Jun 132011
 

As an experienced photographer I like to think I have all the bases covered when taking a shot. Most times I do but every now and again, I am prone to a moment of madness, forgetfulness or call it what you will. Senior moment is the phrase I like to use.

On Saturday, I attended a social function at a gated community on Fleming Island, which afforded me access to Doctor’s Lake and the chance to fire off a few shots.  It was a bright sunny day. I lined up my first shot in aperture priority mode  and the camera told me I needed to set  a smaller aperture. I turned the aperture wheel to f/5.6. That wasn’t enough for the conditions. Eventually, the camera was happy with an aperture of f/8.

©Calvin Palmer 2011. All Rights Reserved. B&W conversion in Silver Efex Pro.

Now in all the time I have owned the Ricoh GRD III, the smallest aperture I have shot with is f/6.3. I just assumed that surrounded by a large area of water on a bright day, light was reflecting off the water to create even brighter conditions than normal.

It is to the credit of the LCD screen of the GRD III that I was still able to frame my compositions with ease. Reading the shutter speed, aperture and ISO setting was a little more difficult. And therein lay my problem.

The day before I had been shooting indoors and ramped the ISO setting up to ISO 400. Usually, when I get the camera ready for my next shoot, I first delete the previous files and check the camera settings. On this occasion, I did the former but forgot about the latter. I was shooting in bright sun with ISO 400. Small wonder that I was having to use f/8. It was only when I came to work on the RAW images that I discovered my oversight.

©Calvin Palmer 2011. All Rights Reserved.

This kind of scenario sums up why I much prefer to shoot with a camera with a viewfinder. On my Canon 40D, I would have noticed the high ISO setting instantly and made the necessary change. But the small numerals on the LCD of the Ricoh don’t always register, especially following cataract surgery. And I refuse to wear reading glasses because I would be constantly putting them on and taking them off for each shot. My distance vision is good.

©Calvin Palmer 2011. All Rights Reserved. B&W conversion in Silver Efex Pro.

In a nutshell, that is many a photographer’s dilemma. We don’t always want to carry the weight of a DSLR with us, particularly at a social function, and so resort to compact cameras where we are reliant on the LCD screen. Like I say, the Ricoh GRD III LCD does an excellent job 98 percent of the time and is a thousand-fold better than the LCD on my Leica D-Lux 3 where both settings and composition are in the lap of the gods on a bright sunny day.

Ricoh’s GXR camera comes with an EVF, at a price, which does contain the same kind of information visible in the viewfinder of a DSLR. Maybe that is a compromise worth making to avoid my kind of senior moments, although I have my doubts whether I would take to an electonric viewfinder. My only experience of using one was with a Panasonic LC1 camera in a pawn shop. It was better than nothing but I didn’t like it. Of course EVFs have made rapid strides since Panasonic’s early model and Ricoh’s EVF has the second highest resolution after the EVF for the Olympus PEN cameras. Maybe it is time to check out EVFs again.

Please help support this site by clicking on the Amazon link on this page if you are shopping for something.

Apr 272011
 

Digitial Photography Review, more usually referred to as DPReview, recently had a poll on the question: What should we call mirrorless cameras?

Mirrorless cameras are cameras such as the Panasonic Lumix G models, Olympus Pen Digital models, Sony NEX and Samsung NX series.

DPReview prefaced the poll with this introduction:

Just what should we call mirrorless cameras? Ever since the launch of the Micro Four Thirds System, the photographic world has struggled to find a satisfactory generic term to describe similar systems. The current front-runners appear to be “mirrorless” or “compact system cameras” but there is nothing like consensus yet. We have put some of the more common options and some alternatives we have had suggested to us, in a poll to see how you think of these cameras. It is a chance to have your voice heard, since we have had more than one camera maker ask us which name is most widely recognized. So have a look to the right of this story and register your vote.

If the cameras are called mirrorless cameras, why do they need a new name? It seems the photographic world did not struggle too much to come up with the term mirrorless camera. With this poll, DPReview has simply instigated an exercise in redundancy.

But the geeks and techno-freaks want something to chatter about, anything rather than take photographs – the sole purpose of a camera. No, these people would rather spend hours debating the merits of a CCD sensor versus a CMOS sensor. And of course everyone who posts on DPReview is an “expert”.

The trouble with DPReview is that it takes itself far too seriously. It is essentially an amateur production that cashed in on the Internet explosion and all credit to them for doing that. But where is its authority? It doesn’t really have any since it was never put to the marketplace in the same way that print publications are.

The preface to the poll would be a little more credible if it named the camera manufacturers that see DPReview as the font of all knowledge. Are camera manufacturers facing such hard times that they no longer have marketing departments or cannot afford to hire a marketing consultant to find out the answer?

I guess there is nothing wrong with self-inflating one’s ego. It certainly hasn’t done Donald Trump any harm.

If DPReview is so all-knowing and speaks for the camera industry, why has it never reviewed the Ricoh GR Digital III camera? DPReview does seem to have an inherent bias against Ricoh cameras and likes to play its favourites – another reason to level the charge of amateurism.

The results of the poll are now in.

The winner was Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera with 45.2 percent of the vote, a total of 14,392 votes; second place went to Interchangeable Lens Compact with 18.6 percent, 5,920 votes.

One wag on a DPReview forum noted his disappointment, I would guess tongue-in-cheek, that the poll did not have Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Format as one of the voting options.

I think that comment was the only good thing to emerge from this exercise in futility.

Boys and their toys, huh?