Bonding with a camera.

Photography

Remote Toy Car

There’s no secret in how to bond with your favorite camera. The first and only thing that you have to do is: You must have a strong desire to shoot good photos. The more you shoot with just one camera, the more you and your camera would become ‘one’.

The best advice i could give if you really want to ‘do photography’ instead of becoming a camera collector. Use your camera until you feel like selling the rest of your gear. It could be a bit too harsh. However, It’s true that I’d been in the mood for selling my X100 for weeks now. It’s strange that I’ve not ever thought about the opposite – selling my GRD….Ricoh you’ve won my heart!

For those who don’t know me. I only own two cameras (GRD IV & X100). I can’t imagine someone with ‘a collection of cameras/lenses’ at home. I know certainly there’re camera collectors out there. But I’m more fascinated into actually shooting with one that gives me constant results.

I think it’s a very good sign to come to this point, thinking about actually selling my beloved X100. In a photography standpoint, it means I finally found a camera to work with (rather than just use it).

The image quality of X100 is far superior than the GRD for sure. When it comes to the focusing system, Ricoh is far more ahead and easy thumb control over all the settings I need; It’s like telling myself why persist and linger on a sluggish piece of gadget (the X100) that would not improve my photograph as a whole.

I can’t ask for more with the mount-on OVF and snap focus combination. It’s quick when I squint thru the OVF and click. It’s accurate to frame it this way with fixed frame marks versus jumping frame marks when hitting the shutter on the X100. I just won’t miss.

One tip I would like to share with you. If you use your camera long enough, your camera should appear some kind of wear on the body (at least on my GRD). I appreciate the scratch and wear so much. It’s become a tool not a collectible. And that makes a camera sexier!

*Image 1 & 3 shot with my cellphone and ran it with the Flare app on my mac. How do you like the artificial grain 🙂 It was for fun.

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.

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

My tale of an optical viewfinder on a compact camera Ricoh GRD IV

Photography

I thought i’d be satisfied with the stock Ricoh GRD IV shooting photos happily with the LCD screen. Until I looked at my photos and deleting them one by one, even more frustrating is the shutter speed that I shot with the photos; they were more than I could handle 1/10, 1/8 and even slowest 1/4. I could get a sharp shot with my Lumix G3. So what else am i missing?

There’re two factors that caused the handheld shake:

  • Weight of the camera
  • Pose when not using an optical viewfinder

Yes, I went from over 500g to 200g. Seriously i don’t get blur from cellphone…that’s not an issue.. The pose? I have my elbows locked beside my ribcage. It’s steady, i’m darn sure on this. It’s just that I’m not too used to shooting photos this way. I feel like I’m holding a food tray or something. Weird… To shoot photos with a viewfinder becomes my second nature and it does improve my composition quite a bit. Prior to my G3, the last time I used an optical viewfinder was from a cheap Olympus film compact camera. I had no idea how to shoot photos back then (more than 16 years ago). I never understood why many says a viewfinder helps you compose a photo. I was thought the LCD screen in the modern days does everything you need easily, directly, comfortably..without squinting our eyes. My experience on G3 even with the modern Electronic Viewfinder is so unique. I get readings, stats, histogram, other info of what I’m doing while maintaining my focus on what I’m shooting. It’s just nice!

So I trusted my instinct and believed buying an optical viewfinder GV-2 for my compact – Ricoh GRD IV is a right choice. I like the camera obviously. The viewfinder costed me a bunch, ehh..you go check the market price tag and you’d know. It’s not cheap for that tiny piece of accessories. That’s how the camera manufacturers make money these days. The moment i slid it on, it made a huge difference. I immediately felt like I’m not shooting with a compact camera no more. I feel like I’m using more of a camera that I’m accustomed to, with more edge to it. The results I got were surely exactly what I want from the viewfinder. The shake caused by handheld was gone or greatly reduced to acceptable level. The scale is 1:1 on this viewfinder, I get exactly what I aim for in my photo unless I shoot macro (plants, tiny objects).

This little box contains an über expensive gadget

“Seeing is believing” is a bit cheap. I’d say “Testing is believing”. I shot moving vehicles with motion panning. I was able to catch it with my G3. I tried not to use the optical viewfinder to shoot with 10 attempts. They were ALL FAILED. I really thought, man, i suck. I told myself I did it with a G3 before on a viewfinder, I’ll try it out with an optical viewfinder on the Ricoh. Booooom..I performed my first panning shot. I nailed it with the optical viewfinder, and guess what, the GRD IV can do this kind of shot. It’s a nice serious compact camera. Very snappy!

Ricoh GR Digital IV w/ GV-2 optical viewfinder

With the viewfinder pose when shooting photos, I can lower the ISO even when shooting at night without blur. But then you’d ask, how am I get the readings from the LCD screen? Here’s how

I tend to half press to display the shutter speed when I get to an area (let say an alley) i intend to shoot for before hand. I tapping from time to time to get a sense of what ISO i need before shooting unexpectedly.

We always chimp on what I shoot anyway, I get around and got the results I wanted. I ease all my wonders and doubts on a viewfinder without data reading. I can do it, so can anyone!!

Ricoh GR Digital IV w/ GV-2 optical viewfinder