Ricoh has unveiled the Ricoh GR Digital IV - the latest in its series of high-end, fixed focal-length compacts. The GRD IV is still built around a 10MP 1/1.7" CCD sensor but gains sensor-shift image stabilization. It also adds 'Hybrid AF' that uses twin CMOS AF sensors allowing the camera to assess focus distance and bring focus times down to 0.2 sec (twice the speed of the GRD III). This, combined with the camera's distinctly photographer-focused interface and compact size, prompts the company to tout the GR Digital IV as a street-shooting tool. The camera also gains a high-resolution RGBW 1.23M dot LCD. There will also be a limited-edition white version for the first time.
Ricoh announces the GR DIGITAL IV
A digital camera offering enhanced Quick Shooting capability and image quality with a Hybrid AF System and GR ENGINE IV
Tokyo, Japan, September 15, 2011—Ricoh Co., Ltd. (President and CEO: Shiro Kondo) today announces the development and release of the GR DIGITAL IV digital camera, the successor model to the GR DIGITAL III, which offers enhanced Quick Shooting capability and image quality.
The GR DIGITAL III (released in August 2009) was a compact digital camera with high image quality that came with a 28mm/F1.9 GR Lens, the GR ENGINE III, and a high-sensitivity CCD that continued the evolution of the concepts originally introduced in the first GR DIGITAL model (released in October 2005). In the two years since its release, it has been enthusiastically received by a broad range of customers including professional and amateur photographers.
The new GR DIGITAL IV, featuring a new image engine and a refined optical filter, exceeds the GR DIGITAL III and achieves the highest level of image quality in the history of the GR series.
Additionally, for the advancement of the Quick Shooting capabilities required to make sure you never miss a shot when out shooting, Ricoh has introduced a Hybrid AF System and an Image-sensor-shift Image Stabilization Function, which makes use of Ricoh's independently developed external AF sensor, and a 3-inch, approximately 1.23 million-dot VGA LCD monitor for heightened outdoor visibility. The addition of an electronic level that can detect inclination in the tilt direction, as well as the conventional horizontal direction also improves operability. Moreover, the inclusion of Dynamic Range Compensation makes it possible to shoot subjects in backlit or high-contrast scenes in the way the eye sees them, and Interval Composite, which can combine images shot at a certain shooting interval, advances the camera's expressive capabilities.
Ricoh will also continue to provide the highly praised function-expansion firmware.
Main Features of the GR DIGITAL IV
- Improved AF speed and accuracy due to the introduction of the Hybrid AF system
Even higher image quality achieved
- The camera comes newly equipped with Ricoh's independently developed external AF sensor, which has a maximum of 190 AF points. Through the Hybrid AF System, which is used in parallel with the conventional CCD contrast AF, Ricoh has realized an AF focusing time as short as 0.2 seconds, as much as half that of the GR DIGITAL III.
Also, algorithm refinements have led to improvements in the AF speed for macro shots that are taken using only the CCD contrast AF method for a maximum reduction of half the time of the previous model.
- In shooting with a single press of the shutter-release button, the high focusing accuracy required for snapshot shooting has been added to the camera's Quick Shooting capabilities by performing the metering with only the external AF sensor. The metering information from the external AF sensor can be displayed on the LCD monitor as necessary.
Comes with the first image-sensor shift image stabilization function in the GR DIGITAL series
- Through refinements to the optical filter and optimization of the image processing from the previous model, the GR DIGITAL III, the SFR*1 characteristics have been improved.
- With the new image processing engine, the GR ENGINE IV, color reproduction enhancement and color noise reductions are achieved when taking high-sensitivity photographs.
- Ricoh's signature 28mm/F1.9 GR lens demonstrates its high resolution while suppressing chromatic aberration and distortion. The approximately 10 million-pixel, 1/1.7-inch CCD shows off its high-sensitivity characteristics. These are the elements through which the GR DIGITAL IV achieves the highest image quality in GR DIGITAL history.
Introduction of a new, high-brightness LCD monitor and the addition of an automatic brightness adjustment function
- With the image-sensor shift image stabilization function, the GR DIGITAL IV achieves a stabilization effect equivalent to a shutter speed increase of a maximum of 3.2 stops*2, which combined with the fast F1.9 GR lens further increases the camera's ability to capture dark scenes.
Shooting functions that heighten the photographer's expressive ability and enhanced scene modes
- Through the introduction of the new 3-inch, approximately 1.23 million-dot VGA LCD monitor, which adds white pixels to the RGB ones, the GR DIGITAL IV secures a maximum brightness of approximately 1.7 times that of the GR DIGITAL III, improving its visibility when outdoors.
- A function in which the camera automatically adjusts the luminance to match the brightness of the subject has been added, which minimizes decreases in visibility due to changes in the shooting environment.
Already high operability heightened even further
- Comes with dynamic range compensation to minimize the effects of blown highlights in bright areas and crushed blacks in dark ones. For backlit or high-contrast scenes where exposure compensation alone is not enough, compensation is performed for each area, enabling the photographer to take pictures at a brightness that closely matches how the subject looked.
- The Auto Bracket function has been enhanced. In addition to the conventional Exposure and White Balance, Contrast Bracket Setting and Dynamic Range Compensation bracketing have been newly added, of which any two can be selected for addition to the image settings to record a sequence of three shots with Image Setting Bracket.
- Comes with an Interval Composite mode that will replace and combine only the high-brightness pixel data in images of the night sky taken at fixed intervals. This makes it possible to shoot distinctive landscape pictures that show the trails of light left by the stars.
- Positive Film and Bleach Bypass, which lowers saturation and increases contrast, have been added to the image settings. Along with settings like the existing High Contrast B&W and Cross Process, these can be used in each of the shooting modes (Auto/P/A/S/M).
- Multiple exposure shooting, which makes it possible to shoot up to five overlapping shots, and bulb exposure functions have also been included.
An even broader range of expandability with new options
- Included since the GR DIGITAL II, the electronic level function has been enhanced. Now it can detect inclination in not only the horizontal direction, but also the tilt direction as well.
- The function combinations that can be used with the Fn1/Fn2 buttons have been expanded to four settings that can be registered with the Fn Button Pair Setting. Because the user can switch between functions registered in the Fn Button Pair Setting without going into the menu screens, they serve as an easy shortcut, making it possible to change functions in an instant to match the scene being shot.
- The My Settings function, which enables the user to register their preferred camera settings, have been expanded from types to 12 types. Better still, because the settings can be registered on an SD card, users can share their favorite settings amongst themselves.
- Includes a function for working with Eye-Fi cards. Images taken can be wirelessly transferred to a computer or uploaded to a photo-sharing site. When these functions are in use, the transmission information will be displayed on the shooting and playback screens.
Implementation of function expansions through firmware
- A genuine leather hand strap for excellent portability and handling and a metal lens cap that works with the lock function of the power button will be available as new options.
- The provision of function-expansion firmware, which has been highly praised from the GR DIGITAL to the GR DIGITAL III models, will continue with the GR DIGITAL IV. By updating the firmware, the camera can always use the latest functions.
*1 Spatial Frequency Response (SFR): One of the indicators of a digital camera's resolution characteristics, including everything from the optical system to the image processing.
*2 Measured using RICOH measurement methods.