Here’s some reportage from the photoenthusiast side of the brain, including a shot by an actual real professional (and the difference shows), Ricoh rumblings, calibration, conversation, pictures by four different cameras, and two pictures of camera gear. I can gang together nearly-unrelated topics in a great big post like this because photo-hounds will read all of it and nobody else will read any; so efficiency is maximized.
Ricoh Rumblings · As noted here, the obsessive-photog world is all a-twitter about the Ricoh GR-D2. The zillion-dollar question: will it retain the virtues of the original GR Digital while improving that camera’s miserable low-light performance?
Pavel Odklizec has been doing some serious testing, and reporting over at the Ricoh Forums. The early verdict is that the GR-D2 does indeed represent a step forward in low-light performance, as well as image write speed and some other things too.
The downside is that its JPEG generator has some really irritating flaws, and (this is surprising) the prime lens may not actually be as sharp as the Ricoh GX-100 zoom operating at the same aperture. Hmmmm.
After the Rain · The other day when I gave the XBRL speech, I came out of the conference building just as a major downpour was easing off and the sun was setting with the light shooting sideways under the breaking clouds. The visuals were astounding: gold and blue in the sky, downtown’s glass buildings reflecting that and the ocean and each other; everywhere big shallow rainwater pools blazing back flatly. And, of course, me without any camera; due to some brain-fart I’d left the pocket-cam at home.
Pulled up at a red light on the way home, I leaned out the window and shot the rainbow with the camera in my phone; this is the first and I hope the only cellphone shot to appear here.
When I got home, I charged up the stairs, slapped the wide-angle on the Pentax, and just managed to catch the last flickers of the sunset.
Lenses · Following that hasty lens change, the camera guts were scattered naked all over the table, and I was so amused by the contrast in glass real-estate between the little 40mm/2.8 “Pancake” and the big honking Sigma 30mm/1.4 that I had to take their picture.
Conversation · The other Saturday I was reading the paper and noticed that Lens & Shutter, the biggest local camera store, was having a mini-trade-show in combination with a big sale. So on Sunday I packed up the baby and went shortly after it opened. It was very small-scale: they had tabletop displays, people from Canon and Nikon and Sony and Pentax and Sigma and Hoya and a camera-case company and a tripod company and some other accessory vendors. Then off at the side, the camera store had an unadorned counter at which they were selling the on-sale goods.
It was really cool, having the selling part and the talking part separated. It wasn’t crowded early in the day, and all of the people were enthusiasts, so the conversations tended to be pretty deep and obsessive. I had nice chats with the Pentax and Sigma people, and I think I may have to pick up one of those wireless Pentax flashes. Good on ya, Lens & Shutter; markets are conversations.
Calibration · The one thing I did pick up at the show was a Spyder2express display calibrator. I only dimly understand the issues around colour, but I gather that people like me, who care enough to fiddle with prime lenses, really ought to calibrate, whatever that means.
Now I have. So I must be A Better Person, right? After the software and hardware have finished doing their thing, they show a “before/after” display, illustrating how all your photos used to look like crap but now look great. I’m a little suspicious of their objectivity, but things do look a little better. Well, except for the mild-straw colour I was using for my Terminal.app background is now a sort of livid off-mango and must be fixed.
Alex’s Camera · My friend Alex Waterhouse-Hayward scored an assignment to write about me in my capacity as notorious local Internet geek for the Georgia Straight, a mostly-harmless local entertainment-oriented free tabloid. He took an actual real sit-down portrait for the purpose, so I got to visit his way-cool studio. While I was there I pulled out my little pocket Canon and photographed his big camera:
Hey Alex, write a piece for us geeks on that camera and its lens and the tripod and all the other stuff you told me.
You can read Alex’s piece in the Straight but I’d rather send you over to the version on his blog. The writing is not as good as Alex’s usually is, because the Straight editors emasculated it. And the subject isn’t that interesting. I’d much rather read Alex writing about refrigerators and William Carlos Williams.
Here’s the picture.
Amazing what you can accomplish, given real talent and a few decades of practice.