Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Pictures / New Camera

I've posted some pictures (link below) from a fun walk Amy and I did yesterday on the South Side Slopes (thanks to Brian and Sarah for the idea). This is the second outing where I've used my new small camera, a Ricoh GX100 (the first was my Olympics Trip with Stewart). I wanted to replace my older Canon S400 with another pocket camera with better image quality and a wider-angle lens; I still have my Canon 10D for dedicated photography trips, but it's heavy and impossible to use with one hand, making it poorly suited for light-and-fast backpacking trips, photography while climbing, and random outings where I probably won't take pictures but might if something interesting comes up. The compact digital camera market still has relatively few offerings with a wide-angle lens, good manual controls, and quality optics. I'm particularly disappointed in Canon; it seems clear that they are trying to force "serious" photographers into their DSLR line. And everyone is using small sensors with too many pixels, leading to poor low-light performance. It's frustrating. I considered the Panasonic LX2, but dismissed it due to especially poor high-ISO noise. I've been pretty happy with my S400, so I looked at the newer SD800 (a very similar camera, updated with image stabilization and a wider lens), and the Ricoh Gx100. The Ricoh is about twice the price, so before committing I ordered both cameras from Adorama, and spent a few days walking around taking comparison shots. The Ricoh won out thanks to notably better optics and excellent manual controls. In particular, the gx100 had much better edge sharpness at the wide end and much better control of chromatic aberration. The manual controls are natural to someone coming from a DSLR, and the customizability is great (for example, I can store 2-second self timer / ISO 80 / no image stabilization as a custom setting on the mode dial to quickly switch to my preferred tripod settings -- I wish I could do that on my 10D). An added bonus is the outstanding macro capability on the GX100, far superior to the Canon. For examples, look here, here, and here. The capabilities of the camera are complemented nicely by a flexible mini-tripod (I have this one). The camera still fits in my chest pocket with the tripod attached, and the small size of the camera makes it much easier to maneuver for macros than a full DSLR setup. Many of the landscape shots I've taken so far have also been with this tripod.

South Side Slopes

2 comments:

CresceNet said...
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Dora said...

You write very well.