Fuji X100s, Ricoh GR and Leica Monochrom – A Street Hunter’s opinion
NOTE: This is a Guest Blog post written by Buru Llwyd for www.streethunters.net
Although I’m a very shy person, and into street/documentary photography, I always try to force myself into taking the photos that I’d like to get. There’s no other way around it. Also I feel the need to use flash because of the preferred dynamic look I’d like to get. It’s quite surprising sometimes how people in general don’t seem to mind or are that bothered or even don’t notice at all. I’ve had plenty of people question and debate this type of photography on the street and within my circle of friends, but at the end of it, there is no law against it. A little confidence goes a long way.
As much as I tend to try and steer clear from wasting money on camera after camera, sometimes it happens. Sometimes you do see a camera that just makes you stand up and think “wow I’d love to have that”. Or you may see a camera that you’d just like to try just for the experience, even if it is a stupidly priced one. Cameras that suit you as a person are always important, even if it IS a ten thousand pound medium format kit or a cheap and cheerful disposable holiday camera.
The Fuji X100/X100s and the Ricoh GR
I had the Fuji X100 for around a year. It’s such a special camera to me but ended up parting ways with it due to certain circumstances. The image quality is really great. I’ve had so many people approach me and say “ooh is that a Leica?’’ or “wow is that a film camera?’’. It’s the type of camera that you make your own. You can use it for fun or use it in a serious way. The manual shutter speed dial and aperture ring are just awesome to have if it’s your thing.
I’m not going to write much about the X100s. it’s pretty much the same as the X100. Obviously it’s a little better in terms of build. The dials are stiffer. Buttons are a little better. It’s a little snappier and quicker. The image quality isn’t an issue. That’s for you to decide for yourselves.
Now the Ricoh GR. I’ve had this for exactly two days as of writing this. This is my opinion:
WOW, WHAT A CAMERA!
The personalisation, the ease of use, the sensor, the small size, it’s absolutely amazing! Although I had the X100s around my neck, I didn’t use it once. One of the reasons was that i wanted to get used to using the Ricoh GR but then I got used to it so quickly and enjoyed using it so much, I totally forgot about the Fuji.
That’s pretty much all I can say.
I will rate it as being just about better that the Fuji X100/X100s.
The Leica Monochrom with 35mm Summicron
It’s a camera that captured my heart. I dreamt of owning this camera since its release, but it’s so expensive. I’ll get straight to it with this one.
It is by far the most disappointing camera I’ve ever used.
I spoke to a worker in my local camera shop and he pretty much summed it up….
‘’It’s definitely an acquired taste. You either get on with it or you don’t’’.
It’s not huge but it’s definitely big compared to the Fuji and Ricoh. It’s so, so heavy with the lens. The 35mm Summicron feels like it’s made out of lead or copper or something. it may be a lot smaller than DSLRs but isn’t necessarily lighter that’s for sure.
For some reason it felt too clunky to use. It’s pretty much the same layout as the Fuji in terms of shutter speed and aperture. The software is easy to get around but it has too many glitches. It freezes up, it freaks out now and then and it gets pretty annoying.
Getting used to the manual focus takes a little while to get used to, but I picked it up pretty quick. One of the other problems for myself is that in terms of focussing, it’s so unforgiving. It’s either in focus or it’s not. There’s no real middle ground as such. You nail it or you don’t. When you nail it, MY GOD it’s beautiful! But when you don’t, it’s a slap in the face.
The shutter is louder than expected. It draws a lot of attention. But then that’s not a good or bad thing. It’s just surprising.
The image quality in the right situations is definitely wonderful. Out of the camera it’s very flat, so you do need to post process a lot. But that’s where the fun is. The photos are so flexible. You can get any black and white film look you want. But to an extent, you can get it with a lot of other cameras now.
The build quality is above any camera out there. It really is built to last.
Because of the price though, it’s hard to justify buying this camera because of the capabilities and the choice of other cameras we have these days. I’d personally say that it’s really not worth £6000. I actually found one second hand for £4000 and even then after using it I’d say it’s still overpriced by, say, £2000 easily.
So the bottom line is going to be:
Considering the price point, which is a big factor for the majority of photographers, you’ll either fall in love with it or you’ll hate it like a thorn in your side.
I’m sticking with the Fuji and Ricoh and I’m not looking back..
Thank you for your comment anonymous Henri 🙂
Stay Sharp & Keep Shooting!
I agree he did not phrase it in the best way, but I agree with Henri.
Not only that, but Buru is talking about three different cameras and only provides two pictures… shot with the same camera. And if one were to browse his G+ profile to look for more sample pictures, one would realize many pictures are missing exif data.
Nice. Having owned a GR (sold it recently to a mate) and own a Leica M (pretty much the same as the MM just with LV, better screen, general speed improvements and colour sensor) and I must say the M for me is better than the GR was for street photography. I loved the GR, one of my favourite photos was taken with it, but unless you got the snap focus bang on then autofocus just didn’t cut it for fast moving street scenes. The M allows you to track people and objects easily with the rangefinder. You can see around the subject and there’s no black out when you press the shutter release. Using the GR with the screen was an issue for me. I prefer a OVF or EVF. The X100 has that. I think I should have gone for the x100s instead but it was quite a bit more expensive. The GR is a great camera though. Just a bit lacking in some departments.
I must say the M 240 approaches the MM but at 100% the MM definitely beats it. The only other smaller camera that matches the MM is the Sigma DS1/2/3 in monochrome modes.
For a shooting experience, nothing matched a rangefinder camera….IMO.
I think the dp series exceeds the monochrom. If you put a loupe on it or a voightlander kontur, it is quite an analogue experience with awesome output. It exceeds Leica in its flexibility and autofocus but also in its weight and handling.
I’ve no plans to buy another camera anytime soon. If I do buy one, it will most likely be the Ricoh GR. I would love to have the Fujifilm X100s but it is a bit pricey for me. In the near future I will rent the Fujifilm camera and give it a go. That could be dangerous though. It may compel me to buy it. 🙂
Hi Mark. Thanks for your comment. The Ricoh produces some amazing images, with an impressive dynamic range. It is discreet and small, just perfect for Street Photography. As you mentioned, the Fuji is priced a little too much for my taste. You can get cameras that do more for less. That Ricoh GR has been on my wish list for quite a while. I really, really want to get one, but at the time being I am doing just fine with my Sony NEX-6.