One Fine Morning

This morning I felt good and went out with 3 friends for some walk around Ancol, beach area in Jakarta. There’s a place where we can see many people and there are a lot of activities over there. It depends on what you want to do you can free your mind by meditation or just find fresh air by walking around, gather with some pals and chit chat, buy some fishes sold by fishermen near by.

For me and a friend, Marco, we took photos and enjoy fresh air with sun. After a week of working it is quite a refreshing being here.

I brought my Ricoh GXR-M with Nokton 50/1.1 and MIR 37/2.8 while Marco had his Nex7 with Nokton 35/1.2 Aspherical II. I wasn’t thought about doing any kind of review here, as my main purpose of going out was only having fresh air and met Marco and his girlfriend.

So I would just share my morning walk and my thought about using these lenses. It’s my opinion along with my taste about photography, so nothing to worry about, anyone can have a better scientific review at http://www.dpreview.com or http://www.photozone.de for more precise insight.

I would share my experience using Ricoh GXR-M using Nokton 50/1.1 and Nokton 35/1.2 Asph II while walking around the area. I used to many types of DSLR before since 2003, started with Canon 10D, Phaseone H5, Nikon D50, D80, Sony A350, Canon 550D, 60D, while among others I tried A850, A900, PhaseOne H20, H25, some digital back, Nikon D200, D2X, D300, D100, Canon 5D, 5Dii, 7D, Panasonic GF1, some Olympus 4/3 and so on but frankly it’s only early this year that I found a camera with low profile look but professional capabilities and result. Yes ! I am talking about GXR A12 (M mount).

For years I heard people murmuring about the photo being not film like, analog like, lack of three dimensional look, too digitized, too artificial, the list could go on, and we all tried hard using any manipulation possible to bring back that “film look”back to no avail, but hey ! The good news is here ! I don’t know where were I for this last 4 years as it was only this January that I really checked on Ricoh GXR A12 (after viewing it’s review mostly by Steve Huff, thanks Steve !) and after downloading real samples from Ricoh website and a confirmation from Eddy my buddy, I ordered my GXR A12 as soon as possible.

After some shooting sessions in Tenganan Bali, candid shots, commercial shots and other snap shots, I boldly declare this camera as a killer camera for black and white, and color as well when you use good Voigtlander lenses such as Nokton 50/1.1 and 35/1.2 Aspherical II and those lenses by Leica M. I am not over exagerating here if saying jpg out of camera set in black and white is already done. Yes just like well done in steak terms. It’s absolutely make people stunned, shocked, salivating and instantly wanna get one, IMHO. At least my search is over. I am not overstating here as the moment my friend look at the result in GXR lcd, he instantly ordered one. And for your information, he already owned Sony 5N and also A900, none of both can compete with film like image of GXR (black and white). Just this morning when I went to Ancol beach with some friends, a friend who brought Nex7 saw my images in GXR and he said with surprised tone, “This is what I am looking for in black and white”and he compared side by side shooting his Nex7 and my GXR-M using same lenses and alas, yes I gotta tell you the truth the Nex7 results look greyish and even bluish and also flat, and GXR could render the images in pure black and white just like film. The out of camera jpgs only cropped and posted for your eyes pleasure.

Falun Gong meditation. Nokton 35/1.2 Asph II. The actual pixel shows both men tack sharp inclusing their sandals. OOC jpg no color adjustment. No cropping.

Falun Gong meditation. This shot was post processed using DXO film pack3 to bring back the backlit lighting to the face and converted to black and white as well. You can see that GXR combo with Film Pack could make a perfect black and white with analog look.

Bikers and fishermen. I noticed this view and shoot using Nokton 35/1.2 set at 2.4 with ISO 100 and standard color mode. The focus points show tack sharp in actual pixel.

Fresh fishes from morning catch. Nokton 50/1.1 shot at 2.0 iso 100. Please check the actual pixel crop below.

Fishermen selling their catches. Fresh from the sea. Nokton 50/1.1 set at 2.0 iso 100. Out of camera jpg, no crop, no adjustment.

Fine fishes. Nokton 50/1.1 shot around F2.0 cropped to show good details.

Fishermen’s equipment. Out of camera jpg, no adjustment, no crop.

Another fisherman’s boat. Nokton 50/1.1 no adjustment, out of camera jpg.

A boy playing with locks. Nokton 50/1.1 out of camera jpg. ISO 100.

Dried salted  fishes. Nokton 50/1.1 at F 2.0 ISO 100, out of camera jpg.

Marco’s girlfriend. Out of camera jpg. Nokton 50/1.1 at 1.1 iso 100

A fine reflection too. Nokton 50/1.1 out of camera jpg.

My conclusion is my GXR-M will be long used camera for me and I will use it mainly for my travel photography, portrait, interior (with my Skopar 21/4), and even product shot. As I use manual focus lenses on it, the shutter lag is not too bothersome for me and when I want to capture moment I used to predetermine it so I just shoot away. Surely it is not a comparison against DSLR, but for a low profile look with no shutter sound it will help me get extra ordinary shots. And not forgetting the cmos specially build for Leica M lens design and no AA filter, this sensor surely will be able to deliver the most of any optics with original M mount, be it Leica or Voigtlander M. I used this camera with Skopar 21/4 for interior shot and the color output is more precise than Canon using the same lights set up.

The funny thing is this camera has not widely promoted and it is such a pity when people can enjoy this quality but end up buying other over promoted ones with no match quality to GXR A12.

One thing to hope for is that Ricoh may someday come up with may be a full frame new design module and updated for the shutter lag, buffer for raw shooting in continous mode, and perhaps a built in EVF (not a mandatory), a higher capacity battery, a repositioned tripod mount, and last but not least may be an added speed grip for those with big hands.