I found this thing sitting out by the side of a busy local road as if it were a ten-year-old Chevy Lumina. Like somebody's going to be driving by, see it, and think, "Hey, I've been thinking maybe I should get an old crane. What if I ever need to lift some girders or knock down a building? I should take down that number." But who knows, maybe they'll sell it. It is Waukesha.
All three of these pics were taken within shouting distance of dusk tonight using the 28mm module on the Ricoh GXR.
All three look better bigger, but whaddaya gonna do?
It occurred to me that I'm not really being fair here, because I'm using the VF-2 electronical viewfinder gizmahickey, which I like, on the GXR, and I don't even own the equivalent DMW-LVF1 for my Panasonic GF1, and the only Olympus Micro 4/3 I've tried was the E-P1, which didn't even accept the slide-on EVF (also called a VF-2). That was the major update of the E-P2. Having to frame the picture with the live view LCD is great indoors, when it's brighter than an optical viewfinder would be; but outdoors, where everybody who says you can see it fine is lying, it becomes a pain. The EVF solves that. The tilt feature of the VF-2 is more appealing than I thought it would be, too.
There's nothing to take pictures of where I live. I need to move to Prague, or Ireland, or the Orkneys. Anywhere but here. (Don't listen to me. I don't even know where, or what, the Orkneys are.) Don't you hate it when you come back from shooting and you want certain pictures you took to be good, but they're just not? That always happens to me. I wanted one I took on the other end of this car lot to be good. Alas, it wasn't. It's always hard to let those go. Sometimes you catch yourself working on those shoulda-been-goods thinking, grimly, this is good, goddammit, it is. But you can't make chicken salad out of chickenshtt.
Is this a Lumina? Whatever, this picture shows the Miata driver's nightmare. All I like about it is the "Ultimate Rides" sign in the background. One admires a used car lot with aspirations. Waukesha is the land of car dealers. We have 4,000 used and new car lots.
No we don't. I'm exaggerating.
It's time now for me to jump into the GXR's manual. One problem with computational-device digi-picturetakers is that if something goes wrong and you haven't read the manual yet, how do you know if it's a device failure? You sure? Sure you didn't press the wrong button, bump something, or let the wrong electrical impulses slip from your brain synapses into the camera circuitry? The GXR quit working on me at one point tonight, and I don't know whether I should blame it or not. Coulda been me. Who knows? I turned the camera off, slid the lens module and the VF off, rebooted, and we were friends again.
I'm liking the GXR because I already trust its results. There's nothing worse than coming home with a halfway decent picture but finding the file is so sucky (for whatever reason) that you can't eke what you want out of it (happens with negatives too). The viewing screen on the back of the camera is a great boon, for sure, but it's a betraying bastard sometimes, too. Its scintillating tiny bright perfectness occasionally promises more than the file can deliver in the cool glow of the computer back home. This was ISO* 1600 at twilight—there was still some light in the sky—handheld. It looked good on the viewing screen—but who knew?
You can't pixel-peep this; it's a mite ugly at clinical distances. But it would print.
The other salient fact of the GXR so far (still first day, remember) is that it's completely different when you're just using the thing than when you're evaluating its odd concept and cost and figuring out if you can construct the outfit you want. In use, it's just a nice large-sensor compact with a 28mm, friendly and handy and nice, whatever you think of the weird way it got to be what it is.
Since I still don't have any idea what the "ADJ." toggle on the back of the camera does, though, I do need to crack the book.
*By the way, I was wrong the other day when I said "ISO" was not a technically correct term. It is. I contacted the ISO (International Organization for Standardization [sic]), and was informed that the ISO standard for determining the ISO speed ratings of digital cameras is ISO 12232:2006, Photography—Digital still cameras—Determination of exposure index, ISO speed ratings, standard output sensitivity, and recommended exposure index. My bad. Sorry.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Hugh Crawford: "The 'ADJ.' control on the back of the camera—that's the Adjective toggle. The default is for the camera to take pictures of nouns like apples, knives, or string. If you set the Adjective toggle, then the camera is set to photograph qualities like red and round, or sharp and pointy, or tangled and tied to a balloon. It's this year's version of art filters.
"I hear the 'recklessly impulsive' preset is a real hoot."
Mike comments in an aside to all the rest of the readers: I love it when Hugh gets on a roll....
Featured Comment by RobG: "Mike, re the Manitowoc crawler—you'd be amazed at who might buy it. These things are darn useful; depending on the model they can be rigged as a crane, a dragline, a piledriver.... Got any more pics? (Yeah sorry, I have a bit of a thing about cranes and big earthmovers.)"
Mike replies: More Manitowoc-crawler-porn for Rob...
Featured Comment by Jack Nelson: ""I'll hold off buying until they add the ADV switch. Swiftly, slowly, darkly...."
Mike replies: TOP has devolved to grammar jokes. I love it.
Featured Comment by Alastair Smith: "TOP has 'devolved' to grammar jokes? Don't you mean 'declined'? Bad grammar jokes are catching, I'm afraid: watch you don't get inflected!"