size doesn't matter / 5 September, 2009 [click for previous image: untitled #89]
size doesn't matter / 5 September, 2009 [click for next image: ring and rig]
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Title • size doesn't matter

When I was back in the UK last week I didn't have a great deal of time to photograph anything other than the wedding in London, but did manage to get to the beach for half an hour before dashing off to catch my flight home. And while I wasn't specifically looking for another shot to add to my beachcoming category, I was pleased to come across this abandoned child's trainer.

I should also add that this is the first shot taken with my latest new camera, a Ricoh GR Digital III. I've been happy with my Canon G9, but Libby has largely commandeered it so I've been pondering getting a new compact for a while. Initially, I thought about getting the Canon G10, or maybe the Olympus EP-1, and then Canon released the G11. And for a while, I was almost convinced that the G11 would be the way to go, but decided to go with the Ricoh instead.

There are a variety of things I like about it (in no particular order):

First: it shoots RAW (as do most high-end compacts) but they're DNG's rather than a proprietary format. This means I can edit the files in any of my RAW editors without needing to wait for the next update to include this camera.

Second: although it has a fixed 6mm lens (28mm equivalent) it has an aperture of f/1.9. This is over a whole stop faster than most of the competition.

Third: it's very customisable, insofar as there are a variety of controls and buttons that can have different functions assigned to them.

Fourth: it's quite a bit smaller than the G10, which makes it much more pocketable.

Fifth: it has what Ricoh call 'snap focus'. One of the most annoying things about most digital compacts, even the best and most expensive ones, is that the shutter lag is much higher than with a DSLR. With 'snap focus' you can pre-set a focal distance (1m, 2.5m, 5m and infinity) and when you fully depress the shutter it will take the shot. Admittedly, you have to set the distance first, but given the large DoF you get with small sensor cameras this should prove to be quite useful.

Sixth: like most digital compacts the GRD III has an auto-ISO setting, but it also allows you to limit its range. For example, you can instruct it to only use ISO values up to 200, 400, or 800. In other words, you can set it to a value that will still produce a reasonably noise-free image while also giving you a bit more leeway in low light.

I haven't had a great deal of time to play around with it yet, but have been impressed so far and have to say that I much prefer it to my old G9. Given that it has a fixed 28mm (equiv.) lens it's not going to be as flexible as the G9, but on first impressions it does seem a lot more user-friendly and probably quite a bit more capable. I'll keep you posted.

Oh, and if you'd like to take a look at the original, it's here:


And finally, the post-processing for this one was relatively straightforward, i.e. I used a variety of masked Curves to adjust the contrast in different areas of the image, then another to tone it (as described in this tutorial).

shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
1.08pm on 4/9/09
Ricoh GR Digital III
aperture priority
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