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Body and handling

User interface

The GR's interface is a development of the one seen on the company's GR Digital and GXR modes - and one of our favorites on compact cameras. The reason for this is simple - the ability to customize the interface such that you can access your most-used functions without moving your hand from the shooting position.

Pressing the 'ADJ' jog lever with your thumb brings a line of up to five user-selected icons in the top right of the camera screen. Nudging the lever left or right jumps between the icons and rotating the front dial scrolls through the available options. Another press of the ADJ lever (or even just shooting a shot) applies the setting. It's an excellent, fast and engaging way of shooting - we're delighted to see it survive onto this post-Ricoh/Pentax merger camera.

The ADJ Menu allows you to place your most-used features in a function menu that appears when you press the ADJ lever inwards.

It allows you to navigate and adjust these settings without moving your hand from a shooting grip.

An additional option is to add 'Direct ISO Adjust' to the ADJ lever. Using this option gives you control of ISO by nudging the lever left and right (you still get the ADJ menu if you press it in). The ADJ menu has five positions that can be filled - these are the functions that can be applied to them:

Parameters that can be assigned to one of the five positions in the ADJ menu
 • Off
 • ISO
 • Picture Size
 • Aspect Ratio
 • Focus
 • Image
 • Expo. Metering
 • Cont. Mode
 • Focus Mode
 • Auto Bracket
 • Flash Comp.
 • Flash Amount
 • Dyn Range Comp
 • SnapFocusDist
 • Effect

One disappointment here is the absence of white balance from this list. Unlike previous Ricohs, WB now has its own position on the four-way controller, so it is always accessible. However, its removal from the ADJ menu means it can't be quickly changed without taking your hands out of the shooting position. This is, at worst, a minor complaint and whether you even notice it is likely to depend on how often you change the white balance setting.

Dial behavior

The Ricoh GR must be a challenger for the title of most customizable compact, despite the determined efforts of the likes of the Olympus XZ-2. In addition to being able to customize the ADJ dial functions - there are also two customizable Fn buttons. There's also a 'Effect' button on the camera's flank that can be re-purposed.

Parameters that can be assigned to the Fn and Effect buttons
 • Off
 • 35 mm Crop
 • MultiAF/SpotAF
 • MultiAF/PinpointAF
 • AF/MF
 • AF/Snap
 • AF/Subj.Trckng
 • JPEG>RAW
 • JPEG>RAW+
 • ND Filter
 • Effect
 • FA/Move Target
 • ISO
 • Picture Size
 • Aspect Ratio
 • Focus
 • SnapFocusDist
 • Image
 • Expo. Metering
 • Cont. Mode
 • Multi Exposure
 • Auto Bracket
 • Flash Comp.
 • Flash Amount
 • Dyn Range Comp
 • Self Timer
 • Frame Rate

Further customization

Two of the four display modes can be fully customized.

You can also decide which of these modes is made available.

The extent of customization doesn't end there, though. You can also create two custom screen modes and define whether these and the image-only display are available when you press the DISP button. And, rather than selecting a fixed level of noise reduction for use at all ISO, you can dictate the thresholds at which the different levels of noise reduction are introduced.

The GR allows you to decide how much noise reduction is applied at each ISO and at which setting it's increased.

Real-world Handling (compared to Coolpix A)

We've regularly described Ricoh's control interface as one of the best to be found on a compact and the Ricoh GR really underlines that. The ADJ menu puts all your most-used controls exactly where you can get at them, making it a easier camera to play with the settings of that the Nikon Coolpix A.

As a bit of a white balance geek (the need to get technically sound JPEGs for review galleries means I can't shoot Raw and set it later), I'm frustrated to lose WB from the ADJ menu - it's something I like to tinker with and having to shift my hand out of the shooting position to change it did undermine the otherwise excellent shooting experience.

Repositioning the autofocus point requires you to press left on the four-way controller before it becomes active. You might expect this to make the process slower than the Nikon Coolpix A (on which the controller is always in AF point mode), but this isn't the case. The speed of the cursor's movement, combined with the controller's ability to move the point diagonally (it's actually an eight-way controller), gave the Ricoh the edge in terms of speed. I'd occasionally forget to confirm the focus point position, then hit the Fn2 button only to accidentally find myself in the target settings menu, rather than getting the function I'd assigned to the button.

In addition to it being faster to position the AF point, the Ricoh is also faster to focus than the Coolpix A- an advantage it maintains in low light. In bright light its built-in ND filter allows you to continue to use the Ricoh's full aperture range - something that can be a real advantage.

Finally, the Ricoh is fractionally thinner than the Nikon and, more significantly, its lens doesn't protrude so far from its body, meaning it's easier to slip in and out of pockets. It's a little detail but just adds to the rapidly-building list of benefits the Ricoh offers over the Coolpix A.

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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.

3 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.

8 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.

2 upvotes
Total comments: 37