A number of issues have come up in the last few days as a result of recent posts that I haven't done a very good job of following up on. However, I'd like to address a couple of issues that arose from Mitch Alland's post yesterday.
First, a technical one: curiously, none of TOP's brain trust, including me, knew what should happen in theory to the maximum aperture of a fixed lens when a wide-angle converter is screwed on to the end of it. It's always fascinating to discover the extent of one's own ignorance! However, experimentally we've determined that the maximum aperture of the GRD III's fixed 6mm (28mm equivalent) ƒ/1.9 lens doesn't change when the GW-2 wide-angle converter is used. It does indeed become a 21mm-equivalent ƒ/1.9. With a constantly-lit subject and the lens set at ƒ/1.9 in Aperture-priority mode, the shutter speeds are the same with and without the converter. Whether the same would hold true for all add-on wide-angle converters—don't know.
Secondly, I was surprised (and disappointed) that several commenters seemed to have trouble with the premise of Mitch's post, which is clearly stated in its first sentence: "...for my work, the new Ricoh GR Digital III produces ISO 1600 files that are greatly improved over those of the GR Digital II." What could possibly be controversial about that? What he's saying, for those of you who didn't get it, is that, for his work, the new GR Digital III produces ISO 1600 files that are greatly improved over those of the GR Digital II. I hope that explanation makes everything more clear.
The key phrase is "for my work." And why would anyone approach someone else's work with the implicit expectation that they have to like it? Does anyone approach all photographic work that way? All plastic art*?
I find that idea both alien and absurd. You can respond to work however you want to, but what anyone's work looks like, or ought to look like, is up to the artist. With a mature practicing artist or photographer (i.e., not a newcomer or student), we respect the fact that their work looks the way it does because that's the way they want it to look. You have to take it at face value and accept it or reject it for yourself based on what you see.
Mitch is going for a very particular look with his pictures; I've been looking at his work for at least a dozen years, and, although he's changed and evolved over that time, he's never strayed from his basic aesthetic goals and preferences. The fact that you don't share those goals, or that you might use different equipment or materials if you were to do that kind of work yourself, is meaningless. All Mitch is telling you in his post is how his new camera works for the uses he needs it for. It's an admittedly limited data point, of relative interest to various readers based on how it relates to what they like and what they might want to do, or what kinds of pictures they want to look at. (It wasn't a referendum on the work. Also, it was only a small portion of his overall review of the camera, the other parts of which were published on the Rangefinder Forum.)
It's futile to approach art by saying, in effect, "if only." If only Mark Rothko had done sunsets, if only Picasso had liked pink instead of blue, if only Norman Rockwell had been an anarchist nihilist. Like this? If only Mitch Alland took the kind of pictures you take, then maybe he would prefer the camera you use? That makes no sense.
If only Winogrand's horizons were straight. If only Witkin wasn't such a necrophiliac. If only Juan Buehler would shoot Tri-X. (This could get fun.)
How you respond is up to you. What they present is up to them.
Mike*Glossary Dept.: "Plastic art" means painting, drawing, sculpture, etc., not artworks made out of plastics.