The Gardens of Drumlanrig | 720nm Infrared – PT.II | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, photography, rural, structures, summer, trees

Light of Heart.


To find Drumlanrig so void of people on a gorgeous day like this is a rarity, a real rarity in fact. Perhaps it had something to do with the different timings of the school summer holidays between Scotland and England because from past experience, this place is usually teeming with people at this time of year. However, I complain not a bit simply because it did mean that I could exercise complete selfishness without a hint of guilt. Therefore, a few more IR frames from a place I love. To my mind – there’s no better way to see it. 

R.

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Closer Still(s) | PT.XXII | AKA: Miss Jekyll

35mm, black & white, close-up, colour, macro, nature, photography, still life

Love in a Mist.


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I.

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II.

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III.

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[All frames: Ricoh GR | 4:3 | Internal 35mm Crop | w/Hoya +10.]
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Postcards from the Recovery Position | PT.VIII | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, photography, ruins, rural, structures

Drumcoltran Tower [PT.III]


Okee doke, this is to be the last in my ‘Postcards’ series – no point kicking the backside out of it; (otherwise it just gets boring). Though I did get out and shoot a lot before I ended up rather incapacitated, I have been as productive as I can be of late and, will have some newer, more recent material up soon. Still, with regards to Drumcoltran Tower, I feel that despite three posts, there’s more to capture here and, when I am back on my feet, I absolutely intend to return and shoot again under even better light.

You’ll notice, if you have read Drumcoltran Tower [PT.II] – that I have chosen to post a similar first shot from the parapet and over the neighbouring farm, taken under visible-light conditions as opposed to the original IR frame in PT.II. I guess I still cannot decide which  I prefer. Nonetheless, the whole place has a wonderful feel which, I fully intend to exploit again in the near future. 

R.

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VII | From the Parapet.

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VIII | From the 3rd ‘Floor’.

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IX | Stone Steps by Window.

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Postcards from the Recovery Position | PT.V | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, Indoor, nature, photography, portraits, still life

One Temperate Heart.


A little over three weeks into my recovery and I still have a long road ahead. Without labouring any point as to how I got into this position in the first place (you’ll have to read PT.I if you want the most basic of gists) I am at home, being well cared for by my Angie, and, when I have the opportunity (in other words, when she agrees that I’m fit and steady enough to move around a little and not completely doped on opioid pain relief and tripping over my crutches) – the first thing I still want to do (remember: this is a public forum, kids!) is, to make photographs. 

During my second week at home, I was able to do just that from my bedside and, as a way of reiterating that things could definitely be worse, I share these few frames with you all. I am missing some glorious spring sunshine but, it’s not going to stop me. I must keep moving. 

Warmth, Gratitude & Love.

R.

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I | From Friends.

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II | Introducing Charlotte the Red, by Window Seat (Don’t Ask!)

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III | Angie – After Fluffing-Up my Pillows.

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IV | From Friends & to Friends.

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All Frames: Ricoh GR | 35mm [APS-C Internal Crop at 4:3]
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Postcards from the Recovery Position | PT.IV | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, ruins, rural, structures

Drumcoltran Tower [PT.II]


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IV | From the Parapet | 35mm | 720nm Infrared.

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V | From the Third ‘Floor’ | 21mm.

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VI | Without: Within | 21mm.

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Postcards from the Recovery Position [PT.I]
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Postcards from the Recovery Position | PT.III | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, personal, photography

Two Sides to the Coin [PT.I]

When something awful happens, it’s often easiest of all to see the negatives, impossible to ignore the seriousness, however, helpful too, if we can reflect and find at least some positives, no matter how small. The latter, takes a little more time, though, naturally – after acceptance.

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I | Life-Lines.

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As I lay in the bed in my local hospital, during the week that I was there, I had much time to reflect on what had happened to me and, to worry myself stupid as to the possible outcomes, relative to my future. With four broken bones in my spine, a broken toe (there’s a cruel joke if ever I heard one!) and severely bruised (yet miraculously, not broken) ribs (so I was told) – I had to suffer the indignity of wearing knee-length white socks, too. Okay, I know – I’m in the trade so I know how badly I absolutely do not want a DVT or worse, a PE. But with the help of regular pain relief, I was able to see the lighter side of things, sometimes. Most notably, I was still alive, and, I guess I’m in bonus-time now. 

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II | Introducing – Wendy.

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While friends and colleagues kept me busy with frequent, daily visits, appropriate (and inappropriate) humour(!), anecdotes, utter mickey-taking and wishes for a good recovery, I (fortunately, gratefully) had little time to wallow in self-pity  – still, that would happen all by itself during the early hours of each morning as I lay flat on my back, not even able to turn myself when my back-side became numb, or my back became more painful through each passing hour. The night terrors had successfully installed themselves in my head like a post-shutdown virus, to be activated every night during the hours of midnight and five a.m. just as they still do, and so, I needed something normal to act as a coping mechanism. Something intrinsic inside me.

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III | Abbie – One of my Guardian Angels.

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After a visit from my beloved, and a heartfelt request for my camera bag – she arrived later that evening to put a huge smile on my face as she sat it on my drawer unit next to me. I imagined that whilst having to remain still on my back for the time being, I would be rather stuck for shooting opportunities and, I wasn’t wrong. With this in mind, I hope that you will forgive my distinct lack of artistic content in these images. They are real, though. If the desire is strong enough – it’s still possible to capture a few frames that will serve to remind me again and again, of just how bloody lucky I am to even be here. I live to shoot again. Bonus time or not – however I look at it, for everything that’s good in this life, a second bite is a most welcome gift and, “every day, in every way – I am getting better, and better”.

R.

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IV | Defining: ‘Snookered’?

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Postcards from the Recovery Position [PT.I]
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Postcards from the Recovery Position | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

black & white, Indoor, infrared, landscape, personal, photography, ruins, rural, structures

Drumcoltran Tower [PT.I]


Okee doke, a little explanation is required here because my absence has been a little more protracted than I would have liked, of late. 

Two weekends ago, I was involved in a rather serious accident while at work and found myself admitted to hospital. Details aren’t important but I can say that I am very lucky to be alive. My injuries however, are serious enough that I am required to remain in bed and, after a week in hospital, I am now at home, in the same position, where I must stay for the foreseeable weeks ahead. 

Before I had returned to work however, during a number of beautiful days-off, I made the most of the sunshine and, with A, visited a good number of places, made an even better number of frames and, consumed regularly – copious cups of Earl Grey tea, locally made cakes and the occasional ice-cream too. With all of this noted, all of the frames I will post over the next few weeks are from the vault; a recently replenished vault, and, I am glad of it because the chance of me getting out to make photographs within the next six weeks or so, is looking so slim as to render it invisible, at least from a side-on perspective. 

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I | Drumcoltran Tower | 720nm Infrared | 35mm.

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Drumcoltran Tower is situated in SW Scotland between Beeswing (Bees-wing as opposed to Bee-Swing; though the latter image may be rather humorous, nonetheless)  and Kirkgunzeon (pron: kur-gun-y’n) and is integrated now into a modern farm. It’s not very well signed and until you approach the junction that leads to it, it’s not signposted at all. But it’s so worth finding. 

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II | Mother Nature as Projectionist | 21mm.

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From the outside, it looks rather uncomplicated, not all that exciting, as other structures from its era might appear, and one would be fooled into thinking that a five-minute exploration would more than enough. I was fooled, because once we entered the tower, we didn’t leave for another ninety minutes or so. Over the next four or five posts, I hope to show just why this externally (comparatively) nondescript treasure of Scotland, captured my imagination. 

It’s good to be back and, I do hope that you’ll enjoy these first few frames of and, from this early 16th century beauty.

R.

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III | Enjoying the Views [One Must Keep His Spirits Up!]| 21mm.

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Drumlanrig Castle [720nm IR] | PT.III | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, landscape, photography, rural, structures

The Last of the First | Ricoh GR Infrared.


To say that I love shooting with an IR-converted GR is an understatement. As Drumlanrig has been its initial proving-ground, I know all too well that I will have to return when spring has worked its magic, and the leaves have returned to complete the effect. More than likely, I will also be looking to compare outputs between this wonderful conversion and, my converted X100 – I know already it’ll be a very close call. Furthermore, as the gardens to the house will soon be open again to the public (on my recent visit, the groundsmen were working furiously to prepare them) I feel extremely excited to know that I will have much more time here, to explore again – and yes, shoot to my heart’s content, should conditions be fair. Hopefully, photographically speaking- I will be able to do this place much more justice. I’m not there yet, but my shutter-finger is twitching already at the prospect; and my impatience is becoming increasingly apparent. Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy these two frames as much as I have. 

R.

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V | Drumlanrig Castle | 720nm IR | 35mm Internal Crop / 4:3 – 250th – f8 – ISO:100

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VI | Lined | 720nm IR | 35mm Internal Crop / 4:3 – 125th – f7.1 – ISO:100

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Drive-By Shooting, Perhaps? [720nm IR] | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, structures

A Little Bit of Archery.


For over fifteen years, my shutter-finger has been tantalised by this rural church whenever I’ve driven the main road that passes by it, only a quarter of a mile away. Set in front of its beautiful tree-lined backdrop, behind rolling fields, I can’t understand why it’s taken me so long to take that little side-road in order to capture it. Though it’s early in the year and, the overhead conditions remain unpredictable, I spent a lovely hour here – simply investigating and, grabbing some IR frames. I do hope you’ll enjoy this initial instalment and, have a great week ahead. 

R.
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I | Closeburn Church | GR-720nm IR | 21mm – 1/100th – f8 – ISO:200

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II | Closeburn Church | GR-720nm IR | 28mm – 1/320th – f8 – ISO:100

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III | Closeburn Church | GR-720nm IR | 21mm – 1/125th – f8 – ISO:100

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Drumlanrig Castle [720nm IR] | PT.II | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, landscape, photography, structures

Pilgrim’s Progress | Ricoh GR Infrared.


III | Drumlanrig Castle, Thornhill | 720nm IR | 35mm Internal Crop / 4:3 – 125th – f8 – ISO:100

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IV | Drumlanrig Castle, Thornhill | 720nm IR | 35mm Internal Crop / 4:3 – 180th – f8 – ISO:100

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Drumlanrig Castle [720nm IR] | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, photography, structures

About Turn | Ricoh GR Infrared.


Each of us has the right to change our minds. (That’s my excuse and, I’m sticking to it!) Insosaying, last month, I wrote a post about my newly converted GR – to 450nm, internally. The idea was that I’d be able to choose my preferred wavelengths for split-spectrum or infrared photography, but, things have been simplified rather, thanks to a few unwelcome dust-spots on its sensor. (Every cloud, an’ all that?) I arranged for the sensor to be cleaned and, in the interests of keeping the camera compact (without having to use the filter adapter for mounting an IR filter over the lens) I opted to have the internal 450nm glass removed and replaced with my preferred 720nm glass, instead. This has turned out to be a monumentally productive decision. 

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I | Drumlanrig Castle, Thornhill | 720nm IR | 35mm Internal Crop / 4:3 – 180th – f8 – ISO:100

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These two frames are the first that I’m publishing from this new conversion and, after what started out as an uncertain day for IR captures – I have to say that I am utterly blown away by what this GR-720nm can resolve. Compared to my X100 conversion, I definitely see more details in the GRs shadows, though the Fuji does have better overall dynamic range and, controls the highlights a little better. The GRs files do look more organic to me (which is why I have always loved them for black and white work) and, in such compact form, no longer having to use the filter adapter to capture frames like this, it’s ridiculous how little I have to carry in order to get results such as these. Happy? Pahhh… doesn’t even come close!

R.

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II | Drumlanrig Castle | 720nm IR + ND500 | 35mm Internal Crop / 4:3 – 8″ – f16 – ISO:100

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Ricoh GR | You Can Call Me – ‘Jack’ | 35:Chronicle

black & white, close-up, colour, full-spectrum, Indoor, infrared, landscape, macro, nature, night / low-light, personal, photography, review, ruins, structures

Photographic ‘Mechano‘? | A Few More Nuts & Bolts.


Two very special cameras have made up the mainstay of my shooting arsenal over the past eight years; the Fujifilm X100 (the debut, the ‘S’ and, the ‘T’) and, the Ricoh GR (also, the GR II). The model numbers don’t really make much of a difference to me because it’s all about how they allow me to work when I’m making pictures. Furthermore, my joy of them has nothing to do with button layouts, menu-order, online reviews, or much else either. It’s really all about the ability to carry a portable, capable and an ever more familiar set-up that produces very workable digital negatives shot through focal-lengths that I prefer the most. Shooting with shorter focal lengths has been my passion for a good number of years now, ever since I made the decision to give up on larger systems and telephoto lenses. That decision itself came from a notion that being out of range didn’t make me a better photographer at all – it wasn’t brave and, I always felt like I was on the outside looking in, instead of immersed in the process. That’s why I ditched the longer lenses. Simple. I wanted to learn more about photography and could no longer find satisfaction from picking-off frames from a distance – no matter how attractive I found focal-plane-to-background separation. The change was swift and, sharp.

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I. | Sir Duncan Rice Library Building – University of Aberdeen.

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After a few years with the Fuji-X I wanted something a little smaller for my pocket, for those days we all hanker for at one time or another – when we can grab the shots without carrying the bag as well; not a replacement as such, but a complement to my existing camera(s). By that time, I was completely hooked on shorter focal-lengths, the immersive experience of making pictures with them and that was when I bit the proverbial bullet on a GR – a camera that has been in my bag or my pocket for almost six years, no matter what else I have been shooting alongside it. Now, you may think that this is going somewhere a little bit too romantic and, you might be right. You see, out of every piece of equipment I have ever shot with over the last twenty-plus years, Ricoh’s GXRs and GRs have been my absolute favourite to use. The GR however, (even for all of the APS-C variants of the GXR) – tops the lot. I have no issue with admitting that the GR is (digitally speaking) the best, most customisable, usable camera with which I have ever made pictures. But the oddity in all of this is that – it just got even better. I’m not talking of anything Ricoh has done to it or, for it. It’s simply that as well as my standard model, I now have another, converted to split-spectrum with an internal 450nm filter. This might not sound like a big deal (especially if you’re more a colour enthusiast or just not a fan of black and white photography) but bear with me, and you’ll see that it actually – is.

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II. | Kinclair Viaduct.

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My first foray into split-spectrum and true full-spectrum happened when I had received a converted A16 unit for my old GXR a few years ago and, with that one unit, I was able to reduce issues of low-light black and white photography and shoot any alternative wavelengths that I chose to – usually near-infrared around the 720nm mark. In truth, my main love for a split-spectrum converted camera lies in the ability for me to choose different IR wavelengths as my base, when shooting, though primarily, I stick to 720nm (give or take around 20-30nm) – as I have done for the last twelve or so years. But it’s lovely to have the latitude when it’s needed. If any of you browsed through my images of St.Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, late last year, you will notice, if you look, the clear benefits of shooting indoors with a split or full-spectrum converted camera as, such a set-up effectively doubles the shutter speed because the amount of wavelengths and subsequently, available light, is also doubled. For this kind of photography, black and white is really the only option (unless you’re into really funky colours and peculiar white-balance) and if you’re happy with this, you’d be even happier at the reduced (or complete absence of) camera / motion blur in your shots, not to mention the huge amounts of extra detail in the blacks and shadows.

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III. | St. Gile’s Cathedral – Edinburgh [Full Spectrum – Handheld].

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Now, a small admission. Originally, when I started drafting this post, my intention was to write some kind or report or, review, about my newest acquisition in the 450nm GR. But as that camera is only half of my story, I have decided to be more – general and, as my title suggests, I do consider the GR to be the most customisable camera I have ever had the pleasure of getting my hands on. The mere fact that I now have two of them, both set-up in completely different ways, for alternative shooting requirements, will bear this out. The fact that I have most of the accessories available for them, is also a factor in their importance in much of my work because, by and large, I don’t go in for huge amounts of add-ons for my gear and, prefer to keep weight down instead. But as weight is not really an issue with a camera so compact, I allowed myself to indulge in order to make them as useful as possible, to me. As well as both cameras, one standard and one converted, I also have three GH-3 filter adapters. On one, I have the IR 720nm filter, on another – a C-PL and on the third, a +10 close-up filter for a little extra macro. Having each filter mounted on separate adapters allows me to very quickly swap-out filters between cameras with just a click & twist. Obviously, the R72 filter adapter only gets exchanged with the +10 if I’m going to choose close-up work in IR or split-spectrum, but the C-PL can be swapped out for either of the other two, because as I have discovered, the standard GR set-up is also receptive to IR wavelengths with no hot-spotting, giving the shooting process a natural ND sequence. So, for long exposure IR imagery, the standard GR handles infrared rather well indeed. (I will do my best to show this as artistically as I am able, during the summer). With the addition of the GW-3 wide lens (which is pretty special, I must say) I can add a 21mm repertoire to each set-up at will, with custom functions set for (35mm) crop-mode and conversion-lens use, on each camera; not to mention the ability to set each of the unit’s three custom modes, for different set-ups. The fact that I love the GR’s output is the reason I shoot with it in the first place but, coupled with its mechano-like, Swiss Army-Knife tendencies – I really don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything for wide shooting, or – much else, for that matter.

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IV. | Bluebell.

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Of late, I have found myself preferring 4:3 output straight from the camera and have noted a benefit to this also, in post. The GR’s lens has a certain amount of natural light fall-off (vignetting) in the corners (especially when shooting at its native 28mm with front-mounted filters) and shooting at 4:3 reduces this somewhat unappealing effect by cropping out the far-lateral sides of the sensor. Added to the fact that 35mm is my preferred focal-length, this internal crop-mode when utilised alongside the 4:3 option, reduces fall-off further, while still providing me with a fairly respectable 9mp RAW file for processing, minus the rather noticeable fall-off. Again, many quick functions are simple and quick to set-up and I also have a ratio option on my adjust lever as well as 28/35mm crop on the effects button at the side of the camera. There’s not really a whole lot more that I can say of the 450nm converted camera, per se – it is what it is and as long as it’s raison d’etre is realised and understood, it’s an extremely useful tool for low-light, indoor photography where crushed blacks aren’t desired but organic detail is. For me – it’s there for IR in the main. But that’s just me. I still need my bag, of course – but even so it weighs next to nothing and, my bases are all covered.

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V. | Church Ruin [720nm Infrared].

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The GR has mostly been heralded as the ideal street camera to have, and I will not argue this. But what has not been extolled, as far as I am able to discover for myself, is that it can do so much more than street-photography; decent macro (with or without external filter assistance), landscape, environmental, urban exploration, and even alternative wavelength, I don’t think there’s much this thing can’t do. I have probably harped on enough now about this camera but I so want anyone who is truly interested, to know just how much a little camera can do in hands attached to a mind that wants to truly explore photographic possibilities.

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VI. | Horse-Chestnut [Sticky] Bud.

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The GR III is soon to be released in the UK (note: this post was published in early March 2019) – and I know right now that I won’t be buying one at any time in the near future. The main reason that I keep my Fujis is because of their handling, their viewfinders and the lovely files that I get to make with them. Insosaying, (because its screen can be rather hard to see in sunlight) if the new GR had been designed and built with a finder (a la pop-up EFV on Sony’s RX100 MK3 and onwards) then I doubt that the X100/IR or the ‘T’ would get much handling. If the GR III is as good as it’s going to get, then I’m sorry Ricoh- you already got it bang-on with the first one – nuts, bolts, the lot. And I’m not moving. I mean, what would be the point?

R.
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