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Thursday, 18 April 2013

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One of my favorite P/S walkabout film cameras of all time is the Nikon 28tI. It has taken MANY wonderful B+W as well as color images over the years. Prime lens quality, meter capability, and overall functionality are its attributes. If the GR can live up to the reputation of the 28Ti, Pentax/Ricoh will have a winner! IMHO....

"The big problem with OVFs on digicams, of course, is that you don't get focus confirmation..."
I'd have said, never having used one of these lash-ups (a completely anachronistic nautical term), that the problem's bigger - they don't afford any information at all apart from the framing. So how do you use them? Frame the shot approximately on the screen, making appropriate exposure adjustments and then lifting the camera OVF to your eye? Call me obtuse but this is bonkers (a slightly anachronistic British term meaning inoffensively insane.)
Roy

GX200 has been my main digital camera even though I've owned a few DSLRs. I've shot with it in Japan, Hong Kong, all over France and USA. I can't let go of it even though some of its functions do not work any more (the flash was gone during the tropical rain season in Southern Japan). It is still more fun to use than the Nikons. This new GR is what I've been waiting for.

I'd always dismissed WA fixed lens cameras. My favorite prime was close to normal (40mm on a HiMatic & 28mm on my previous DSLR). While I know I've shifted over time from predominantly tele to a mix, I was still surprised to see evidence of that. My family spent this past weekend in Concord, MA for the Patriot's Day celebration and I decided go light and take only my recently acquired Sony RX100. I looked at the EXIF data in LR on return and saw that fully 1/2 of my photos were at (28mm), 1/4 at (100mm) and the rest spread out all over in between. I'd always thought of 28mm as boring - an old man's lens. I feel like the guy who reluctantly drives a minivan. 35mm and 21mm or even 24mm are more interesting. Even the classic 50 has its charm. But 28 ? Well, I'm approaching 50 and my thinned scalp doesn't fool anyone, so maybe it's time.
Seriously, though, nothing like stats to let you see how you use your gear (rather than how you *think* you use it !) And to make a camera that once looked uninteresting suddenly intriguing.
(Of course, were I to actually buy another camera on the heels of buying the RX100, I'd likely never live to see 50 and fully bald !)

I will never understand the love affair some photographers have with wide angle lenses! To me it seems as though they just are too lazy to take the time to compose carefully with a longer lens, so they take photographs that include EVERYTHING with a wide lens so that there might just be SOMETHING good in there somewhere. I totally agree with Kirk Tuck, whose widest lens seems to be around 90mm.

[I'm the opposite...I once had to write an article about a very nice 180mm, and while I gave it a good tryout, my personal conclusion was that "there is nothing that is far enough away for me to take a picture of it with this lens...not even the moon." [g] 100mm(-e) is about as long as I can usually "see," and even that's difficult. --Mike]

Hope that 21mm converter pays it justice. This would be one nice step towards offering a very viable alternative for "the relative paucity of WA solutions—still—in many reduced-sensor (APS-C) DSLR systems," and their mirrorless alternatives- which also lack WA primes, relying instead on relatively bulky WA zooms. This compact set could cover one's WA needs nicely!

My favorite focal length is about 35-40mm but I can work with 28mm. What's more, this new Ricoh GR has a handy 35mm crop setting.

I attended a Pentax event in New York last year and had a chance to handle the Ricoh GXR. I think it had the 28mm module on it and I simply fell in love.

The camera felt like it was carved from a solid block of magnesium and (as they used to say in auto magazine reviews) controls fell readily into hand. This is one reason why I am excited about the GR.

"the GR might prove out to be one of those cameras that might not be widely popular among "consumers" but that could well earn a smallish but devoted following of dedicated photographer users who love it, like to use it, and whose work it suits."

This statement could apply to nearly every GR/GRD ever made.

I have a GT-1 which is a 40mm equivalent (x1.43) lens-adapter for my GRD2. It's a bad-ass piece-of-glass and ridiculously sharp, but if you have any kind of light source anywhere near the lens's field of view you get lens flare. Even in situations where you thought lens flare would be impossible you still get flaring.

I presume and assume that the problem would probably be even worse with the 21mm adapter, but I have no first-hand experience with it. Just a heads up.

Ray- Not that any one method is right, but I've always thought it was relatively easier to pick out just one particular detail and focus on that exclusively. It seems considerably more difficult to juggle and orchestrate a number of subjects or a variety of activities into one scenario and have them collaborate into one cohesive composition.

The trick is to effectively play off more than one visual/compositional element in a way that complements, contrasts, or isolates. Try it- if you end up taking photos that "includes EVERYTHING so that there might just be SOMETHING good in there somewhere," you did not succeed.

"I will never understand the love affair some photographers have with wide angle lenses! To me it seems as though they just are too lazy to take the time to compose carefully with a longer lens, so they take photographs that include EVERYTHING with a wide lens so that there might just be SOMETHING good in there somewhere."

-- Ray Anderson

I appreciate the challenge of composing at 20mm. You have to carefully select your background, avoid distracting overlaps, and apportion the elements of your composition more carefully than with a 90mm. Personally, I think telephoto photographers too often crop away all context and reduce images to too few elements---but the longest lens I've ever bought and kept is 105mm (or its equivalent).

I will never understand the love affair some photographers have with wide angle lenses! To me it seems as though they just are too lazy to take the time to compose carefully with a longer lens, so they take photographs that include EVERYTHING with a wide lens so that there might just be SOMETHING good in there somewhere.

Ray:

For photographers such as myself (i.e., ones who rarely uses any lens longer than 35mm and struggle even with that), dem's almost fighting words!

If anything, I believe photographing with wide-angle lenses is more difficult, not less, because it's not easy to include a lot of data in the frame and make it all work. That said, though, the primary reason I use wide-angle lenses is not to include more of the scene, but to expand the apparent depth of the scene.

Accordingly, I'm quite excited by the announcement of this camera, but my excitement is mitigated somewhat as I look off to the side of my desk and see my still-new-and-shiny Fuji X100S and WCL-x100 staring back at me...

Nice. 28mm and 21mm is exactly my setup in full frame (plus some uninteresting normal and tele primes).

The only thing keeping me from spending all my money in cameras right now is thinking that if I save it I can divert it to future cameras that will be even more wonderful. Also, I really don't need another camera at all, something other readers of TOP can relate to.

But it is really tempting.

Roy says: "I'd have said, never having used one of these lash-ups (a completely anachronistic nautical term), that the problem's bigger - they don't afford any information at all apart from the framing. So how do you use them? Frame the shot approximately on the screen, making appropriate exposure adjustments and then lifting the camera OVF to your eye?"

Well that's what decades of SLR's and rangefinders did before in-VF exposure meters became common :).

I think there're two types of photographers: those who like to play with exposure parameters in every shot, and those who don't. By and large, I fall in the latter camp and so I think do many others. My (non-smartphone) camera is almost always in aperture priority mode with face-detect or center-point AF. I can't remember the last time I bothered to use the DOF preview button -- I can usually pre-set the aperture (and ISO) by subject type, distance and ambient light. I'd miss a lot of shots if I tried to adjust exposure more carefully. In cases where I do actually have the time to do this (e.g. landscapes), I prefer to shoot first and then chimp it.

If I owned this camera (and it looks really attractive!) this is how I think I'd use it. The absence of focus info in the OVF would really be the only major fly in the ointment. More than confirmation, what I'd really like to know is what it focused on. Maybe an etched crosshair in the OVF and center-point AF would work.

Of course, there's an argument to be made for careful per-shot exposure adjustment etc, particularly for domains like landscape photography. But it's important to recognize both styles have their utility, and being able to point-and-shoot and leave exposure to the camera is actually a good thing in many cases (photojournalism, street, candids...)

Interesting how Ricoh/Pentax, Fuji and even Sigma are carving out little niches. You'd think that the biggies could have owned those niches by just using the stuff out of their spare parts/rejects bin, but it doesn't seem to work out that way.

I had a GRD 2 until recently with the 40mm-e adaptor, as 28mm-e is at the wide end of what I like. It was not great inless you really like flare. I hope the 21mm-e adaptor is better! On the other hand it was the only thing that was bad about that camera: I now have the GXR.

Pretty cool that the GR also has a 35mm equivalent crop mode, an interesting take on "digital zoom". That really has you covered for wide angle - 21mm, 28mm, and 35mm. Along the lines of your decision to buy a 28mm lens for the Nikon because you can always crop to 35mm except the Ricoh gives you the option to get the 35mm crop in camera.

Now, this looks like the digital Bessa 'L' I've been waiting for. Very cool.

I owned two original GR Digitals a few years back when they were still selling them new. Back when the write time for a RAW photo was eleven seconds, the flash was useless and shooting in manual mode disabled a bunch of user settings. Then there was the lack of quality control; the play and up key on both cameras of mine were prone to failure, which meant after-service. Normally an enormous headache, but I was living in Seoul at the time and once you got to the repair depot it was a ten minute fix (for free) by the tech. Once I moved back to Canada and the hardware again failed (on both cameras) they were chucked in the bin.

In spite of the lack of quality control and my aversion to wide angle, I made some photos that I absolutely love. I'd recommend anyone interested in the optical finders try out the Cosina-Voigtlander finders first. The Ricoh optical finder is the old plastic CV design as far as I can tell and for me the metal CV finders are way nicer. I still have my CV 28mm/35mm mini-finder because it's just a nice piece of hardware.

One of the neat aspects of the camera is the way the focus light was next to the camera so you'd get confirmation of something being in focus before you take your shot.

My theory is that photographers old enough to have originally learned on rangefinder cameras tend towards wide of the 50 mm 'normal', whereas those who learned on late film SLRs and on digital tend towards 50 mm and longer. As one of the former, I prefer well composed wider views to shallow dof close ups, which anyone with a long fast lens can do. But, no doubt, its horses for courses.

FWIW, there is focus confirmation in the OVFs of the Fuji X-Pro1 *and* X20. And the X100 and X100S have it, too. Hmm....

Looks nice, and tempting for when I next have camera money, but I would have preferred a 35mm-e with a 24mm-e adapter.

Two points and a question

The GR is not a "consumer" camera. It's a niche camera like its predecessors. OTOH, the GR/D line was Ricoh's flagship camera and they 'd want that niche to be a large one. I think that niche just got smaller with the omission of IBIS, a must for snapshooters aspiring to be enthusiasts like me.

I agree it's a WA specialist. For aspiring enthusiasts with less than stellar technique, wider is better as it allows room for cropping (frame intrusions). Even for WA specialists, cropping is inevitable when setting right "drunken verticals". This is peculiar not only for architecture shoots, but also for street shots with man-made objects inside the frame. Hence, Pentax Ricoh got it right by putting a 16 MPx APS-C sensor in the GR. (Just to repeat a heads-up: the GR is likely to be tilt sensitive like the GRD IV; both have two-axis tilt-level detection. The GXR, which has level detection only, is more "tilt-tolerant".)

The big problem with OVFs on digicams, of course, is that you don't get focus confirmation...which is more of a problem the longer the lens.

How about using a hood loupe with digicams as an OVF/EVF alternative? Has anyone used a hood loupe with a compact digital?

When shooting landscapes in the open in the tropics, the LCD screen is practically useless outside the golden hours. (There is no such thing as "open shade" in the tropics where you get sunburnt even in the shade.) When shooting a tripod-mounted camera in the open, either I'll have a dark umbrella blocking the sun, or a towel draped over my head and the camera for that "electronic ground glass" experience.

I see no problem using a hood loupe with a tripod-mounted digicam. But it's a different matter when hand-holding a compact camera. Most of the "universal" loupes I've canvassed online have dodgy, jury-rigged LCD-loupe interfaces. Defeats the purpose of bringing the camera to the eye for three-point stability.

(Ironically, the better loupe interconnects are those designed for DSLRs. I don't quite see the point of using an LCD loupe for DSLRs with bright TTL OVFs.)

Pardon the long (and a bit OT) question.

"I think there're two types of photographers: those who like to play with exposure parameters in every shot, and those who don't. "

- this observation by expiring_frog caught my eye. I've found that a lot of people who are relatively new to photography, and only ever used digital automatic-everything, often think that the camera has to perform a lot of arcane and unique calculations for every single shot. This irrespective of whether the subject lighting or composition have changed. I'm not trying to be patronising or elitist, but I think the problem with this has led to a lot of people never having to really understand how exposure / focusing works and what the important considerations are.

Paucity? Okay lets google it = "Scarecity"....Hmzzzz, now the sentence makes sense. Indeed I rejected APS-C for the same reason to venture into micro 4/3, We have the incredible Panasonic 7-14 and the great 9-18 from Olympus. Some 12's, some 14's, some 17's, some 19's and low and behold a 20 as well. Yesterday I payed 120 euro for a 19 after some hageling.....life can be great (thanks to product cycles this time).

But having said that we are low on quality tele's, and I don't mind that a bit. My longest lens is the 45 (or better a Nikon 50 on an adapter) and while having build some adventurous 1200 mm glass out of an old 70-300 and an adapter, well I don't really like teles as well Mike. Sometimes they work but most of the time their limited DOF and stumped perspective kill it for me. So if the GR gets a 21 mm adapter and a 35 mm as well, well it could be a documentary/landscape photographers dream setup, couldn't it?

Greats, Ed.

What? *Both* framelines in *one* finder? Madness! Don't Ricoh know they could've made twice as much money by forcing people to buy a 28mm finder *and* a 21mm? Madness!

From all reports, it looks like this will make the Coolpix A a bit of a non-starter. From specs alone, the GR trounces the A - more aperture blades, better LCD, more shots per charge, ND filter, smaller dimensions, and 21mm adapter. And for three quarters of the price.

There's also a quick-and-dirty lens comparison up on Photorumors, and, well, the Ricoh's lens is sharper and contrastier.

That's the advantage when you're small: you don't have to worry about competing with yourself, as Nikon does. If they made the A too good for the money, it would eat into DSLR or 1 series sales. Ricoh has no such issues - as does Pentax. Which makes the Pentax Ricoh merger look sweeter by the day.

Judging by the size of that 21mm adapter, it looks like a lot of the view through the optical finder will be occupied by the top of that lens.

Can just call them cameras now? The term digicams is dated and really superfluous considering there aren't any film point and shoots even available in stores. We didn't call film cameras "film cameras". Terms should be PS (point and shoot) Mirrorless, and SLR. Simple and accurate.

I don't understand the logic of a camera where the only standard viewfinder is the screen on the back ... so that to take a picture you walk around like a zombie holding the camera 2 feet before your face (and this isn't the only one with that issue). Yes, you can buy a separate viewfinder, and being a wide angle I could live with the lack of focusing info, but you're also forking out an additional >$200, which radically shifts the camera's value point. So, for me, no thanks.

If this camera is anything like as good as my old GR1 film camera (which enjoyed entirely justifiable cult status)it is going to be a winner amongst photographers rather than gadget freaks. Bring it on Ricoh!

21mm adaptor a tip to Pentax ... with their DA21

Possibly there will be further adaptors to bring equivalence of 43mm and 77mm?

I have just bought the old X100 ( Black) otherwise I would have been tempted ...

I've got both the 21-e and 40-e adaptor for my GRD, and while i agree with previous posters about the 40-e having a bit of a flare issue, the 21-e had no such problem (possibly because it had a lens hood which the 40-e didn't).
The only problems I've ever had with the 21-e were the time I put the lens hood on a little off-kilter and it caused vignetting, and the time there was a speck of dust on the rear lens of the adaptor.

I think they dropped the 40-e when they went to the wider aperture on the GRD 3 and 4 as it would have had to be huge and would probably have had a worse flare issue, so I doubt they'll do one for this too.

I used to have the optical viewfinder, too, but one day it fell out of my bag and I didn't notice. Aargh!!!

One thing about the optical viewfinder attachment for this and other cameras bugs me. How come they're so expensive?

JTW, there is a YouTube video with a nice explanation, or reflection, by Daido Moriyama, the photographer, about why it's often more engaging to take photos with an LCD — or with both eyes off the camera — than with an (E)VF of any kind.
And it's very lucid explanation.
Only I can add to it is that when you raise the camera in front of your eyes, at that same moment you also build a wall in between you and the environment — despite looking through the (E)VF to frame it. You become very less aware of the surrounding, that is constantly changing.
Finally, I can even argue that the photographers during the history have missed so many amazing opportunities because they were forced to use VFs — the only way to frame when using film — rather than LCDs which were unavailable.

@Zvonomir.

"when you raise the camera in front of your eyes, at that same moment you also build a wall in between you and the environment"

This might be true for some people and camera combinations, but I think it's far from a universal truth. My own experience is that certain OVF's heighten the relationship with the subject, and the camera can become invisible, as opposed to a wall. Remember that our perception of our surroundings is limited by a frame of vision anyway

i know this is an old post but anyway, just want to shamelessly point out an article written by me for threeguyswithcameras.com over at

http://www.threeguyswithcameras.com/2013/04/the-new-ricoh-gr

I compared the upcoming GR, with the GRD and and the GXR which I currently own and shoot (among other cameras), including the gestalt and purpose of these cameras as dream street shooting machines aimed primarily for use as excellent zone focusing systems.

I've included many pictures from my own archive to illustrate my point :P

As Mike say, these are really wide angle specialists.....

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