Switching from Fujifilm to the Ricoh GR III

Why? It’s smaller.

So much for the short version of this blogpost. For more information, stay tuned. This year saw the release of the new Ricoh GR III. A different beast compared to the Fujifilm X100F, but certainly not a lesser beast. And following the release and hands-on reviews which popped up online; I became slowly interested in this camera. But why?

Well first off, the X100F was starting to collect dust. The camera was sitting on my desk and didn’t make the travels from and to work or other small trips. I did bring it to our city trips or events that invited picture taking. But it didn’t stick to me the way other cameras did. Enthusiasts will know what I mean, there’s just certain cameras that stick to you like glue, and are always there. It’s a practical case as well as a psychological case. The camera should be practical enough to be tagged along with you, but there’s also the feeling which a camera gives you to inspire picture taking instead of only being a beautiful device.

The Ricoh GR III definitely suits the practical case for bringing along the camera everywhere; it’s made to fit in your pocket with the small formfactor but also secures the lens very well using the automatic lenscurtain. To connect with the psychological (or emotional) aspect of photographers, this camera adheres to the spirit of street photography, with a cult following of streetphotogs to give testimony to the GR. Will this device be my EDC (everyday carry) camera? only time will tell. What I am convinced of, is this camera takes some really sharp shots with it’s versatile 28mm lens. A few sample shots in the gallery below.

Fujifilm X100F; a one year review

Over the years i’ve tried several types of cameras; each with it’s pros and cons. It’s funny how sometimes your own preference can change over the years. When I started this website, I was shooting a Fujifilm X-T10 (interchangeable lens system camera) just after switching from a fixed lens compact model, the Fujifilm X70. These cameras were superb for the purposes which they were designed for. The image quality was always on par, and they were extremely durable; the only damage one of them endured was caused by the foolishness of yours truly.

Last year I started to notice that the almost perfect camera model for me, would be a combination of X-T10 and X70 combined. Enter the Fujifilm X100F. What I wanted was a compact system camera with a good viewfinder, APS-C sensor quality and still being able to try out different focal lengths. Now that it’s been almost a year using the X100F, I thought I’d write up a review for this small monster. Let’s start with the pros and cons.

Pros:
+ Compact formfactor for this sensor size camera
+ Swiss army knife when it comes to features
+ Extremely customizable
+ Hybrid viewfinder
+ JPEG quality

Cons:
– Digital teleconverter only works in JPEG mode
– Soft focus effect when taking closeup shots
– Ergonomics (strap recommended)

Build quality
The X100F is built like a tank. The weight of this device is just right I think. Without the extra accesories, the weight is evenly balanced so it’s not going to bother you during shooting. After a year of use, there are virtually no scratchmarks or other blemishes. I will advise you to use a strap for this camera, as the grip is not as efficient as a DSLR grip.

Features
This camera is jampacked with features like: a builtin ND filter, leafshutter for great flash results, digital teleconverter for zooming to 50mm or 70mm, joystick for quickly switching focus points. The only negative I can think of in this regard, that someone might drown in the featureset of this camera. The way I work around this, is moving all the necessary adjustments to post processing, instead of fiddling at the moment of shooting. Basically I make sure the camera is prepared for the type of shooting i’ll do upfront. And if I’m shooting RAW, I can make the necessary adjustments later when I’m behind the computer.

Lens
The 35mm is great for shooting holidays, streetphotography and everyday shots. What it’s lacking is good closeup performance. You shouldn’t buy this camera for macro like shots or stuff that requires shooting wide open most of the time. The optics of the Fujifilm x70 is better at that.

Verdict
This camera is great if you’re in the niche market (like me) shopping for cameras which pack the best performance in the smallest package possible. When it comes to choosing the right camera in this category, you should consider what the main type of your photography will be, and if you can live with having a fixed lens camera (however, there are converter lens accesories available in 28mm and 50mm). An alternative for this camera is the Ricoh GR III, or if you fancy optical zooming capabilities, the Panasonic LX100II or maybe the Sony RX100 lineup.

Why Fujifilm?

Credits: Ken Truong

A lot of people nowadays are taking shots with their phones. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I think the popular quote from Chase Jarvis still stands: “The best camera is the one that’s with you.”
The point being:

It’s easy to get caught up in a competition to see who has the best equipment. There’s always a better lens, more megapixels or a higher grade of camera. This photography quote is a good reminder that it’s capturing the images that really matters.

Over the years, i’ve learnt that good photography is all about accessibility. Without a camera to carry, you’ll never be able to register the moment. And without the right moments, a good photo will never come to fruition. Long story short; live life to the fullest, and always carry a camera!

What bothered me though, about my first digital cameras (and phone cameras) was the inability to capture a reasonable depth of field effect. The cheap point and shoots simply don’t offer the aperture or the focal distance to accommodate this. So that’s what brought me to analogue cameras in the first place.

Eventually one has to make the switch to digital. Purists aside. So when I started to orientate on the right digital camera, i wanted a compromise between good image quality and small form-factor. And it didn’t take long before I started looking at Fujifilm cameras. One of the main reasons was this:

Lots of analogue dials.

These dials are not so common these days anymore. Particularly shutter and aperture dials. After ‘rebooting’ to analogue cameras, i’ve gotten quite used to these dials, and using them became very intuitive; intuitive and fast. During my search; there was only one! Yes, one competitor in the same class that produced a decent alternative with the same dials (the Panasonic LX-100).

Fujifilm started the X series with the same passion for film cameras that most of us share. So what also triggered me towards these cameras were their Film simulations. Basically, these are modes which emulate old film products from Fuji to give certain subjects or scenes the best colors you can give them. Make no mistake, these are not the cheap filters you get inside every digital camera. These filters can keep you away from RAW editing and late lightroom sessions, as they can accommodate even pro photographers in their needs. But don’t just take my word for it, check out Lee Varis’ youtube material on this subject:

The last reason for me to choose Fujifilm is formfactor vs the sensor size (APS-C). Although this is not a unique selling point, it certainly comes in handy. I try to take my camera everywhere, and my experience with DSLRs (short from their great image quality) they can be a bit too bulky to take with you everwyhere. This ultimately means missed shots, when you’re out without a camera.

These were my main reasons to choose Fujifilm. What’s your pick, and why do you shoot your brand?

Cheers, Dennis