Ricoh GR review: will this new Ricoh Pentax camera win over enthusiasts?

Ricoh GR review

Ricoh GR review: the latest addition to the Ricoh GR range brings a new, large APS-C sensor to a smaller body and embraces some of the qualities that Ricoh’s 35mm film compact cameras so popular. But is it any good? Find out in our Ricoh GR review video.

Ricoh GR review

Ricoh had a reputation for producing superb 35mm film compact cameras such as the GR I and GR21 that found favour with enthusiast photographers.

However, despite producing high quality images, the company’s digital compact cameras such as the Ricoh GR II and Ricoh GR IV haven’t really attracted the same attention.

The new Ricoh GR, however, could be about to change all that, because its 16.2 million pixel sensor is an APS-C format device rather than a 1/1.7-inch unit as is found in the Ricoh GR IV.

Here Angela Nicholson takes a look at what the new GR has to offer in her Ricoh GR review video.

http://youtu.be/1V25vZyJP10

Ricoh GR Review Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Angela Nicholson, head of testing for Future’s Photography magazines, and this is the Ricoh GR, the latest addition to the APS-C format compact camera market.

As you can see, despite the fact that it has the same sized sensor as many SLRs, the GR is actually pretty small and neat – it’s about the same size as the similarly specified Nikon Coolpix A.

Like the Coolpix A, the GR has a fixed focal length lens that’s equivalent to around 28mm in 35mm terms. It also has a maximum aperture of f/2.8, so there’s a fair bit of control over depth of field.

One of the concerns I had about this camera when we saw a preproduction sample was that it seemed to have a lengthy file write time. However, I’m pleased to say that it really isn’t the case with this production sample and even when shooting raw and JPEG files simultaneously you can snap away quite happily without having to wait for the buffer to clear.

This is great news because the GR produces superb quality raw files. The JPEG files are also pretty decent, but as Pentax Ricoh has opted to use the DNG raw file format the images can be processed with Adobe Camera Raw, which makes shooting raw files even more attractive.

One of the reasons that the GR produces such detail-rich images is that the 16.2 million pixel sensor doesn’t have an anti-aliasing filter over it. Theoretically this means that it carries an increased risk of producing images that suffer from moiré patterning, but I haven’t found it to be an issue.

As you can see there’s no viewfinder built into the GR, so unless you buy the optional optical finder you have to compose images on the 3-inch 1.2-million-dot LCD screen. This provides a nice clear view in most situations, only struggling in very bright light.

As the screen isn’t touch sensitive, the focus point must be set by pressing this button (F1), using the navigation keys to get to the right spot and then clicking OK.

I’ve found the AF system to be very good, getting the subject sharp quickly in many situations and only struggling in very low light or low contrast situations. However, the larger sensor means that Macro facility needs activating more often than we expect with a compact camera and you need to remember to turn it off again when you switch to shooting a more distant subject.

As it’s built from magnesium alloy the GR feels pretty solid, but it’s also lightweight and this grip with its rubberised surface makes it feel secure in your hand.

All the controls are within easy reach and the menu is a no-fuss affair that doesn’t take long to get used to. The mode dial on top also allows quick changes in exposure mode with the enthusiasts’ favourite shutter priority and aperture priority being available along with manual

There are also three custom options that can be used to access your favourite set-up. I used these to enable me to quickly switch to shooting in black and white mode.

This rocker-switch is used to set exposure compensation in record mode and although I was worried that I might accidentally adjust the exposure with it on a regular basis, it doesn’t seem to happen that often.

This control gives a convenient, quick route to the sensitivity, image quality, aspect ratio, focusing and metering options. Just press to bring up the main list and then move left or right, the front dial is used to switch between the available options.

I’m very impressed by the Ricoh GR. It costs considerably less than the Nikon Coolpix A and Fuji X100, and it produces high quality, well exposed images, with lots of sharp detail and natural, vibrant colours.

Making an appearance just weeks after the Nikon Coolpix A, the Ricoh GR will go on sale with an asking price of around £599 (that’s about 920 US dollars)– making it significantly cheaper than the Nikon camera.

It will be interesting to see if this camera manages to capture the imagination of the experienced user looking for a backup compact that is capable of delivering excellent images.

PAGE 1: Ricoh GR Review
PAGE 2: Our original Hands-on Ricoh GR Review Video

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