GXR M Module in use...

Discussion in 'Ricoh GXR Forum' started by Lightmancer, Sep 18, 2011.

  1. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Real Name:
    Bill Palmer
    So, I picked one up yesterday... So far I have tried it with a 3.5cm Elmar and 35mm Biogon, 50mm Elmar-M (do not collapse) 50mm Sonnar and 90mm Elmarit-M. First impressions are generally favourable. Still learning how best to use the focussing aids - takes a bit of getting used to. Like the fact that installing the module for the first time kicks off the firmware upgrade to the body - no faffing around with downloads and SD cards - neat. Biggest niggle so far is handling; I keep finding myself pressing the OK button or one of the other controls under my right thumb - because my left hand now has to do the work of focussing, I keep finding that I shift my right hand grip and hit the button(s) in doing so - irritating. I'll do some more shooting with this combo in the next week or so and report back.
     
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  2. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Bill,
    I am holding my breath waiting for some photos...
    Please post a few as my M glass is getting restless and that could be dangerous to my digital cameras... Don
     
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  3. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Real Name:
    Bill Palmer
    Don, I'll be happy to. I also have three R-lenses converted via Leitax mounts to Nikon, so I have on order a Nikon F to Leica M converter which will mean in theory that I can use my 28, 60 and 135mm Elmarit on there too... :cool:
     
  4. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Thanks Bill. I really have a passion for Leica Glass. Anytime someone makes a step forward using them digitally, I get excited.
     
  5. akulya

    akulya SC Veteran

    219
    Mar 1, 2011
    Like your blog Bill, you've a great writing style.
    I'm interested in hearing about the M-module too, I've got an M8, but just wondering how it compares.
    The idea of the GXR kinda appeals to me, but it'd have to be just as easy to focus and shoot as the real thing (and have at least as good a sensor)
     
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  6. silverbullet

    silverbullet SC Regular

    133
    Oct 20, 2010
    Germany
    Kal,

    let's make a shoot-out with a Elmar 135mm on your M8 and a GXR......;-)
    In terms of sensor quality one thing is sure - no IR filters needed......I hope......
    When this mount becomes successful the prices for ultra wide lenses start rising - same with the launch of the M8 hundred years ago....
     
  7. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Real Name:
    Bill Palmer
    So.

    I have had very little time this week (as you can see by my chosen subject matter!) but I have managed to pop off a few shots with the M Mount. I will do a blog entry on my impressions and experiences but for now here are some shots: Ricoh GXR Leica M Mount - a set on Flickr...and some initial observations.

    • Handling. The Mount fits the GXR body very well; it does not add significantly to bulk. Lenses are reasonably well balanced (depending on the lens in use, of course) and fit snugly; the mount appears "tight" compared to that on my film Ms. Biggest gripe is that the camera is quite crowded on the rear right hand side with buttons and controls. It takes a conscious effort to "park" your thumb and not accidentally hit buttons when manually focussing.
    • Setup. I haven't explored this fully yet. I haven't applied any of the built-in correction capabilities to the images that I have shot but will play around with this later.
    • Focussing/ease of use. This has taken some getting used to. There are two modes, of which much has been written already. They are easier to use than to explain. I have tried both, but intend to keep on experimenting on this bit for some time to come - it doesn't come naturally in either mode. Mode 1 is the "marching ants" mode which puts white lines around whatever is in focus. Mode 2 is the grey screen white highlight display. Both work, but I am increasingly becoming fond of Mode 2 for general use. I have experimented with the zoom feature but so far I have found it more distracting than useful. Bizarrely, I am also finding it easier to focus on the rear screen than with the EVF but that might just take some more getting used to. Focussing in general is going to take some getting used to. At the moment I am doing a lot of hunting back and forth, but I am already starting to improve.
    • Low light. The sensor appears to struggle, with a lot of noise in domestic lighting levels making it hard to focus, particularly in Mode 1. This doesn't translate onto the images, however.
    • Collapsible lenses. The M Mount comes with a clever little plastic gauge that means you can test lenses before putting them anywhere near the lens throat. The 50mm Elmar M, 90mm Collapsible Elmar (first version) and 5cm Elmar 3.5 (in M mount) do NOT fit when collapsed. Beware.

    So far I have tried it with three lenses, my ancient 3.5cm Elmar, the 90mm Elmarit-M and the VC 35mm PII. That last fits it like a glove. I have been shooting wide open, on aperture priority. As I get more time I will use it with my other lenses; I did try it in the shop with Zeiss 35 and 50mm and plan to give them more of a proper try out next, along with the 15mm CV and a few others. I also have on order a Novoflex Nikon to Leica M converter that will enable me to put my R glass (on Leitax mounts) onto the M Mount module.

    Overall, so far so interesting.

    More follows.
     
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  8. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Real Name:
    Bill Palmer
    Here's an update. I went out for a wander on a sunny Autumn afternoon and shot some more examples - follow the Flickr link in my earlier post above. This time I used 15mm CV and Zeiss 35mm Biogon and 50mm Sonnar. I'm still learning focus - have a close look at the shot of the singer and you will see I missed him slightly :rolleyes: - but I am getting used to it. I am finding Mode 2 more useful in practical situations than Mode 1. All of these shots are JPGs straight out of camera, btw - no tweaking at all, which is particularly interesting if you look at the corners of the 15mm shots.
     
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  9. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 8, 2010
    Thanks. Can't wait to try my Zeiss C Sonnar Monday night, after my Mount unit finally arrives. B&W, grain... it's going to be dreamy :smile:
     
  10. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Real Name:
    Bill Palmer
    Let me be clear, this combination in no way replaces a Leica M, either digital or film.

    BUT...

    It offers a number of abilities and attributes that make it stand out:

    • The GXR is a well-thought out, ergonomic and well built modern digital camera with little in the way of "scene mode" bells and whistles (Baby mode, anyone?) but much by way of versatility and image quality.
    • It can take pretty well any LTM or M lens
    • By adding a Leica/Nikon adaptor (I have a Novoflex one on order) I can mount my R glass (converted to Nikon via Leitax) too
    • By swapping back to the standard module I can still have a pocketable small digicam for when I am on holiday and handing the camera to the waiter for a happy family snap
    Couple the above with decent out of camera JPG performance (I shoot RAW/JPG but have rarely felt the need thus far to use the RAW file) the lack of AA interference, no need for external viewfinders or UV/IR filters and it knocks the unlamented M8 into a cocked hat.

    It is, as I have said, no M. Focussing is slow and less satisfying than a crystal clear M viewfinder. Handling takes some getting used to. Viewfinder performance in low light is horrid. And yet, this is the nearest I have yet to find to a replacement to my much loved LC-1.

    Digilux 2 owners, take note - and take a look.

    PS. As a Sunday afternoon exercise, I have just posted some illustrative shots of some of my lenses mounted to the body in order to give a feeling of size and scale. This is the link to all the shots so far including the illustrations.
     
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  11. silverbullet

    silverbullet SC Regular

    133
    Oct 20, 2010
    Germany
    Thanks Bill for the explanations above. At the moment the GXR plus an A12 28 module are in my hands to fiddle with the menues, the finder and the overall 'feeling' in my hands.
    Half year ago I tried a nearly new M8.2 from my Leica dealer, had at that time a clean 24mm Elmarit ASPH in my bag to be cropped at the M8 to around 30+mm, my comfort length. No sparkle jumped between the M and my brain, no buzz in my fingers and at the end I put it back to the shelf. Too much hassle with filters, coding and an unknown electronical and mechanical falilure rate which we can see in different fora.

    Knowing the obstacles which can occur with a digital Leica and the fact that with nearly 64 years my eyesight might change to the bad the long promised Mount might open a new way of using Leica/VC and Z lenses, even cropped for me.
    The GXR is a totally different camera compare to Ms but also to other cameras from different makers. It's more a Texas-GRD in terms of finder and sensor size but not in terms of UI.

    My long gone first experience with shooting a Nikon F with the small split-dot glass and later a matte groundglass from a Hassy made me patient to work out the 'new' challenges of different finder designs or methods. The finder of the Ricoh is in ranking only on the 3rd place after G1 and Oly - the NEX7 is out of the game at the moment.
    Getting used to the two different electronic methods isn't sooo difficult I guess and what is more important: what can we expect in two years when Leica might offer their 'Solution' for a cam between the X1 and the M9? It will have an electronic finder as well, resolution might be much better as the GXR has now, but Ricoh could develop a better one, who knows?
    I'm happy that I didn't buy a Fuji X100 (due to delivery problems) so that my powder is dry and waiting for the mount.

    One thing is very clear for me: the promises Ricoh makes are fully covered in a serious and well balanced manner. The people from Ricoh are shooters - even with Leicas and Leica- and their own GR glass with M-mount. That is one of the biggest advantages to invest in this system which looked in the first view very limited from the beginning two years ago.

    For me it's clear that the full potential of the GXR can be seen after (for me) minimum two or three months. Now I'm chasing a 15mm VC..........

    Cheers
    Bernd
     
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  12. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    I'm impressed - color, contrast, details - all out of the camera - excellent!
     
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  13. silverbullet

    silverbullet SC Regular

    133
    Oct 20, 2010
    Germany
    more and more I can read statements that the mount delivers photographs in which we can see the 'soul' of the lens. When this is true it's one of the biggest compliments for the sensor and the electronics behind him.....
    Like a very good turntable and arm which doesn't add 'sound or colour' to a pickup. Crappy lens - crappy pics...... ;-)
     
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  14. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Real Name:
    Bill Palmer
    Silverbullet, I think you make a very good point. I have shot all of my tests wide open so far, quite deliberately. I have a "palette" of lenses that I have carefully chosen and built up over the years and it is important to me that the character of each - that essential something which I own it for - comes through. So far I have been not just pleased, but pleasantly surprised with this little unit. It is exceptional for the price.
     
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  15. silverbullet

    silverbullet SC Regular

    133
    Oct 20, 2010
    Germany
    Two years ago I discussed with some people from Ricoh having my M lenses from some analogue Ms. They had not been amused about the idea of an 'open' system ready for adaption of different lenses of all kind. They said that only a well tuned lens/sensor/electronics module would deliver the best results. The results of the m4/3 system and wide angle lenses made the proof of their theory.

    But a module strictly designed with the mechanical and optical properties of the old M mount plus modern sensors is the opposite of 'One Cam Fits All' method as with NEX and m4/3. From standard lenses to tele it works good but we like to use wide angle lenses, even we loose some FOV due to the crop. After two years Ricoh delivered and who knows what may follow ( B&W sensor without Bayerfilter, Full frame......)
     
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  16. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Real Name:
    Bill Palmer
    The Novoflex adaptor arrived yesterday, so I am now able to mount my Leitax'ed Leica R lenses on the GXR. Had very little time yesterday, and not much more today but I will see what I can do. As an early observation, the 60 Elmarit looks very promising... :biggrin:
     
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  17. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Real Name:
    Bill Palmer
    ...and a few more. I have now put up some shots taken with the 60mm Elmarit R and one with the 135.

    The 60 is great - handles well and produces nice results. As before all shots are straight out of camera and wide open, which makes the macro shots interesting. All are handheld and I am finding Mode 2 a real boon for macro because you can "wash" the plane of focus backwards and forwards just by rocking on your feet until you hit the spot you want. Anyway, see what you think.

    I have also added to the "camera porn" shots by showing what the 28, 60 and 135mm Elmarits all look like mounted on the GXR body.

    Ricoh GXR Leica M Mount - a set on Flickr
     
  18. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Bill,
    Are you using the finder? Did you try the peaking thing?
     
  19. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Real Name:
    Bill Palmer
    I am. I much prefer the finder to the rear screen. I really don't like EVFs but this is one of the better ones. I have largely given up on focussing Mode 1, since Mode 2 seems much more accurate and intuitive. I really enjoyed using it for the macro shots - if anything it is easier than a normal SLR screen.

    Happy to answer any other questions :wink: Hoping to get the time to get out at the weekend and try the 28.
     
  20. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Real Name:
    Bill Palmer
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