Beyond camouflage gears <カモフラージュ柄では超えられない壁> by TRK


以前にもGXR A12 50mmユニットや、GXR MOUNTユニットの紹介記事を書いてくれた「TRK」さんが、今回はGRのフォーカス機能について解説してくれました。

GRD3 and me (*All the pictures in this installment are taken with the APS-C GR)

GRD3で寄る筆者 (*本文中の作例は全てAPS-CのGRで撮影したものです)


The GR's 28mm equivalent lens might not be the best solution for shooting wildlife and the like, but I do so every now and then. I have to be meticulously careful in reducing the distance with the subjects, then quickly compose and silently shoot the right moment. In fact, some of the GR's features and custom functions compensate the challenge of a prime wide-angle lens.


While I position myself in stealth mode, I customarily create a picture in my mind before physically composing a photo. So the first move I make when I turn on the camera becomes moving the AF target to where I have decided to place the main subject.


Moving the AF target is easy with the GR. (I had been requesting the development team for years to simplify this process, and gone is the predecessors' inseparable link between AF and AE mode combinations.) Clicking the left key of the 8-way controller readies the AF target to be moved laterally, longitudinally, and diagonally with the controller (or laterally and longitudinally with the dials).
But why moving the AF target instead of locking the focus in the center and recompose? Besides my custom to compose before focuse, this kind of subjects do not wait for me to recompose after finishing focusing with the center point. In this same sense, I naturally prefer to use the smallest, "Pinpoint" AF target to focus on a specific point of the main subject.

GRでAFターゲット移動モードに切り替える作業は簡単です。実は過去のリコー機は毎回AFモードとAEモードの組み合わせの選択を要求されるのが大変で、前々から開発チームにショートカットのリクエストを出していたのですが、それが実って8方向コントローラの左キーをちょこんと押すだけでAFターゲット移動モード(だけ)が起動します。しかもコントローラを使ったときは縦・横・斜めと、文字通り8方向に、それも無段階に移動できるのです (前ダイヤルと後レバーを使うと、縦横移動のみ)。



The next step is autofocus, where its accuracy and speed are important. With the GR, both of them are much improved from the predecessors with APS-C sized sensors (namely, GXR). In addition, the new firmware 4.0 released on June 4 has added the "High Speed" AF mode. (Is it worth? I will show you a result later.)




Last but not least, the shutter must be responsive and silent. The GR's leaf shutter is stealthy enough to shoot wildlife at a close range, as well as responsive (less than 30 milliseconds once the focus is locked).


Now, let me pick up some photos made possible with the bandwagon effect of these.


[1] Ducklings カルガモの親子

Once I entered into the shooting range, I aimed at a family photo of the siblings with their mother. (Sorry for chopping off the top of the mother's head.)
They were busy digging their prey from the mud using their beaks, but I managed to coax them into giving me a second attention at one time.
Whether I could compose a photo depended on the response of the camera, and the combination of High Speed AF and the leaf shutter lived up to my expectation. In the meantime, I didn't intimidate them at all with AF or shutter noise.


Contrast detection AF provides better accuracy than phase detection regardless of where the AF target is, and the High Speed AF mode is no exception.



As a side effect of the High Speed AF though, the live view on the screen freezes during the process. However, it did not matter in this situation because I was directly observing how the ducklings move and using the screen just to check the composition and focus.


[2] Turtlet 子ガメ

The coin-sized baby turtles living in the nearby park are very sensitive to noise, as well as to a wrong move of the photographer. He would easily duck under water and hide away.
I set the GR to the Macro mode, moved the AF target a little to the left, then controlled my breathing to harmonize with the surrounding nature before lowering the camera close to the water surface. (The electric level gauge came in handy.) I didn't need High Speed AF in this situation, but did need the silence of the leaf shutter.


[3] Seagull かもめと氷川丸

I met a seagull by chance at a famous tourist spot. Though this was a typical snapshot in an open space, I didn't change my style of composing the image first and moving the AF target as I get close to the subject. I could take a few shots before she flew away, thanks to the unobtrusive mechanical noise of the GR, rather than my demeanor.

観光名所を背景にした、かもめです。実はとっさの出会いで辻斬りスナップだったのですが、いつものスタイルで数メーター手前のうちにフレーミングを考え、GRの電源を入れるやAFターゲットを動かしながら近づき、3枚ほど撮影することができました。1枚目で即飛び去られなかったのは、(撮影者の物腰はともかくとして) やはりGRの一連の静音なメカニズムが効いています。

I didn't choose the Full Press Snap mode for focus accuracy.


[4] Zoo Animal 動物園のシロクマ君

I was waiting at the viewing window of the polar bear's pool for him to dive, with the AF target moved to where I predicted he would appear next. The High Speed AF mode would have been an optimal option, but I didn't have it yet. Anyway, I managed to obtain in-focus shots at the peak of the movement with the quick response of the leaf shutter.
By the way, the residual aberration of the corner comes from the viewing window of the pool, not from the GR lens.

ちなみに画面隅に光学的な収差が見えると思いますが、これはGRレンズのせいではなく、プールの窓ガラス (アクリルかも) によるものです。

[5] K9 Circle 犬の集会

The GR's leaf shutter is also vibration-free, which makes it suitable for hand-held shooting at slow shutter speeds. Even without an optical image stabilizer, the hit rate is rather high in shooting between 1/20 and 1/8 seconds.


At an open space where dog owners congregate by twos and threes, I took a photo of a male dog, born on January 23, at 1/8 seconds. I made the camera become level with him, stabilized it by supporting its bottom with both palms, and released the shutter with my thumb.

散歩犬が集う某所にて、1/8秒で手持ち撮影した犬。男の子です (1月23日生・水瓶座)。犬目線の高さから左目にAFターゲットを合わせ、ブレにくいよう両手でGRを包み込むようにして、親指の腹でそっとレリーズしています。

Pixel peeping/等倍切り出し

[6] Don't wake a sleeping dog 寝た子を起こすな

In a dimly lit room, I chose ISO500 and 1/15 seconds to take a photo of this female dog (born on August 2) sleeping peacefully. As I had expected, she kept snoozing after this shot.

気持ちよく寝る小型犬。女の子です (8月2日生・獅子座) 静かな部屋で薄明かりという条件ですが、感度はISO500に留め、1/15秒でシャッターを切っています。想定通り、寝た子を起こさず撮影できました。

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