Compared to... Canon PowerShot S80
The GR-D is by its very nature a camera without any direct competitors, and choosing something to compare it with was never going to be easy. We decided on the Canon S80 because it has a 28mm wide end to its 3.6x zoom lens, full photographic control and an 8 megapixel sensor, and so can, in the broadest sense, be considered a competitor. We've included comparisons at each camera's lowest ISO setting (GR-D ISO 64, Canon S80: ISO 80) and ISO 400 (the highest available on the S80). You can see the GR-D's higher ISO options later in the review.
Important note: The Canon S80 shots were, as is standard for our test shots, taken at mid-zoom (in this case around 73mm equivalent). We will replace these shots with samples taken at the wide end of the zoom as soon as we can get an S80 back into the office.
Studio scene comparison (Ricoh GR-D @ ISO 64, Canon S80 @ ISO 80)
- Ricoh GR-Digital: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 64, Default
Manual white balance, +0.70 EV compensation
- Canon PowerShot S80 : Aperture Priority mode, ISO 80, Default Image Parameters, Manual white balance, +0.67 EV compensation
- Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI.
Canon PowerShot S80
ISO 64, 1/90 sec, F5
ISO 50, 1/60 sec, F5
3,124 KB JPEG
3,217 KB JPEG
Ignoring the inevitable differences resulting from us having to shoot our standard test scene at such a wide angle (because of the GR-D's fixed 28mm lens), this is an interesting comparison for several reasons. Firstly the GR-D's output is a little on the soft side (you can make things look a lot crisper if you use software sharpening, but you're not going to get a lot more detail). It's also - for such a wide lens - surprisingly consistent from edge to edge, with little (if any) drop off in sharpness at the corners. Color is accurate and subtle (much more so than the Canon), and overall the impression is that the GR-D is avoiding the 'over-processed' look common to most compact digital cameras. Of course this means the results are a touch noisier and less 'punchy' (and as mentioned, softer) than many competitors.
To be honest I was expecting something a little more impressive from the GR-D; these images are lacking in 'bite' and if you sharpen then you start to see noise, which limits what you can do with the JPEG output.
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