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Showing posts from November 30, 2008

Selected Excellence: The Real Me

Can you tell for sure the difference in portraits taken with a compact and a DSLR?  We have the honour to have the courtesy of Ye Li from Shanghai to publish here some of his works taken with a Canon 5D along with a DP1.  The two sets of photos are to be published in two days.  Today, this first set is from his album titled, "The Real Me".(Courtesy and copyright of Ye Li.  Taken with DP1 and Canon 5D)Okay, go check the photos.  Can you tell any difference?Hey, not enough?  Can't tell any difference yet?  Alright, more coming.Wow, admirable works!The answer will be given tomorrow.

Selected Excellence: The Sad Clown

As a climax to finish the "compacts for portraits" discussion of this week and to encourage you to start taking portraits with your compact, here is an indoor portrait by Mark with his GRD. Mark has actually done an awesome lot of great indoor portraits on his blog, An American Peyote Scribble. His saying that photography is "for guys who aren't into drag [drug]" is very true. Visit his blog and you will read that he is addicted to photography enough to learn even how to handle makeup for portraits!
(Courtesy and copyright of Mark Melnykowycz. Taken with GRD
The Sad Clown story by Mark: He has little ambition or direction in life, schooled on the streets and usually found sleeping in the gutters of Paris, he sports a stripped sweater, yellow button-down shirt by Ben Sherman, and occasionally a sport coat by "WE" and a tie by the same label. The Sad Clown smokes 15 year old cigarettes and laments on the laughs he cannot produce due to this wasted life o…

Ricoh Discount Offers to Herald the Coming of GDRIII?

(UPDATE ON 15 Dec) I have learnt about the news for some time but there was no official proof. This morning I wrote to the local dealer and they just put up a press release on its website. So, If you are coming to Hong Kong and craving for a GRDII/GX200/R10, mark that Ricoh is offering Christmas discounts here in Hong Kong as follows (prices in HK dollars; US$1 = HK$7.8): Ricoh GR Digital II (was $5,500) 30% off to $3,900 Ricoh GX200 VF Kit (was $5,000) 10% off to $4,500 Ricoh GX200 (was $4,500) 15% off to $3,900.00 Ricoh R10 (was $3,180) 12% off to $2,780.00 (Do exchange rates here) This means that the previous street price, say, for GX200 at $3,450 here dives deeper now. Now, read between the lines, they axe the biggest 30% off the price of GRDII! Clearly, this is a typical move to sell out the stock. Clearly, the new cycle is on its way: the discount is very likely heralding the coming of GDRIII. So, may I correct myself that if you are craving for a GRDII, think twice before …

Post Processed Blur

(Portrait with digital blurring effect)

What is a digitally blurred background in a portrait really like? I just bumped into some portraits done with a G10 in which the photographer blurred the background by post processing. So, let's further the discussion on compacts for portraits a bit with some more examples.
In the second part of the post on portraits, the advantage and disadvantage of extensive DOF with small sensors for doing portraits were discussed. Advantage: Great for quick candid portrait (and images with razor sharp eyes which are important for portraits; I should have mentioned it). Disadvantage: not really possible to blur the background; but it can be achieved in post processing or turning on the Marco focus.

(PP blurs: What do you think?)

Digitally Blurred versus Marco On

For the digitally blurred background in the above photos, the photographer must have meticulously done the PP work. To my eyes, however, the blurred background lacks the sense of transition in a…

Selected Excellence: Portrait by Mitch Alland

(Courtesy and copyright of Mitch Alland. Taken with GRDII)As a follow-up to first and second posts on compacts for portriats, this intriguing portrait neatly illustrates that a serious compact can do portraits as well as a DSLR/ SLR. This picture of a lovely lady was taken by Mitch Alland with a GRDII on a 40mm tele-converter at f/2.4 and 1/73 sec., ISO 400. It was done in a RAW format file which was post-processed in Lightzone. Mitch is located in Thailand and has proven his skills in doing portraits with a compact in his Flickr portrait set. Check out this portrait again. The soft light befitting the charming lady came probably from a natural light source through a nearby window. Was it a window facing north? The rule of thumb is that north facing windows give light of a stable amount and quality in the daytime throughout the year, while the light quality through windows facing other orientations changes constantly as the sun moves. The north facing windows serve best as a natural l…

Popular Photography's GX200 Review

The Popular Photography Magazine has just published a belated review (an early write-up for Christmas?) of the GX200. It says in the review that the camera has been tested to be Excellent on colour accuracy, which GX200 users would have expected. Once again, cameras with colour inaccurancy and poor AWB should be biased against because these are the bigger-than-noise evils which prevent a photographer to use a camera as a camera: that is, you have to take the extra trouble to tweak the colour setting/ AWB almost every time you change a scene. You're gonna forget the tweaking for some first shots somehow sometimes. You will be obliged to do a harder PP work to correct the images. The reviewer also says that GX200 scores an Excellent grade for images up to ISO200 only owing to the noise issue. A better noise performance for high ISOs is a plus for sure. But when an where do you use high ISOs actually? The more common situation I can think of is for indoor social shots. With some simpl…

Can I Do Portraits with a Compact and How (Part 2)?

The first part of the article was posted yesterday. This second part gives some tips form experience for doing portraits, especially with a serious compact.
(Lock Me in Your Heart: This was taken with a Minolta Dynax 7, reproduced here with a P&S) The Good News (Continue from Part One) Thanks to the extensive DOF of a small sensor, serious compacts are great for candid portraits on the street too. Usually, you don't wish to be intrusive in doing a candid portrait or shot in a shilly-shally fashion. One of the ways is to take the shot with a fast shutter speed while you walk on. (Old Man Busked in Dreams: This candid shot was taken while I walked along in a park. The extensive DOF of GX200 allowed me to use a faster speed for this quick shot) Otherwise, you may shot in a hidden position that requires you to stick out the camera, press the shutter and retreat the camera. On those occasions, the huge DOF will allow a slow f-stop to accommodate a fast shutter speed. The best part of it…

Can I Do Portraits with a Compact and How?

The first part of this article offers a user's observations on shooting outdoor portraits [meaning formal and causal portraits with a human model posing for the shots, and candid streetshot portraits] with a serious compact [meaning any digital camera with a 1/1.7” sensor (or approximate size) like GX200, G10 and LX3]. The second part published in the next post gives some tips from experience for doing such portraits.
(Circles, Squares and You Are There: The children's playground has a lot of forms and shapes for doing composition. I took this by climbing up the monkey bars, calling the girl for attention, and shot. It would be much less convenient to do with a bulky DSLR/ SLR) If you have not done any portraits with a serious compact or have actually dropped the idea, read on. I did some portraits with the GX200 last week, partly for the November Ricohforum photo contest but mostly for fun. In fact, I have been doing formal and casual portraits for some 20 years with my Minolt…