If you love street photography,
If you love to feel invisible,
If you love 28 or 35 focal length,
Then the Ricoh GR is perfect for you.
Let me try to explain why through this review.
It’s been a long time – almost 20 years – that Daido Moriyama started to use the little Ricoh film cameras.
He wanted the camera to be just a “slave” to him and not viceversa.
The old Ricoh perfectly fitted his idea.
The “new” Ricoh GR perfectly fit this idea too.
I am using this camera only from august. It’s a graduation gift and i couldn’t have choose a better camera.
In 4 month i took it with me to Spain, Portugal, Japan and of course Italy.
The camera is very small – smaller than my hand. It has a very useful grip on the right side and feels perfect in your hand. You can use it with only one hand! It gives you a solid sensation thanks to his magnesium body.
It also has lot of button that make possible to change quickly your settings. After you choose your modality, for example Aperture priority, you can change the iso or the F value without clicking, through the lever both on the front and on the back of the camera.
The shutter button is perfectly sensitive both to the half press or to the full press.
LCD is good and i never had a problem even in sunny situations.
The lens is a 28mm f 2.8 equivalent – but you can use it at 35 or 50mm equivalent.
It’s crazy sharp at every aperture and, more than this, it gives a nice 3d feel to the image.
The camera sports an APS-C sensor of 16 megapixels without anti-aliasing filter. It has very wide dynamic range, and very good high iso performance. To understand what i mean, i don’t even look at what ISO i am using. Just put it to Auto and it will work perfectly from 100 to 3200 or even 6400 if you expose correctly the image.
The Raw file is a .DNG that give a lot of flexibility. You can recover burn highlights or push the exposure a lot without making the picture worse.
THE SHOOTING EXPERIENCE
Shooting with this little black brick is wonderful. It makes possible to think only about the pictures and not worrying about the camera.
Just set it to your favorite mode and start shooting. You just have to compose and then snap.
AF is crazy fast and it’s very rarely wrong. If you don’t want to use AF (but you basically can use it 99% of the time without regretting it) you can use MF with a pre-setted distance you choose or a Ricoh function called snap focus.
Snap focus allows you to choose a distance, for example 2 meters. If you full click the shutter button, you don’t have any lag and the focus will be at 2 meters. No shutter lag at all! This is very useful for hyperfocal setting. And you can also use AF and Snap focus together. If you half click the shutter button, the camera will focus, but if you full click without half clicking before it won’t focus and will shoot focusing at the desired distance. Great!
TAV mode is a particular Ricoh mode where you set both the f value and the shutter speed. Camera will set the necessary ISO. It’s good but i don’t use it. I only use Tv if i’m shooting the day, setting a “freezing” shutter speed like 1/250. Otherwise i use Av mode setting the F value depending on the DoF i want. That’s all – super easy and super efficient!
As i said, the camera is really small. That means you can always have it with you if you want. It fits almost every pocket. You can put it on your jacket or in the back of your jeans and just go.
It also allow you to use it with just one hand. This is a really liberating experience.
And the camera is really really unobtrusive. Probably the most unobtrusive i’ve ever used. Almost no one – except from some photographers – will recognize it as a serious camera, so no one will curse at you, they’ll just think you are a tourist with a stupid camera. But you aren’t! 😉
Shutter is almost unhearable. No one will ever hear the click!
This camera has a 28mm lens but it allows you to shoot at 35 or 50 mm equivalent through a digital crop.
Since i bought it, i put and always used 35mm. I like it more and i prefer to compose according to this focal length. Of course i could shoot at 28 and then crop later, but i prefer to compose while shooting as i learned when i shooted film for 6 months with a 50mm lens.
The Ricoh GR is a solid camera. I mean you can just trust it and concentrate on your pictures. If you shoot at 28 or 35mm, just go for it… It’s the perfect “slave”! 😉