First workout of my GRD2
On Sunday I used my GRD2 "properly" for the first time since getting it a week ago. The GV-2 viewfinder arrived Saturday evening so I was looking forward to trying that out too.
First, about the GV-2: it's a whole different experience to using an SLR viewfinder - you have to line your eye up much more carefully, something I'm sure will come with practice. Thew VF is nice and small and light, and the view is very sharp and bright through it (based on my very unscientific tests, I'd say about 4 times brighter than the VF in my Pentax DS). It's about the size of view you'd get looking into a good film SLR viewfinder; plenty big enough for me.
I wanted the viewfinder for two reasons. First off I just find it easier and quicker to frame using one. I find I have a much clearer idea of what the scene looks like in the VF than by looking at the screen, and that I feel more involved with the scene, which I feel is important when using a wideangle lens like on the GRD. The wideangle encourages you to get in close.
Second reason is more of a practical concern: with the viewfinder attached I can leave the camera switched on with the screen off, so it's ready as soon as I need it. When prowling the streets I like to hold the camera ready at about chest height, so when a picture opportunity arises all I have to do is raise it a short distance to my eye, compose and shoot, all in one smooth motion (in theory; I'm not that good at the "smooth" bit yet). Having to wait for the camera to power up would mean missing far too many spontaneous moments.
In all I was out for around four and a half hours, and the battery showed about a quarter left at the end of the day. Unfortunately I forgot to make a note of how many images I actually shot (I was deleting quite a lot as I went along) but I came home with 116. I filled the only 2GB card I had; for some reason I find the camera really encourages me to shoot more than with my DS. Perhaps it's because it's so light, perhaps it's because of the great viewfinder, I don't know, I just find I really enjoy shooting with it. Seems also that higher ISO raw files don't compress as well as low ISO ones, which is understandable since they're noisier.
As to the GRD2 itself, well, I am thoroughly impressed. Being used to doing this type of shooting with a Pentax DS + 28mm manual focus lens, it was so nice to be using such a small and light camera as the Ricoh. I had it in my hand all day, with the wrist strap, and at no point did it feel like a burden, unlike my DS.
It's also much quicker to use than the Pentax, both in shutter lag (there basically isn't any) and in terms of framing (not sure why, perhaps it's the wider view, or the viewfinder).
Only once did the 2-shot raw buffer slow me down, and then only because I took a photo of the pavement by accident. It was a cold day and for the first hour I had no gloves; eventually I gave in and bought some fingerless ones, which are wonderful.
I shot on 400 ISO most of the day, switching to 800 as it got darker. I chose 400 because on Auto-Hi the camera seems reluctant to bump up the ISO until the shutter speed drops down to 1/30, which is far too slow in my opinion. I'd love to have an option for minimum shutter speed (I'd pick something like 1/125, to better stop subject motion, and because I don't have the steadiest hands in the world while street shooting on a cold day).
I had no reservations about shooting at 400 ISO, since it's surprisingly quiet. Obviously there's noise, but processing the raws with Raw Therapee, it's very fine-grained and not at all bothersome. It's barely even noticeable in A4-sized prints.
I also had EV compensation on -0.3 throughout the lighter part of the day, changing it to -0.7 as it got darker. Exposures seemed, on the whole, to be as expected once this adjustment was entered, though I'll need more experience with the camera to be able to say for certain.
So, all-in-all, I really love my GRD2 and I can't wait to do more street shooting with it!
Anyway, here's some photos (all at ISO 400, processed from raw in Raw Therapee):
Re: First workout of my GRD2
Andy - thanks for showing. All VERY good reasons for using the GR2 out on the streets!
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