Black and White Comparison – Part 1

After mentioning it quite often on my blog and in forums, I thought it time to really see how the GRDs compare for black and white images. There is a lot of talk about the special quality of the GRD I when used in b&w mode, some even bought the camera only to use it in b&w. While I believe the b&w jpgs the GRD I produces are the best and was disappointed by the poor jpgs the GRD II produces, I think it is time to do a test and see how good they really are. Can I get the same quality out of the GRD II when using RAW and what about the LC1 jpgs?

Since it was Sunday and the weather nice, I decided to go out and find out. I set all cameras to A-mode and f5.6 at ISO 100 with EV -0.3. The GRD I and II jpgs were processed in camera with Contrast +2 and sharpness +1 since this is how I use it. The GRD II jpgs are foe me unusable so I ignore them completely but decided to post them anyway. To make the test more interesting I use the LC1 in-camera jpgs that are created with the RAW files but are higher compressed then the best quality jpgs. I tried whenever possible to get exact the same scene (this is why I haven’t used any of the street shots I took at Greenwich market) and used the same focus options. This is not a test of the pure quality of the cameras so I won’t pixel peep and look at 100% crops but more at full size images or larger crops.
A few interesting things I noticed that have nothing to do with this test:

– The GRD I seems least sensitive and constantly chose the slowest shutter speed,
– The GRD II underexposed a few shots without any apparent reason,
– The LC1 seems most sensitive and chose the fastest shutter speed,
– The lens of the GRD II seems to capture slightly more then the GRD I or LC1 at 28mm.

I hear you say, all nice and well but what about the pictures? Here are the pictures, all except the GRD II RAWs unprocessed and out of the camera jpgs.

My conclusion for now is that:

1. I still prefer the GRD I jpgs and can always point them out straight away.
2. I messed up the RAW conversions and instead of going for the GRD I look I went for higher tonality so will re-do this and re post the images.
3. The GRD II RAW files have the highest dynamic range together with the LC1, that is still a bit better.

So this said and done I will re-do the RAW tests tomorrow and work more for the GRD I look. If you want to have a go at the files yourself and compare the output yourself download the files here.


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