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Conclusion - Pros

  • Excellent image quality in Raw, very good in JPEG
  • Sharp lens with consistency at wide apertures and close working distances
  • Large sensor in genuinely small body
  • Highly customizable and responsive user interface
  • Excellent build quality
  • Extensive feature set (built-in ND filter, Snap Focus, time lapse and 35mm crop mode)
  • Good live view magnification allows precise manual focus
  • USB charging can be convenient

Conclusion - Cons

  • Occasional tendency to under-exposure
  • Unflattering color profile embedded in DNG files
  • Extremely limited movie capabilities
  • Lack of external charger makes keeping a second battery charged awkward
  • Limited buffer for continuous Raw shooting

Overall conclusion

The Ricoh GR is the latest in a long-running and much-loved series of enthusiast compacts. The move to an APS-C sensor means the image quality of the GR finally lives up to the standards of the user interface and build that the series has always offered.

Having that history to build on had helped Ricoh present a really well thought-out camera and one that's a pleasure to use. It's likely to most suit the dedicated photographer, willing to shoot Raw and take the time to set the camera up to suit their shooting style, but it's a very usable camera straight out of the box.

When it comes down to it, the Ricoh has more features (such as interval shooting, interval composite and multi-exposure shooting) than it makes sense for us to test. But even sticking to the core, single-shot, traditional photography options, the GR is a highly capable camera, thanks to inclusions such as a built-in ND filter and Snap Focus mode.

Image Quality

The Ricoh's image quality is very good - with detail well conveyed in the JPEGs. The color response is a touch more muted than the Nikon Coolpix A's very consumer-friendly results, but it's still pretty good. The color profile embedded in the DNG is somewhere disagreeable, however - particularly in its rendition of reds. Anyone looking to convert from Raw should make sure they're using a different profile.

The only real fly in the ointment is the camera's metering, which can occasionally be far too conservative. This isn't a problem if you're shooting in Raw mode - there's plenty of dynamic range in the Raw files to allow exposure to be 'pulled' a bit, without having to worry about shadow noise. You can even re-process Raw files in camera to be brighter, if the original was under-exposed.

This is no substitute for more reliable metering, of course. And, while you can apply exposure compensation, the on-screen histogram is (like on most cameras) a little too small and coarse to precisely judge exposure.

Handling and Operation

The Ricoh inherits arguably the best enthusiast compact camera interface on the market (though the Olympus XZ-2's combination of touch-screen and dual-mode lens ring gives it fiercer competition than it's had before). The GR is small, well built and, with a bit of customization, puts all the controls you might want directly at your fingertips.

Some aspects of the interface (engaging and configuring the magnified live view, for instance) are involved enough that you have to spend a little time with the camera to get into the rhythm of controlling it quickly. But, once you've got into that habit, the GR is a quick-to-use camera that encourages you to make the most of its features.

As someone who likes to fiddle with white balance, I was disappointed but Ricoh's decision to move white balance away from the ADJ menu and onto a button that requires a shift of the hands out of the shooting position. However, when that's the most pressing concern you have about a camera's handling, then it suggests it's doing quite a lot of things right.

The final word

The Ricoh GR is a camera for a fairly specific niche - dedicated photographers wanting a fixed 28mm equivalent pocketable camera - but it satisfies the needs of that niche very well. So, while its JPEGs aren't quite as punchy as those from the Coolpix A, we think its potential buyers will be just as interested in its Raw capabilities, which are every bit a match for the Nikon's.

The Ricoh's heritage plays strongly in its favor - the GR series had long ago overcome most operational quirks - resulting in an enjoyable, engaging camera with excellent image quality. So, with Raw performance that's essentially indistinguishable from the Nikon's, the Ricoh's ND filter, longer battery life, faster focusing, lens quality and better rear screen give it the edge. The lower price seals the deal - earning the Ricoh our highest rating.

Ricoh GR
Category: Enthusiast Large Sensor Compact Camera
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Optics
Performance
Movie / video mode
Value
PoorExcellent
Good for
High quality photography in a variety of conditions, if you're after something small, wide-angle and engaging to use.
Not so good for
Action photography or movie shooting.
Overall score
79%
DSLR image quality finally comes to Ricoh's well-respected enthusiast compact. The GR retains its predecessor's excellent and customizable user interface, making it a pleasure to use as a pocketable wide-angle photographers' camera. The JPEGs are occasionally a little muted but the raw files, feature set, and lens quality mean it's capable of outstanding results.

Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean

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Comments

Total comments: 37
white shadow

If you want to walk the temples of Kyoto in Japan all day for a few days you would need to carry a Ricoh GR instead of a DSLR. It would be ideal to pair it with the Lumix GM1 with its kit lens and the Lumix 45-150 f/4-5.6 lens.

Anything more would be a burden. The performance of this combo would not let you down.

0 upvotes
Fotogeneticist

Here's the advantage most people don't notice:
Flash sync speed: 1/2000 sec!!! This means you can use fill flash in bright daylight without a neutral density filter! You can capture things no other camera can. This is better than every professional D-SLR on the market. And with the standard hotshoe (unlike my Nikon V1), you can do some off-camera flash using a wireless transmitter like a Pocket Wizard. This is a professional's tool. Perhaps once my Nikon V1 dies, I'll get one of these.

0 upvotes
nand0

I really felt in love with this camera only by reading this post, and watching reviews on youtube..

I'm really curious how pictures look with the wide-angle lens (the GW-3)
Does anyone know where I can find some example pictures with and without the lens?

I found one site with examples: http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17653

But it would be nice if there is a site with more examples.. maybe on flickr? can somebody help me out?

Many thanks in advance!

Nando

0 upvotes
aatom

Does the GR have Neck Strap Lugs?

0 upvotes
Scottelly

For this price it should have GPS, wi-fi, a fold-out screen, and weather seals. Yes, I know there are cameras in the price range that don't have such features . . . but I wouldn't buy one of those either.

0 upvotes
David Smith - Photographer

My thoughts exactly, until I tried the GR V myself. Excellent little camera that not only delivers outstanding image quality, but is a joy to use also. Never leave home without it.

0 upvotes
Wira Nurmansyah

I write my personal review on Ricoh GR when traveling to Raja Ampat, Indonesia. You can see them here http://www.wiranurmansyah.com/ricoh-gr-all-the-camera-i-need

7 upvotes
john Clinch

Thanks I really enjoyed your review and photos

0 upvotes
vessy

Thank you Wira for your great Ricoh GR review!
Clear and helpful.
And very nice pictures too :)

0 upvotes
nand0

Love your blog, full of joy and beautiful pictures, one day I will travel just like you because it looks awesome!

0 upvotes
white shadow

You have highlighted some of the best features and capabilities of the GR in your blog. It is indeed a travel photographer's camera. Few cameras this small can out-perform it for image quality, ease of use and stealthiness. The positive film mode with your settings has even made the camera more outstanding. The B&W mode is also a joy to use.

Like I am, you are really enjoying this little gem.

0 upvotes
Chimayred

hey can anyone explain how the GR and the RX100 both earned 79% in the enthusiast large sensor compact camera class but the GR is a gold award and teh sony is a silver?

0 upvotes
Almeida

The gold and silver award are not related to the score of the camera.

1 upvote
eng13

Can someone give some pros and cons of the Canon S110?
Thank you

0 upvotes
CarVac

I have experience with the S90, not the S110, but here's my impressions:

The S series is a good deal smaller, and it has the lens ring. It's very easy to learn how to use. It's cheaper. It has image stabilization, and oh yeah, it zooms.

The GR mops the floor with the Powershot S cameras in sharpness and low light image quality, and it has customizable buttons for insta-access.

However, it takes a while to learn all the tricks of the GR. I'm going on a week with a rented GR and I just figured out a new hidden way to access manual focus. Now I don't have to deal with modes anymore: flip the switch to continuous and I can track with the backbutton; flip to af-lock and it locks AF and enables MF when I hit up, and in the normal mode I can autofocus normally and snap-focus. Everything I want from the focusing system without menu diving.

And then there's dynamic range. I am ecstatic with the shadow recovery ability of this camera.

1 upvote
esketores

I've been using a GR III since they came out. Worth it to update? I've been looking the Fuji X100S but fail to find it worth the extra $$$. The sensor sizes are similar. Etc.
However the GR beats the snot out of the Fuji when it comes to macro. Anyone done side by side comparisons?

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
esketores

The macro statement is inaccurate. My GRIII beats the snot out of both the GR and the X100S.

0 upvotes
CarVac

The more I read about this camera, the more I want it.

And so I have a rental one coming tomorrow for evaluation purposes.

2 upvotes
LichtFan

I think it is too narrow to always call the Ricohs "street shooter". Although it is true and valid, the Ricohs are much more...

Really nice configurable cameras that are good for any job within its limits. I use the GRD 4 and really enjoy it. And I rarely shoot street photos.

2 upvotes
pitaw

Looks like a nice small street camera...but I called around Orange County CA and no dealers have it, I like to see how it feels in my hands.

0 upvotes
regardlese

http://www.flickr.com/photos/regardlese/tags/ricoh/

1 upvote
regardlese

fantastic RICOH GR!
28mm-35mm-47mm

0 upvotes
marco1974

Ugh!
UGLY Moiré!
M.

1 upvote
povetron

Great litlle camera, would like to have one.
But it would be nice if there could be also a version with eq of 35mm lens.

4 upvotes
bill434

I've just bought this camera, love it. I work in a camera store so I've had time to make my decision.
I'm not sure if you know this but this camera does have a built in crop feature that allows you to select a 35mm equivalent. Basically when you select this feature the camera crops a 35mm equivalent off of the APS sensor blowing the image up to fill the LCD screen. When in this mode, the camera becomes a 10MP camera.

7 upvotes
Michael_6

Could anyone tell me about the pros and cons of this camera vs a Fuji X camera and vs a Sony RX100 II for street and indoor photography? Especially in low light.

0 upvotes
bill434

Hi Michael,
Fuji X cameras (X100, X100S and XPro 1) all are fantastic cameras - but for a street shooter they are more obtrusive than the GR. The GR doesn't look like a serious camera, so you look like someone taking snap shots. All four of these cameras are fantastic in low light. I don't know if you know this but on this site you can go to the review of one camera (in the GR review it would be page 15) and look at a low light comparison. The photo has a cursor so you can move to anywhere on the page - select cameras to compare in raw or jpg,
The RX100 II is a great camera but I would have to say that it's unfair to compare it to the others mentioned here, as the sensor is about one quarter the size of the others. This means, that while the RX100II has high resolution, its pixels are much smaller in size, so they don't perform as well in low light. You can use that comparison page to check this.
BTW, I work in a camera store, and I've just bought the GR for street shooting.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
Plastek

Street photo with 18mm lens.... Somehow I'm not tempted.
I would buy this camera right off if it'd come with 50, 35 or heck: even 24mm lens. But 18? I can't imagine myself shooting wide angle all the time.

0 upvotes
likeafoxow

the 18.5mm lens is on an apsc sized sensor, making the lens a 28mm full frame equivalent.

8 upvotes
Old Baldy

Check the image quality compared to the other cameras on Page 16 of the Review "Image Quality Compared (Raw)." The GR trounces the others, including the aclaimed X100S at every ISO level. It really is a great little camera!

0 upvotes
bill434

I work in a camera store, and I've had plenty of time to play with this camera. Over time I had lost the excitement I associated with photography. After all, I get to play with these things 8 hours a day.

I've carried big equipment, shooting everything and enjoying it less.

This camera has reawakened me to completely new possibilities. It looks like a cheesy point and shoot camera - totally unobtrusive on the street - but it shoots amazing images. This is the ultimate street shooters camera - no one will ever know.

I'm impressed with the low light characteristics of the camera and it's easily held in one hand - it has preset distances to minimize auto focus speed, ie., if most of your shots are at 15 feet, you can preset the camera giving you instantaneous AF around 15 ft.

If I were to be super critical I would rather have image stabilization in camera - but it's a small price to pay, and I'll be shooting most everything at higher IS0s (around 800)

This one I have to have.

8 upvotes
antwstldn

Dear Ricoh enthusiast,

I really want to buy the GR Expert. I had the GR film version and though it was a stunning camera. On the strength of it I bought the first GRD and was hugely disappointed by it's poor light handling capabilities. I've waited years for Ricoh to improve it and judging by the reviews it's getting they have finally done it. And then I look at the sample images in this review and it just reminds of what I remembered about my first GRD ... flat images, poor contrast, no real sense of depth. Does anyone agree or am I missing something?

1 upvote
JEROME NOLAS

Oh man!!! If you like "a cheap whore"colours then buy Nikon, Sony, Canon compacts, etc. This is not a toy for fanboys!!! Také a pics from your window, donload it and check the reality and comp. screen. Whoa!! Is it real or what!

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Artistico

When an image from a camera is flat and has poor contrast straight from camera, it is often because the camera hasn't added any processing of its own, leaving that to you, the photographer. It's a good thing, leaving you more room to make adjustments in post-processing.

7 upvotes
Timmbits

I like this camera after seeing the IQ compared to the Fuji-X100s and the Nikon-A. but size for size, I think I'd rather carry a Samsung NX300 with one of their several pancake lenses on it, in my pocket. Not much size difference, and you have more versatility than these cameras. Just saying.

(I have an NX20 and am only eyeing these types of cameras because I'd like something smaller to slip into my pocket to have on me at all times)

the interface is definitely a huge deciding factor between these two very similar models. I'll go for direct controls over menus any day.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
JEROME NOLAS

I also have NX10 and some time ago I bought 30/2 lens and it's still "big....." I cary my Ricoh all the time!!!

4 upvotes
Plastek

Yea, only NX doen't fit your jeans pocket and never will - this one meanwhile does. And that's an enormous difference in the long run.

1 upvote
Total comments: 37