Nikon Coolpix A versus Ricoh GR ii/iii

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Jmitch Forum Member • Posts: 98
Re: Nikon Coolpix A versus Ricoh GR ii/iii

I have both the Coolpix A and GRs I, II, and III. Even today, eight years on, the A is capable of making beautiful photos. Mattias Burling has a post about this on YouTube.

The A was conceived as a second camera for Nikon SLR users. Its menu largely mirrors that you will find on an SLR. I have the D7200 and D750 SLRs and can tell you the A’s images have the same look. If you like the Nikon look you will like the A. Its images are just a ptouch brighter and “punchier” than the GR. In a nutshell, I would say the A’s images are more pleasing to the eye but the GRs’ more muted images are truer to the subject.

Nikon also copied the SLR control scheme by having some buttons on the left side of the screen. This was unfortunate as it defeats one-handed operation, whereas the GRs are designed for one-hand operation. I think the GRs’ ergonomics can’t be beat. In this regard, there are some physical controls missing in the III (see below) that are on the I and II, some users miss them, others do not.

The A, made in Japan, has excellent build quality. It is very solid. It is a tiny bit larger and heavier (talking mere ounces here) than the GRs and not quite as comfortable to hold. Note that the GRIII differs from the I and II in that Ricoh shrunk the III back to the same size as its older line of small sensor GR Digital cameras. This has pluses and minuses. To do this while retaining the aps-c sensor and add image stabilization was quite a feat. To accomplish this, it did away with the built-flash (but still has a hot shoe) and certain physical controls and added touch screen operation. The screen is fixed, NOT articulated. If you are comfortable with touch screen use, you should quickly adapt to the III.

Both cameras have excellent lenses. Both have a lens specially designed for the camera. On both, the AA filter has been removed. The A also has a microlens array in front of the sensor to even out the distribution of light from the rear lens element, so close to the sensor.

The GRs have a built-in ND filter that you can select, the A does not. The GRs also offer a Snap Focus setting, where you can pre-select the focus distance and with a full press of the shutter button the camera will take the photo focused at that distance. Both cameras can make excellent photos, and in his YouTube video, Mattias Burling singles out the A’s image quality as excellent even today. That said, images from the III can astound you, coming from a pocketable camera.

The III uses the same battery as the Olympus TG-Tough, the batteries are interchangeable. They are small, and if you keep the camera on while photographing and use the screen a lot, you are best advised to carry a spare—or two.

Some users have complained that the III gets uncomfortably warm after a period of use but I have never found it a problem.

I do not hesitate to take out the A, it has withstood the test of time very well. Its sensor and processor were lifted from Nikon’s aps-c line and tweaked a bit. If one is a Nikon SLR user you can pick up the A and start shooting without even looking at the manual. The much more expensive GRIII does reflect some technological changes. It is somewhat better at higher ISOs, does have sensor-shake dust removal, image stabilization and so on.

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