Friday, February 20, 2015

One White Rose / Ricoh GXR / A12 / 50mm f2.5

Ricoh makes photographer cameras. I know when you use a camera to take a photograph, you become a photographer. Manufacturers, however, often consider cameras consumer electronics. A means to an end when the goal is to take a picture. Not capture a scene. Take a picture. Photographers take pictures too, of course. Capturing a scene, an emotion, a rare beam of light, unusual juxtapositions, a moment in time, are example of photographs, not pictures. What photographers aspire to producing. Somehow elevating just pictures to actual photographs. Almost any consumer camera these days is capable of both making pictures and photographs. Point and shoots that don't allow photographers control of aperture and exposure time, white balance and iso, make it more difficult but not impossible. And quite a few point and shoots now have such controls, which is great. But good cameras that are designed as photographic tools make it a whole lot easier. The more the camera is designed to capture photographs, the better it is for photographers. Better controls. Better choices for specific photographic modes built into the system. Making those modes customizable and accessible. Some manufacturers "get it." They make cameras designed to capture moments as photographs. They understand what it takes. Their engineers seem to be photographers too. Leica camera engineers get it but Leicas are precious. Cameras to be stored in controlled conditions. No? Perhaps not for rich people or professionals who deduct equipment as an expense and depreciate them 10% a year to lower their tax. But for "the rest of us" Leicas, while being true engineering marvels, are outside our comfort zone of expenditure. It's also true that there are bazookas and RPGs of cameras. The Nikons and Canons (among others) of the world. Digital SLRs capable of shooting 40 frames per second of 500 megapixel images. You shoot a couple thousand frames and take your pick. I know, professionals use professional tools, SLRs for weddings and studio work and produce amazing images, all obviously photographs. Were I a professional shooting concerts, weddings and studio work, I'd shoot a cannon (uh, Canon) to make sure I hit my target too. So why doesn't everybody just make and shoot really fast SLRs? Size? Part of it. Using an anvil to drive a nail? Part of it. The feeling you get using a small, precision photographic instrument? Part of it. The satisfaction of achieving a photograph without using a bazooka? All part of it. Of course Ricoh isn't well known outside Japan. It is and it isn't. It is amongst camera cogniscenty. It isn't amongst rank and file picture takers.

Do I have a point? Perhaps. I just managed to pick up a lensor for a GXR I bought a while back. Because Ricohs have a selective audience, their lack of general popularity can't guarantee used price stability. If you want to maintain used price stability, buy a Canon. The GXR is also a pretty weird setup, even for a Ricoh. I won't go into it, there's more than a thousand words expended over the internet of the past several years. The A12, 50mm, F2.5, macro lensor was the first announced with the camera and was not an immediate success. Speed of focus and focus hunting was an issue. I find it more than acceptable and am tickled to death to get it. I got it from Beijing, China, via DHL express in five days Fleabay strikes again. I got it yesterday. Love the macro.

Here's a picture I took. DNG raw (Ricoh uses standard RAW and standard batteries, god love them) quickly converted to JPG in PS 5.1 without much if any adjustment.

 I realize it's just a picture of a flower but I'll keep on taking it and adjusting it until I think it's a photograph.

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