I’m going to take a photo as I write this with both my Ricoh GR and Samsung Note 4 cellphone.
Photographers will be able to tell the difference. The Ricoh has more detail (photo, right), blurs the background a bit (f 2.8), has more natural colors, etc. However, both photos would be deemed the same quality to most people.
When I took my first comparison shots I expected the GR to make a joke of the Note4. I was surprised. For any photo I would take in auto-mode, the Samsung Note 4 did very well.
There are times when camera comparisons help me become a better photographer, and other times, like this, when they send me into a depressing spiral of self-doubt. If the Note 4 is good enough for everyone else in the world, why not me? If the qualities of my cameras are not obvious to others, have I made a fetish of little black and chrome machines? Am I more interested in the technology or the emotional value of the image?
I have to look at the win-win here. People who might not even buy a point-and-shoot, let along a DSLR, now have very nice cameras in their pockets. In the camera line, I can now look at images with my old eyes with focus peaking, overlaid histograms and zebras. I can use some nice lenses made in the 60s on my Sony cameras made in 2014. These are some very exciting times for photographers and filmmakers.
Here’s a photo taken with the Ricoh GR. Could the Samsung 4.0 taken something similar? Probably. But I know the GR brings out the most photographic quality in situations like this (where the camera must be with me in a pocket).
While I’m here I want to recommend FastRawViewer. I’ve been shooting both RAW + JPG with the GR and the workflow has been a pain for me. I want to view the DNG files quickly and then open in PhotoShop if I want to pursue them. Until now, I haven’t found a fast solution for dealing with DNGs (without using the embedded JPG which is not good enough for me). FastRawViewer is made by the guy behind LibRaw I believe. It allows me to quickly go through RAW files and then open in PhotoShop with a quick keystroke (“R” for me). It’s well worth the $20 to me. I also use it for my Sony ARW files.
With the GR I can make decisions not possible with the Note 4. I rested the camera on the table so knew I could shoot at a lower shutter speed than normal, 1/40th. I focused on the bottle and opened to 3.2. The ISO ended up at 800, which I knew will be just before noise began to overcome the camera.
Well, I believe my Ricoh GR has finished charging, so back to it!