Just today I received 40mm adapter from Ricoh. It was a very nice surprise, because I did not get any email from Ricoh for a some time. I'm planing to do some GX100/GRDII comparison shots. But it will have to wait to weekend.
At the moment, I can only comment the build quality. It's a very well build piece of metal and glass. There is some visible flaring but not visible corner shading. However, it's too early to tell anything about image quality. Just one more comment. It seems to me that the background is more blurred in case of GRDII with 40mm lens than with GX100 set at 50mm. But I only judged it from LCD without taking the picture. I will do such comparison as well.[Updated 25/01/08]
OK, here we go. I finally get some time to do a basic shootout with GRDII + GT1, GX100 at 8.3mm (cca 40mm - 35mm film eq.) and Olympus E400 with 14-42mm kit lens set at 20mm (40mm - 35mm film eq.).
All cameras were set to as close to the same F number as possible. Unfortunately, it's impossible to set them all to the same F number. The lowest F number for 14-42 kit lens at 20mm is f4.1 and in case of GX100 it's f3.1. GRDII can use also f2.4 (definitely an advantage of GRD/GRDII + GT1 solution
). I had to stop the cameras down in case of ISO400 shots because GRDII does not allow faster time than 1/1000 at f3.2.
All crops were taken from RAW files converted to tiff with dcraw and these parameters -w -W -f -q 3 -T
I believe, that these parameters produces the most neutral and best out-of-raw details. Professional RAW converters will most probably help with lowering the noise, but in some way, they also alter the image sharpness, WB, exposure or highlights. In my opinion, using dcraw (which is in fact mother and father of most RAW developers) is the best way to judge the out-of-raw quality.
All cameras set to -0.7EV. This is why the E400 crops are slightly underexposed while the GRDII should have been set even to -1.0. I forgot that the GRDII is slightly more sensitive than GX100. Also, the GRDII prime lens is a bit more contrast. The first test crops taken from photos at ISO100: The second test crops taken from photos at ISO400.[Updated 27/01/08]
Today I did an extreme test to see how good/bad is the GRD2+GT-1 chromatic aberration and the image distortion. I'm happy to report that the GT-1 has zero to none effect on the image quality!
At first, here is the chromatic aberration test. All photos taken in DNG + Fine JPEG. The below crops are 100% crops form DNG and JPEG. At first, I compared GX100 and GRD2 with as close to the same F number as possible. The last column is GRD2 + GT1 at f2.4. First row DNG (processed with dcraw), second row is out of camera JPEG. All I can say is.. "chromatic aberration? what chromatic aberration?
" Both GX100 and GRD performed very well in this test. And the GRD2 CA performance is especially nice, considering the attached teleconverter.
This second test shows the amount of barrel distortion. Unfortunately, both GX100 and GRD2 were not 100% aligned, hence the distortion in top right corner. But I think it's clearly visible that the amount of barrel distortion is impressive low in case of GRD2.
Second GX100 at 40mm.. (if you don't see the red lines, click inside the image to show the full size image) Conclusions:
GRDII and GT1 seems produce sharp images as if the GT1 is an integral part of the camera optics.
There is no visible corner softness, vignetting, barrel distortion or pronounced chromatic aberration. This is a very nice surprise! If nothing else, I would expect visibly higher chromatic aberration or corner softness. But there is neither visible nor pronounced any of these problems with GT-1! Well done Ricoh!
It seems to me that the GRDII + GT1 solution is still sharper than GX100 lens.
None small sensor camera can beat the camera with larger sensor
But as in previous comparisons, it definitely looks that the GRDII signal-to-noise performance is greatly improved over the GX100. It still cannot match the E400 performance, but considering it's a "tiny" sensor camera, it definitely provides great and very usable results (DNG)!
At the moment, I think that the only real downside of GT1 (aside its size, which makes the GRDII significantly less pocketable) is the lens flaring. I will upload some examples of the flaring problem later this week. I will also try to make a home-made lens shade, which could help with this problem. However, my initial tests says that any shade attached on GT1 would make the camera really big and unpractical. So it would be better to avoid the flaring by other techniques (e.g. retargeting the camera).
Yesterday, I've taken around 50 shots at squash
with friends and the flaring was visible only on few of them and only in left or right-bottom corner. So I think it's not that big problem if you learn how to avoid it and how to live with it. This is a very small price considering the GT1 build quality and virtually zero negative effect on the output image quality.