The Ricoh GR, Yet Another Post

Warning NSFW

Yes another post in praise of my little Ricoh GR. I probably wouldn’t have bought that camera if I didn’t accidentally discover that the mistress to my beloved 50mm wife happened to be a 28mm field of view. Cutting to the chase I now own two digital cameras I love making pictures with. This is probably the first time I’ve owned one, let alone two digitals I actually enjoy. Of course you know the other one — the mighty Nikon Df. I didn’t shoot thousands of pictures over the weekend with the GR, just a few but it was perfect for grabbing some behind the scenes shots of our monthly community shoot over at Atomic Canary. Extremely quiet, awesome controls, great — I mean great optical quality, nice DR, plenty of pixels, can compose and shoot from the hip or in my case the knee…

Here are some behind the scenes grab shots I made while helping other photographers with gear, grip, ideas, etc Friday evening. Had the GR in my front pocket using it only occasionally when I wouldn’t be in anyones way and when the models were engaged and being directed so they wouldn’t get confused as to who was supposed to be directing them. I shot most of these just standing there holding the camera down around my thigh or knee in some cases.

The entire three hour event netted about 70-80 shots. About two rolls of 35mm film. Most of them are reasonable if not fantastic.

Here’s something different, I never left aperture priority auto. Just used the up/down control to mess about with exposure compensation to get it in the right neighborhood via the live histogram. I needed a tweak here and there in post but never more than a stop, more like a third or two. I think my main display setup is going to be all the info and none as the only two display variations I use. All the info meaning the grid lines, level/horizon, histogram, and shutter/aperture/ISO read-out.

I went with a really funky treatment on this particular batch; Much more soft and dreamy-fluffy than usual. You know the kind I usually make fun of with all the bad blacks.

The specific post processing is pretty simple. I used VSCO Film 01 Portra 400++, highlight save, and for the first time ever boost lows after messing about with fades, etc. I haven’t quite landed on the final treatment if I happen to use any of these for anything but it will be more similar. I think the softer look actually works here.

The look isn’t too far different than if I was using one of my ancient pre-AI Nikkors with single coating and shooting against the light at a larger aperture. The GR however will never go all soft in the shadows and flare-y.

I shot a bunch of this particular setup with Kristine; More than any other setup that night. I was trying to get Kristine’s face to line up exactly where I wanted it in the limited compositions I could shoot and grab that at the right moment.

I grabbed that but saw some other things that caught my eye… you know how it goes.

All in all I could actually go on a road-trip with just the GR and my iPad mini. In fact I may just do that this winter when the seasonal depression starts to hit me.

I just had to make the shot above and the next one. The purple just plays so so well here with Kristine’s skin tones. Technically speaking I blew the shot above. I jerked the camera and Kristine was moving causing all sort of motion blur stuff. Who cares, I really like it — one of my favorites. Never dismiss serendipity as a component. Sometimes eliminating that also eliminates great images too. There are little bits and bobs of Kristine’s motion that are counteracting my camera motion in interesting places. I’ll declare it a win.

Okay… too, too many pictures for one blog post. Bottom line: The Ricoh GR is wearing well on me. I may seriously take it as my only camera even when setting out to make something on purpose. Now the only missing component is a competent RAW processor for the iPad Mini. I am so so hoping the new 64bit A7/A8 chips along with the increased graphics fortitude are the foundation for something REALLY cool from the Apple coming early next year. Can you imagine traveling with just a GR and an iPad Mini? How great is that?

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