Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Hinton Ampner

On one of those sultry, early May afternoons, when a storm seems imminent but never quite arrives, we drove over to Hinton Ampner, a National Trust property about 7 miles east of Winchester. It's a strange place, and one that the Trust seems to be fiddling about with constantly, so that it can seem like a stage-set at times. Which makes it a good place to wander about the grounds, casually photographing whatever happens to be lying around, on this occasion with a Ricoh GR.

The more I use it, the more I like the Ricoh GR as a carry-anywhere camera. The thing is so small and so light, you can actually forget which coat pocket it's in, not something you'd expect of an APS-C sensor camera. It seems to deliver high image quality effortlessly, and it's not surprising they're so hard to find second-hand. If you ever see one, just buy it and try it; you'll have no trouble re-selling if it's not right for you. I've completely got over the lack of a viewfinder, and the fixed 28mm-equivalent lens is a price worth paying for the overall compactness. It also gives the full depth of field that I like without having to think much about aperture (bokeh? ptah! I got hyperfocaleh!).

True, it's a wider angle of view than I would choose, and it can be frustrating see photographs that a longer lens or a zoom would suit better: the one below is an example. What I got is the top version; what I saw was the crop below, impossible to achieve with "foot zoom". Though I don't know that the full image isn't actually a better picture. It's funny: we like to think we choose our kit to suit our "vision", and I suppose the sort of photographer who carries a weighty bag of lenses everywhere may actually do so. Personally, I prefer to wander about as unencumbered as possible – a mere 245 grams, in this case – and find my vision will change, conveniently, to match whatever happens to be hanging round my neck. "Love the one you're with", I suppose.


Anonymous said...

That the vision adapts to the lens(es) available - that's a curious thing, isn't it? It matches my experience after I switched to a Nikon FX kit with old manual focus Nikkors. I carried only a 35mm and a 50mm for almost two years and resolved that if something didn't yield a picture with this kit, I'd just walk away and look for something else. In the beginning, this prospect bothered me a lot; to my big surprise, it never happened!

If you turn the argument around - that your vision is formed by the lenses at your disposal - it becomes interesting: Consider the "cover everything from 14mm to 400mm in my LowePro rucksack" kind of kit - what kind of vision does that form?!

Best, Thomas

Mike C. said...


It seems the brain-eye connection is trainable -- apparently, if you fit someone with glasses that invert everything, after a bit the brain adjusts so that "wrong way up" becomes "right way up. Take the glasses off, and everything is "wrong way up", even though it's now "right way up" (or at least, so I read somewhere once, a long time ago -- don't think it was on April 1st...).

I can't relate to those bag full o' lenses guys at all... A lot of them carry a tripod, too! And a flash... And filters... And reflectors... Must weigh a ton.


Gavin McL said...


I have just the t-shirt for you

Mike C. said...


Tasty! Mind you, that's the wrong camera... Easily confused, but the GR and the GR1 are very different beasts, though even more confusingly the GRII is the latest version of the GR...


Omer said...

I like the first photo, with the jumble of the foreground being echoed by the wonderful clouds. Nice.

I went for the Nikon Coolpix A, tiny and brilliant. A few, the first three are in New Orleans, the others in Tucson:


Mike C. said...


Interesting, those have an almost "large format" feel of airiness, especially the last, which I like very much. Kit-wise, it's the same idea as the GR, of course -- DSLR sensor in a compact body, with a perfectly-matched fixed lens. Given the market failure of Fuji's offering (X-70) I suspect these will continue to be a tiny "niche", given the competition from phones, and the insistence of most camera-types on viewfinder, interchangeable lenses, zooms, etc. I do hope they don't go extinct...


Omer said...

Thanks. Yeah, "large format." Not sure how that came to be, but am trying to loosen up. Getting into tilts, out-of-focus main subject, etc. Of course, that it's being done consciously might cast a self-conscious, large format, hipster, artsy instagram filter thang. Oi!

Well, the Nikon Coolpix A is history, as might be the Ricoh GR II. So, there it does.