Sometimes, the question popped up by a user of ricohforum also lingers on in my mind: Are you triad-proof, Nevin? No. But they (and the likely gangsters) with their special style and look always stand out in the crowd and catch my attention. I have been warned that I could get beaten up one day if I go on shooting them in the street. In fact, I got warned off once in a local red-light district. Luckily I was not shooting but just checking out photos in the screen and walked away unscathed.
Friday, 12 October 2012
(100% crops of the following Jpeg originals and of the Lr4 processed images can be viewed here)
I brought a memory card with me to the Sony Store this evening to try out the A99. With a hefty price tag, the Sony A99 needs to give lots of grist to support a buying decision. The speedy focusing, the right ergonomics (and very light weight in its class indeed) and the comfy button layout are not to be doubted. The white balance and dynamic range look fantastic even though this is not a scientific conclusion. But the noticeable smudgy images at ISO 6400 and above are characteristic of the algorithmic approach of Sony's sensor used in its Alpha and Nex cameras. The question mark on the IQ aside, fitting a EVF, however excellent it is – and it is, in a top-of-the-line FF camera is a miscalculated step I think. At least, it is a regretful deal breaker to me.
Thursday, 11 October 2012
For street photography, the Ricoh GX200 still proves to be my dearest darling which quite surprises me sitting next to my camera cabinet filled with photographic gear including a SLR, a DSLR, a Leica X1 and the D-Lux 5.
It has always been clear to me, and it is not really a random opinionated big talk to conclude so, that to a predominant proportion of amateur photographers who have seldom a chance to make a print larger than A2 size (an example here if you wonder how big A2 is) what matters the least is a camera's image quality. I am not saying that IQ is not important. But when comparing IQ becomes a matter of comparing her to her, we're just talking about a matter of preference. What applies to comparing beauties to beauties, the same logic applies to comparing similarly impressive cameras of the same class.
For sure, technology has made quantum leap in increasingly shorter circles. What is the best camera now can easily descend from the throne in less than a year's time. Undoubtedly, by today's IQ standard, the Ricoh GX200 sucks beyond ISO 200. But with some self-importance and some experience in testing and trying out a number of them, I can easily say that the GX200’s photographer-friendly ergonomics, function accessibility and (choice of really relevant) functionalities still excel in face of many of today's same-class peers and even the mirror-less machines. An exception is probably Samsung's EX2F. I tested the EX1 back when it's first up for grab in the market, and was impressed enough to suggest it to people until the EX2F came out earlier this year. Its user interface is nearly on a par with Ricoh’s handy serious cameras. The EX2F's functionalities are great too (check out a video review here from 1’53” to 3'33”)
I initially hoped to get a camera to replace my D-Lux 5 and GX200. But I can't find a worthy replacement. The GRD4 is great but I am a VF user and will therefore need to shell out extra for a dedicated VF in that case. Now I am not giving up the GX200 and so will also keep the other.
A mugshot of my darling GX200 by the D-Lux 5, grain added in Lr4:
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
I have a great afternoon with my trusty GX200. After much testing and trying and searching for a new camera befitting my need in doing street photography, I still can’t find one capable of beating the Ricoh's in terms of the user interface. GRD4 is the only better choice for IQ's sake. But after an afternoon with the GX200, it is obvious that the camera does offer great IQ up to ISO 200. What're most endearing and important to street photographers are its superb ergonomics and consistency / straight-forwardness in customisable functions which, unlike the Sony RX100 for example, do not feel falling all over different buttons and wheels in a confusing way. No street photographers will be happy to miss the shot presenting itself around the corner just because the camera obliges him or her to fumble for the right buttons and wheels. Either putting most functions in those physical elements or hiding them in layers of menus make not much difference in accessibility to me.
Tuesday, 9 October 2012
Some shots can get one fixing the gaze at it and reflecting on the essence of life: what’s important and what's not. Which is why today's shot and an earlier shot of mine hold my attention much longer than usual when I look at them. I think a reason why street photography appeals to street photographers is the chance to catch an image worthy of repeated contemplation in the street. For such pictures I really study the subjects and can't help wondering what is happening to them and the sadness growing in them. I hope that this couple can go through the sad situation soon.
Monday, 8 October 2012
Just as anyone, I had been less aware of people in wheelchair and had had not the faintest idea of how depressed and worried a person could get being confined to it until I was so last month. The first thing I did when bumping into the man was to see the worry in his eyes and paced faster (but not really as I am obliged by the recovering foot to move at a snail’s pace – but then I still carry a camera, diehard street photographer) forward to take the shot.
I have been fancying a used RX100 lately and got a hands-on only to find that it didn't give me the smooth workflow the cameras I tested and used, in particular a GRD, can offer. The RX100’s buttons and what they control are not consistent in different modes or at least not straight-forward. The top-plate mode dial is too rigid. The MF mode lacks a scale for facilitating zone focusing setups even though one can work out the rough distance in focus. All of these added to make it a less ideal choice for street photography. You know what I mean if you've tried the GRD – the king for street photography.