Ricoh GRDIII for everyday street shooting

Josh White wrote Ricoh GRDIII: walking to work, or how he feels with using the GRDIII as a street shooter when he walks to work. The GRD is one of these small P&S camera that advanced camera user seems to appreciate. Full control and fast prime lens.

Josh preferred camera seems to be a Leica M9. Here is his conclusion on the Ricoh:

Honestly, I wouldn’t trade my M9 for anything. It’s a beautiful, beautiful camera and it’s easily the best camera I’ve ever used. However, for 90% of the photography I do the GRDIII would be enough. If you’re a street photographer who doesn’t want to break the bank I highly recommend this little Ricoh. Needless to say I’m a big fan.

I personally have a GRDII which is not much different – older sensor, a bit more noise, basically. I have used it a couple of times for street shooting. Honestly I think I should give it more love ; it is time I give it a real ride in that field.

Don’t forget to check Josh’s set on Flickr.

New Olympus Pens

Olympus announced new Olympus Pens and lenses in the micro Four-Third format. Three models and four lenses:

  • E-P3: the successor of the E-P1 and E-P2. Gain a flash.
  • E-PL3: the successor of the E-PL2, with a slimmer design and flip out screen. But it lost the flash. DPReview has a preview.
  • E-PM1: an even smaller Pen camera, even more simplified.

All three cameras feature a new UI, a new sensor, a new engine that should solve most of the slowness criticism, better noise management, 1080p video in AVCHD with Dolby Digital™ sound, etc. Not much changes in the number of pixels and this is actually good news for the image quality.

  • M. Zuiko Digital 12mm f2: a wide angle prime lens.
  • M. Zuiko Digital 45mm f1.8: a short telephoto.
  • M. Zuiko Digital 14-42 f3.5-5.6 II R: A slight restyling of the second version of the kit zoom.
  • M. Zuiko Digital 40-150 II R f4.0-5.6.

All the lenses come as MSC “Movie & Stills Compatible” (ie very smooth and silent autofocus).

How much longer can film hold?

NPR has a piece titled How Much Longer Can Photographic Film Hold On?:

At the turn of the 21st century, American shutterbugs were buying close to a billion rolls of film per year. This year, they might buy a mere 20 million, plus 31 million single-use cameras — the beach-resort staple vacationers turn to in a pinch, according to the Photo Marketing Association

Basically, film is not dead, but it is far beyond in term of market. The biggest risk for film is not that big companies stop producing it but rather that they hoard the technology to make it. Agfa Scala was the first example, albeit salvaged by the makers of DR5, still repeating the mistake. Polaroid is the second example, and the Impossible Project did the impossible with it. Kodachrome is the third and hardest example: a very complicated and undocumented process without any alternative. I believe slide film E-6 will be next. Time will tell.

Pentax Q

Pentax just announced the Pentax Q, a mirror-less camera with interchangeable lenses and a small sensor of 1/2.3″. There will be 5 lenses available.

As usual, DPReview has a preview.

Just a few comments after reading the specs and the preview:

  • Small sensor. I already find the m4/3 to be noisy due to its size. 1/2.3″ is significantly smaller and the quality will likely converge to a compact: lot of noise at higher ISO.
  • Barely smaller than the Sony NEX (or a micro 4/3), according to the picture on DPReview, despite a much smaller sensor.

Also the lenses will include a “standard” prime (kit) 48mm equivalent, “standard” zoom ($300), a fisheye with manual focus and fixed aperture f5.6 ($129) and for less than $100, two “toy” lenses, one wide (28mm equiv.), one (100mm equiv.) telephoto whose image look will remind of the Diana or Lomo.

At $800 with the prime lens, I don’t really see where the Pentax Q fits in the market. That reminds me of the Pentax Auto 110 film SLR.

Polaroid, something that was impossible

Technologizer relate the story of the Polaroid’s SX-70: The Art and Science of the Nearly Impossible:

Most important, unlike any other Polaroid, the SX-70 asked the photographer to do nothing more than focus, press the shutter, and pluck the snapshot as it emerged from the camera–and then watch it develop in daylight. It was the first camera to realize what Edwin Land said had been his dream all along: “absolute one-step photography.”

This was in 1972 and it was a landmark towards the true instant photography. Long before digital.

Open letter to Leica

Lloyd Chambers wrote an open letter to Leica:

The M9 felt like 2 year old technology the day I got it, with many disappointments.

And yes you are allowed to bad mouth Leica. I believed that the M8 was a mishap – evidence that Leica didn’t really know what to do. Apparently the M9 is too. And very expensive. Chambers has already written very extensively about the M9 (sorry, paywall).

And I have read a lot of praise about the Leica M9 too.