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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Camera Lust: Ricoh GXR!

warning: geek talk ahead so skip to the pictures if you're not interested in techy stuff!
 
back in the good old days, i used a PnS (point & shoot) camera like most people did, and i was quite a fan of the Canon IXUS series.. they were the best when it came to compact cameras 3 years ago, and this handy little camera was good enough to take pictures of myself, my life, my friends.. etc. i don't know how i got influenced into taking a more serious interest in photography/cameras, but it was probably because i started blogging, and also because i travel quite frequently at least two times a year, and i wanted to document my life and my experiences as well as my travelogues down with better pictures that would capture those memories for me.

 
so in August 2009, I somehow set my eyes on the highly raved Panasonic Lumix-3, which was a step up from the Canon compact and finally got my hands on it! blogged about it here, and i was super excited then! sharper pictures, better quality, and more manual controls and functions that i could play with! had so much more fun with it as compared to the Canon Ixus, and i enjoyed this camera a lot. it's still in use by Gina currently, and it's so sturdy that even after getting all dented and scratched up due to taking multiple falls, it's still working as well as the day i bought it :) 
 
i remember how i fell in love with the Olympus E-P1: my art director from IFS, Stan was proudly showing off this camera during office christmas party in December 2009, and the pictures were soooo gorgeous i couldn't believe it came from such a small camera! (as compared to a DSLR!) so i did lots of research on the M4/3 system, pondered long and hard over GF-1/E-P1 and in January 2010, i managed to get it second hand, which made me a happy girl! blog entry here.

ever since i started using the E-P1 (interchangeable lenses!!!), i could never go back to using a PnS (point and shoot) compact anymore, because i was so used to the high quality images, rich colors, better performance in low light, bigger sensor leading to shallower depth of field etc... coupled with the E-P1's awesome art filters (my favorite are Grainy B&W and Pop Art), it was a joy to use, and this camera accompanied me to Bali, Korea, Italy, Poland... i have so many good recollections of all those beautiful places, all thanks to the digital memories captured with this camera! in fact, i love the E-P1 so much, even after i damaged my first set (water damage from a water bottle that wasn't capped properly!!) i went back to Clubsnap to search for another set second-hand despite the newer version E-P2 being released already.

one thing about the E-P1: it didn't have a built in flash, and the AF (auto focus) was just on the slow side.. i made do, and still managed to get the shots i wanted most of the time, but the E-P3 was released in 2011 and it was a super improved version, with flash AND faster AF and other very useful new functions! i thought about it for awhile....
 
and succumbed to the E-P3 in September 2011! love the flash, love the super fast AF, and it even has a touch screen focus function which makes life super easy.. after using the E-P1 for so long, i was very accustomed to the controls and interface on the Olympus so this was a breeze for me to use! still love it very much and enjoy using this wonderful camera! another plus point is that as the lenses are all interchangeable within the M4/3 cameras, i can use the lens i bought for the E-P1 just the same on the E-P3, so i don't have to invest in new lenses all over again.

some of my favorite shots were produced by the E-P1 and E-P3, mostly with the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 pancake lens, and you can look at the pictures i've taken with my trusty E-P cameras, in my travel blog posts!
in Poland.

in Korea

in Venice, Italy

in Bologna, Italy

in Florence, Italy

in Bali, Indonesia

moving on,
i remember reading about this nifty little machine called the Ricoh GXR some time ago when it was just released: it appeared to take really good pictures, but i read that the AF was slow, so i didn't pay it much attention, plus it wasn't all that cheap either! the interesting part about the GXR is that instead of having interchangeable lenses, it has interchangeable modules, with the sensor and lens built together, and you can swap your modules to use on the same body! it sounds a little confusing, but if you're interested to find out more you can read a review on the GXR here.
 
after way too much research and googling, i decided to take the plunge and got myself the GXR with M-mount module! this camera body allows me to to mount manual Leica M-mount rangefinder lenses on it, so it's kind of like a marriage of film meets digital! i'm not patient enough for film cameras, and this is by far a better alternative for me to explore photography.

the cool thing is that the Leica M-mount cameras were introduced in the 1950s, so any lenses that were made for the M-mount from then to now can all be mounted and used on the GXR M-mount! (in theory that is!) which is where the appeal of the GXR and M-mount module really lies in. cos a "real" Leica M camera body would set you back by about 10K, in comparison to the GXR M-mount, which is almost 1/10th of a Leica's price.

DENG DENG DENG!!! say hello to my GXR M-mount :D together with the Voightlander 40mm 1.4 lens! (no money to buy Leica M lenses, they're a few thousand bucks for one lens!) got a leather case for the new baby as well, don't want it to suffer any injuries due to my clumsiness!

rangefinder lens work by focusing through distance calculation. there's no AF on this lens, its fully manual. so i guess that's a "downgrade" from my super fast AF E-P3 :S

isn't it a beauty? heheh. it's not as sleek or pretty as the E-P3, but looks much sturdier and industrial in a very impressive manner!

other than the M-mount, i also got the A12 28mm module, which has AF and an awesome 12MP APS-C sensor. (which is slightly larger/better than the M4/3 sensor on my E-P3!) supposed to have better image quality and better low light performance, it's just a back-up module though, i'm pretty sure i'm gonna be using either the E-P3 with my current M4/3 lenses or the GXR with M-mount mostly. the E-P3 is definitely more useful for stuff like taking pictures of myself, lifestyle shots, events and etc. what i really want to do with the GXR is to explore the world of M-mount lenses, manual focusing and use it to make good pictures. maybe even try a couple of TVD photoshoots with it? :D

i'm no pro, but i'd be happy enough to play with my cameras and take pictures for myself hahaha. don't have to take any award winning pictures! just want to enjoy the process of working the camera and taking pictures with it. without further ado, here's some pictures from the new baby, hot off the press! edited for color and contrast!

these few are taken with the A12 28mm module. very clear and sharp lens, and the performance in low light is quite impressive too! the auto focus is slower than the E-P3 but manageable.

self portrait! light make-up day.

Baby waiting for her toy to play Fetch

Zavier boy late out for supper!

very yummy chicken rice

and satay!

Zavier being mischievous as usual, couldn't get his hands off the straw and cup!

isn't he a cutie pie :D makes his grandparents very happy

Geylang road.. just a random snap as i was going home from office.

i settled on the Voightlander 40mm 1.4 which i bought from Chiif Cameras at Excelsior Shopping Centre, after a lot of googling and research :) it's one of the cheaper Voightlander lens but appears to perform well from all the reviews/photos i saw!

this really cool old school polaroid camera Chiif has. so amazing!

Baby sleeping like a human, still got blanket some more! really #likeaboss, this dog.

CNY cards on the living room wall

pussy willow plants out by the pond

Gina doing her makeup in the morning.. i snapped a couple just to try.

more bokeh-licious pictures. hehe i hate to sound shallow but i really really like shallow depth of field! good foreground/background separation or whatever they call it.

tried a shot of Daddy's arowana fish, i like how it turned out!

pictures on the wall, more shallow depth of field going on

what you get with aperture set to 1.4 and lots of lights in the distance. mad nice bokeh shot! mwahahahaha.

i really love fiddling with the lens, it's very fun! plus manual focus on the GXR is quite easy to use with the focus assist. not gonna go into detail la, this is not some camera review on a geek forum. you need to work harder to get a shot, but when you do get a good shot, the satisfaction is immense. heheh. like i said, this camera is just for myself to explore photography and if you want a good, user friendly, efficient, everyday use camera, you'd be better off with other cameras like the Olympus E-P3, or  Panasonic GX1, or Canon S100 etc..

promised myself that i won't get another camera body for the next.... 2 years. =_= judging from my track record for the past 2-3 years, i think it's gonna be a struggle.... i like cameras the way some people like branded bags. lol. i'm so terrible. but with two fantastic cameras and another DSLR body i really don't NEED any more. i will tell myself that it's a NEED and not a WANT. no-no to more camera lusting. *fingers crossed*

hope to have more beautiful pictures for myself and everyone else to enjoy with the combination of my two cameras! :D sorry for the long, draggy and geeky post!!! i really really wanted to gush more about the new camera and explain in-depth about rangefinders, Leicas, manual lenses, M-mounts and all that, but it'd be too confusing and i think most of you wouldn't be interested anyway. if you have any questions though, feel free to leave a comment and i'll get back to you if i can be of help!

suffice to say i am really happy with my new camera. can't wait to take more pictures and get better at using it soon!
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