week 37 | 2011

Somehow this week didn’t start easy. First of I am having more pain in my left leg and lower back again, but I also saw hardly anything interesting. Did however notice that the pain distracted me, a lot.

Funny though that one single moment can be enough for the day to feel the excitement of having a (suitable) photograph.

Really, this is an issue in the Netherlands. You kind of forget that we are in a huge financial, economical, and social crisis here in Europe.

On Wednesday night we had a club meeting photographing in low light. Starting of with photographing sunsets for those who preferred to do so. Was very interesting to notice that half of the participating photographers started to setup their tripods and gave the sun hardly any chance to set. The other half was more occupied with photographing people. Photographed my friend here with an Olympus 50mm Zuiko f/1.4 on my GF1. This one was at f/1.4, no doubt about that one.

Thursday morning Ricoh announced the new GR Digital 4. And to me, Ricoh made the best GR Digital even better. Even though the changes and improvements are kept to a minimal in my opinion. Some of the main improvements are the introduction of the hybrid AF for better AF speed and accuracy. With a new optical filter for the lens and image processing engine Ricoh hopes to make the image quality even better, despite not upgrading the sensor (which is still the same as in the current GR Digital 3). The new camera comes with a image-sensor shift image stabilization function that should achieve a shutter speed increase of 3.2 stops at max according to Ricoh. Was the LCD screen already great of the GR Digital 3, now they made it even better with a new 1.23 million dot LCD which adds white pixels to the RGB pixels for better brightness and visibility when outdoors. Besides the black version there will also be a white version available (although I expect that most of these will be sold in Japan). Pretty cool seems to be the new metal cap that works with the lock function of the power button. Sure there is a whole lot more to see about the new GR Digital 4. So either check the information at Ricoh´s website or at Ricoh Forum.

I hope to try one soon to make my final judgement about the GRDIV. For me, the GRD is still one of the very few high compact cameras. It is small, has an amazing lens, the perfect user interface, well built, and just feels so wonderful in the hand. The grip, the feel of the materials. It is special. But there is competition. And these get smaller and smaller. An Olympus E-PL3 is just a bit larger with the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 lens and yes, more expensive. But it comes with a larger sensor providing better image quality and dynamic range and the option to use different lenses too. And while the option to change lenses is not the essence of the GRD, good quality  in a small package is. I regret it that Ricoh sticked to an older sensor, but that is probably also the result of Sony not making new developments anymore on this CCD type sensor. And that might give Ricoh a problem for the next GRD in two years. Canon decided to develop there own sensor which is now first seen in the new Canon S100. That however will be the most unlikely option for Ricoh. Currently the only alternative is the even smaller 1/2.3″ sensor and while these have come a long way and become better and better, I really don´t know if that is the best option available. I still believe it is better to seek a larger sensor to meet up to the demand of keeping the GRD the top of the line product and be able to compete with the best compact cameras.

Enough camera rambling for now. The light was so interesting the next morning. The September month can always be interesting. Lower temperatures at night, higher humidity in the morning, and still some better days with sun (September so far has been better than July and August). Again with the 50mm which becomes a 100mm lens for m4/3 systems cameras.

And the last weekend of this week my friends from Belgium came over. And to me, that is a blast. Talk about what ever and share our love for our passion, photography. She let me play with her camera actually, a Leica M8 with the 35mm Summilux. Honestly, I like that combination. The M8 isn’t too heavy and the 35mm with 1,3 crop factor sensor makes for a lovely normal lens. Look, this one was late at night at 1/8 second. It was like almost dark.

On Saturday all our attention was out for the commemoration of the (failed) WWII Market Garden operation. Despite the weather predictions we very fortunate and it didn’t rain during daytime. I photographed the entire day with the M8 and mostly the 35mm Summilux and shortly the Zeiss 50mm Sonnar. I had many photographs where I didn’t nail the focus (which was hard since the lens worked best at f/1.4 or f/8 according to the owner) properly. In fast paced actions I still had difficulties adopting the rangefinder system for fast focusing, but the experience was still good fun. Some photographs where great, but the idea of my 365 project is to share one photograph a day which made the my final edit very tough. So it became the legs of a woman and man taking part in the re-enactment tour participating at the Market Garden commemoration.

The photographs of this ongoing project will also be updated here.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma