Saturday, 8 August 2009

Links to My User's Review: Optional Viewfinder

R0016597 (Medium)^The other photo I posted of this same scene looks like a big fire having been broken out. Fact is, it was the flame-like orange brightness of the sun shown on the edges of the clouds against an opening with a view to the sky

In case you're considering the viewfinder V-F1 for the GX cameras, or virtually an optional viewfinder for your other serious compacts, here are the links to the old posts of my review of the V-F1:

1) VF-1 Impresses Me: Observations of the external features

2) Viewfinder Spares You Troubles: The benefits of using the viewfinder

3) Stability and Variations: Two other advantages of using the viewfinder

4) ACES: Conclusions and final words

In addition, there are two posts about the significance of viewfinders:

5) A Scene as a Framed Photo

6) E-P1- Importance of an Integrated Viewfinder

Friday, 7 August 2009

Selected Excellence: Migrant Mother

Destitute peapickers in California_ a 32 year old mother of seven children . February 1936

^The photo is an edited version to the original with a thumb on the lower right edge shaded.

The photograph that has become known as "Migrant Mother" is one of a series of photographs that Dorothea Lange made of Florence Owens Thompson and her children in February or March of 1936 in Nipomo, California. Lange was concluding a month's trip photographing migratory farm labor around the state for what was then the Resettlement Administration. In 1960, Lange gave this account of the experience:

I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean- to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it. (From: Popular Photography, Feb. 1960).

The images were made using a Graflex camera. The original negatives are 4x5" film. It is not possible to determine on the basis of the negative numbers (which were assigned later at the Resettlement Administration) the order in which the photographs were taken.

(The photo was collected from the Library of Congress of US. It is not copyrighted.)

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Heartquake: Ricoh Interchangeable-lenses GZ-1

(A postscript has just been added by the original author of the Chinese post that the whole thing is faked. That's bad taste.)
It's time to save up some money! The following fresh gossip is believed to be an intended leak from some person in the know about the next challenger in the pipeline after the E-P1 and E-P2.
In view of the pent-up demand among photographers for lighter and more portable photographic products, Ricoh, Pentax and Samsung are working jointly on an upcoming camera which will incorporate the image quality afforded by a DSLR and the portability of a DC. Pentax is responsible for engineering the down-sized version of its DA15 Limited lens (re-branded to Ricoh) while Samsung will supply its 14MP CMOS sensor adopted in K-7, K20D and other DSLRs. Ricoh releases the patented body of its quick-selling GRDs which is to be adjusted and expanded to be the GZ-1, an interchangeable-lens type of portable serious camera.
The above photo is reproduced from callbusy's website, which it claims to obtain from a special channel. Obviously, the GZ-1 retains the twin-wheel design of the GRD and the GX200. The dimension of the camera is a wee bit bigger than the GRD. There is a square LCD screen on the top, which does not seem to give much space for adequate information display. The LCD, understandably, will feature Ricoh's new 3 inch high-resolution LCD screen as seen on the GRDIII. Besides these, the built-in flash and the red LED focusing assist-light will be added on the top of the camera. The shutter-priority mode is available as observed on the dial. The lens attach-release button is situated in the front of the camera body. It is a fair bet to say that the next step for the three musketeers is to develop more lighter interchangeable lenses.
It is learned that the lenses will adopt the like of the M4/3 mindset, meaning that conversion mount-ring will be developed to make the PK Mount lenses available to the GZ-1. It is also reported that Ricoh will come up with a new algorithmic solution specific to the 14MP CMOS.
The collaboration is believed to take the three parties to a, well, win-win-win situation with Ricoh diversifying its photographic products, Pentax expanding its market share in the lenses market and Samsung covering a wider territory in camera sensors and electronic consumer items.
The release date of the new camera is yet to be known (I would say around Christmas, the traditional spending season).

GRD III Reference and Comparative Shots (incl. vs GRDII)

image ^GRDIII at F1.9, 1/14s, ISO 154

Now that the GRDIII is piling up in shops for sale, the Japanese photograph compatriots are coming up with photos on the Internet.  Besdies the useful links put up by Pavel of ricohforum.com, the following tables should make good reference for you fellows who are inquisitive, puzzled or ticklish at every new camera.

Reference Shots

The first table  mainly shows photos taken with the GRDIII at f1.9 and/or high ISO (some shots are of the same scene at various ISOs).  The photos are at reduced size but give an idea of how the new camera performs in these two areas:

Aperture full open f1.9 1/3s (f2.8  1/2sf4  1sf5.6  2sf8  3s; f9 4s)
  f1.9  1/20s at ISO 100 (f1.9  1/50s at ISO 200)
  f1.9  1/270s at ISO64 (f2.5  1/143s at ISO64)
   
  f1.9  1/15s at ISO 154
High ISO f1.9  1/1000s at ISO400
  f1.9  1/48s at ISO400
  f1.9  1/32s at ISO 383
  f1.9  1/39s at ISO400
   
Good reference shots at other values
f5.6  1/500s at ISO 64
  f4  1/250s at ISO64
  f5.6  1/500s at ISo100
  f5.6  1/640s at ISO100
   

 

Comparative shots

The following table puts together photos of the same night scene.  The CX1 is included to give an idea of how the two most recent cameras from Ricoh compare with each other.  And how GRDIII fares as  compared with E-P1 and DPs at high ISO IQ?

     

Shots

taken

with

 

   
  GRDIII GRDII E-P1 CX1 DP2 F200EXR GX200 G10
  64 80   80 50   64 80
ISO 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
Values 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200
  400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400
  800 800 800 800 800 800 800 800
  1600 1600 1600 1600   1600 1600 1600
      3200     3200    
      6400     6400    

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Now, the E-P2

The above engineered photo has been circulating on the Internet for some time. Now the rumour has gone further, probably closer to the truth. The latest issue of Chasseur d'Images, a French photography magazine, reveals in its latest issue (#316) that Olympus is working on the E-P2 to be released by the end of this year. The successor (or a hasty update? A calculated step?) to the E-P1 is reported to finally feature a viewfinder, the lack of which and the same of a built-in flash are at the heart of the challenge targeted at the camera.
But if there is really going to be a E-P2 with a viewfinder as suggested, the not-so-small-sized digital PEN will be even bigger. And most likely the price will go up into the higher-grade DSLR's territory. These may defeat the intention of photographers who wish for DSLR's IQ in a camera without the price and size of it.
Anyway, other advisable upgrades: high-resolution LED screen, faster auto-focusing speed, wider choice of lens. But, could this be the competitors' tactics to slow down the sales of E-P1 rather than a rumour in the wind?

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Make a Wish

R0016922 (Medium) ^A Match: the scene conjures up and now the image still does a feeling of hope which is wearing thin as the day draws to an end, connotated by the confluent clouds to close the piece of blue sky. Held up my GX200 to it, I made a wish and shot the picture.
R0016927 (Medium)Traumatised by some personal problem, a friend mine has recently been diagnosed with hypochondria, the infamous psychologic illness which makes the sufferers blue about just anything. She is having her black dog with her, so to speak. This reminds me of the very bottom in my life which I hit some years ago. Those darkest days seemed to be lasting forever at that time. As a habitual photographer, if I can call myself it, I have been keeping photographic records of my life and the lives of people close to me. For that matter, I can tell exactly how long those days were by looking at the period when I ended up with little photos.
Life is full of ups and downs, yes. But this fact is more easily known up in the head than on the heart. For those who have been through the bumpier roads, we know it well as the back of our palms that the ups and the downs in fact do take turns. Most people believe that there are good times and there are bad times. No, they are wrong, I can tell you for sure.

R0016929 (Medium)^I spent some twenty mintues photographing the lamp posts against the darkening sky in late evening. The composition is crisp with the complementing colours to my liking and amazement.

If life is a path, the ups are always on one side and the downs on the other. We always have both at the same time but are often oblivious to one because of the prevalence of the other. When it seems that the bad luck waylays us to bring us down, it doesn't. It has always been there. Fact is, we have been kept afloat by the good times which get all of our attention.

So, my friends, and dear readers, if you happen to be in a fit of bad luck, simply turn your eyes to the other side of the path of life. Count what you have and the joy you have tasted. Make a well wish.

Make a wish, especially when you see these matches. Maybe even more so when you've got a camera with you.

Don't despair. There is always hope when your path of life have two sides, and it certainly has.

Photography Contests and Activities (Hong Kong Only)

image

Probably for the large number of commercial powerhouses stationed here, Hong Kong is regularly with sponsored competitions of all sorts coming up. Photography competitions are certainly the commercial sponsors' popular choice.

Besides the dozen of photo contests separately organised or sponsored by a district council, the HK InvestED, the Radio and Television HK, the Civil Engineering Department, Greenpeace, Jurlique, HK Yahoo, Canon, Sony, Ricoh and Nikon (still going on) over the past seven months, there are two other photography contests coming up.

The first one is organised by the HK Science and Technology Park (picture above), for which you may check out the details here.

image

The other one is organised by the Wetland Park, which is less enticing prize-wise. The details are available here.

To accompany the photo competition, both organisers will hold some activities and talks on photography about the related themes.

Get going, take part in a photo competition. You may take some good photos and yet may not win. Well, winning takes more than a good photo. But afterall, you gain experience, with which you are set to become a better photographer.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Model-like Postures

R0016525 (Large) ^This was taken in a local public housing estate.  One third of the local population is housed in the government funded estate.  People living there are understandbly less well off but largely, because of the same reason, more casual and friendly.  If you're in Hong Kong and hope to take some photos with an atmosphere, you cannot miss the public housing estate.

I simply like the tubby guy's posture.  First grade.  This is Sunday.  Have a good day.