A Viewfinder Darkly

Photography tips and tutorials

Ricoh GRII compact camera mixes convenience with premium image quality

Ricoh’s new compact camera offers mobile device connectivity with  the photo quality of a DSLR.

The Ricoh GRII  compact camera aims to meet the challenge from smart phones by providing high image quality in a  a pocket size camera with mobile connectivity for instant photo  sharing.

The Ricoh GRII’s  Wi-Fi and Near Field Communication (NFC) functionality is enhanced with GR Remote, a web-based application which allows users to control camera settings virtually via any browser, as well as view and share images wirelessly.

Ricoh GRII

Ricoh GRII

“With the introduction of the GR II, we are taking the premium compact camera to a new level, offering the key features desired by photo enthusiasts: high resolution, a wide angle lens, quick shoot time and portability,” said Jim Malcolm, President of Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation. “With its new Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities, photographers can now easily share their exceptional street and travel shots more easily, benefiting from the best of both worlds.”

The Ricoh acquisition of Pentax shows in the GRII’s use of a APS-C-size CMOS image sensor with approximately 16.2 effective megapixels. This sensor proved an outstanding performer in the Pentax K5 DSLR .

The compact wide lens may have also benefited from Pentax’s design experience. Pentax has a history of high performance pancake lenses for SLR and now DSLR cameras. Pancake lenses are much thinner than normal lenses making the design perfect for compact cameras such as the Ricoh GRII. (more…)

Scanning old slides with the Epson V500

The only time it ever snowed in our suburb, thirty years ago

Over thirty years of my film photography are sitting in boxes of  transparencies and negatives hiding in the cupboard. I learnt much about photography over the years. Even though as a raw beginner in photography my  techniques were far from ideal,  my basic instincts were always there.

The scanning project has tow aims. First is exploring the film scanning techniques and settings with theEpson V500 and the other is searching  the old photographs for any suitable for my photo library. (more…)

Essential photography editing using the GIMP

The rotate tool dialog box

The GIMP has a number of essential tools for creating a copy  your photograph into the right size, shape and resolution for its final use. This could be on the web page,  email, on social media , or even printed on paper for display in a photo frame.


It is not always possible to hold a camera perfectly level while taking a photograph. Most of the time small errors can be ignored. Where there are obvious reference points for viewers, and the horizons or verticals are wrong, then this can distract from the main point of the photograph. Classic examples are pictures of the sea, where everybody knows  the horizon  must appear perfectly level.    (more…)

Canon Introduces New 50MM Standard Lens

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

Canon is introducing a new reasonably priced prime lens offering a fixed 50mm focal length with a wide f1.8 maximum aperture.  While it may not offer the flexibility of a kit zoom it should offer better image quality especially in low light. The big bonus is its Autofocus function in movie mode.

The Canon EF 50MM F/1.8 STM  has a low price, but the basic optical design concepts were sorted years ago, and it is a matter of refinement  for a new lens of this type.On a cropped sensor camera such as the EOS Rebel T6,  Canon’s new lens has an effective focal length of 80mm, making this general purpose lens perfect for portraits. (more…)

New Zeiss premium zooms for Sony cameras

Zeiss standard zoo24-70mm for Sony A mount

This pair of new zoom lenses from Zeiss offer top end performance for Sony cameras, even under harsh conditions.

The focal lengths complement each other with the 16-35mm zoom ideal for tight spaces or sweeping vistas. Then the 24-70mm zoom is a versatile standard lens with focal lengths that can cope with scenery or zoom in for portrait shots. (more…)