Manual and Snap focus

Manual focus

In keeping with its very high level of customization, the GR provides plenty of options for confirming focus. All these options are available whether you're in manual or auto-focus mode.

Rather than moving the focus point, the GR gives you the choice of positioning focus, focus and exposure or just exposure. If you choose just to move the exposure point, the camera's focus mode jumps to the automatically-selected 'Multi AF' mode (or MF if already engaged).

The FA/Move Target option allows you to move the camera's point of interest around the screen.

This can define AF point, AF+AE point or just the AE point.

While you're in the process of moving this position, the camera lets you configure the focus confirmation options. Pressing up and down on the +/– shoulder buttons increases or decreases the amount of magnification (0x, 4x, 8x or 16x). Scrolling the front dial changes the size of the magnified panel.

Pressing the + or - buttons when moving the target allows you to choose one of four levels of magnified live view.

Scrolling the front dial lets you choose the size of the magnified region.

Finally, once you've set the magnification and size of the zoomed window, you can still press the Fn2 button for a few further options. Not only is this where you define the function of the position point, but it's also where you can choose from the four different kinds of edge-enhancement to aid focus confirmation (the GR's 'focus peaking' options). Finally you can choose whether you want the magnified area to take over the entire screen, rather than just magnifying a region of the screen.

However, pressing the Fn2 button and adjusting the 'Magnification Setting' to 'Magnify Whole' gives a much more precise magnified view.

Compare the detail in this screen grab to the one see above, to get an idea for how much more helpful the full screen mode is.

Our experience from shooting our test scene shows that the full-screen magnified view gives a much higher-resolution preview than magnifying just a region of the screen, making it the only truly useful means of confirming focus with any real precision. Some users may prefer to add one of the edge-enhancing 'Focus Assist' settings, but these too are much more accurate when used in full-screen mode.

The menu you reach if you press Fn2 when moving the target also allows you to choose from four 'Focus Assist' settings - each of which offers a different style of edge enhancement, for achieving fine focus.

Even with these modes engaged, the whole screen magnification option is more detailed than the magnified region option.

Snap focus

The GR also offers a function that has become a favorite of Ricoh shooters - Snap Focus. At its most basic, snap focus allows the user to define the distance to which the camera should set its focus (with a choice of 1m, 1.5m, 2m, 2.5m, 5m and infinity) - setting the focus mode to 'Snap' then keeps the camera set to that focus distance. The result is a camera that's constantly pre-focused, meaning there's only shutter lag between you and getting your shot.

Alternatively, there's a 'Full Press Snap' option, available from the menu and active in most autofocus modes, that pushes the camera's focus to the chosen 'Snap Focus' distance, if you jam down the shutter button without waiting for it to focus. The result is that you can gain some speed advantage over waiting for the camera to focus (or get predictable results if it's too dark for the camera to find focus), but retain access to autofocus for less time-sensitive shots.

We'll look at the effect of both modes on the performance page of the review.