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photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

A new Ricoh chapter

a narrower view

in Ricoh , Tuesday, December 28, 2021

I’ve been waiting for this a long time. No, not just since September, when it was launched and became immediately unavailable. But since I started using its distant ancestor 2 decades ago. While 28mm was fine, and indeed often ideal, I did find that that it was a pity to restrict such an excellent camera to a single focal length. Well, finally the remedy has arrived: of course, I’m talking about the Ricoh GR IIIx, a “normal” Ricoh GR, but with a 40mm equivalent focal length lens. To be be absolutely honest, I would have slightly preferred 35mm, but I know that even if a lot of people agree with me, many more wanted 50mm. So 40mm is, hopefully for Ricoh, a good compromise. And so far, it does seem to be a bit of a hit, although obviously within a small niche market.

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First ever photo with the GR IIIx. The sky renders exactly the same silky way as previous GRs

So far I have skipped the GR III in favour of remaining with the GR II, feeling that it appeared to take away some key GR features, albeit while adding new ones. So not only the focal length but also the handling were going to be new to me. Well, on first impressions I have to confess my fears seem to be groundless. If anything, the handling is improved.  The somewhat fiddly focus point moving setup is now fully replaced by touchscreen focus point selection, which works really well, and I haven’t really missed the AF button or focus mode lever yet. And the move of exposure compensation from dedicated toggle to the multifunction lever hasn’t really phased me. The other big complaint on the internets, overheating, so far has not been apparent, but that might be because it is pretty cool outside right now. Time will tell.

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First ever macro mode photo with the GR IIIx

But the first photos - well, I’m delighted to say they maintain what is to me the magical rendering of the 28mm version. The colour, detail, rendering, all these photo buzzwords, are just gorgeous.

I immediately decided to indulge in some more comfort shopping, ordering a silver lens ring (so that it would be easy to tell at a glance from the 28mm version), and a telconverter and adaptor. Despite the fact that the availability of the teleconverter was in January, the whole order turned up the next day.

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It’s early days yet, but so far the GR IIIx (my 7th GR camera) is more than meeting my expectations.

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All shots here taking during a short mountain bike tour, saved as raw/DNG and lightly processed in Capture One.

 

 

Happy with Hasselblad

better late than never

in Hasselblad , Wednesday, December 22, 2021

It’s taken a while: I bought into digital medium format with the Hasselblad X1DII some 18 months ago, and it has taken me that long to get comfortable with it, and start enjoying using it as opposed to feeling like I was testing it, or even fighting with it.

Actually, a comment from one of the YouTubers I occasionally follow out of boredom chimed with me, in a reverse sort of way. He said that with digital medium format landscape photography you almost always have to focus stack. I wrote something similar I believe, some blogs back. Well, that’s an illustration of what I mean by fighting with medium format. Shallow(er) depth of field is a characteristic of medium format, it contributes to the whole look. My reply, now, would be that if you want infinite depth of field for your pixel peeping, then choose a suitable format, like APS-C or Micro Four Thirds. I’m pretty sure medium format film shooters don’t focus stack - does Michael Kenna focus stack? I don’t think so. Salgado? I doubt it. Of course if the real underlying reason for going with digital medium format is to have Yet More Megapixels, well, go ahead, fight with it.

As mentioned here, I finally managed to get out to the Verzasca valley with the X1D. As far as I’m concerned it was a great success, although the results haven’t exactly gone viral on Flickr. Using the 21mm lens gives a pretty good impression of an XPan 30mm lens too, so the XPan kit may well be edging closer to the door, especiallxy given the quite remarkable offer I received for it recently. Honestly - it’s not worth it.

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Hasselbad X1D pretends to be an XPan

It is very difficult to clearly quantify what I get from the X1D over Olympus Micro Four Thirds. I certainly don’t want to denigrate the latter, but somehow the X1D photos seem more realistic. The slight improvements in dynamic range, in resolution and colour accuracy all add up to more than the sum of the parts. In some situations MFT photos give me a slightly artificial feeling, although the benefits of that system are still a very strong argument.

If it ever becomes possible to travel again, I’m still not sure I would take the Hasselblad kit, but for “local” work, in situations where I don’t need high flexibility or low weight, it is now my default system.  And I’m keeping a close eye on the secondhand market for a 135mm lens.

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