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Thread: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

  1. #1
    meilicke
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    Question GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    First off - thank you to all for making this such a wonderful forum. I am addicted .

    I need help choosing which small camera to buy - I have narrowed my choices to the GRDII or GX-100, principally for the handling, high IQ and flash/OVF shoe. I live in the Northwest of the USA (Seattle, WA), and during the winter it is fairly dark. Whether it be high ISO (my preference) or flash, I need a camera that can work well with typical indoor lighting. I do have a dslr with fast primes, but that is not always with me or convenient.

    What I like about the GX-100:
    * less expensive than the GRDII ($750 with OVF vs. $1100 for the GRDII with OVF and 40mm attachment)
    * 28,35,50 step zoom (24 and 72 are less important to me - icing on the cake)

    What I like about the GRDII
    * 1.5 - 2 stops advantage at 28 or 35/40, considering the faster lens and better high iso performance.
    * Better flash control
    * Faster RAW buffer
    * 28mm plus 40 with the adaptor is fine

    Is the GRDII really 1.5-2 stops better as I am guessing? Is the flash control on the GX-100 that bad?

    Now, I am almost embarrassed to write this next bit, but... I find the Pentax 31mm limited prime that I use about 80% of the time on my dslr to be delightful. Very sharp, and most importantly, it sometimes has an almost mystical, 3-d popping look (sorry for the cliche, but it's true!). Does the GRDII come close to this? It seems it might, considering the contrast and sharpness of the lens, but I am having a hard time trying to find a lot of color examples. $1100 seems like a lot of money to me, but if the GRDII has similar characteristics (dof and noise aside), I would gladly pay more...

    Thank you,
    Scott

  2. #2
    jorgeAD
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    I'd suggest you go with the GX-100 because you seem to want an equivalent field of view of about 45mm (31mm limited on a Pentax DSLR)... Yes the the GRD II can give you that but with the GH-1 adapter and 40mm attachment it is no longer pocketable... I think you'll actually be surprised how close in overall size (not weight) the GRD II + GH-1 + 40mm attachment is to a Pentax DSLR with the 31mm Limited pancake lens...

    The GX-100 on the other hand doesn't need any attachments to achieve this equivalent field of view and remains very compact, thus going where not even the Pentax + pancake lens is likely to make it... (you mention the Pentax size isnt always convenient for you).

    Now about the "3-d popping" bit...

    Your are comparing some of the sharpest DSLR lenses available (Pentax Limited primes) to the GR Lens... but must keep in mind we are talking about a sensor aproximately nine times as large in the Pentax. The GR lenses and sensor combination excels at macro and whenever enormous depth of field is required... The GRD II lens in particular is a bit sharper and contrastier than the GX100 at the wide end (not really a surprise since its a prime)... but since you state you use the 31mm L for 80% of your photography... will this advantage be of any use to you?

    It seems to me the "3-d popping" of prime lenses on DSLRs (at least of my 50mm F1.8 and 100mm F2) are not just a function of sharpness and contrast, which Ricoh lenses do have, but of the transition to out-of-focus areas and the way out-of-focus highlights are imaged (bokeh), something small sensor cameras just can't match.

    Then again the GRD II might open new opportunities for you, I have had mine for a month and despite some dynamic range concerns couldnt be happier with it (but then I already loved the 28mm EFV). You can check some of my best GRD II images and tips at my Flickr page.

    It recently got marked as MODERATE due to some creative nudes. So you'll need to be signed in and change your filter settings by going to "your Account"-->"Privacy & Permissions"-->"Content filters"-->"Edit"-->"Safe Search Off (or Moderate")-->"Save Changes":

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/?saved=1

  3. #3
    Super Duper
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    If you're looking for a small sensor camera that covers the range from 28-100efov and that has a lens that draws with real "3-D pop," you might want to consider the Leica D-Lux 3. The ergonomics aren't as top-notch as the Ricohs, but the files are gorgeous.

    My usual plug for my D-Lux 3 Flickr gallery.

  4. #4
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Hi Scott,

    Let's see now if I can return some of the help you've given me so far on the Mac/PC stuff.

    Each person has a different idea of what the "3D Look" is but I agree with Jorge that what some may be describing is a visual effect that is created by a combination of lens contrast and controlled depth of field. As Jorge says, deep DOF goes with this format but, for higher lens contrast I would say the cameras to think about are the GR2 and, as Maggie says, the D-Lux 3.

    I'll add some color pictures to the GR2 article if I make any.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  5. #5
    meilicke
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Thank you all for your thoughts.

    Jorge and Sean, good points regarding dof/sharpness and how they contribute to the 3-d look.

    Maggie, how do you combat low light with the d-lux? From the pix I have seen on this forum (will look at your flikr tonight), increasing the iso seems like the way you have gone. Does the d-lux offer adequate controls around flash comp? I do like the dedicated AF/AE button on the leica/panny. It seems a bit simpler, and more what I am used to, than the Ricohs.

    Jorge, thanks for the warning about your gallery. I'll look at home tonight. My reference to the 31 limited was more for the quality vs. focal length. I have been walking around with my 16-45 lens taped at 28mm effective for the last month or so, and find it quite nice. Sure is big though

    Regarding the GX100 - does the lack of flash compensation make flash difficult for primary lighting that would be used inside? I might use an external flash, bouncing off the ceiling, or possibly couple an external flash with a flash radio. The GRDII with flash comp. seems better suited to this for indoor use (combined with the better high iso performance and slightly faster lens).

    My gut tells me to go with the GRDII, but I have a love/hate relationship with my gut.

    Thanks,
    Scott

  6. #6
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Scott, I shoot my D-Lux 3 at all ISOs, save 1600. I shoot RAW, and have been using LightZone to do PP. I will usually leave the Flash EV at -1 and that tames it nicely. If I can tell you anything else, just ask.

  7. #7
    meilicke
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Thanks Maggie, much appreciated. Have you ever used an external flash as a slave with an optical trigger?

  8. #8
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    No, can't say that I have. Not with the D-Lux 3, at least. I would imagine it could be done, with some work, though.

  9. #9
    meilicke
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Thank you all for your help with my dilemma, including those who have been posting images and talking about both cameras in other threads. In the end I bought a used GX-100 (from Amin on this site - thanks Amin). Both cameras had weaknesses that were significant to me, so it was a real struggle to commit to either one. The lower price of the used GX-100, and an ideal package (camera plus CV 28/35 finder), sealed the deal. Perhaps something will come up in a year or so, but in the mean time, I will enjoy the new camera!

    -Scott

  10. #10
    wbrandsma
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Congrats Scott with your new camera. I hope you will enjoy the camera as much as I do. I made this photo at the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships with 1/2 second exposure. Flash was not allowed here!


  11. #11
    meilicke
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Wouter, it is mighty impressive how sharp those skaters are considering the exposure time.

  12. #12
    wbrandsma
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Not only that. They where doing more than 32 miles per hour!

  13. #13
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Wouter, that is just incredible!!

  14. #14
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Wouter, Tres Magnifique!
    Love it!

  15. #15
    meilicke
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Wouter, how did you capture that picture? Monopod? Propped on someone's head? I'm dying to know...

  16. #16
    paralx
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Great Shots!

    So far I've been more than happy with the GRDII. I feel like I'm able to make images no matter the situation. Attached are a couple of images from very different situations. (The color one taken at ISO 80 the black and white one taken at ISO 800).

    Best of luck with your new camera - I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

  17. #17
    wbrandsma
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Quote Originally Posted by meilicke View Post
    Wouter, how did you capture that picture? Monopod? Propped on someone's head? I'm dying to know...
    Thank you all. I guess with a steady hand, a lot of luck, and no drinking! Speedskating races in the Netherlands have a very celebrational (carnaval) atmosphere and the crowd drink, dance, and sing a lot.

  18. #18
    meilicke
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Now that I think about it, I have some slow shutter shots from my Canon S45 I had a few years ago. That was a fun camera. This picture was from a baseball game in Connecticut, USA, with a shutter speed of 1/13.

    -Scott

  19. #19
    ellemand
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Hi you all.

    Couldn't resist anymore. My local "photo-pusher" just gave me a call right now.
    My new GRD II is in the store - I'll pick it up tomorrow.
    Can't wait

    Cheers
    Ellemand.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ellemand/

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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Wouter,

    I like the speed skating photo, but I'm very confused by it. I don't see how the skaters could be so sharp at 1/2 second, and 32 mph. I certainly believe you, but I'm amazed. Were you panning with them?
    I would think the motion of their hands and legs would blur even if you were panning.

    Just very curious how you pulled it off.

    Best,

    Mitchell

  21. #21
    wbrandsma
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell View Post
    Wouter,

    I like the speed skating photo, but I'm very confused by it. I don't see how the skaters could be so sharp at 1/2 second, and 32 mph. I certainly believe you, but I'm amazed. Were you panning with them?
    I would think the motion of their hands and legs would blur even if you were panning.

    Just very curious how you pulled it off.

    Best,

    Mitchell
    I was panning. The sharpness is mostly related to the 24mm wide angle and the distance to the skaters. The image beneath was made with a 35mm focal length. This enhances the feeling of speed.



    And because we love speedskating .

  22. #22
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Wouter,

    Thanks for your response. The first photo really makes it clear. The slow skater on the right is blurred because you are panning, and the fast skater's hand is blurred even though his body isn't. I can see how the skaters in the original shot are not blurred because you got them when they are holding their stride before their next step as speed skaters do.

    Mystery solved. It shows how one can makes shots succeed even when it seems unlikely.

    Thanks,

    Mitchell

  23. #23
    Member kai.e.g.'s Avatar
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Our next door neighbours (from whom we purchased the land on which to build our house) were [Italian] speedskating champions in the 1950's - they met each other that way. I just showed your shots to them (both now in their 70's) and they just loved them. He is still actively involved in the sport as an official, and also coaching/teaching.

    My first post here, I think (I lose track where I've posted & when sometimes!), but I've been quietly lurking/absorbing for a week or so. I'm going through the same decision-making process: one day I'm convinced it'll be the GX-100 and the next, it's just as certainly the GRD II. It all boils down to RAW Buffer vs. Focal Length Versatility.

    And, despite what I perceive to be it's many compromises, I'm still keen to see Sean's G9 review, even if for no other reason than to confirm all my doubts about it. If one were to base the decision purely upon the gushing reviews found in the popular press/websites, the G9 would be the best thing since sliced bread. I'd essentially like a GX-100 with a RAW buffer, and would ask for little else. At least there's time on my side: I can't really purchase anything until a number of other priorities are taken care of around here - our house is new, and we have a lunar landscape for a garden which needs fixing this springtime - which could mean not until the next crop of cameras is announced... in the meantime, I'll drop in and shoot the breeze here from time to time :-)

  24. #24
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    I'm working on that G9 review right now and *may* have it published by the end of the week. The camera has some strengths, to be sure, but also some notable weaknesses.

    BTW, the other issue one might consider in the GX100 vs. GR2 decision is whether he or she wants a higher contrast or moderate contrast lens.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  25. #25
    wbrandsma
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Quote Originally Posted by kai.e.g. View Post
    Our next door neighbours (from whom we purchased the land on which to build our house) were [Italian] speedskating champions in the 1950's - they met each other that way. I just showed your shots to them (both now in their 70's) and they just loved them. He is still actively involved in the sport as an official, and also coaching/teaching.

    My first post here, I think (I lose track where I've posted & when sometimes!), but I've been quietly lurking/absorbing for a week or so. I'm going through the same decision-making process: one day I'm convinced it'll be the GX-100 and the next, it's just as certainly the GRD II. It all boils down to RAW Buffer vs. Focal Length Versatility.

    And, despite what I perceive to be it's many compromises, I'm still keen to see Sean's G9 review, even if for no other reason than to confirm all my doubts about it. If one were to base the decision purely upon the gushing reviews found in the popular press/websites, the G9 would be the best thing since sliced bread. I'd essentially like a GX-100 with a RAW buffer, and would ask for little else. At least there's time on my side: I can't really purchase anything until a number of other priorities are taken care of around here - our house is new, and we have a lunar landscape for a garden which needs fixing this springtime - which could mean not until the next crop of cameras is announced... in the meantime, I'll drop in and shoot the breeze here from time to time :-)
    Grazie mille. Italy has had very succesful speedskaters and a beautiful icetrack in Baselga di Pine. In 1950's you had Enrico Musolino, Guido Caroli, Guido Citterio, Mario Gios, Renato De Riva, and more recently Roberto Sighel, and Enrico Fabris as speedskaters. Great to read that there are more speedskating fans beyond the Netherlands and Norway.

    I agree with you that the GX100 should have a better RAW buffer, but the lens makes this camera one of a kind. In June I doubted between the Panasonic LX2/Leica D-Lux 3, Canon G7, Ricoh GRD, and Ricoh GX100. The Canon felt good in the hand, but was too much menu oriented and lacked a serious wide angle (no RAW either). The Panasonic/Leica deal has a good wide angle, but the widest angle only in 16:9 mode (I prefer 3:2). The GRD has a great lens, but was too pricey for me (and I can still use my GR1). The GX100 has great ergonomics (like the GRD) and a fantastic lens. I especially adore the step zoom mode. I have not regret it.
    Good luck with your decision making!

  26. #26
    meilicke
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Quote Originally Posted by kai.e.g. View Post
    It all boils down to RAW Buffer vs. Focal Length Versatility.
    Believe me, I hear your pain .

    But, if you read Sean's review of the GX-100 (www.reidreviews.com, paid site), you will see you do not lose too much by going jpeg with some appropriate in-camera settings. Not quite raw, but when you need the ability to take pictures rapidly, it seems jpeg is still OK. Note - I do not yet have my GX-100, so this comment is not from personal experience.

    -Scott

  27. #27
    wbrandsma
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    I think the jpegs are OK. In particular the B&W jpegs. I only use the RAWs, because no noise reduction is applied (, but I am almost always suprised and pleased with the B&W jpegs I get when shooting RAW).

    Forgot to say Scott that I love the streak of the ball on your baseball image!
    Last edited by wbrandsma; 22nd January 2008 at 11:15. Reason: Added compliment for image from Scott

  28. #28
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Quote Originally Posted by wbrandsma View Post
    I think the jpegs are OK. In particular the B&W jpegs. I only use the RAWs, because no noise reduction is applied (, but I am almost always suprised and pleased with the B&W jpegs I get when shooting RAW).

    Forgot to say Scott that I love the streak of the ball on your baseball image!

    Wouter, the lack of noise reduction on JPEG (as well as the slow RAW write times) are the reason I almost always shoot jpegs with my GRD.
    Agreed on the Baseball image!

  29. #29
    meilicke
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Thanks Wouter and Lili. It is an interesting exercise in patience, combining the long shutter lag of the S45 with a player actually hitting the ball.

    -Scott

  30. #30
    Member kai.e.g.'s Avatar
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Sean - glad to hear we might see the G9 review soon, though as a very recent subscriber, I'm very much enjoying all your other articles in the meantime.

    That's a good point regarding JPEG's from the GX100 many of you make - thanks - and the nice part of it is that the nervous amongst us can shoot RAW/JPEG initially until our confidence in the results is high enough to simply shoot JPEG the bulk of the time... switching to RAW only when a difficult scene warrants it. Mind you, if I'm perfectly honest with myself about it, even the 4 seconds of RAW write time would not bother me that much most of the time - I fairly rarely fire off even two shots in rapid succession. So it might just be a case of getting to worried about a specification that looks worse on paper than in practice [for me].

    Wouter, their names are not amongst your list, but I might have the time frame wrong... or maybe they didn't participate internationally. Anyway, his surname is "Zonca", if that rings a bell.

  31. #31
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Quote Originally Posted by kai.e.g. View Post
    Sean - glad to hear we might see the G9 review soon, though as a very recent subscriber, I'm very much enjoying all your other articles in the meantime.

    That's a good point regarding JPEG's from the GX100 many of you make - thanks - and the nice part of it is that the nervous amongst us can shoot RAW/JPEG initially until our confidence in the results is high enough to simply shoot JPEG the bulk of the time... switching to RAW only when a difficult scene warrants it. Mind you, if I'm perfectly honest with myself about it, even the 4 seconds of RAW write time would not bother me that much most of the time - I fairly rarely fire off even two shots in rapid succession. So it might just be a case of getting to worried about a specification that looks worse on paper than in practice [for me].
    I'm glad to hear it. I found the RAW delays on the original GR to be very problematic but the shorter delays with the GX100 don't bother me so much. Still, the GR II's buffer is great to have.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  32. #32
    asabet
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Quote Originally Posted by meilicke View Post
    Thank you all for your help with my dilemma, including those who have been posting images and talking about both cameras in other threads. In the end I bought a used GX-100 (from Amin on this site - thanks Amin). Both cameras had weaknesses that were significant to me, so it was a real struggle to commit to either one. The lower price of the used GX-100, and an ideal package (camera plus CV 28/35 finder), sealed the deal. Perhaps something will come up in a year or so, but in the mean time, I will enjoy the new camera!

    -Scott
    The GX100 was possibly the most enjoyable digital camera I have used, though hard to decide between that, Digilux 2, and others. Hopefully you all won't mind me sticking around this great forum for the images and gear talk now I no longer have a compact camera and am mainly shooting film . Regards, Amin

  33. #33
    asabet
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Wouter, fantastic shots!

  34. #34
    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean_Reid View Post
    deep DOF goes with this format
    Cheers,

    Sean
    DOF? What DOF?



    A couple of today's pix - spring has come early to Ireland.
    Both jpg resized only from GRD II: the dngs are better.

    Bertie

  35. #35
    meilicke
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Well it has been a week since I received the camera. I like it quite a bit for the controls, size, and image quality. The one thing that really surprised me was the CV 28/35 mini finder that I also purchased. I am having a hard time with it. The lines tend to disappear on me depending upon the scene I am looking at. Sometimes looking around a bit helps. Maybe I am just so used to my DSLR and putting a big hulking thing to my face, that it just seems strange to put such a small camera there. I feel like eating it like a chocolate bar.

    But really, that is such a small thing to worry about. I will either get used to the finder and like it, get a slightly larger one (for my glasses mostly), or just use the LCD and adapt to a "looser style", as Mitch Alland has said.

    The camera itself is really a blast.

    -Scott

  36. #36
    VladimirV
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Good to hear you're happy with your purchase and are enjoying the camera.

    I had the same problem with the GV-2 Ricoh OVF and find that the GV-1 although bigger works much better and you can see the framelines easier.

  37. #37
    Senior Member Will's Avatar
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Just an example of slow shutter speed 1/9 that I think worked well.


  38. #38
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Quote Originally Posted by meilicke View Post
    Well it has been a week since I received the camera. I like it quite a bit for the controls, size, and image quality. The one thing that really surprised me was the CV 28/35 mini finder that I also purchased. I am having a hard time with it. The lines tend to disappear on me depending upon the scene I am looking at. Sometimes looking around a bit helps. Maybe I am just so used to my DSLR and putting a big hulking thing to my face, that it just seems strange to put such a small camera there. I feel like eating it like a chocolate bar.

    But really, that is such a small thing to worry about. I will either get used to the finder and like it, get a slightly larger one (for my glasses mostly), or just use the LCD and adapt to a "looser style", as Mitch Alland has said.

    The camera itself is really a blast.

    -Scott
    If it doesn't seem to work, try the GV-1 or the CV 28 (which is larger).

    Cheers,

    Sean

  39. #39
    hiro
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Quote Originally Posted by meilicke View Post
    The one thing that really surprised me was the CV 28/35 mini finder that I also purchased. I am having a hard time with it. The lines tend to disappear on me depending upon the scene I am looking at.
    ...
    I will either get used to the finder and like it, get a slightly larger one (for my glasses mostly), or just use the LCD
    Have you tried the EVF? I much prefer it to the LCD. At first sight it looks a bit pixelly but that's because you're getting a magnified view compared to the LCD, in reality they're about the same resolution. I prefer the fact that the virtual image is at infinity (with eyepiece adjusted right!), making it easier and more natural to look at than a little screen just in front of you. And although it has drawbacks compared to an OVF, it does give you a TTL view, SLR style, along with full readout. You can even use it in playback mode to review your images with some privacy!

  40. #40
    Mitch Alland
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    I agree with Hiro in the sense that the EVF can be better than an OVF that has no read-out information: although under conditions of very bright light I can still frame with the LCD because I only use it to establish the edges of the frame and usually look at the subject itself when pressing the shutter, I find the GX100's EVF more useful than an optical VF without any read-out because the latter does not allow me to see when I need to reduce the aperture because the small-sensor camera cannot (at that aperture) use a fast enough shutter speed — this is also what flares out on the LCD.

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

  41. #41
    meilicke
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    I have not tried the EVF. The extra information that it yields sounds tempting. I think I will keep my eyes peeled to find a used one and see how it goes. Meanwhile I may be able to find a local store that carries the VC 28mm.

    Sean, when you say:
    If it doesn't seem to work, try the GV-1 or the CV 28 (which is larger).
    Do you mean the CV28 is larger than the GV-1?

    Thanks all,
    Scott

  42. #42
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: GRD II vs. GX-100 - I'm stuck

    Quote Originally Posted by meilicke View Post
    I have not tried the EVF. The extra information that it yields sounds tempting. I think I will keep my eyes peeled to find a used one and see how it goes. Meanwhile I may be able to find a local store that carries the VC 28mm.

    Sean, when you say:

    Do you mean the CV28 is larger than the GV-1?

    Thanks all,
    Scott
    Hi Scott,

    Sorry, I wasn't clear in that sentence. Then CV 28 finder is larger than the 28/35.

    Cheers,

    Sean

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