Unconventional and completely new, the Ricoh GXR camera system may change the way we think about the relationship between cameras and sensors. Richard Sibley examines the new system
White balance and colour
Image: The Ricoh GXR’s in-camera flash produces well-exposed images, even at close distances. This image was taken with the camera’s black & white mode, which has a nice level of contrast
Besides having a range of presets, as well as the obligatory AWB setting, there is a Multi-Point white balance setting. This is found on the latest range of Ricoh cameras and it compensates for different colour temperatures across a scene.
For example, it can be used when taking a portrait by a window in a tungsten-lit room, to make sure that the daylight and tungsten light are both rendered neutrally. Although I found that the Multi-Point white balance works, it is quite subtle, making only a small difference compared to a general AWB setting.
One surprising omission is a flash white balance setting. You would expect that an automatic flash setting would be applied when the pop-up flash was being used.
I found that in many images taken with AWB mode selected, the pop-up flash created a slightly blue tint. Also in AWB mode and with the built-in flash set to slow sync, the white balance seems to be biased towards the ambient light rather than the flash. Again, this results in a blue tint in the flash-exposed areas.
In daylight there is a slight difference between using the AWB and daylight settings, with the AWB again being slightly blue.
However, I found that while the daylight setting produces acceptable results, the tungsten setting still looks a little too orange/yellow.
Rather than using the Kelvin scale to set a manual white balance, the GXR has a scale with a lightbulb symbol at the bottom and a sun and cloud symbol at the top. There are 17 different settings on this scale and I found that under 100W tungsten lighting, the second-to-bottom setting was my preferred choice.
As the effects of changing the white balance are previewed live on the rear screen, it is easy to find or check a suitable custom or manual white balance setting.
Overall, the colours produced by the GXR are good, although there is a tendency for blue skies to look a little cyan. However, as well as the usual selection of picture style effects, there are also two user-definable image styles.
These allow you to change the hue and saturation of individual colours, so you can adjust their appearance, including blue and cyan, to suit your own particular taste.
By increasing the contrast slightly and reducing the vividness of the orange, magenta and green, while increasing that of the blue and red colours, I was able to create a striking cross-processed effect.