21mm street photography with Ricoh GRD IV + GW-2

Photography

i read paper
i read paper

Just woke up (had a nap, skipped my dinner). I had dreams of my college years. I had a dilemma if I would be different, if I was already photographing back then. One thing I know for sure, I did not have photos of me taken during my stay at universities. I’m quite regret.

It’s been more than a week since last time i posted pictures of my street photography. As promised, together with the results from 21mm.

It was a quite a challenge to adjust from 28mm to 21mm when shooting on streets. Not only because of the focal length, but also the extra components that needs to be added to the GRD. Frankly, I was skeptical if it’s even necessary to use the GW-2 (21mm conversion). Well, I really had spent my past two weekends to see the difference myself.

I carry goods
I carry goods

I have nothing against the original 28mm GR lens. I just did not want to see my GW-2 sitting at home covering with dust. The extra component added weight and little bulkiness to my GRD setup. At the end when I compare the size to my X100, the GRD+GW-2 is really only slightly longer with the conversion kit. The gear has not too much influence when I’m really shooting. I found myself when using the 21mm, it encourages me to go even closer to the subjects. It’s also because I wanted the shots, so I adapted by stepping up to people and get into zones.

Newstand owner: What I sell is bad for you, read book instead.
Newstand owner: What I sell is bad for you, read book instead.

When shooting on the first weekend, I was mainly framing thru my OVF. I slightly messed up my distance with the OVF. After that weekend, I told myself not to be fooled by what I see with the OVF. I needed to program myself to get into my zone prior framing my shots.

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Personal gaming station
Personal gaming station

In my second weekend, I felt I wasn’t pressured to shoot. I cleared out my mind and did random shooting. I really think I carry this mentality every day.

Indulgence
Indulgence

World stops with ipad and cigarette
World stops with ipad and cigarette

Where you at?
“Where you at?”

U eat, I eat. Let's eat!
U eat, I eat. Let’s eat!

Tea time snack: fish ball
Tea time snack: Curry Fish ball

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Alright the following ones are from the first weekend of shooting.

Full gear for rain
Full gear for rain

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Wheelchair lady

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Umbrella man
Umbrella man

Looking for shelter
Looking for shelter

My conclusion to the 21mm. It’s totally possible to shoot street photography. Image clarity is acceptable when ISO setting is below 1000. Anything higher than ISO 1000, the image tends to be blurred with the distorted megapixel (not motion blur). It’s best only using during the day.

I’m currently messing with black and white. I have not touched my X100 for weeks (covering with dust). At some point last week, I was thinking about selling it to fund for an iMac. But then It’s always good to have a spare camera around, moreover it’s a great piece of gem. It makes good photos too.

Alright the B&W had much to do with a few photo books I bought over the weekend, including Daido Moriyama’s “To Another Country” (published in Asia). It’s a day to day journal like writing of what he’s doing/thinking at the time he’s traveling for photography. There were some photos but not in particularly good quality. I wish to see more. So I’m thinking about getting more from the black and white master – Daido Moriyama’s Record photo books. Plus, also thinking about order from Amazon. Oh yea, I want to expand my photographic knowledge by seeing others’ work.

I’m very moved by his dedication to his passion – photography. He’s 74 this year, a few years older than my dad. Given the fact that Moriyama san drinks and smokes quite regularly, he’s still in shape doing his work. I’m very glad he’s still enjoying his life very much. As he had mentioned in his book, his life is at the stage of late autumn and entering winter. He also wishes himself he could still be in good health, and carry his little camera, walk to places he wants to. He was 69 when he wrote that. I very much wish him in good health and produce more work for the world of photography.

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

Photography

A very humid and foggy day it’s in Hong Kong. Fortunately, there’s fair amount of wind blowing, made my city architecture shot attempt turned out okay. I brought my portable gorillapod for the shot. This is something I enjoy doing once in a while really. Doing urban lanscape is a very relaxed activity, it’s yet a good dose of ‘photography med’  after a whole week of street photography, hehe..

The place where I went shooting was in Admiralty, Hong Kong. Admiralty really doesn’t have much in it. Mostly a place for offices, 5 star hotels, and a few interconnected shopping malls. And also a whole bunch of bus stops. It’s a ‘gap’ between Central and Wan Chai. It’s only filling in the space. However, it’s an interesting spot for shooting above the highway/streets. There’re bridges all over the place.

I went up to the new Central Government Complex (添馬艦新香港政府總部辦公大樓) podium as it’s opened to the public not too long ago. The CGC is a beautiful place at night. The huge arch-like structure reminds me of the St. Louis Arch.  It’s modern, quiet, I’d imagine it’s going to be a great place for couples dating 😛  I’d…

Central Government Complex (CGC) - 添馬艦新香港政府總部辦公大樓
ISO80 f7.1 6secLight trails on Connaught Road and the SkylineISO125 f8.0 4sec

Central Government Complex (CGC) - 添馬艦新香港政府總部辦公大樓
ISO800 f2.8 1/6sec

The last photo was a bit of a gamble. I didn’t want to push my ISO higher. 1/6sec s. speed handheld. The far away lady added mood to my capture and showing how tiny she’s compared to the building.

It’s proven once again. The 10 megapixel Ricoh GRD IV has the necessary flexibility to achieve shots like these. It’s got enough dynamic range and gosh,..the setup weights only a fraction of a DSLR and perhaps a bit lighter than a mirrorless. Well, mirrorless is another animal, i won’t go there. Most importantly, it’s done with a compact point & shoot camera.

Thanks to the GW-2 21mm lens conversion, i was able to capture the entire block of CGC. Happy shooting with yours 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.

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