/ photography

Ricoh GR II, Shooting every Day and Blogging

I love photography. I got my first camera when I started blogging and tried myself at 'journalism' and while I dropped the hobby for many years it never really left my mind. In 2015 I was earning my first money and remembered the forgotten love. This was when I did some research and ended up purchasing the Nikon D3200. It's a beast and it takes great photos for a very reasonable price.

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Cologne, 2017

For two year now I've experimented and tried out different lenses, techniques and styles. From macro, to landscape, from fisheye to tele lens. In the end I discovered my own style : not carrying the camera at all.

Some of the reasons

  • It is heavy
  • It takes time to unpack
  • It is big
  • It is very visible

During these two years I realized that my main interest was in no particular photography style, but in the ability to freeze moments of life. With quite some effort I developed the 'photographers eyes' and found nice scenes on the way to work, while walking through the woods or when meeting friends. But due to it's weight and size I never brought my camera !

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When I analyzed the frequency of my shootings I realized that not only the amount of images I have been making decreased, but also the overall time I went out shooting. There were weeklong streaks where I did not compose a single shot - or did i ?

For what it's worth my smartphone had replaced my DSLR. During the last years my daily driver was a Oneplus One, which sports a great camera. It's not as sharp, as quick or as beautiful as the Nikon, but it's always there. A smartphone is lightweight, small, easy to unpack - and no one takes you for a serious photographer. The smartphone had gradually replaced my full fledged DSLR !

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Shot with my smartphone

If you wondered about the 'visibility' of the camera and the concept of 'no one takes you for a serious photographer', here's my take on it:

I will never be a 'professional' photographer.
I don't want to be either.

An amateur is allowed to take stupid photos, to explore and fail. I want to explore the childlike naive approach of photography and not have any demands towards myself. Furthermore I found a liking in photographing street scenes and taking portraits of strangers. With a big DSLR it seemed that people are more likely to be reserved and unapproachable.

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Streetportrait using Ricoh GR II

For me the ideal camera is something I am able to carry everywhere. I only shot with fixed focal lengths, so I'd love that as well. I want great image quality as I'm a sucker for sharpness and I want it to look unobtrusive.

A few months ago I got myself a Samsung S7 Edge and the sensor was great. The images were great and the video capabilities were terrific. Then I got annoyed of Samsungs TouchWiz UI and ditched the original ROM for a Lineage OS based ROM. I got a great degree of freedom in regards to settings and customizability, but lost something that in the end was more important to me. The camera.

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Shot with Samsung S7 Edge custom ROM.
Check out the horrible details !

After I realized I could not use my smartphone any more, as the custom ROM did not offer proper support for the camera I was in the market for a new camera. As I don't want to go into the details here I'll make it short : A used Ricoh GR II ( including bag, wide conversion lens and additional batteries) was the final choice.

It offers everything I need and in the last two weeks I've been carrying it with me pretty much everywhere. I'm selling my old Nikon gear right now and could not be happier. Even as I flashed back the original ROM on my phone the image quality of the Ricoh is just superb. The small camera also packs Wifi for on-the-fly editing, another favorite of mine.

Currently I'm in love with street portraits and the camera really shines. While only the first baby steps have been done, I have not yet had a single issue. Last night I realized a clear sky and tried my hand at startrails, the results were lovely. While this is certainly not a camera for sport photography or classical portraiture, it works great for all my interests.

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Startrails in my backyard.
~ 150 images on the Ricoh GR II

With this change in gear also came a change in mindset. I not only want to focus more on photographing regularly, but also decided to write my experiences up on the blog. On the one hand this is for me to clear my thoughts, on the other hand it is something I would have loved to find, while doing research on the Ricoh GR II.

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Streetportrait with the Ricoh GR II