Today, we are going to learn some useful insights from Colin Bradbury in his mini review of the GRD II. Colin is a professional photographer stationed in Hong Kong. Photos are copyrighted to him.
By COLIN BRADBURY: Just back from 2 weeks in rural England with the family over Christmas. Since this was a family holiday and not a photography trip I wanted to travel light. On that basis I left my DSLRs at home and took the GRDII as my only camera to save weight but also to see how useful it would be as the only camera in a variety of photographic situations. I have to say I was very pleased with it and didn't miss having a zoom or longer lens at all. The 28mm is a perfect single focal length and proved itself useful in a variety of situations. Landscapes are clearly well suited to the 28mm but less obviously I have also found it to be great for portraits. With a 28mm you are forced to do 2 things. First, to get in closer to the subject, which gives the images a real feeling of intimacy. Secondly, I found myself naturally including more of the surroundings in my people pictures, making them much more interesting as environmental rather than just 'straight' portraits.
(Bodmin & Wenford steam railway, Cornwall. Available light portrait)
As far as settings were concerned, I bought the camera primarily for it's high degree of manual control and ended up using manual exposure, Spot metering and Spot AF most of the time. The ability to switch to manual focus for landscapes and 'action' shots (pre-focusing in the case of the latter to make use of the large depth of field for the 28mm) gives the GRD additional flexibilty and expands the range of situations where the camera 'works'. Overall, the user interface is very intuitive and the shortcuts which I used for rapid shifting of ISO and focus modes were used regularly.
(Porthtowan, Cornwall. Use of wide angle / perspective)
I had been considering buying the 40mm and 21mm converters but I think I will wait awhile and make myself learn much as possible about the potential of the 28mm. There is definitely something satisfying about taking photography back to basics and I think one of the really attractive aspects of the GRD is that 'less is more'.
About Colin: 20 years photographic experience. Started as a hobby - landscape, travel, underwater photography - then 9 years ago I spent 3 years studying for a photography degree before turning professional. I opened 2 high street portrait studios and ran them for 4 years. Also continued to work as a freelance photographer covering sailing, local press work and landscape work for local tourist board. Current gear - GRDII, Nikon D2x, Hasselblad 501.