It’s been almost a month since my last post. Things have been busy at work and with family travel during the summer, it’s easy to lose track of time. I’ve made a few changes to my camera gear and discovered some things about becoming a better photographer.
Gear updates: I picked up the Samsung NX300 in white and really loved the color and style of the camera. I wasn’t crazy about having another interchangeable lens camera given my Olympus setup, but I was intrigued by the built in wifi and the way that Samsung apps work so well in transferring pictures and allowing you to use your phone as a remote control. Between the NX300, my Galaxy Note II phone and my Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, it looked like I was becoming a true Samsungnite but after a week of using the camera, I started to become less enthused.
After some dedicated time on a trip with the Samsung, I realized that I have been truly spoiled by the capabilities and performance of the micro four-thirds format and Olympus cameras in particular. Granted, the kit lens (20-50mm f/3.5-5.6) that came with the APS-C sensored NX300 is pretty decent it wasn’t equal to the 17mm f/1.8 M. Zuiko lens on my E-PL5. The Samsung 45mm f/1.8 might have been better for comparative purposes but would have required additional investment in the system–I really wanted more of a casual camera that I could easily use for social networking while on-the-go. End the end, the focusing speed, image stabilization and low-light performance that I have with my current Olympus gear were the true decision points. Size was also a concern with the new guy just as big as my current stuff, so I sent the NX300 back.
I also bought a Ricoh GRD IV because the prices have really come down in anticipation of the GR that was just released. Ricoh has a history of making compact cameras that photographers love because of their form factor and controls. These small sensored gems also have outstanding photo quality. The GR builds on that legacy and takes all of the things that people love about the GRD IV and adds an APS-C sensor. Yeah, I had to get that too. I’ve found that the GRD IV and the GR are really two different cameras. What you gain in picture quality in the GR, you lose in creative grit found in the GRD IV. The macro abilities of the GRD IV allow you to get extremely close shots where the minimum focusing distance of the GR is fine but not as capable. I’m struggling with whether to keep the GRD IV or not.
So this is the current “official” Team Baldy as of this date: Canon 6D, Olympus OM-D E-M5, Olympus E-PL5, and Ricoh GR. The 6D is my serious shooter when performance and presentation really matter–I forgot it has wifi built in which helps with some of my social networking interest although it’s bigger than I would like for this purpose, the Olympus cameras are my learning tools and portable champs that I have also used for serious photo assignments with greater success than the 6D–I’ve also been using the PenPal bluetooth transfer accessory for uploads from my phone, and the Ricoh is the new kid on the block that’s perfect for take-everywhere, on-the-go, stealth photography without compromising quality given its relatively large sensor, handling, and controls. I plan to build and expand on this kit and I think I’m at a point where I’ve tried enough other stuff to realize that I have what I need to create some fantastic shots and the key is spending more time learning how to exploit this equipment.