Sunday morning is a great time for taking images. The market and offices are closed, so the city starts to wake up later than the rest of the week. It’s quiet, with few people on the streets, and I find it the best time for a morning walk and a cup of coffee.
I could load a TRI-X 400 on my Leica M7 and take some images, but I preferred to take with me the Ricoh GX200. This is a camera I own for years and reach for only a few times each year. It can rest on my shelf for months, and then suddenly I rediscover it and carry it with me for a few days. Then, it goes back on my shelf and the same story goes on and on.
The walk from my house to my favorite cafe is a well known route, so I know how the light is at early morning at almost every part of the route. I also know that a zoom lens will give me better chances for good images, so I opted for the Ricoh instead of the Leica with a prime lens (I was not going to go through lens changes).
I still consider the GX200 to be one of the best street cameras. It’s really small, can be operated single handed (fabulous ergonomics) and its really a camera that will not get attention. It has an electronic viewfinder but most of my shots were going to be from waist level, so I didn’t take it with. A tilt screen would be welcome, but I can live without it. The 12 megapixels are enough for cropping, so I chose a wider angle in order to get the shots I wanted.
By setting the focus to manual and distance to 3 or 5 meters, you have the luxury of capturing images instantly without the lag of auto focus, and the small sensor guarantees that you have plenty depth of field so that’s pretty much anything is in focus.
My favorite choice is the b&w JPEG, and I have to say that the black and white images straight out of the camera are looking great. I only needed to crop them and in few images I added a little contrast and sharpening using the Photogene app for my iPad.
That’s one of the undisputed advantages of the digital era. Shoot, post process and publish in a matter of minutes. The files from the TRI-X and a Leica lens would be of course better, but there are times that I really enjoy the process from creating photos and post them instantly. You can do the same with a mobile phone and apps like Instagram, but I don’t like using mobile phones for photography. I prefer a real camera, every single time.
The image quality of the GX200 is exactly what’s expected from an old compact camera. Not on par with modern sensors, especially in ISO performance and dynamic range, but it gets the job done. The only complaint I have is the lack of a Shutter priority mode (I really don’t know why they omitted such an important function, while at the same time they added an intervalometer function for time lapses !!!), but I have learned to override this serious flaw by adjusting the other parameters.
Even today, I find the Ricoh to be a superb little camera, and although I had the chance over the weekend to test a Sony RX100, which is really a revolution to compact cameras, I will still continue to use it, mainly for street images.
Enjoy the rest of the images, while I am enjoying an early morning cup of coffee !!
(c)2012 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.