastic with a metallic touch though. It’s sturdy and clinch onto the GRD threads securely. Plus, there’s a lock button that prevents it from turning. That’s a pleasant surprise and good news for me. I do not wish them to fall apart.

The distortion of the conversion lens only occur toward the corners. The center part remains the same (sorta). Making the environment photographs must easier to frame with. I think it’ll be a little detour for me to escape from the street photography (Doing it daily can wear me out). While there’s no pressure whatsoever to do landscape, i see it as a time off to have a more relax approach in photography.

Tonight I tested the wide angle conversion lens in the streets of Causeway Bay and Wan Chai. Originally, the photos were taken with normal bypass bleach. The high ISO i used washed out most of the colors and details. The traditional b&w was a bit boring. Therefore, I played with the sepia and faded the colors out a slightly bit. They looked quite alright to me. What do you think ? ;}

The Butcher
The Butcher
Steaming Clay Pot Rice on the street
Steaming Clay Pot Rice on the street
Chinese Voodoo 打小人
Chinese Voodoo (打小人)
well dressed lady with hat by a SaSa sign
old lady with hat
One of the very few Pawn Shops that own the entire premise.
One of the very few Pawn Shops that own the entire premise

I have not made any comparison with or without the conversion lens yet. I know some shots would definitely need the aid of the lens to get the entire view (ex. the pawn shop). Some didn’t, but hey; nothing’s wrong to shoot anything with a 21mm wide angle lens. As many users have said, it adds dramatic effect to your photos. Now i believe.