Samsung Note 4 Ricoh GR ?

I’m going to take a photo as I write this with both my Ricoh GR and Samsung Note 4 cellphone.

Samsung Note4 compared Ricoh GR
Samsung Note4 compared Ricoh GR

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).

Taken in my sister's bathroom during my Mom's 80th birthday
Taken in my sister’s bathroom during my Mom’s 80th birthday

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.

f 3.2 1/40th sec ISO 800
f 3.2 1/40th sec ISO 800

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!




2 thoughts on “Samsung Note 4 Ricoh GR ?”

  1. Hey Max, me thinks cameras are becoming like cars. Any brand, even decade-old used ones, can cruise at Hwy speeds comfortably. The GR is like a sports coupe, the Note4 like an Elantra.

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