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Thread: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

  1. #51
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch Alland View Post
    Maggie:

    I may eventually have to do that, as Sean also suggested; but I have been resisting this (1) on philosophical grounds, which are quickly fading, (2) because it's a skill-set that I don't yet have, and (3) because I haven't wanted to use very different approaches for different cameras and different ISOs.

    For the time being I think I'll try to shoot the GRD2 at ISO400 and ISO800, and only use ISO200 when I have to. Eventually, I'll either go the way you suggest or just use the GRD for ISO200. But I'll still experiment some more with the GRD2 at lower speeds.

    —Mitch/Bangkok
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
    Oh, I totally understand. But at least you know that if there are some photos that at first seem unsuited to your style, you've got more options.

    I like the Green Arrow approach to things- lots of arrows in my quiver.

  2. #52
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean_Reid View Post
    I certainly find them interesting. If you don't, you might want to skip this particular thread.
    Bravo, Sean!
    I am just getting into the whole PP thing and find this thread to be of great interest, whether I use the knowledge gained here or not.
    Last edited by Lili; 13th December 2007 at 08:56.

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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    mitch,
    I can't link to it right now as I am traveling but there was a reference on LUF (in a recent B&W thread) with a link to file of actual film grain from various film types. They are available for dowload and then you use them as a photoshop layer.
    when I'm back on Monday if you can't find it send me a PM and I will send a link.

  4. #54
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    mitch,
    I can't link to it right now as I am traveling but there was a reference on LUF (in a recent B&W thread) with a link to file of actual film grain from various film types. They are available for dowload ad then you use them as a photoshop layer.
    when I'm back on Monday if can't find it I will send a link.
    I used them, most notably in this photo:



    I'm not sure they're really any better than using Photoshop's Add Grain filter. Perhaps in very large scale prints, but I can't print much bigger than 16x20, so YMMV.

  5. #55
    7ian7
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    Digital noise varies from camera to camera, but in most cases it is unappealing so I can understand why manufacturers use the elimination of noise as a benchmark for image quality. Also, when manufacturers "stumble" upon wonderful intangibles — for example the way Pentax 67 lenses have all that detail in the "blown-out" focus areas — manufacturers seem less-inclined to claim credit, as they're aware that what many of us are responding favorably to are basically aberrations in their technology. That's not the kind of science manufacturers tend to brag about.

    But many of us do respond in a big way to the particular film grain-like quality of the noise and the way colors saturate in the files the GRD produces, even if it turns out that Ricoh themselves were not satisfied with the camera's capabilities. The files stand out from the rest of the noisy pack, and many of us find that difference attractive. It's not necessarily good science, but it's true.

    Yes, it's a tiny camera with great controls, but the thing I like most about it is the file it creates ... that it's not a Canon file, not a blank, versatile template (I know that's subjective and arguable) but one that truly imparts a pronounced signature that you either like or don't like. I like it.

    Noise is not all created equal. TMZ3200, Scotch 1000, Agfachrome 1000, EES 800/1600, Polapan, 665, even Kodachrome were all films that delivered grain, but were all very, very different from one another, and results were contingent on any number of other shooting/processing variables, as well. I liked EES, for it's great saturated reds, but really I preferred EL, a 200 Ektachrome that when pushed slightly, had a subtle grain that was pronounced in the transitions from dark areas to highlights and a slightly punchy saturation, none of which consumed the entire image or came off gimmicky. It was a great, everyday flattering, romantic film stock that was wonderful for portraits and fashion. If you compare Arthur Elgort's 80s Vogue shoots (he used EL a lot) to, say, a current (obviously Canon dSLR) J Crew version of the same "lifestyle" approach, the difference is palpable, and not necessarily "progress".

    The GRD at lower ISOs is reminiscent of that EL quality, or maybe a combination of that and the Scotch film. And it's built-in, which I think is cool. If someone has an ACR or Lightroom preset that truly achieves this quality, I'd be interested in checking it out. I'm not "all about grain" in any way, but I do like texture.

    I have not found a simple effective method for producing life-like, breathable, believable grain in images that don't natively possess it to begin with, nor do I feel like taking on that mission. In terms of how a GRD or GX100 fits in to my life, having to go to great lengths to achieve results, image after image, sort of sucks the joy out it for me. They all get substantially worked as it is. By the way, results from plug-ins I've tested haven't been convincing.

    I value empirical, systematic tests, and appreciate the ones that Sean conducts and am interested in in his (your) findings. But honestly, all I was hoping for from the GRD2 was faster RAW and a larger LCD.

    The price disparity between dSLRs and medium backs is so much more acute than in the old days of film cameras — getting in to the Hasselblad is like 40 grand, but, wow, amazing files — that we've basically seen our world turn in to Canon Universe in the past five years. It shows, and in some ways it's sad (even if what Canon has made available to us has helped the bottom line of many of our professional pursuits).

    To Mitch's original point of this thread, if it turns out that Ricoh truly doesn't embrace the look of their original GRD — in a way similar to how Kodak and Polaroid and Agfa and Scotch all eventually abandoned pretty much every one of those films I referenced in their marches forward toward a grainless, profitable benchmark — I find that disappointing, even if the GRD2 is a good camera in other ways.

    Sorry for another endless post. I'm sure I'm repeating myself, again, at this point on these points.

    I like photography.

    : )

    Cheers.

  6. #56
    asabet
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7ian7 View Post
    But many of us do respond in a big way to the particular film grain-like quality of the noise and the way colors saturate in the files the GRD produces, even if it turns out that Ricoh themselves were not satisfied with the camera's capabilities. The files stand out from the rest of the noisy pack, and many of us find that difference attractive. It's not necessarily good science, but it's true.

    Yes, it's a tiny camera with great controls, but the thing I like most about it is the file it creates ... that it's not a Canon file, not a blank, versatile template (I know that's subjective and arguable) but one that truly imparts a pronounced signature that you either like or don't like. I like it.
    Are you referring here to the GRD RAW files or the in-camera JPEGs?

  7. #57
    7ian7
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    I don't shoot jpegs, or think too much about the ones the camera makes next to the RAW file. I know sometimes they can look good, but working that way equals shutting down a broad window of potential adjustments — sometimes crucial ones — for any given image, and in the past I've regretted it, so as a rule I avoid it.

  8. #58
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    Hi Mitch,

    You wrote:

    "I may eventually have to do that, as Sean also suggested; but I have been resisting this (1) on philosophical grounds, which are quickly fading"

    Good

    (2) because it's a skill-set that I don't yet have

    It won't take long and you may like the results even better

    Cheers,

    Sean

  9. #59
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7ian7 View Post
    Also, when manufacturers "stumble" upon wonderful intangibles — for example the way Pentax 67 lenses have all that detail in the "blown-out" focus areas — manufacturers seem less-inclined to claim credit, as they're aware that what many of us are responding favorably to are basically aberrations in their technology. That's not the kind of science manufacturers tend to brag about.
    Very true and very well said. Excellent point...

    Cheers,

    Sean

  10. #60
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    Just a reminder, so that we keep perspective....the other small sensor cameras don't produce clean files. The norm is noisy files with smoothing, which is not the same thing at all. This certainly applies to Canon's G9 which I happen to have here for testing right now. Canon's reputation for low noise files comes from the DSLRs and, to an extent, older cameras like my daughter's G2.

    So, again, the somewhat cleaner files of the GR II *are* a kind of character in themselves, they are a kind of non-conformity. The much touted "clean" Fuji small sensor files are really just files with a lot of smoothing.

    Almost any kind of file look can be considered to have "character" if it fits the way a photographer wants his or her pictures to look.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  11. #61
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    I just posted this on another thread but I think its also relevant here as we consider the pros and cons of having lower noise files.

    "You're right that small sensor cameras tend to have more limited dynamic range. And this is another area in which having a lower noise file can help. In photography of dynamic subjects, the only way to hold the highlights with these cameras is to expose for them. That may often later mean digging into the shadows a bit to recover detail. The further down in the shadows the noise floor is, the more flexible the file will be for this process."

    In essence, the usable dynamic range a camera has increases if its files are cleaner. Why? It increased because one can recover more detail from the shadows while still staying above the noise floor. The noise floor, of course, is the level at which digital noise starts to replace shadow detail.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  12. #62
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    The GR-D II shoots .DNG files, correct?

    Can they be processed in Capture One?

  13. #63
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie O View Post
    The GR-D II shoots .DNG files, correct?

    Can they be processed in Capture One?
    Yes, DNG. C1 does not yet support them because C1 only supports cameras after doing specific color testing with at least two examples. If the GR II proves popular, I'm going to try to help get C1 support for the camera. I'd love it.

    Cheers,

    Sean

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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    I got the GRD I expecting to use it a lot in B&W, like I use my Hexar.
    However I've really found that I LIKE the color palette of the GRDI a lot.
    To the point that almost all my recent work has been dominated with saturated colors.
    The grain/noise, at least up to ISO 400 is actually appealing to me.
    An Artist (Painter) friend of mine told me in regards to Digital versus Film that I should simply treat it as a different palette, playing to its strengths rather than trying to emulate the other.
    In all the debate here and other forums about the GRD II, I find the most interest in the commentary of those who have actually used both cameras since they are the ones directly experiencing the differences in trying to use them in their own personal ways.

  15. #65
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lili View Post
    An Artist (Painter) friend of mine told me in regards to Digital versus Film that I should simply treat it as a different palette, playing to its strengths rather than trying to emulate the other.
    I think that advice is dead on the money.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  16. #66
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean_Reid View Post
    Yes, DNG. C1 does not yet support them because C1 only supports cameras after doing specific color testing with at least two examples. If the GR II proves popular, I'm going to try to help get C1 support for the camera. I'd love it.

    Cheers,

    Sean
    That would really be a tipping point for me, as far as buying a GR II goes.

  17. #67
    Caer
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean_Reid View Post
    Yes, DNG. C1 does not yet support them because C1 only supports cameras after doing specific color testing with at least two examples. If the GR II proves popular, I'm going to try to help get C1 support for the camera. I'd love it.
    Even v3.7.7? I've grown accustomed to the workflow using it, and while I'm prepared to learn the new interface in v4, at the moment the beta just plain doesn't work for me. It actually sort-of supports DNG files and will open ones from the GRD2, even though it consistently crashes when I try to process them. Or zoom in. Or adjust exposure compensation. Or do pretty much anything more than just browse.


    (click to see the full-size image)

    I had to trick the program into using the JFI Tri-X profile by renaming a copy of the .icc file to start with "PentaxStaristDS". Even using the default "generic" profile has the same result.

    I like the simple and fast workflow of v3.7.7 LE; if it supported the GRD2 it'd be almost perfect (apart from lacking a proper rotate tool).
    Last edited by Caer; 13th December 2007 at 12:32. Reason: updated image on Flickr

  18. #68
    7ian7
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    My Hexar is at or near the top of my never sell list.

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    Smile Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7ian7 View Post
    My Hexar is at or near the top of my never sell list.
    Precisely the same for me. It is the benchmark by which I judge other cameras.

  20. #70
    7ian7
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    Yes, for me, too.

    I appreciate the help and interest and enjoy the
    camaraderie on this forum - and learn a lot. But
    I also seek out images from cameras that intrigue
    me on Flickr. You might too, if you're curious. From
    the dozens or hundreds I've seen so far, I believe
    the GRD2 produces images that look more like my
    GX100 than like your GRD. Based on IQ alone, I like
    your camera better. I've used the GRD a bunch, and
    the post-processing feels less like creating a look than
    like bumping-up the camera's native characteristics.
    I wish the GX100 — with its 72mm lens which I use
    a lot for portraits and faster RAW write time — had
    the same inherent look as the GRD.

    Bye for now.

  21. #71
    Mitch Alland
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7ian7 View Post
    ...I have not found a simple effective method for producing life-like, breathable, believable grain in images that don't natively possess it to begin with, nor do I feel like taking on that mission. In terms of how a GRD or GX100 fits in to my life, having to go to great lengths to achieve results, image after image, sort of sucks the joy out it for me. They all get substantially worked as it is. By the way, results from plug-ins I've tested haven't been convincing...
    Ian, you've expressed more articulately than I my feelings as well.

    Not completely OT, this afternoon I received a shipment of books from Amazon.com including a book of photographs of Lucien Freud, one of my favourite painter, painting. The photographs in this book, Freud at Work, show the model as well as the canvas with Freud in the act of paining: very interesting because you see how the painter is seeing. In an interview, he is asked, "You seem eager , too, to avoid any obvious displays of facility or virtuosity, as if you were deliberately cultivating a look of awkwardness." Freud, responds, "Looking at art schools and people drawing, I always thought that slick drawing was far worse than the most awful laboured mess."

    That comes close of the type of photography that I like to do and feel the my best pictured are the less slick ones, a reason also that I value the worl of Moriyama Daido. Come to think of it, that is what I have liked about the look I've been able to get easily from the GRD.

    And now for something completely OT: in the same interview Lucien Freud quotes a limerick about his grandfather, Sigmund Freud, with a brilliant pun at the end:
    Those girls who frequent picture palaces
    Have no use for psychoanalysis
    And although Dr Freud
    Is extremely annoyed
    They cling to their long-standing fallacies.
    —Mitch/Bangkok
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

  22. #72
    Mitch Alland
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    As I continue to use the GRD2 I am beginning to reassess my initial view of it. From the beginning I thought that it represented a major improvement of image quality over the GDR, but I wasn't sure that it was in the direction that I wanted to go, particularly as I had liked the look of the GRD at 200. (I'm speaking of shooting in RAW.)

    I continue to like the GRD2 look at ISO 400 and 800, and find the GRD2 files at this speed somewhat easier to deal with than those of the GRD, which means that one can have a higher success ratio in getting the look on wants, particularly at ISO 800. Similarly, I like the GRD2 at ISO 1600 better than the GRD, which only had ISO 1600 at this speed. This also means a substantially higher success ratio with the GRD2 at this speed.

    As before, I continue to like the GRD2 at ISO 400 very much, but this speed is often too fast for the bright light in Bangkok at midday, although I'm continuing to see the degree to which I can use it here. What is new is that I 'm beginning to get comfortable at ISO 100 and 200 and starting to get results that I like. Indeed, most people will find the GRD2 a substantial improvement over the GRD at these speeds; it's just that I'm usually going for a fairly high-contrast look, with some "roughness", rather an a more "ezqusite" aesthetic. By some tonal moves and sharpening I feel that I'm beginning to get the look I want, and starting to like the GRD2 a lot. Certainly, I feel that I prefer it to the GX100, whose "softer" look (less contrast and sharpness) requires much more aggressive sharpening and contrast adjustments, which again means that the success ratio with the GRD2 is likely to be higher. But I'm now beginning to think that I may start liking the GRD2 more than the GRD at ISO 100 and 200 as well. Stay tuned...

    Below are some picture at various ISOs; forgive me if I've posted any of these here before, but I've lost track of where I have posted various photographs:

    ISO 100 | 21mm EFOV converter



    ISO 200 | 21mm EFOV converter



    ISO 400



    ISO 400 [60% crop]



    ISO 800



    ISO 1600



    —Mitch/Bangkok
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

  23. #73
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    There you go Mitch, just keep tweaking those files till they look the way you want. The increase in RAW speed isn't too painful either, is it? <G>

    Cheers,

    Sean

  24. #74
    7ian7
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    This is what I like to hear, Mitch!

    The other day I found a 5x7 print on Portriga matt from a Tri-X negative shot at 200asa on a Nikon F3 / 85mm 1.4 lens at 1.4 in end of day light. From 1987. I re-photographed the print with the GX100 in order to send it to the subject via email.

    All I can say is, for all the talk about these new little cameras looking like this or that, the fact remains that that image — even re-produced for sharing as just described — screams of a particular aesthetic, a time in photographic history, a romantic, organic signature that is endemic to that traditional setup, and really that setup alone (I've never seen something from a 5d or beyond and definitely not from a small-sensor camera) that looks anything like it.

    Rather than depress me, it sort of "woke me up". I think I am coming around to Sean's idea of a "new medium/new aesthetic", and the idea that it isn't necessary for the Ricohs (et al) to be reminiscent of any of their predecessors, but instead to simply keep pushing the math forward within the context of this new medium, one whose unblinking clarity — afforded by its depth-of-field-for-days signature — may speak most directly to how we see the world today. Ok, that's the coffee talking but I'll stand by it for now. I guess I'm just saying that Ricoh's efforts to make these cameras render as "true" as technically possible may carry a bit more poetry than I've given them credit for thus far.

    Sean, I am still eager/interested to hear about results from your comparison tests between the GX100/GRD2/G9.

    Happy Holidays, All!

    Ian

  25. #75
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    Ian,
    Agreed about the differences and the new palette.
    I am really enjoying awakening to this with my GRD.
    My poor K100D has lanquished since the GRD arrived.
    The ease of carry, the ease of adjustment and the instant feedback, the tremendous DOF, all these are forcing me to see in new ways.
    And I am having a blast

  26. #76
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    MITCH:
    and speaking of LUCIEN FREUD........
    Yesterday i was at MOMA and took in
    Lucian Freud's 'The Painters Etchings' / Quite brilliant- His unblinking scrutiny of the human form
    Cheers! Helen

  27. #77
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7ian7 View Post
    Rather than depress me, it sort of "woke me up". I think I am coming around to Sean's idea of a "new medium/new aesthetic", and the idea that it isn't necessary for the Ricohs (et al) to be reminiscent of any of their predecessors, but instead to simply keep pushing the math forward within the context of this new medium, one whose unblinking clarity — afforded by its depth-of-field-for-days signature — may speak most directly to how we see the world today. Ok, that's the coffee talking but I'll stand by it for now. I guess I'm just saying that Ricoh's efforts to make these cameras render as "true" as technically possible may carry a bit more poetry than I've given them credit for thus far.
    Amen, I think its a great idea to forget about trying to link these cameras to any other kind of camera and to instead embrace what they are and see what we can do with that.

    Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate it. I've just finished doing my Santa thing and am just winding down before I "lay down my head for a long winter's nap..."

    Cheers,

    Sean

  28. #78
    stnami
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    Re: Has Ricoh gone in the wrong direction with the GRD2?

    snapshot a frame from an old black and white movie... does the contrast look familiar............. the wide DOF?

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