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Wednesday, 20 June 2007

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It's a 24-72 lens.
Still I think the price is too high. I'll hold out for a similar size camera in K-mount ;-) to attach my Pentax FA 43mm Limited lens and my other pancake lenses!

Mike--

I received my GX-100 today, with the VF-1 viewfinder. I own both the Leica Digilux 2 and the Panasonic LX-1, both compacts that have gained interest as the professional's small camera. As I get a chance to shoot some pics, especially in DNG, I will pass on my impressions.

I am not a pro, but I am extremely impressed with the build quality of the camera. The viewfinder is, well, a viewfinder. Excellent quality for its size, and virtually no lag. But it is so small, the image is good for only framing a shot. I can't see effectively manual focusing through it.

When I can put some shots through it I will pass on more thoughts. At this point I am quite pleased, but it's not a perfect camera.

Why heed to all the amateur and pro photographer wishes for a compact camera, and ignore the main one complaint, small sensors with high pixel counts?

Especially since it is definitely not a mass market camera? More and more I understand Tom Hogan's frustration with camera manufacturers.

This camera rocks. Seriously-- it was like a wakeup call to me. Why? Simply put, most of the important settings -- shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, exposure compensation -- are exposed in the camera's physical dials and buttons. Want to disable the flash? Well, simply don't pop it up! Want to change the shutter speed or aperture? Use the two independent selector dials!

The GX-100 is a far, far cry from today's other digital point and shoots -- the ones whose only important control is the zoom toggle (which, infuriatingly, doubles as the interface controller for every feature of the camera.)

The GX-100's design is nowhere near perfect, but it has by far the best ergonomics and controls I have ever seen on a compact digital camera -- and this is the 7th I've owned. It reminds me of the days when I actually LIKED to use my cameras!

I've grown sick and tired of crap designs that force me to click 5 times to disable the flash, or click mutliple times with fingers on two hands to modify the ISO. From now on I will NEVER buy another camera that doesn't give me at least the amount of manual control that Ricoh provides on their cameras.

Blah, it does not say how easy it is to use the non-idiot modes like aperture priority or shutter priority....

What an interesting review, not one mentioning of what sort of photos this camera can produce. Don't people take photos any more with their cameras?

Richard: It doesn't have a shutter priority mode. In aperture priority, you adjust the aperture with the front dial, like any DSLR. You don't select a fixed aperture, but a fixed number of steps from the largest possible at the current focal length.

The manual mode is silly: the front dial is used for aperture, while you need to flick the rocker on the back 20 times to go from 1/10 to 1/1000 when you go out your front door.

Hey, Volker, try reading beyond the first page of the review. Lotsa photos, even downloadable RAWs for you to mess with.

But, you know something? I don't blame you for not having gotten that far. That is one of the most gawdawful unreadable web sites I've ever visited. The only way they could make it worse would be blue text on a black background (I've seen that-- my eyes still hurt).

ANIMATED ads surrounding the text? Popups that float into the field of view?? WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING!?

I will never, ever visit that web site again.

I'm sure glad you've got better taste than that, Mike. Otherwise I'd not only not be reading this 'zine, I'd not be writing for it either.

The horror, the horror.

Oh. Yeah. The camera. Too much money, too little image quality for me. Ergonomics count, fer shure. But, if the pix don't look good enough to begin with, it ain't gonna be a pleasure to use even if the controls feel like velvet.

pax / Ctein

I don't know what it is exactly about Ricohs, but there is something about that thin body and pancake lens that reminds me of my first 35mm camera, which was a Ricoh 35ZF, if I remember correctly.

It looks like an interesting camera, but like many others I want an APS-C sensor (heck, I'd settle for a 4/3rds sensor).

Ctein, you need to get a good browser with a good ad blocker. The site looked fine to me... (Firefox with AdBlock Plus is a fine combination).

Dear Chris,

Firefox is my browser of choice, but I didn't know about AdBlock Plus.

Just installed it. It rocks.

Mucho thankyous!

BTW, if you want to make your eyes bleed, turn it off for a mo' and go check out PhotographyBlog.

pax / Ctein

I'm a long time Ricoh GR1 user. In fact (apart from an xpan) it's the only film camera I have used for the last year (mostly work with a brace of R D1s) so this looked promising and I got one about a month ago.

It lasted about a week and I traded it for a GR-D with an external mini VF and some money....

Major problem for me was the VF which "freezes" whilst writing a RAW file. Drove me nuts!

Also I'm not really good with zooms....

Finally its quite a bit bigger with the VF than the GR-D and "shut down" certainly not as rugged feeling.

Both take too long to write RAW files....

Clive
www.clive-evans.com

A noisy ISO 400 is completely inexcusable. 5 years ago maybe. Today, no way. Otherwise, this looks to be a pretty capable camera.

RAW write time with my 133x Lexar SD card is about 4-5 seconds. Slow but bearable. I'm not shooting sports with this. Even when photographing kids I haven't noticed a big problem with the write time.

ISO 400 isn't great out of the box but the files clean up rather well in the RAW processor -- not that I do too much of that. The grain pattern is even and tight. I get away with ISO 100 and 200 for the majority of my shots, and the image stabilization helps.

Last night I shot a bunch of snapshots outside during a gathering of my friends. I was shooting with available light as long as I could get away with it, which was about 8pm (ah, summer nights). After that I popped up the flash and kept snapping away and still wound up with great images.

Call it diminished expectations -- I don't expect to have a digital point and shoot that writes continuous speed RAW files and shows no grain at ISO 400. But with some willingness to budge a little bit on these demands, I find that the GX-100 is a very capable camera that accommodates all of my photographic abilities and then some. I bought it for its manual controls but I am quite happy with its image quality.

What is missing from this review and from the comments so far, is that this camera takes what looks to me like excellent black and white photographs. The "noise" that people complain about at higher ISOs looks very much like traditional Tri-X style film grain. Go to flickr.com and search under GX100 and BW or Black and White and see what I mean. Also check google for web galleries of folks who are working in black and white with this camera. Secondly, it has real optical image stabilization, so you can get a couple extra stops while shooting at ISO 100. So yeah, it ain't perfect, but I think I'm going to be able to do some nice work with it. When I do, I will post again.

I've been carrying around cameras for years. When I finally became interesed in digital with the 20D and eventually moved on the 5D, I thought I'd attained nirvana. However, I'm getting older and the joys of a 5D and bag full of L's is beginning to wear off. I love my 5D, mind you, and use it every day, but I am now in need of something small that I really will take with me everywhere I go. I've been waiting for long time for something like the GX100 to appear, and it finally has! You can't even get them in Canada, where I live, as the distributer went belly up. Despite the potential pitfalls, I broke down and bought one from Adorama yesterday. It arrives tomorrow and I can hardly wait! I'll let you know what I think.

Cheers,
Hugh

I think these are nice examples to illustrate stevierose's point:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/8616656@N05/525909604/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/54702724@N00/466039843/

Seem them at All Sizes->Original. The exif says the ISO on the first one is the rather weird value of 1467, which seems about right going by the grain (this one: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8616656@N05/528128964/ is 1600), and on the second is 800.

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