I’m going to do something today I don’t usually do anymore. I’m going to talk a little about a camera.
It is pretty ironic that I planned on talking about the Ricoh GR on this blog post and today it decided to have a problem with its lens mechanism. More on that later.
I don’t really do reviews. I don’t really know how to explain the good and bad things about a camera. I mean, they all just work right? The Ricoh GR has been the camera I’ve carried around most of the last little while. After I sold my Leica and had a bunch of problems with the Fujifilm X100T.
It had been some time since I’d used the GR. I originally thought I didn’t like it much. The photos took too much work and were all a little too clean. I think I’m plagued by the idea that no Ricoh digital camera will ever be what the film ones were.
I think that was my first problem. I expected the camera to be something it wasn’t. This time around I didn’t think much about it aside from the fact that I had really nothing else to use. The first weekend I took it out I forgot I had it set to ISO12800 and shot the whole time like that. Honestly, I shoot with a viewfinder and turn off the LCD. I don’t look at my photos until I transfer them to my phone. I was surprised to see how they turned out at this ISO.
I really dislike when someone says a photo looks “film-like.” I’m not really sure what that means. Photos are photos. Digital is digital and film is film. That being said, I was pretty happy with how the photos looked after shooting them like this.
Shooting with the GR the past couple of weeks, I’ve really started to appreciate how great it is to have a camera that requires so little thought. I don’t like to think much no matter what I’m shooting. The Ricoh just sort of works. It doesn’t get in the way. I didn’t miss the shots I missed with the Fuji.
When I take photos, I take them while I’m on my way somewhere. I talk about this all the time. The Ricoh is probably the best camera I’ve ever used for this type of thing. I wear it around my wrist and forget about it. I just sort of take photos when I feel like it. I hardly even notice I’m doing so.
Compact cameras in general are best for me. When I’m using a compact camera what I shoot just seems to match my feeling. They cut out the thinking, which is exactly what I like.
I can pretty much say I’m done with film. I know this will be sad for some people. Honestly though, I can’t be bothered anymore. It is just such a pain. I am not the type of person that sees artistry in the process. I could give a fuck about the process. If it takes me three hours to process something I feel as though that is three hours I could have spent doing something else.
That isn’t even taking into account the cost. I estimated that I had spent almost 1100 dollars on film and the things that go with shooting film over the past year. I don’t even shoot that much. This Ricoh costs 800 new and in theory could last much longer.
That leads me to processing. With the Ricoh I just shoot in black and white jpg mode. I don’t have time for RAW. I send the photos to my phone when I’ve got a chance and edit them in VSCO. A simple app and a simple process. Now the app lets me do a mass edit so that’s what I do. I don’t really care to tweak further. I spend enough time in front of a computer (or on my phone) as it is. These were all processed on the B1 preset in VSCO for those who are curious.
To this point, right now I can basically travel with just a camera that fits in my pocket and my phone that fits in the other. A small bag for batteries and chargers. No need for a laptop (I wrote this on my phone) or whatever other shit I would normally carry. It’s great. Considering how often I do the trip from where I live to Seoul I am happy to not have to carry much.
Also, I suppose I should mention that I always shoot with the Ricoh in one of its “My” modes. I love these as I can set up the three modes for three different situations. After doing it the first time I flick through them without any thought. Something that I really like about the digital Ricoh cameras.
Anyway, as I said earlier after spending two weeks shooting with the Ricoh it decided to not want to open the lens flap inside the lens mechanism unless I take a blank frame. Weird problem, but hopefully I can get it fixed.
I really hope so in fact. This is the first time in a long time I’ve felt completely happy with a camera. Even if it did take picking it up again after a long time to find that out.
December 2nd, 2015.