Ricoh GR : All the Camera I Need

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Portrait of kids with Ricoh GR, built in flash, built in ND filter, and 2.8.
Portrait of kids with Ricoh GR, built in flash, built in ND filter, and 2.8.

I was a long time full frame canon DSLR user since 2007. Most of the time, I use 28 mm and 50 mm lens.

The quality was stunning. The feel of the image was different, much more film-like, than other cropped DSLR.

But, just one drawback using a full frame bodies : weight.

I love traveling, if I used it just around the town, mostly i have no problem.

The problem arrives when I took it to the mountain. You know, every hikers know every gram is counted when you hike.

Did i mention the big tripod i have to bring, too? Years later, when Ricoh announced the new GR, APC-C size sensor, i was feel like “you’re the one”Originally i want to purchase the X100s, but because it is a 35 lens, and only 28 mm converter available, i hold my purchase.

The GR has 28 mm lens, like a I was using before. And more interestingly, it has 21 mm lens converter. I love wide angle!

Portrait with Ricoh GR, positive film effect. As i used in all my picture.
Portrait with Ricoh GR, positive film effect. As i used in all my picture.

 

The GR also has a 35 crop mode. I know it just a cropped for 28 one, but it really helps you to frame with 35 mm perspective. Useful if you want to have a tight portrait. (updated : with firmware 3.0, you can also crop to 47 mm, yeay!)

Get close, and using a 35 mm crop mode with 2.8
Get close, and using a 35 mm crop mode with 2.8

As i read the reviews, the Ricoh known as a street camera. It can be operate by just one hand. Contrary to its rival, the nikon coolpix A, you have to use it like a Nikon DSLR–with two hands.

The Ricoh known with it’s snap focus mode. Basicly it’s just an automatic hyperfocal focus mode. You set the focus distance, and for the given aperture, you will know the focus range. Very useful for street photography when you need to capture the decisive moment.

I used a snap focus mode on this.
I used a snap focus mode on this.

The autufocus is fast. In daylight. But not as fast as the olympus m4/3 camera. Much more really like a nex-6 that i have used. It fast enough in daylight.

But in dim light, you really need to turn on the autofocus assist lamp. It sucks.

I used the snap mode for my landscape photography. Theres is three “My Mode” ; like a canon C1, C2, C3 mode; where you can store your custom settings, and call them back in mode dial. I used the preset for landscape photo, portrait, and snapshot.

The dial has lock mechanism. You must press the button before turning the dial. Thanks to that i never accidentally move the dial like the other compact camera.

Ricoh GR nice bokeh
Ricoh GR nice roundy bokeh

What about image quality?

Believe me, the lens is tack-damn-sharp. Edge to edge. It doesn’t have a Anti-aliasing filter, which increasing the risk of moire. But i didn’t find it a problem.

The Ricoh has a nice natural colour output. The standard mode is not as pop as other camera.

WN095058
As other sony-sensor camera, the dynamic range is pretty good. The raw file is DNG, which you can open in any photoshop version.

I love the Picture effect. Especially the Positive film effect. The saturation is even and the contrast is high. Much more really like a Kodakchrome. The other picture effect i love is cross process. It’s instagram-like hehe.

The thing i found about the color effect is they are usable. Not just another weird effect you can found in olympus camera.

The noise performance was good, though not as good as a full frame camera. But i shoot a milky way at 30 seconds and iso 3200 they turned up really good! The iso6400 is still acceptable for me.

iso 3200 for milky way
iso 3200 for milky way

I even using the iso 25600 for framing on 5 seconds exposure, because it’s really dark.

And this camera can have a shutter speed up to 60, 120, 240, 300 seconds before it has to go to bulb mode. I wish all camera like this!

Nice jpeg color
Nice jpeg color

What else?

There is a Fn1 button, Fn2 button, and Adjustment lever button which can store and call five settings at once. There is also a dedicated effect button on the left, which also you can customize the function.

This is really a ninja camera.

The plus-minus exposure button is godsend.

Built in flash and iso 6400 after sunset, on a fast moving boat. Finally i have a built in flash :))
Built in flash and iso 6400 after sunset, on a fast moving boat. Finally i have a built in flash :))

It has a interval shooting function, for you a time lapse junkie. Even a interval composite, to make your star trail on camera. Pretty cool!

It also has the custom self timer. Which you can assign how many picture you take at given interval.

The menu is neat and clean. Though you need a playing around a bit to get familiar.

And it has a RAW development tools inside. If you’re shooting jpeg, you are also has a a level adjustment tools, white balance tools, even a resizer tools. Nice feature if you need fast post processing.

The panasonic charger & samsung working great with ricoh!
The panasonic charger & samsung working great with ricoh!

The DB-65 battery has many equivalence. I bought 2 samsung battery, because it’s cheaper than original Ricoh. And an external panasonic LX-3 charger, because they didn’t include one. They works pretty well. I heard the sigma DP series also has the same battery.

It also has a built in ND filter for shooting large aperture in daylight, or slowing down for slower speed.

I really love the positive film effect!
I really love the positive film effect!
Great catch!
Great catch!

What the not-so-good ?

The autofocus in dim light is pretty lame. It will focus, but it tooks maybe up to 2 seconds to locked. Once you turn of the AF assist light (the color is green, like the on off button also green), the problem somehow solved.

Another problem on dim light. The refresh rate on LCD is drop. I have other compact camera which not-so-laggy when the light is dim. Very diffrent when the light is enough. It was really fast refresh rate.

I wish Ricoh can fix it in next firmware.

Beautiful colour.
Beautiful colour of GR

And the shutter button. Somehow, it sticks on buttom when i presed the button not on center. I dont know what the cause, maybe there is a little dirt inside, because there is a space between camera an shutter button. It annoy sometimes.

The frame rate is only 4 fps. Very lame for continous shooting. The C-AF is not so good, like other mirrorless camera.

The movie mode has slow autofocus, and you didn’t get a manual control. Even you can’t manually  focus. But it has capability for full HD video with various frame rate 60p, 50p, 25p, 24p.

The manual focus suck. Really suck. You have to hold the macro button and rotate the dial. It’s too cumbersome.

And it’s $800 for a “compact” camera. I wish it’s just $500 haha.

Snap snap Ricoh
Snap snap Ricoh

So?

I LOVE this camera. I don’t use my canon 5d anymore. It has really a feature i need and can go inside you pocket. Not tight jeans pocket though.

From landscape to portrait the GR love it. I carry it everywhere i go. I hope Ricoh release 50 and 85 version :)

All photos taken on Raja Ampat, Indonesia. With a positive film effect. Jpeg only. With love.

Thanks!

Get your Ricoh GR on Amazon or B&H now! 

 

72 COMMENTS

  1. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah… Kamu bisa kali yaaah fotoin akuuuuh. :3

    Apapun kameranya, saya percaya satu quotes sih, “Bukan kameranya yang bagus, tapi orangnya yang jago.” Gituuu kaaaaak. :3

  2. I ‘ ve been twice in r4, for diving on liveaboard, took pictures with my ricoh grd4, not nice as yours. GR is my next buy.

  3. Hi Wira, came across your blog whilst looking for some hands on travel photos with the new Rich GR. You have captured some great environmental portraits and other scenes on your trip and like you said, it´s great to have an amazing small sized camera with a great lens and sensor all in one. Hopefully in the future I will add the Ricoh GR and take it on a few travel experiences of my own. Great work, Evan

    • Hello Evan, thanks for the great compliment. You’re right, it’s so great to have small camera with great handling and image quality. You should add yourself a GR, too :D

  4. Very nice images! You have a wonderful eye. I wish you would upload the images at 1200 pixels into WordPress so we would see them big when clicked on.

    I had no idea I could use my LX3 battery charger with the DB-65 batteries. Awesome!

    Thanks for the review.

  5. Hi!
    What a great real life review of the GR! Stunning photos. It is interesting that you were shooting JPEG-only. I have been experimenting with my GR and I also like the positive film effect very much. When shooting JPEGs, did you need exposure compensation a lot? I mean you have spot on exposure in every shot!

    I am leaving to a vacation next week and have been thinking to take the GR as my sole camera on that trip. And I think I will really do that after reading your thoughts and seeing your gorgeous photos.

    Best wishes from Finland!

    Jonne

    • Hi Jonne!

      Hmm, i rarely touch the exp. comp button because GR almost nail all the shot like you said.

      Thanks for the visit and enjoy your vacation, you should visit Indonesia someday :D

  6. Hi! Are you using adapter GH-3 for mounting UV or Polarized filter? I think that this ll be good for preventing any shocks for lens and against rain or dust.

  7. The Ricoh GR is the most impressive camera I have ever bought. For the first time in twenty years I have only two cameras, the GR and a Sony A7r. I challenge anyone to suggest a camera that can constantly get such high quality images for the same size and price.

    The sensor has a great dynamic range and b&w images from this camera can look amazing.

    http://www.eyeem.com/u/Adamjasonmoore

  8. thanks for the review. interesting . . . (thinking) but is it for me? guess i won’t know until i find one in a shop and shoot a couple pix. you certainly do highlight its strengths, which are significant. tough call for me on a fixed lens, but there’s a purity to it that’s attractive. you’re a gifted photographer. keep snapping!

    michael hildebrand
    juneau, alaska

  9. Hey Wira, while looking for my potential new camera i found this review of yours and have to tell you i LOVE what you did with the Ricoh. Gorgeous photos!

    Would you mind sharing some settings you used for some of your photos, especially the first portrait of the 3 kids? Is this a jpeg straight from the camera? The exposure and focus is amazingly spot on, how did you manage that besides being a good photographer?

    I’m asking because people seem to have problems getting to use the fill flash with the GR. Was this shot in manual mode?

  10. Great little review, but above all, nice photos! Well done, you captured some great environmental portraits on your trip. I also like the GR V a lot. It’s like not having to carry a camera at all. It’s so light and small and it takes great quality photos. A 50mm (equivalent) version would be nice. Ricoh, are you listening?

  11. Thanks for taking the time to write a concise and well illustrated review. Your photos are great! Your article tipped the balance for me, I’ve been thinking about a GR for a little while now; I’ve not read one single negative user report or review. Universal high praise is a rare and it must mean something! The price has recently dropped in many places too, as I think Ricoh are about to announce a replacement. I can’t think of many other features I’d crave though, it looks like a modern classic as it is.

    Hopefully the search for a great digi compact ends here for me! Beautiful photos here, I love the colour throughout.

  12. Hi Wira,

    First of all, amazing photos! Im getting really interested in the GR and while doing my research. have stumbled upon your blog (in DPreview). I have a question though, I dont exactly get how the snap focus mode works. If i set it for example at 2.5m, does it mean everything from 2.5 to infinity is in focus? Do I still have to adjust my aperture?

    Thanks in advance!

    Jigs

  13. …very good review, wira,thanks alot for the efforts,although,i’m 2years late….will be getting mine ,tonight…

  14. Great images, i myself am thinking of ordering a Ricoh GR not the latest the 2013 version or even the 2006? 8.1mb version. Do you have both, if so could you do comparison in B/W? regards

  15. Udah punya dari 2 bulan kemarin, tapi belum sempat dimainin :(
    Kamera pertama yang dipunya (biasanya pakai kamera hp). Foto-fotonya okeee nih, ga sabar bawa ricoh keliling Indonesia!
    Salam kenal ya!

  16. om …mulai ada spot di sensor nih kalau pake bukaan diatas f/13 … kalau di jakarta dimana ya service centre nya? dan mahal gak untuk bersihinnya? thx

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