80 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2013
The first thing you notice when cracking open the box is the GR's size. It looks pocketable, and under most normal circumstances it is pocketable. The camera is light and fits nicely into the front pockets of my Express shorts and producer pants. The pocket-bulge is nearly identical to an iPhone fitted with an Otterbox case. On the other hand, you can go ahead and toss away any conjured fantasies of stuffing it into a pair of 511s though. It won't happen. I've already tried. Ergonomically, the GR feels great in the hand. The grip is sort of sticky (in a good a way), so it adheres nicely to my palm & fingers; making it perfect for comfortably long shoots.
One of the most important things while taking photos is limiting the barrier between you and your subject as you snap the shutter. The less a camera is in your way, the better. Luckily for the GR, it's quite simple to assign and change up the functions to suit any particular style of workflow so it gets out your way immediately. It's somewhat reminiscent of the OM-D. It may take a day or two to find the most intuitive button layout that suits you, but once you've found it, you'll probably never have to touch it again. (As an aside, if I could add one feature to the menu, it would be the ability to shoot RAW alongside small or x-small jpegs. Currently the camera can only save RAW photos alongside large JPEGS.) In action, I find the GR snappy and stealthy; buffer speeds are quick, focusing is lighnting fast in adequate lighting, and the shutter is barely audible. It's not all chocolates and roses though. Despite being accurate, the focus is slow in low-light; the latter being a room with one or two lamps on. In the aforementioned shooting scenarios, the camera sometimes takes between 1.5-2 seconds before it locks. But once you're accustomed to the snap-focus feature and prejudging distances, it's not that big of a problem.
If you're in the market for this camera, you know you're in it for the large-sensor photos. Heading over to Flickr and browsing the real-life samples will probably give you a better indicator of the IQ than what I can put into words. To put it simply, the GR's sensor/lens combination is one of the sharpest kits I've ever used; even wide open. (Much sharper than my old X100.) The photos have a nice `pop' to them that I find tough to achieve with the Panasonic 14mm. ISO looks clean up to 3200; with noticeable noise kicking in at 6400. Keep an eye on the white-balance though. It strays from the norm every once in a while, more so than my m43 cameras. But if you're shooting RAW it's easily correctable in-camera. And for bokeh lovers, I'll be upfront. At 28mm, this is not a bokeh machine. You can isolate subjects, but the f/2.8 lens is best suited for contextual shooting. I prefer compositions with backgrounds and context while shooting 28mm anyways, so this is no issue to me. Having video at the flip of a switch is nice too. However, I wish I could have some kind of basic control over the shutter speed while recording in order to smooth out the motion cadence a bit.
Before you purchase the camera, please be aware of its limitations. The GR will not suit everyone; especially at its current price. But for its target market, it's almost everything one could ask for. Luckily, I am that targeted market. And while f/2.8 is adequate, the GR does not substitute my Panasonic 20mm combined with Olympus' stabilization. But if you're okay with the limitations & you must have DSLR-like IQ in a pocket, what are you waiting for? Thus far I've taken the GR to a rave, a few dinners, and many other places that my larger ones will not go. Personally, that alone is priceless.
82 of 91 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2013
Lets begin by saying that contrary to what most might imagine, anyone, regardless of skill or artistic sensibility would be well served by owning this camera. After all, its fixed focal length, small pocketable size and extraordinary ability to yield B&W images make it the 21st equivalent of an uber Instamatic, albeit a very expensive one. A few decades ago, cameras of this ilk were the common man's snapshot engine and there's really no reason to think that in auto mode the GR can't perform well beyond expectations of those who simply want to record head to toe images of their friends and loved ones.
Of course, in modern times snappers generally expect far more amenities such as zoom lenses, portrait and sports modes, wifi etc, none of which this camera provides. And as the consumer mantra today tends to emphasize sugar over substance, more doodads obviously make for a better product. Not so in this case. Nevertheless, for the vast majority of folks looking for a new camera, all the image quality in the world could never trump this camera's lack of 'basic' conveniences. If that's where you're coming from, hit the backspace key and get the hell out of here. This camera wasn't made for you.
But for those who do high tail it out of here, it is a shame, because this camera represents a true landmark in the history of photography. Dollar for dollar, ounce for ounce, cubic inch for cubic inch, it is the most powerfully concentrated still imagining tool humans have ever created. Some here have complained its not truly pocketable. Clearly none of these people ever smoked. Its just a touch larger than a pack of cigarettes and just as addictive. Addicts dont care if their fix means their jeans bulge a little, it's actually a source of comfort to be reminded every so often that what you need is just within reach whenever you need it.
In even modestly skilled hands the Ricoh's image quality is truly astonishing. And while its an incredibly effective and inspiring tool for those interested in documenting the urban landscape, it is by no means limited to that venue. I now carry it with me for every round of golf I play, an activity I never before considered as a viable opportunity for image making. Throw the GR in your push cart's cup holder and while your playing companions are mucking around over thinking their next shot, you can grab some amusing shots of extra-urban life as well. And as a bonus, its wide field of view coupled with its full HD video capability is perfect for recording every painful aspect of your playing companions swing. Might even pay for itself if you threaten to take the resultant videos viral.
If it isnt plain by now, I truly love this camera. Not perhaps quite in the same way as with my XE-1, but just as vehemently. The Fuji along with the X mount family of lenses is a camera system and therefore far more flexible. But there are places the Fuji simply can't go that the Ricoh can. As the old saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. And these days, I always have the Ricoh with me.
So why then only four stars? Well, for starters despite what you might have read about the GR interface, I find aspects of it very frustrating. The basic controls are extremely good. With the exception of occasionally bumping the EV lever, I never corrupt a shot due to an inadvertent button press. For such a small camera this is miraculous. But the underlying menu system and several options found within are not as well thought out. Items are often confusing and in some cases nearly non-nonsensical. If that was the worst of it, I'd have rated the camera five stars, but the GR has one glaring flaw which I find utterly unacceptable and frankly in all the reviews I've read has never come up. I shoot in raw mode, no jpeg. The trouble is that when reviewing images the rendering on the display in many instances is utterly useless for determining the focus accuracy of the shot. Straight lines can be jagged, noise can be prevalent enough to imply missed focus or exposure. As a result what turns out in post to be a tack sharp, nicely exposed photograph can easily be tossed in the field as unacceptable due to the lies told by the display. I've yet to use the camera in raw + jpeg which perhaps might mitigate this problem. If you do shoot raw only with the GR, I'd advise you keep everything until you've had a chance to review it off camera. Regardless of any workaround, I find this to be a very serious flaw which hopefully will be fixed in firmware sometime in the near future. One other thing to note that is that in a month or of in the pocket use, the screen has gotten some annoying scratching. I suppose I should have anticipated this, but having had iPhones that took years to show significant signs of screen wear, for a camera supposedly designed to go in your pocket, this is a problem. I'd far rather have paid the extra ounce and $50 for gorilla glass than now having to resort to film or a snap on cover. With these flaws, I simply cant give this camera a perfect rating.
My final words are for those talented amateurs who take photography seriously, buy into the portability aspects of the GR, dont have a huge budget in either time or money to waste on failed experiments and have lived their entire life in the company of 24-100 mm zooms. You may be inclined to pass on this camera because despite it enticing attributes, you simply cant get past the 28mm fixed focal length. You're afraid its just too wide, too limiting, too inflexible. If that's the case, I'd urge you to summon the courage to give this little beast a try. I'm betting it will change the way you see the world for the better and forever alter how you approach capturing its beauty and ugliness. The GR is a rare class of camera that has just the right stuff to ignite a deeper more insightful passion for photography. If that sounds like something you're searching for, look no further, this is the partner you require.
94 of 107 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2013
I bought this camera and had it with me nearly every day. Great to carry around, put in pocket and have a very solid camera to take everywhere. Very easy to use as well. Great image quality, that can't be beat for such a small size.
It can be particularly excellent in situations impractical for others. It is silent, small, convenient, easy.
However, the other day while shooting a wedding (a 3rd camera on me) the camera would not got to iso 100, only 400. It killed some shots and I didn't have time to futz with it. Later, I reset the camera and it enabled me to then use ISO 100. But this problem resurfaced.
The camera also froze about 8 times. Ejecting the battery would always work in resetting. However, it also later wouldn't zoom in on photos taken properly and that would not change even with resetting. So I returned the camera.
Before trying to return, I wanted to speak to someone at Ricoh about it and see what they say. I can't see any reasonable way to reach them. Thankfully, I bought on Amazon and can return. Otherwise, I'd be very unhappy.
This is a great camera and has some features I wish were on every camera. Well thought out in many regards. Only a tiny bit short on dream list of what I'd want, which is great because no camera is perfect for everything. But instability along with an unreachable company is not something I want to sign up for. I'm guessing I had a lemon or a firmware upgrade will resolve those issues. I may even buy again, but need to see if they address issues in a future firmware upgrade.
I actually may even buy this camera again if Ricoh provides a firmware upgrade to deal with above issues I experienced with mine.
Amazon has always been amazing with service and came through here as well - DESPITE the seller, ACE Photo, trying to block the return despite being within the 30 days Amazon offers. ACE tried to charge me a few hundred dollars for that trial period citing I took too many shots and that the camera - which had problems - was now "used". MGR at ACE was down right rude and did what he could to block the return. Knowing he was out of line, he wouldn't even provide me his name. Absolutely appalling service and attitude from ACE. They also cited it did not have problems and no one else had the same issues whereas I've seen others comment on the same. I buy from Amazon so I can return if needed and because of their stellar service, delivery, etc., and thankfully that came through here as well despite ACE's attempts to block it.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2013
I've worked in a number of genres over the years, and have always enjoyed street photography, but had always been impaired by the use of general purpose cameras like SLR's, TLR's, and even P&S's like the Yashica T4, Canon Powershot S95, or Canon G12. This purchase had been my first investment in a real purpose-built street camera. My budget had been considerably higher, and the final cameras in the running were this, the Fujifilm X100S, and the Sony DSCRX1R. My budget was clearly much higher than what I spent.
Not to be understated is the difference between (effective) 28mm focal length and 35mm. With a 35mm effective focal length, the photographer must be fairly close to the subject, but can still assume a somewhat safe distance. At 28mm, you must be right in the thick of things, so close to your subject that they can lay hands on you (if they were so inclined) without taking a step. I'm finding a certain intimacy at this focal length that was somewhat diminished at 35mm.
The Ricoh GR is insanely pocketable for such a high quality camera. As a result, I take it with me everywhere. When I go out on the streets, even just to walk to lunch from my office, the camera is in my hand. It's small enough, and low-key enough (almost entirely black, minus a fairly low-key "GR" on the front) that my subjects almost never appear threatened by the presence of the camera.
If you're running in one of the manual modes, the controls are right at your fingertips without having to shift your view away from the viewfinding screen. They are very well laid-out and I've found them to be convenient. I have very large hands and have not had a problem here.
I generally shoot in one of the three user-programmable modes. For daytime outdoor use, I'll preprogram it for TAv (Shutter-Aperture Priority) where I dial in the aperture and shutter speed I want, and the camera picks the best ISO for the job. For my work, I don't mind a little grain/noise if the camera goes high on the ISO but I do want more control over depth of field and shutter speed when I'm on the go. The metering of this camera has been outstanding and I have not regretted using this mode. There is also a snap focus mode, but the auto focus is very quick and accurate in the daylight. This camera will hunt for focus in low light, be warned.
The flash is almost always turned off for me, but I've found that when it is needed, it is fairly pleasing (as much so as on-camera flash can be).
I've had no problem importing & processing the RAW files in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5]. I also like Street Presets, which are not available through Amazon.
I debited a star for one major reason: battery life. When I'm walking around and the camera is turned on all the time, I can't even fill a 4GB card before the battery goes kaput and the camera unceremoniously shuts off. Spare batteries are expensive and largely unobtainable, even at Ricoh's high price. Aftermarket batteries are not available at the time of this writing, as best as I can tell.
If you want to see examples of photos I've taken with this camera, and stylized in Lightroom, follow @Ralwegians on Twitter, or check out Ralwegians fan page on Facebook. The Ricoh is my primary street camera (though not exclusive) so most of what you see there will be taken by the Ricoh.
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2013
This is meant to be an initial reaction review and is in no way as detailed as many write-ups that already exist on the web. Having been a ridiculously happy owner of the GRDIII since 2009, as well as an avid Pentax DSLR shooter, I pre-ordered this camera from B&H only a couple days after it was announced, the first time I can remember ever pre-ordering anything.
The GR (many refer this as the GR5) handles almost identically to my beloved GRD3 with only minor changes found here and there in the menus and controls. If you've used a GR series cam in the past, rest assured this is a GR. The weigh and handling and customization are on par with all the rest - stellar. But the truly remarkable part is the APS-C sensor that is crammed into this awesome compact. In using the camera for about 200 shots in a day I have cropping possibilities that I would not have ever DREAMED of with it's older brother the GRD3. Everything about the image quality is improved in every way in my opinion and that fact is by itself amazing. Snap focus is still present of course among new modes such as pinpoint AF and a new metering system. My only gripe thus far is the GR's autofocus seems to hunt and be much slower in lowlight compared to the GRD3, though I have heard that it is hopeful this can be much improved in firmware updates. I find the lowlight AF acceptable but definitely not as amazing as every other aspect of the cam... e.g.the exposure and High ISO performance on this model is outstanding for lowlight, the latter *more* than making up for the slightly slower lens than it's predecessor. The new lens however has a 9 blade aperture and I have noticed that the bokeh it produces when in the more open aperture ranges is much creamier than the GRDIII produces. Also, with snap focus and manual focus available within a couple quick presses, the slower lowlight AF does not matter as much as you might think.
I'll update this review down the road after I've truly put this thing through the paces, but my initial reaction is amazement... especially amazed that there has been this much improvement on a camera design I was already in love with. Hats off to Ricoh-Pentax... They've darn near nailed this one.
UPDATE 1/5/2013: Just a brief update to note a very crucial change to my review. I've been very busy with videography the past several months and have not been shooting still shots nearly as much as I'd like and as such I completely missed a Firmware update from Ricoh back in mid-October. I've just installed it this evening and I have to say that the low-light focus is now *nearly* as phenomenal as my old GRIII. What this means is that there is now nothing, and I mean *nothing* I do not love about this camera. It is the bee's knees and my perfect focal companion. I now have to seriously contemplate downsizing my DSLR rig and glass. An unreal little gem this thing is.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2014
I have owned the GR twice, brought it in 2013 regreted selling it earlier this year to try different cameras, including the x100s which is an excellent camera, but manual focus is a turnoff as the ring is fly by wire and too sensitive to touch, while autofocus fails in challenging light situation. Very good image quality however.
I brought GR again, used and was happy to learn that the performence actually improves by it's latest firmwares. With the autofocus boost, this camera is now faster than the x100s by comparison, and I rarely uses snap mode now. I also use area focusing and let the camera decides the point of focus and the GR is intelligent enough to determine what to focus. I use an OVF with this, and confidently let the camera determine point of focus. It's an 18mm crop after all!
With 3 MY settings, I have 3 exposure values covering different lighting conditions, the GR does everything I need to do. I have not missed a shot with this... thats big, for a camera this size. I don't need to worry about settings. Like a Leica, it allows me to concentrate on the photo taking process. It's always a companion to my Leica... and now I used it more.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Are you a professional photographer or an enthusiast? If yes, then please stop reading this review (right now!), as it is not written for you. All others, please continue…..
Are you coming from a point and shoot camera? Are you looking for a camera that is good but will not break the bank? If you answered YES to either of these questions then this is the camera for you. It is a small camera with a lot of power.
Throughout this review, I will write about this camera’s:
compact size, how this camera has a fixed focal length of 28 mm, how to add a focal length of 35 mm and 47mm; Firmware updates, built in effects, outputs in RAW and JPEG, crazy sharp images - even in AUTO, histogram display, LCD expectations, Silkypix® software, date/time stamp, and Accessories.
This camera is easy to pack around due to its compact size. It is small enough to fit in a person’s jacket or slacks. It might barely fit in a pair of tight skinny jeans but I would not recommend that. It is definitely small enough to fit in a woman’s purse without a problem.
If you had a point and shoot camera then it probably had a zoom lens. This Ricoh GR has a fixed focal length lens that is equivalent to 28 mm (in the 35 mm film world). What this means is, if you want to zoom in on something, you must walk closer to it. Think of the zoom as being your feet. This might sound like a negative but trust me when I say, it is not. Have you ever tried to get a group shot of friends, who are growing impatient with their fake smiles, while you are trying to get the correct zoom from you camera? Yes, that is something we have all experienced. With the Ricoh GR that is not a problem because there is no zoom to mess with! Well, sort of, see the next paragraph---
The Ricoh GR allows you to go into the menu system and change the focal length to 35 mm or 47 mm (called crop modes). Changing the focal length is sort of like adding a zoom. When you receive your camera it will probably only allow for the 35 mm focal length. With a firmware update you can add the 47 mm zoom (fixed crop) and some other functions.
The current version of the Firmware (Software Update) is 4.00. It can be accessed on the web by going to Ricoh, Downloads, Americas, GR Firmware upgrade.
To update your camera:
…..download the firmware onto a clean formatted SD card,
…..place the SD card into your camera,
…..go into the menu system and tell the camera to update.
Just make sure your camera is fully charged before updating the camera. Also do NOT turn the camera off while the update is taking place. And remember, the update is optional.
This camera has many built-in effects that can easily be accessed via the effects button on the side of the camera. A simple press brings up the effects menu. The built-in effect I tend to like is the Positive film effect. Be aware that there are two Black and White effects and they do different things.
Black and White (standard)
This effect takes traditional black and white images.
The Black and White (TE)
TE stand for Toning Effect. With this option, you to set a toning effect color (red, blue, green, sepia, or purple) and that color is used throughout the photo. The best way to understand BW (TE) is to think of a black and white photo that has a slight tint covering the entire image.
The Ricoh GR can output in RAW as well as JPEG files. Many reviewers (professionals and enthusiast) will talk badly about the JPEG engine on this camera. For the rest of the world these JPEG images are perfect. If you are not sure then consider shooting in RAW+JPEG.
The image output choices are as follows:
RAW, only shoots RAW images.
RAW+, shoots a RAW *and* a JPEG file.
Large, Medium, and Small are all JPEG files.
Regardless of the output size you are shooting in, expect to get crazy sharp images out of this camera. Even if you only shoot in AUTO, you will still have nice images.
If you mostly shoot in auto mode, then make sure the Histogram is displaying on your LCD screen. If the histogram is shifted too far to the right EDGE then your image will have too much light. If the histogram is shifted too far to the left EDGE then your image will not have enough light. On the back of the camera, at the top right, is an elongated switch that controls exposure compensation. Learn to press it as needed to keep your histogram away from the edges.
The images you see on the camera’s LCD are OK. When those images are imported into the computer is when you will see the Wow factor! Well, sort of, see the next paragraph---
The Ricoh GR comes with software called Silkypix®. Whenever I view a RAW file with the Silkypix software it looks grainy. I can view the same image with other imaging software and the images look just fine. Maybe it is something that I am doing wrong, but for me it is not a big deal because I have Lightroom, Photoshop, Adobe Bridge, and another imaging software that I use instead of Silkypix.
One of my favorite aspects of this camera is that it has a date/time stamp that allows you to imprint the date and/or time directly onto the front of a jpeg image. Most professionals and enthusiast will hate this option. Many moms will love this option. But the date/time stamp does not come without faults. The date is listed as yyyy/mm/dd. There is NO leading zero before the month nor the day. There is no way to change how the output looks on the image. You can change how the date output looks to you on the camera, but on the image it is always yyyy/mm/dd.
Below are some examples of how the date is displayed.
December 5, 2013 is displayed as 2013/12/ 5.
July 8, 2014 is displayed as 2014/ 7/ 8.
The Ricoh GR comes with optional accessories that can be purchased. Some of the accessories that I know of are the 21 mm Wide Angle Lens, Adapter to attach the wide angle lens, two different External Viewfinders, and a Case. I have not used any of these items but if I get my hands on them, I will provided a product link for you and write a through review of the accessory items.
I have uploaded two images. One is taken in a dark gym during a basketball game at night. The other is shot through the windshield of my car of an accident the day after Christmas.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2014
The camera seems awesome and I know I'm going to love it- if I can just get the battery charged! The charger they supplied is NOT the charger (AC-U1) specified on the side of the box and in the manual. In it's place was a VERY cheap looking Chinese made model P8 "travel charger". Did I get snookered? After trying to charge for over 3 hours, the camera lasts for ONE picture, then it says "Replace Battery" and powers off. I hope the cheapo switcho charger it came with didn't fry the battery and/or the camera!!
Trying to charge it off the computer now, will update this review when I know what's what.
UPDATE: It could only be returned and not exchanged as this was a third party seller. Amazon was awesome about fixing the issue and took a good discount off of the price, saving me the trouble of returning and repurchasing the camera. Happy again.
Also, I've now used it for a few days and can give a review from my short time using this camera:
The camera in a word is Fantastic. It'll put a smile on your face.
If you want DSLR resolution in a point and shoot body, here it is. They built this well and intelligently. As another reviewer noted they must have had some true photographers working with the design team as it just feels like a no-nonsense grown up pocket camera for photographers. The buttons, grip and menu are form through function.
The JPGs are easily on par or exceed what I was getting with my Nikon D7000 resolution wise. The colors are different though. Not bad, but not as warm as that Nikon look that I'm used to. The JPGs are maybe a little more yellowy(?) than the Nikon standard look. I used Capture NX for post and don't have Lightroom, so I haven't been able to work with the DNG files this camera makes and can't comment on that yet.
The metering is definitely on the hot side, not nearly as good as Nikon's. Most pics are just brighter with blown highlights somewhere in them even with their evaluative metering. Dropping exposure compensation helps but does not completely fix.
The firmware update to 4.0 has fixed a lot of the problems seen on older reviews. It powers up nice and quick, ready to shoot by the time you get it out of your pocket and aimed. Auto focus is also decently quick and works for me the vast majority of the time. Snap focus works great if you're good at judging distance to subject and predicting where that subject will be. I expect a little slow down focus in low light, so no real complaints here. 4fps shutter works nicely in JPG mode. The shutter is very quiet but you can hear it.
The Silkypix editing software it came with is borderline useless. Maybe I'm just getting to old to take the time to learn a whole new editing tool. But safe to say you'll want Lightroom if you want to work on this cameras DNGs.
Battery life is fairly short, you'll have to be selective on what you shoot if your going to be out all day with one battery on you. I haven't completely used one up yet, but I was under 200 shots when the battery indicator started showing 2/3rds charge.
Wifi card works flawlessly on it.
If 28mm is too wide for what you need, you can crop to 35mm or 47mm at the press of a button. Resolution drops to about 6 megapixel at 47mm, still very useable. You've heard about all the customizations you can configure the buttons for, and there are many, but you can't configure every single thing as some reviews would have you believe.
Overall, a very confidence-inspiring tool for taking photos where ever you go. It feels trustworthy and reliable, and just takes damn fine pictures. No regrets so far, other than the above mentioned charger debacle. But I'm really liking this camera, can't wait to use it again tomorrow. Here are three samples from this past weekend:
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2014
I've been a photographer for about 15 years, I also now work as an art director, so if I'm not taking shots I'm surrounded by those who are. This little camera is a serious diamond in the rough. Don't overlook it just because it's not a Nikon or Canon.
• The lens is amazing, super sharp.
• Highly customizable.
• Snap focus is fantastic, especially for street photography.
• Size. Fits perfectly in my hand, just feels very natural. Yet small enough to slide in my jeans pocket.
• Invisible. People ignore you, point a big SLR at them and you won't get the same reaction.
• Superfast autofocus (with v4 firmware update)
• TAv mode. This is something I've only seen on Pentax/Ricoh cameras. You set the FStop and SS and the camera picks the ISO. Works great, especially in daylight.
• Wish it was weather sealed
• Would love a built-in viewfinder (I added an external, but it's not the same)
• Noise at high ISO
• Built in Wifi
Most of the complaints I've read on here has been addressed with continued firmware updates. I think Ricoh/Pentax plans on really supporting this camera.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2014
If I could give it 5+ starts I would.
I have owned many film and digital cameras before GR, and still do – Canon DSLRs starting with D30, many Olympus compacts (C2020, C2100 ‘Uzi’), Fujifilm X100, NEX 5N, NEX 6 as well as many lenses – 85/1.8, 35/1.8, 30/2.8, 19/2.8 etc. Mostly primes. I tend to shoot wide-open and process RAW in LR5.
Many of the above cameras are fantastic tools and produce wonderful images if used well. However, nothing comes close to Ricoh GR for its unique *combination* of size, weight, ergonomics, and stellar image quality.
This is a true “photographer’s camera” and should be used to be appreciated. It doesn’t look like much, but it does deliver.
+ Phenomenal ergonomics that is a match, if not superior to X100 ( It’s deeply customizable and designed for comfortable one-handed operation)
+ Grip (very very comfortable)
+ Light weight (perfect as a street camera)
+ Small size (fits in the pocket, X100 is not even close, and also twice as heavy)
+ Very, very sharp lens starting at F2.8 (it gets razor-sharp at F4, corner to corner)
+ Wide latitude RAW files that are sharp and contrasty
+ No AA filter (16Mp that is close to ‘normal’ 20-22Mp output of other APS-C sensors with AA filter. LOTS of cropping ability)
+ UI is close to perfect (very functional, easy to learn, easy to customize)
+ ND filter that is either Manual or Automatic!
+ LCD is very sharp, bright, and has fast refresh rate
+ Great bargain at current prices, in the low to mid six-hundreds
- Auto-focus is kind of slow (it does not hunt in good light, just slow)
- Auto-focus in Multi-point mode is not very reliable (be careful, as it can show green rectangles on the subject but actually focus on other parts of the scene)
- Battery indicator in not very linear, it goes pretty fast from one ‘bar’ to nothing (just get Wasabi charger with 2 batteries for ~$20 on Amazon, this should solve the problem)
- Would love to have Auto-HI ISO in TAv mode (maybe future firmware update)
Most of Cons are pretty minor, with the exception of AF. I suggest using single center point and then re-frame, or use excellent snap focus.
Other random thoughts:
I got GH-3 adapter plus hood, but it turns out I rarely use them. The hood is simply NOT required, besides it makes the GR not pocketable so it defeats the main advantage. The adapter is useful for 49mm filters, if you’d like to use a polarizer, or stronger ND filter for long exposures.
I got a simple neoprene case on Amazon (Case Logic), but the case, while fitting snugly, significantly increases apparent camera size. I ended up not using it, and instead got thin magic fiber draw-string bags on eBay for a few bucks, and use one to protect the camera while in the pocket.
I have an optical viewfinder (adapted from Sony NEX system). I had to remove mini-shoe from adapter the bottom to reveal standard shoe mound. That was a $70 purchase, a bargain compared with Ricoh optical viewfinders. However, it also makes the camera not pocketable, so it gets little use. My advice is before you buy any of the accessories try using GR as-is, and see if you miss anything.
Overall, if you are looking for large sensor compact that actually FITS in the jean's pocket and produces great images time after time then there are very few choices. X100 is a great camera but not really pocketable. Nikon A is much more expensive and frankly UI seems un-engaging compared to GR. Sony RX100 are fine cameras but UI is, again, computer-like rather than camera-like. They are not one-handed cameras either. Ricoh GR has that rare combination of qualities that make it just right.