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Just Posted: Ricoh GR Digital IV hands-on preview

By dpreview staff on Sep 15, 2011 at 06:00 GMT

Just Posted: Ricoh GR Digital IV hands-on preview. We've been loaned a pre-production GRD 4, which we've closely examined to see what this latest model offers. Although the core specification (28mm equiv. lens and 10MP CCD sensor) appear unchanged, there have been plenty of updates. These include the addition of image stabilization, 'Hybrid AF' and the first application we've seen of Sony's 'WhiteMagic' RGBW high-res LCD. Click here to find out how Ricoh has refreshed its high-end enthusiast compact.

Click here to read our Ricoh GR Digital IV hands-on preview

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Comments

Total comments: 25
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Sep 18, 2011)

If you look at Ricoh's brochure for this camera, one of the photos was taken at ISO 400. If I'm not mistaken, this is the first time they've used any example above ISO 200 in a brochure. Of course, they could just be calling attention to the image stabilization.

0 upvotes
iaredatsun
By iaredatsun (Sep 26, 2011)

That's an interesting observation. However, wouldn't they use slower ISOs to illustrate image stabilization? I think that if they choose to use higher ISO it more likely calls attention to lower noise in the picture.

0 upvotes
ken_holgh
By ken_holgh (Sep 16, 2011)

It would be better to have an optical viewfinder for this camera for it is not to costly to include one with only fixed focal length lens

0 upvotes
sensibill
By sensibill (Sep 16, 2011)

I'd rather have something good and functional than something cheap. 'Better' is relative.

0 upvotes
JesperMP
By JesperMP (Sep 16, 2011)

He didnt mean 'cheap' as in 'poor quality'. He meant that it will cost a lot less to include an OVF in the body than the 200$ Ricoh wants for the external OVF.

0 upvotes
Clark1
By Clark1 (Sep 21, 2011)

My Oly Stylus Epic 35mm Single focal length camera from film days had an excellent optical finder. Probably didn't cost a couple of $$ at the factory, and took up almost no space. The Epic zoom, however, had a much murkier finder. I seldom used it. (All that and weatherproof for a hundred bucks.)

0 upvotes
iaredatsun
By iaredatsun (Sep 26, 2011)

I always wanted one too – like the GR1. But most people point out that there is not enough space due to the electronics. So they'd have to make a larger camera. That would then not be a GRD.

Also even though I love the GR1 series, some criticise its built-in OVF as being too small.

0 upvotes
MarcMedios
By MarcMedios (Sep 15, 2011)

I liked almost everything about the similar one I tried (friend of mine had it) except for the lack of zoom lens. I honestly couldn't care less about the old fashioned view of primes; zoom lenses today are as good as primes and produce exceptional quality. Why anyone would choose to limit his/her choices as opposed to gaining flexibility... beyond the pale. Most professionals I know use zooms for a good reason: flexibility. I'm holding on for the Sony NEX 7

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Sep 15, 2011)

No. Normal-to-telephoto zooms can be very good but wide angle zooms are simply not as good as fixed focal length lenses (the rare exception being something like the Nikon 14-24) and Ricoh is trying to squeeze the last little bit of quality out of the small sensor. What made the Ricoh GR film cameras so extraordinary was their fixed 28mm lens (and a full 35mm frame). Zooms are wonderfully convenient and frankly, most people are unaware they are giving anything up in exchange for the convenience.

0 upvotes
Vadimka
By Vadimka (Sep 16, 2011)

Marc,
Yes, even professionals use zoom, but they probably use it on FF or APS-C cameras right!? So if you think about it, this camera should it have a zoom lens would have been probably 28-80 f1.9-f4.5 at best, with minimum sacrifice to the size, thus keeping the true to its faith.
Now if you think about it 80mm f4.5 is an equivalent to 80mm f20 in FF terms. Now how many pros are shooting 80mm at f20???

On the other side 28mm f1.9 is about 28mm f9, now thats a different story and any pro will tell you thats about right for street photography and that the intended purpose of this camera.

If you need a ZOOM there are about 658 other camera to choose from today, why change one of the best camera's available today for street photographer?

BTW, hold on tight for that NEX7 of yours, cause its a good camera as well, totally different beast but great tool. (how did you get it so fast, mine is still on order)

1 upvote
JesperMP
By JesperMP (Sep 16, 2011)

The GRDs fixed focal length means that compared to S95/LX5/XZ1 etc, the GRD is
1. approx ½-1 stop brighter at the 28 mm eqv. focal length.
2. overall sharper.
3. overall more compact (than LX5/XZ1).

NEX-7 is in a totally different category of camera. It makes no sense to compare NEX-7 or any other mirrorless with GRD.

1 upvote
Manfred Lai
By Manfred Lai (Sep 18, 2011)

I don't want the zoom. The GR Lens is a 28mm camera. Don't touch the lens.

Want a zoom? Go buy a Canon.

1 upvote
iaredatsun
By iaredatsun (Sep 26, 2011)

That's why Ricoh made the GX100 and GX200 – just for people who want zooms. A GRD with a zoom is the GX200.

0 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (Sep 15, 2011)

As a DSLR and film shooter, I appreciate fast primes, but I have to wonder why anyone would buy this when they can have 28mm at f/2.0, plus zoom to 105mm, plus HD video in a smaller package, the wonderful S95. Maybe if this lens was f/1.6 or f/1.4, but as it is... man it's a tough sell. I'd like to see this camera reviewed for IQ side-by-side with the S95, XZ-1, and LX-5. Maybe the X100 too. I suppose if the IQ blows the zooms out of the water I might be interested.

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Sep 15, 2011)

You're way behind man ! The S100 was announced, the 2011 version that is ;).

http://www.dpreview.com/news/1109/11091530canons100announced.asp

0 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (Sep 15, 2011)

The GR Digital has never been about checkbox features. Even the image quality at the end of the day isn't *that* special, though it is an extremely nice lens, practically zero distortion. You can get better image quality by moving up to a dSLR, no question. What makes the GR Digital special is the unique combination of Nikon D300 level build quality, dSLR-esque user interface, photographer-centric functionality, superb optics, fast response, compact size, and fixed, wide-angle lens.

0 upvotes
krisw
By krisw (Sep 15, 2011)

how about because zooms suck. i would much rather have a fast prime.

2 upvotes
Archiver
By Archiver (Sep 16, 2011)

I have a GRD III and a S90. The GRD III might seem redundant, but the lens quality is considerably higher than the S90. You'd be surprised at how much distortion the S90's lens displays at wide angle, whereas the GRD III's is almost nil. Same goes for chromatic aberration - GRD III = close to 0, S90 = visible. For most people the S90/95/100 would be just fine. For those who want a more specialized and higher quality camera, there's the Ricoh GRD series. My GRD gets used all the time and the S90 only gets used for video.

2 upvotes
Vadimka
By Vadimka (Sep 16, 2011)

Jack,
do you really think there is that much difference between f1.9 and f1.6, in speed? Or maybe you gain DOF? Cause its not, in FF terms its like 28mm f8.8 vs 28mm f7.5, which is irrelevant at this Focal Length.

The beauty of this camera is to set it at f2.2 and put it on MF at 2 meters and shoot with no lag. Almost everything from 1m to ∞ will be in focus. just wait for the right moment and click. Done! This camera is a pro tool, its about capturing the moment, and not so much IQ side by side testing.

3 upvotes
EvanZ
By EvanZ (Sep 16, 2011)

28 mm is not really wide enough. The LX5 (and now S100) is more useful going to 24 mm.

0 upvotes
Manfred Lai
By Manfred Lai (Sep 18, 2011)

The Ricoh GR is about photography. The heart and soul of a fixed 28mm. Your skills is learning to frame with it.

A fixed quality 28mm is way better than a stupid 10x zoom.

0 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 15, 2011)

@bigdadave: not everyone is a snapshot tourist that needs a zoomlens^^
if i remember right, sony makes nice cams for guys like you, with 26-850mm zoom lenses

ricohs are meant for a different kind of customer

6 upvotes
Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (Sep 15, 2011)

A good one and I am glay that Ricoh do not try to re-invent something already working well. I recall fondly my days with the original GR-1 film compact. the spirit lives on .. good job DPR, and well done Ricoh

4 upvotes
sedentary_male
By sedentary_male (Sep 15, 2011)

Thanks for the preview. I read : "The textured surface that wraps around the right edge of the GRD IV's plastic body ensures a firm hold of the camera while the placement of the rear control points allows you to adjust exposure controls from a comfortable hand position."
Shouldn't this read magensuim alloy body??

3 upvotes
GeorgeZ
By GeorgeZ (Sep 15, 2011)

Thanks to the dppreview team!

1 upvote
Total comments: 25