Manila In B&W With The Ricoh GR-1 Film Camera

“Hotel City” 2018. Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 Developer. There are so many hotels in this city! And so many beautiful hotels at that. This one is the Rizal Hotel near Manila Bay. I was very close to the building and despite having the GR-1 with its 28mm lens, I wish I had a wider lens. Yes, there is such a thing as not wide enough! πŸ™‚

Manila, the bustling capital of the Philippines, is a fascinating, lively, and colorful place that in my opinion is better suited to color photography than it is for black and white.

“Mall Town” 2018. Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 Developer. Mall culture is alive and well in the Philippines. They love their malls! I hate to admit it, but I frequented many malls during my visit and they were all great. They take their malls seriously in Manila! 😊[[[[[[

However, as a B&W fanatic, you know both and I know that everything looks good in B&W anyway πŸ˜€

With that in mind, I couldn’t help but take my Ricoh GR1 along for this recent trip.

Now you may or may not recall, but in the last post I mentioned bringing along two of the greatest point and shoot film cameras along for this trip.

I used those cameras with color film so that means the GR-1 was NOT one of those two cameras, despite the fact that it could easily be in that same list of “greatest.” So what does this mean? It means I hope you’ll stay tuned as I have more goodies and surprises coming your way!

This article will show some photos taken with the GR-1 and Kentmere 400 B&W film. I developed this roll in D76.

Looking back on the photos, I wished I had shot more than one roll with the GR-1. That’s the problem with taking too many cameras 😊 In fact, I could’ve easily used it as my only film camera and I would’ve been happy with that.

Here are just some photos from the trip. Not meant to be an artistic showcase, just the things I saw in Manila and some thoughts on them. Where I can, I will try to give you some commentary.

“Intramuros” 2018. Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 Developer. This is the famous walled city at the heart of old historic Manila. I shot this through a dirty window using both the iPhone X and the Ricoh GR1. I was surprised at how much detail came through from both! The detail here is really limited mostly due to the film grain when compared to the iPhone photos.

“SALE” 2018. Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 Developer. I love fashion photography but mannequins are as close as I usually get to fashion models πŸ™‚

“BGC” 2018.Β Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 Developer. A scene from Manila’s vibrant “BGC” district, a hip financial and social center.

“Manila Floods” 2018.Β Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 Developer. It rained nearly every day of the two and a half weeks I spent there. They don’t call it the “rainy season” for nothing.

“OOMA Sushi” 2018. Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 Developer. Had a good meal here. Not sure why the man is smiling, but I certainly don’t know him! I just took a quick grab shot πŸ™‚

“Lucban Church” 2018.Β Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 Developer. Heading out a couple of hours southeast from Manila, I visited the small municipality of Lucban in the province of Quezon where I saw this beautiful and historic church that dates back hundreds of years. This is theΒ San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Parish Church otherwise know as “Lucban Church.”

“Free Fall” 2018. Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76. Youngsters having fun at this man made waterfall at the Vila Escudero, a resort about an hour away from Metro Manila.

“Night Lights” 2018. Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 developer. The lights on the open air rooftop at the SM Aura mall in Manila. Considering this is ISO 400 film, I think the Ricoh GR1 did pretty good with this shot.


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Photo Of The Day: Manila Sky

Hello friends. Sorry if it seems like I’ve been away for a long time! There is a reason other than laziness…I’m in Manila!

The Philippines is a country I’ve been to a few times so I’m quite familiar with it by now.

No, I’m not Filipino. Not that I wouldn’t want to be. I’m just not! 😊

But I do have family members who are. And so whenever I get a chance to go to this beautiful and fascinating country I always make sure to pack up some goodies to shoot with.

For the first installment and probably many thereafter, the photos are mostly from the iPhone X and the 16.3mp Ricoh GR.

I used them to complement each other, not as competition. However, I can now affirm my past statements that the iPhone X can completely perform as my only point and shoot digital camera. In fact, I honestly feel that I don’t even need the GR for this trip.

But of course, I know you guys want a “real” camera so I brought it along 😊

In the past, I have taken Leica, Rolleiflex, and bulky Canon cameras and L lenses, but this year I kept it light with compact but capable cameras.

On previous trips, I focused more on close, intimate portraits which was the reason why I brought equipment like the Rolleiflex and Canon L lenses. This year, I wanted more street and environmental portraits.

Don’t worry film fans I haven’t abandoned you! I brought with me two of the greatest Camera Legend film cameras, which I can’t reveal at the moment πŸ˜€

I am sending the films to The Darkroom lab as I shot color film this time and I’m taking no chances on processing them myself. I find I always get ugly blotches and spotting when developing color film. That’s a process I want to master but haven’t been able to yet.

Anyway, I’ll have more photos coming soon. Have a great day good peeps! πŸ˜ŽπŸ“·πŸ˜˜

Summer Breeze

Summer Breeze makes Zay feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in her mind! 😊

Well friends it’s July today and for this morning just a quick post.

This was shot with the iPhone X using that faux bokeh mode again.

Now you guys know I’ve been an advocate for “real” cameras, but…Friend, it’s getting close! Maybe too close for comfort 😊

Ok maybe you don’t like the cool filter I chose, but the “bokeh” looks better than what I get from some large sensor point and shoots!

I know, I know, probably not what you want to read on a Sunday morning from the Camera Legend website. Heck, it’s not something I’d want to read! But I’m trying to keep it real 😊

I know you guys want more classic camera reviews and in time, yes I will give the people what they want! 😊😘

I used to post more spontaneously but as the site progressed I felt the need to make the reviews more and more in depth, which actually took the fun away from posting.

Maybe I can find a middle ground from which to restart? Anyway thank you guys for reading and Happy Sunday! πŸ˜ŽπŸ“·βœŒπŸ»

TBT: β€œTender Love” Leica M8, CV 35mm f/1.2 Nokton

Ah it seemed like yesterday but it’s been about three years since Baby Zay was a baby in that comfy baby rocker in that crowded “Kids Corner” of the house.

Today’s she can’t sit still for a minute πŸ˜€πŸ˜˜

This image was shot in 2015 using a Leica M8 and Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton.

They say the M8 is the “poor man’s Monochrom” as a reference to its ability to render nice black and white images, some say, as the next best thing to the Leica Monochrom.

Since I’ve never owned the Monochrom I can’t compare, but as a long time owner of the M8, I can attest to its picture taking abilities. The M8 takes nice pictures. But you didn’t need me to tell you that…you know it already! 😊

Have a wonderful day camera lovers πŸ˜ŽπŸ“·βœŒπŸ»

The Story Of β€œLIT”

Happy Belated Father’s Day to all our great dads out there!

And Happy Father’s Day to my Dad in heaven.

Just a story about this pic. It was 2007 maybe March or April. We were about to go out, our usual Dunkin Donuts, coffee, etc run.

He was wearing this β€œhusky man” brown jacket, which my father in law would later also become fond of wearing, which happens to be my jacket πŸ˜€

Anyway, I saw a good photo op here so I asked him if I could take a quick shot which he obliged. The camera I think was a then β€œcurrent” Fuji S3 Pro and cheap 50mm lens.

Who would think that a short four years later, this would be his β€œobituary” photo. The photo used at his funeral.

Have you ever thought about the time when that day comes, what photo of yours will your family use for your goodbye? It’s a hard vision to think about 😒

On a more uplifting note, kids these days like to use the word β€œLIT” like you might see on Instagram like…Yo man, that was LIT!! πŸ˜€πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ’―πŸ‘πŸ»

Well, I say my Dad was always LIT man!! His real name is Chavalit aka Charlie 😊

That’s ChavaLIT!! You got it? πŸ˜€ and we’ve always called him β€œLit” β€œLitty” β€œLeet!” β€œLoop” β€œLop” β€œDaB” and oh yeah LIT!! πŸ˜€πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

RIP Pops! We love you and miss you man πŸ˜β€οΈπŸ™βœŒπŸ»

iPhone X Pics & Thoughts

Some of you may remember that some time ago when the iPhone X first came out, I wrote my opinion on it and stated that I’d probably not get one unless the prices came way down or someone gave it to me.

Well, that day has come! The price came down but not enough for me to actually want it. However, the latter happened when a loved one gave it to me because there was a deal going for $350 off. Now that’s love! 😊😘

Hey, honest to God, I never asked for it or even implied that I wanted the iPhone X. I know I’m a gear head but I do have some financial limits πŸ˜€ And I know I’m already incredibly spoiled with my camera selections!

In fact, I was quite content with the 6s Plus even though there were some things that annoyed me about that phone, ie, battery life, shutter lag for example.

So now that I have had it for about a month, what do I think about it?

Honestly, if I had any curiosity about the X, I was only interested in it for the camera. That’s really my main interest in any cell phone camera I guess.

The images are very good! That is, by phone camera standards. I’ll go out on a limb and say it might be the best iPhone camera yet!

The detail, sharpness and colors are very good and very consistent with past iPhones.

That said, if you have the iPhone 6/7/8 don’t sweat it. The improvements in image quality seem incremental and not a monumental leap. But it is better.


The fancy faux Bokeh mode which is called the “Portrait” mode for the most part works well. This was one of the few things that interested me about the phone. In some instances, it’s good enough to pass!

The image above was taken in Portrait mode where the iPhone X automatically worked its bokeh magic. Available light, no flash. Friend, it’s getting close!

This shot reminded me of many a shots that I have taken with a 35mm film or DSLR with a 50mm f/1.8 lens on it!

If you have the 7 Plus or 8 Plus you have the bokeh mode too. I’m not sure if it’s implemented the same on those phones but I would imagine it’s similar.

Check out the two images of the same flower below. The top image has no bokeh effect added. The bottom was taken in “Portrait” mode which is the bokeh mode. Perfectly passable to me! It looks almost like bokeh from a lens at f/2.8-3.5 in some ways.

Below is another example of bokeh using the iPhone’s Portrait mode.

It takes a little practice to get acceptable results. You need to be fairly close to your subject.

As is par for the course of the ever controlling entity that is Apple, as far as I can tell there’s no way to control the level of the bokeh effect as you can with rival phones such as the Huawei or Honor phones.

That said, under the right circumstances the iPhone X’s end result appear as a more natural and believable bokeh effect to my eyes than what I have seen from my own experiments with the bokeh modes on other phones.


The iPhones, since at least the iPhone 5, have done a very good job with night and low light shots and the iPhone X might be the best yet in this area too!

The two “Geno’s Steaks” photos below illustrate how exposure can be improved by just simply sliding the “light” bar when clicking on “edit” to fix the photo. Most of you Apple users are probably familiar with this.

The top shot is the original and the subjects are hidden in the dark due to the strong neon lights affecting exposure. The bottom shot shows the subjects clearly after adjusting the “light” control on the iPhone.

Geno’s in Philadelphia make a great cheesesteak sandwich by the way, but that night we went to Pat’s their adversary 😊😘

The shot above was taken using only these $3 star lights from Target. The room was actually pretty dark.

I was impressed when I enlarged the photo on my phone expecting to see a grainy image, but instead got a smooth beautiful image that did not seem to be lacking in any details from noise reduction or any other processing artifacts. My old 6s Plus would’ve not handled this scene as well.

I have done similar shots in the past with cameras like the Sony RX100 and the 16.3mp Ricoh GR with their large APS-C sensors. The initial results from the X look nearly as good!

Friend, do you still need to carry an expensive digital point and shoot when a phone camera like this might suffice in addition to doubling as a phone, organizer, video game player etc etc?!


As mentioned, I’ve only had this thing for a month so I may possibly change my mind based on my future findings but for now I’d say this is the best iPhone camera yet!

It may even give some nice point and shoots a run for the money. Right now I’m not going to say get rid of your RX100 or GR but it’s getting damn close!


Oh by the way, anyone remember that I joked on my first iPhone X article last year that if I got this phone, I’d use the moving poop emoji? Well, I’m a man of my word so here it is! πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜˜πŸ’©


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Recent (And Not So Recent) Images

Once in a while I like to upload photos, if only to remind myself that I love the art of photography as much as the gear. Though it might not seem like it, I do really love photography as much as I do the gear! πŸ˜€

Just like most of you, I don’t just take photos for reviews or posting. I take photos FOR LIFE! I document life first, then if I can use some of the photos in a review, why not?

The vast majority of the photos I take on a daily basis just doesn’t make it in. Oh friend! Why bore you with my life? 😊 I want to know about YOUR life, Brothers and Sisters 😘

So these are some shots taken recently, and some not so recently. Nothing artistic. Just random shots. Sometimes, it’s a snap, sometimes it’s a test. Sometimes it’s deliberate. Sometimes it’s by luck or chance. Like I said, ya never know. I’m sure this is the way it is for most of us photographers, us mere mortals 😊

One thing that I’m sure is that most of these images have not been posted on these pages. I try to include technical info and tidbits for you camera nerds out there cause that’s how I would like it too 😊

I also find it interesting to see what camera and lenses I was using then as opposed to what I am using now. It’s a way of seeing how one’s tastes may or may not have changed. Sometimes I find there’s not a lot of changes!

I think theses images may give you a glimpse as to what I am pondering on doing articles and reviews on. At the same time, you may see why I’m flustered deciding what to publish 😫

Not to sweat it though. Most of you regular readers know by now that this is how I roll. Sometimes it comes in waves. Then I need a mental break haha! I can’t do it daily man, I just can’t.

Definitely got some more interesting stuff to profile for you all, and also on YouTube too. Oh yes, don’t think your “Brother from another lover” has forgotten about YouTube!

I really don’t mind starting out slow there because I don’t want to upload videos just for the heck of it. Just like here on the blog, I realize what you post may be on for a long time so let’s make it count!

Anyway I thank you all for having a look! Appreciate your patience and support over the years. I think you guys are the best readers anywhere. And those of you who also blog are some of the most prolific bloggers around! I certainly can’t do what you do, but thanks for the inspiration! Have yourselves a great weekend!

“Night Buddy” 2018. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.2 AIS Nikkor. My late night buddy! Try writing an article with this one hanging around. At least tonight, she’s quiet…somewhat πŸ™‚

“Noon” 2017. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.2 AIS Nikkor. Be forewarned friend. For when the clock strikes “Noon” your heart may be broken πŸ™‚ Actually yes, her name really is Noon! Thanks for being a good and patient model, appreciate you!

“American Girl” 2018. Sony A7r (original) with Mamiya 55mm f/1.4 lens. This is a crop from a larger image. I was just testing this lens when I saw Baby sitting there, lazy and then the spirit of the late great Tom Petty hit me and I heard him sing…”She is…an American girl” πŸ™‚ This is a great lens by the way!


“Vogue” 2011. Bronica RF645, 65mm f/4 Zenzanon lens on T-Max 400. Every time I look back on a shot from my time with the Bronica RF, I miss it!

“Text” 2017. Agfa Ambiflex, 55mm f/2 Solagon. Kentmere 400 film. Talk about great lenses, wait till I tell you about this one! πŸ™‚

“Sunglass” 2015. Leica M4-P, 50mm f/2 Summicron-M, Tri-X 400. This was actually a night shot near Times Square. Considering that, the sharpness and clarity is pretty good I think. Can never go wrong with a Summicron lens! Β You can see the smoke or vape coming out of the man’s nostrils πŸ™‚

“Purple Rain” 2012. Ricoh GRD 8.1mp. “An ocean of violets in bloom” as the Purple One once said! The original GRD remains one of my favorites πŸ™‚

“Smoke ‘n Java” 2007. Ricoh GRD 8.1mp. The brutal art of coffee and smoke. Over ten years later and the GRD is still on rotation in my camera bag these days!

“Baloon Man” 2006. Nikon D70s, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor. Cebu, Philippines. In my opinion, the Nikon D70s was one of the best cameras of its era, capable of crisp detail and rich colors. I plan to write an article on this Nikon gem.

“Baby It’s You” 2017. Sony A7r with Canon 35mm f/2 SSC. New York City. Though the focus may be slightly soft in this image, the vintage Canon 35mm f/2 SSC is a great lens capable of sharp images. And if you’re reading Camera Legend, then you know this isn’t just ANY Canon 35mm f/2 lens! Of course, it’s the one with the concave front element and radioactive thorium πŸ™‚

“Chase” 2017. Sony A7r with Canon 35mm f/2 SSC lens. The original image was dark due to underexposure. Lift the darkness in post processing and the A7r shows its legendary dynamic range. Four years later, the original 36mp A7r still delivers the goods!

“Feed Me” 2011. Contax T3, T-Max 400 film in HC110 developer. The T3 is an amazing camera! I’m sure you wouldn’t mind another review, now would you? πŸ™‚

“Times Square” 2017. Sony A7r with Canon 35mm f/2 SSC lens. The Baby don’t care if it’s Times Square or home. She naps when nature calls πŸ™‚

“Buenas Noches” 2017. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.2 AIS. Yes that means…Good night! πŸ™‚


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