I've taken to the little Ricoh GXR pretty readily. At this point I've just unboxed it, toyed with it a bit, and taken a few quick snapshots—haven't even cracked the manual yet. When I took the above I was trying to see the LCD—I missed the clip-on VF-2 in the box amidst all the foam peanuts. I expected a bigger box.
The GXR is handy to hold and fun to shoot with. I can definitely see why people tend to like the UI. I especially like the camera with B&W, much to my surprise. It's not often that that happens.
The top shot is converted from RAW (looks better bigger, but you'll have to take my word for that—a touch overcooked small. Looks a little too dark through the TypePad software, too). This second version is the out-of-camera JPEG, which you can tailor to your taste in terms of contrast and sharpness—you can see some of the tweaks I've made to the top version (click on either to see 'em a bit bigger). The out-of-camera JPEG isn't horrible, though.
You see a paler, brighter version of this on the LCD and in the VF-2 when shooting in B&W mode. So—as you can with a number of other cameras, though far from all—you can shoot, review, and edit without leaving B&W, and then start from a color RAW to make the real conversion on any shots you like. The point I'm wending my way painfully toward is that if you assume the top version is a decent simulation of what I think B&W ought to look like, then you can see how close the camera's default rendering comes to it. (Some cameras in B&W Mode are so horrid I can't stand to subject myself even temporarily to their idea of "B&W." Most film B&W is pretty bad, from "student grays" to the Ansel-wannabees' "soot and chalk," but the digital world can be a veritable house of horrors when it comes to utter cluelessness—both from practitioners and manufacturers—about monochrome. It's no wonder at all that people don't care for it.)
And the files seem to retain highlight information well for conversion, another distinct shortcoming in many digital cameras. The skintones look pretty good to me so far on my 27" iMac monitor. (The above—not sharpened for showing at this size, n.b.—looks almost—dare I say it?—filmlike.) Too early to tell, but the few test snaps I've done so far (mostly things like backlit window curtains, bright crap back in the bokeh, nothing to show you but that tell me what I want to know) are encouraging.
I have a feeling you're going to be SOL if you want me to talk about color rendering with this camera, as I suspect I'll spend my three weeks with it shooting B&W. (But give me a day or three to zero in on its weaknesses, and we'll see.)
This is just a camera JPEG too:
Much more typical shot of Lulu, whose modeling skills
are, I have to say, hopeless.
I'll be going out with it again this evening. Plus, we'll have a nice review of Peter Turnley's Paris workshop (which I missed, why, why?) this weekend. And I still need to post Vlatko's XZ-1 review. More anon,
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.