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Thread: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

  1. #1
    Dawson
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    Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Hi there, just joined the forum after seeing how good this small sensor section is... I just hope I'm not going to embarrass myself by asking a question that might seem a little dumb, a little overly complex, or a bit of both!

    I used to own a GRD but - very foolishly on both counts - never played with RAW on it and then sold it for a Fuji F20 (A silly move which I quickly regretted once I realised the extra control and thinking time afforded to me by the GRD was a huge plus!), so I have nothing to go on really...

    I've read in a couple of places that some people feel the GRD has nicer B&W straight out of the camera and so I was wondering: on the GRDII can I set the camera to RAW+JPG in B&W mode and if so does this mean the LCD shows the scene in B&W, produces a B&W JPG for review and leaves the RAW ready for me to convert to B&W properly later? It might seem a dumb question I know, but I just wanted to check before I part with my hard earned on either the GRD or the II! Thanks!

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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Actually, I haven't shot my GRD II for a while and just grabbed it. I have it set to RAW but then you can show it on screen in B&W and it does not shoot a jpeg with it. Saves space but you then saw it in B&W and it uploads in color.

  3. #3
    Dawson
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Thanks for checking that out for me! So basically there's no RAW+JPG but the embedded thumb in the RAW which you can view on the screen is B&W, and the RAW is in colour as usual.
    Just to check also, while you're shooting this way is the LCD's live view in B&W?

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    Deceased, but remembered fondly here... johnastovall's Avatar
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    I shot my GR-DII in Raw only and then do B&W conversions in Alien Skin's Exposure plugin for CS3. I just never bother with in-camera JPEG of any sort as I want to get the look I want not what the camera firmware wants.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawson View Post
    Thanks for checking that out for me! So basically there's no RAW+JPG but the embedded thumb in the RAW which you can view on the screen is B&W, and the RAW is in colour as usual.
    Just to check also, while you're shooting this way is the LCD's live view in B&W?
    Yes, the live view is B&W. I actually prefer the way Ricoh handles it over my Panny/Leica small cameras because I don't have to deal with the jpeg.

  6. #6
    Dawson
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Great, thanks again for checking it all out for me... Looks like there's no excuse to not buy the GRDII now then!

    John, I have AS Exposure and was thinking about doing the exact same as you; I've seen on their forums mention of this and of dialling down contrast slightly in ACR to make Exposure work even better. It's good to know that kind of workflow... works - I can't wait to try the look of HP5 with the "grain" of the Ricoh!

  7. #7
    VladimirV
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    I have it set to RAW but then you can show it on screen in B&W and it does not shoot a jpeg with it. Saves space but you then saw it in B&W and it uploads in color.
    This is wrong, the Ricoh cameras all shoot JPG+RAW since they need the JPG for review on screen. If you set the camera to b&w, the screen display is in b&w and the JPG but the RAW contains all the information. You can not disable the JPG when shooting RAW but can set the size so could create only a 640 pixel JPG so this will be a very low resolution image for review on screen but take less space.

    I am one of the people who believe the GRD I b&w JPGs are superior to the GRD II JPGs or even RAW files. I've made some comparisons between both GRDs in b&w here:

    http://ricohgrdiary.wordpress.com/comparisons/

  8. #8
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    My GRD firtst gen does both at once, no choice when set to do RAW to disable jpeg.
    I REALLY like the in-camera B&W jpeg, one major reason I've not upgraded to the GRDII

  9. #9
    Dawson
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    I had had a quick look at some of your shots before Vladimir but I just took a proper look at your blog and it does strike me that both the GRDII jpegs and especially the RAW files look a lot more noisy, even though I guess some of that might be attributed to the RAW file especially being a bit more sharp?

    It's certainly a contentious point this B&W! The more I look at the images the more I seem to agree though, the GRD files do look a lot cleaner out of the camera, perhaps the result of them upping the MP in the GRDII?

    Now I'm flipflopping! The GRD is now looking like the more attractive - and less expensive - option, plus with the extra money I save I could buy the GT-1 as well...

    At the risk of sounding cheeky, does anyone have/know where I could download a full size GRD jpeg, GRDII jpeg and GRDII RAW file so I could have a closer - but not pixel peeping! - look at them? I remember GRD RAW times to be really slow, has this changed with firmware updates at all?

    Thanks for all your help so far!

  10. #10
    VladimirV
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawson View Post
    I had had a quick look at some of your shots before Vladimir but I just took a proper look at your blog and it does strike me that both the GRDII jpegs and especially the RAW files look a lot more noisy, even though I guess some of that might be attributed to the RAW file especially being a bit more sharp?

    It's certainly a contentious point this B&W! The more I look at the images the more I seem to agree though, the GRD files do look a lot cleaner out of the camera, perhaps the result of them upping the MP in the GRDII?

    Now I'm flipflopping! The GRD is now looking like the more attractive - and less expensive - option, plus with the extra money I save I could buy the GT-1 as well...

    At the risk of sounding cheeky, does anyone have/know where I could download a full size GRD jpeg, GRDII jpeg and GRDII RAW file so I could have a closer - but not pixel peeping! - look at them? I remember GRD RAW times to be really slow, has this changed with firmware updates at all?

    Thanks for all your help so far!
    The GRD I JPGs have a diferent noise pattern and look more pleasing. The GRD II RAW files contain slightly more details and the dynamic range is higher but you do have more noise and the noise is more difficult to remove. Overall you have to slightly overexpose the GRD II for best results but doing so with the GRD I will again give better results. The sharpness is almost identical and although Sean Reid in his review and other users like Mitch Alland prefer the GRD II I still think the GRD I has superior image quality and the JPGs are also better than the RAW files from the GRD II (or any other small sensor camera for that matter).

    If you want to shoot mainly in b&w and can still find a GRD I just go for it and get the 40mm or 21mm adapter for the money you save. Callumet still have 2 new GRD I in store in London and you can oder them also online for 250 GBP.

    I will have a look since the original link on the page does not work anymore and re-upload the comparison pictures I took.

    If you want to shoot RAW, the GRD I is still as slow as it has been before but when the JPGs are as good and you can push them as much there really is no need for RAW. In my experience, you can at most get slightly more details and dynamic range from the RAWs compared to the JPGs of the GRD I so it's pointless to shoot RAW. If the GRD II JPGs would be as good as the GRD I it would save me from having to waste my time processing RAW file altogether.

  11. #11
    Dawson
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Thanks Vladimir, it's interesting to note that you think the GRDI jpegs are pretty much as good as the GRDI RAW files anyway... For all this hoohah over RAW I only ever shoot JPEG on my 20D and have never really worked with RAW save on the 5D I use at work. I always shoot 1/3rd of a stop under on the 20D so highlights don't blow out so much, so I could probably do a similar thing with the GRD and just work with jpegs.

    It's great to have someone with experience and knowledge with both cameras instead of pixelpeeping and trying to work out which might be "better" from specs etc!

    I hadn't noticed Calumet on eBay with their new GRDs, thanks for that. Looks like I'll be getting one of those or, if I can find one at a nice price, a good 2nd hand one then!

  12. #12
    VladimirV
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Sorry for my late reply, could not find the files but have uploaded them now under: https://dl.getdropbox.com/u/289725/GRDvsGRD2.rar

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawson View Post
    Thanks Vladimir, it's interesting to note that you think the GRDI jpegs are pretty much as good as the GRDI RAW files anyway... For all this hoohah over RAW I only ever shoot JPEG on my 20D and have never really worked with RAW save on the 5D I use at work. I always shoot 1/3rd of a stop under on the 20D so highlights don't blow out so much, so I could probably do a similar thing with the GRD and just work with jpegs.
    The JPGs are prefect and you can push them a lot so for me there is no reason for RAW. You'll see this in the files I provided.
    On the GRD I would always recommend to slightly overexpose when using high ISO (over 400) or in low light, this will give you nicer grainlike noise and also sharper pictures.

    It's great to have someone with experience and knowledge with both cameras instead of pixelpeeping and trying to work out which might be "better" from specs etc!

    I hadn't noticed Calumet on eBay with their new GRDs, thanks for that. Looks like I'll be getting one of those or, if I can find one at a nice price, a good 2nd hand one then!
    Pixelpeeping is difficult and the GRD II would probably win but the GRD I has character and better grain/noise IMO.

    Good luck, hope you can find a GRD I at a good price.

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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Quote Originally Posted by VladimirV View Post
    The JPGs are prefect and you can push them a lot so for me there is no reason for RAW. You'll see this in the files I provided.
    On the GRD I would always recommend to slightly overexpose when using high ISO (over 400) or in low light, this will give you nicer grainlike noise and also sharper pictures.
    Slight overexposure will tend to reduce Sahadow noise but then do you not risk burning out your highlights?

  14. #14
    wbrandsma
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Yes, you do Lili. I think it comes down to making choices. It all depends on your subject. If you photograph people for instance and you underexpose, you need to brighten the skin tones. That will unfortunately result in more noise and the loss of details. So expose for your subject.

  15. #15
    VladimirV
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Quote Originally Posted by Lili View Post
    Slight overexposure will tend to reduce Sahadow noise but then do you not risk burning out your highlights?

    You can compensate for this by using the Contrast setting at -2 for the JPGs.

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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Quote Originally Posted by VladimirV View Post
    You can compensate for this by using the Contrast setting at -2 for the JPGs.

    So A Digital Zone System=expose for shadows, develope for highlights?

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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Quote Originally Posted by wbrandsma View Post
    Yes, you do Lili. I think it comes down to making choices. It all depends on your subject. If you photograph people for instance and you underexpose, you need to brighten the skin tones. That will unfortunately result in more noise and the loss of details. So expose for your subject.
    Ooops, Wouter, I missed this.
    Agreed completely

  18. #18
    SimonL
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Quote Originally Posted by Lili View Post
    So A Digital Zone System=expose for shadows, develope for highlights?
    I would disagree.

    Sorry if this is old news but take a look here:

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...se-right.shtml

    The right hand side of the histogram contains the most image tone information and so you should expose so that the peaks are biased to the right hand side without clipping them.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Will's Avatar
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Just read that very interesting piece and it seems to agree with what I thought Lilly was saying. One of us must me misunderstanding her.

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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Simon, I was trying to interpret Vladimir's advice about High ISO work in the GRD.
    He seems to be saying that it works best to overexpose a touch to keep the shadow noise down and pull the contrast down enough to save your highlights.
    At its simplest, as I understand it, the Zone System is all about exposing for the shadows then pullling developement enough to save the highlights- in effect lowering contrast.

    I will give it a try.

    Will, as I read that article I *think* its saying the same thing...

  21. #21
    Dawson
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Thanks for making those files available again Vladimir, they were really helpful!
    First of all I see what you mean about GRD JPEG vs RAW... in the real world there's very little to differenciate between the JEPG and processed RAW, so shooting JPEG will be fine, especially as this fits in with my normal workflow anyway.
    The GRD vs GRD2 comparisons are interesting. Of course with there being more megapixels you're peering "further" into the scene with the GRD2 at 100% than you are the GRD, but there seems to be a distinct "fuzziness" created either by the very tight noise or the NR, and sharpening to reveal the "grain" (something I did like to do with the GRD because of that filmic look) seems to uncover more ugly noise/artifacts on the GRDII for sure.
    Whilst I wouldn't mind the extra processing to get the image looking just right tone-wise with the GRD2, I was randomly picking images from the set you've uploaded and it was quite easy to tell the difference between the GRD and GRDII noise-wise, and in his regard I much prefer the GRD.

    Just got to keep my fingers crossed that Calumet still has a NOS GRD left on it's eBay page in a week or so's time when I get an eBay gift certificate to help me along the way...

    I'd heard about the Expose to the Right thing before, I'll definitely check that out with regards to the GRD, thanks!

  22. #22
    VladimirV
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawson View Post
    Thanks for making those files available again Vladimir, they were really helpful!
    First of all I see what you mean about GRD JPEG vs RAW... in the real world there's very little to differenciate between the JEPG and processed RAW, so shooting JPEG will be fine, especially as this fits in with my normal workflow anyway.
    Whilst I wouldn't mind the extra processing to get the image looking just right tone-wise with the GRD2, I was randomly picking images from the set you've uploaded and it was quite easy to tell the difference between the GRD and GRDII noise-wise, and in his regard I much prefer the GRD.

    Just got to keep my fingers crossed that Calumet still has a NOS GRD left on it's eBay page in a week or so's time when I get an eBay gift certificate to help me along the way...
    You are welcome, glad these have been usefull.

    I am very impressed by the GRD I JPG engine and consider it one of the best JPG engines in any digital camera. Completely reduces the need for RAW and with all the settings you have in-camera you can get exactly the picture you want without any PP or you can still use ACR and edit the JPGs as they are RAWs.

    Like you I find it easy to pick GRD I files (RAW or JPG) out, the files just have a diffrent character and don't look "digital".

    Hope you can get them from Calumet.

  23. #23
    ddk
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawson View Post
    Hi there, just joined the forum after seeing how good this small sensor section is... I just hope I'm not going to embarrass myself by asking a question that might seem a little dumb, a little overly complex, or a bit of both!

    I used to own a GRD but - very foolishly on both counts - never played with RAW on it and then sold it for a Fuji F20 (A silly move which I quickly regretted once I realised the extra control and thinking time afforded to me by the GRD was a huge plus!), so I have nothing to go on really...

    I've read in a couple of places that some people feel the GRD has nicer B&W straight out of the camera and so I was wondering: on the GRDII can I set the camera to RAW+JPG in B&W mode and if so does this mean the LCD shows the scene in B&W, produces a B&W JPG for review and leaves the RAW ready for me to convert to B&W properly later? It might seem a dumb question I know, but I just wanted to check before I part with my hard earned on either the GRD or the II! Thanks!
    Its exactly like the GRD, setting your camera to RAW shoots both a RAW DNG file & Jpeg file. You can set your camera to shoot RAW and BW which will give you what you want, a DNG file and a BW jpeg. The LCD is in BW too.

    I still like the resulting BW files from the GRD2 but prefer the ones from the GRD.

  24. #24
    Dawson
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    Re: Ricoh GRDII B&W Query

    I'd have to agree about the JPEG engine Vladimir, I much, much prefer when NR is just left out of the equation as much as possible so that you can leave it as is for the "grain" or at least have total control over the reduction with Neat Image and the like. I can understand why most compacts don't go down this route though, as most people just want OK looking photos straight out of the camera, whereas I like there to be as much to work on myself as possible (Which thinking about it is a bit ironic given my shunning of RAW for JPEG, even on my 20D!).

    You interpreted my question bang on ddk, thanks!

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