GRD IV second half 2011

Started Dec 22, 2010 | Discussions
GRD otaku New Member • Posts: 21
GRD IV second half 2011

Took my GRD into the Ricoh service centre in Tokyo's Ginza earlier today. Whilst there asked whether we will ever see a GRD IV. The response was an emphatic YES. Pushed for further and better details, particularly sensor size, overall camera size and when it will be released. No comment was the response on sensor size, but they confirmed that the current form factor would be retained. As to release date I was told the second half of 2011 ...

schaki Senior Member • Posts: 2,375
Re: GRD IV second half 2011

I would guess that Ricoh is going to use the same lens once again. Them do so with most for their non GXR models. Uses the same lens at least twice.

But we never know for sure what they've done until the Grd4 is out. I wouldn't exactly expect APS-C sensor although that would be nice.

Guesses that it might take sales from the A12 28mm. Just thinking how Fuji have managed to make an APS-c compact with kind of a fixed pancake lens. That camera is not as small and portable as Grd3 though and was probably not aimed to be either.

It seems to me that Fuji decided to play on the rangefinder / retro-theme with the X100 and try and make some kind of a digital Konica Hexar AF.

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Joel Stern
Joel Stern Forum Pro • Posts: 10,926
Re: GRD IV second half 2011

schaki wrote:

I would guess that Ricoh is going to use the same lens once again. Them do so with most for their non GXR models. Uses the same lens at least twice.

But we never know for sure what they've done until the Grd4 is out. I wouldn't exactly expect APS-C sensor although that would be nice.

Guesses that it might take sales from the A12 28mm. Just thinking how Fuji have managed to make an APS-c compact with kind of a fixed pancake lens. That camera is not as small and portable as Grd3 though and was probably not aimed to be either.

It seems to me that Fuji decided to play on the rangefinder / retro-theme with the X100 and try and make some kind of a digital Konica Hexar AF.

I like the X100 from afar, time till any of us will really know. I am betting the GRD lV will have some pleasant surprises for us.

Peter Bellars Regular Member • Posts: 309
Re: GRD IV second half 2011

Getting the nod from the Ginza office means that we have a GRD4 coming. How will they improve on the 3, I don't know as that is one hell of a smart camera. If it gets even smoother at higher ASAs that would be good but the 3 is so good now, I cannot think how they will make it better. The Hexar was a super camera. When Konica and Minolta became one in the last days of film I was up in their showroom imploring them to make the Hexar a digital camera....

OP GRD otaku New Member • Posts: 21
Re: GRD IV second half 2011

It's a good question. I have to pick my GRD up on the 28th so can try asking them about the new GRD IV. Is there anything in particular that I should be asking them? They already refused to confirm sensor size, but given that the camera will be the same form factor, assume that that rather rules out 4/3rds. Doubt that they will be moving to 40mm, so agreed that it is hard to see exactly what it is that they will be changing - perhaps greater focus on B&W? For me at least that was and remains the unique selling point of the original GRD ...

Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 43,372
Re: GRD IV second half 2011

GRD otaku wrote:

It's a good question. I have to pick my GRD up on the 28th so can try asking them about the new GRD IV. Is there anything in particular that I should be asking them? They already refused to confirm sensor size, but given that the camera will be the same form factor, assume that that rather rules out 4/3rds. Doubt that they will be moving to 40mm, so agreed that it is hard to see exactly what it is that they will be changing - perhaps greater focus on B&W? For me at least that was and remains the unique selling point of the original GRD ...

Surely only an improved sensor (not that there is anything much wrong with the current one), any serious fiddling with the existing model would run the risk of it progressing backwards.

There is still room for refinement of sensors but the body and concept are about state of the art. It is possible that they might add an evf facility.

Increasing the size to fit a larger sensor would not make it more attractive to me and a larger body would surely cross swords with the GXR.

Perhaps they could make it more compact whilst keeping the existing specifications?

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bcc1955 Regular Member • Posts: 410
Re: GRD IV second half 2011

The only significant bit to upgrade would be an improvement in the naturally limited small sensor. I like everything about my GRD3 except its limited resolution. But accepting that it is perfect at what it does.

Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 43,372
Re: GRD IV second half 2011

bcc1955 wrote:

The only significant bit to upgrade would be an improvement in the naturally limited small sensor. I like everything about my GRD3 except its limited resolution. But accepting that it is perfect at what it does.

Small sensor technology and the engine firmware that drives it has come a long way in a relatively short time. However how far can anyone refine a camera body? And how complex can firmware be? The GRDIII lens is pretty good.

So although I state on another thread that digital camera development is approaching a plateau and that Ricoh might already be there this does not mean that things will not contunue to approve but only that things will progress at a much slower pace.

All that the GRD series has to improve is some minor fiddling with buttons and levers, but hardly of any real necessity. Sensors of any given size may improve but any other lens or an increase in size due to a phtysically larger sensor and it would no longer be a GRD, it would be something else.

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OP GRD otaku New Member • Posts: 21
Re: GRD IV second half 2011

Agree with Tom on this one. Although I would love to see a 4/3rds sensor in the GRD, the consensus seems to be that they can only do that by making it considerably bigger. Having played with the various flavours of the PEN my major complaint is that it is way too big, clearly aimed at the small DSLR market, the GRD is something else altogether. In my case the GRD is a digital complement to my Leica with a 50mm lens. If I want bokeh I use the Leica, for pretty much anything else I use the GRD. So if they are going to maintain the same form factor and sensor then it is very hard to see what they are going to change except for tweaks around the edges. That said, they could presumably:

  • make the lens faster, say f1.4, although more likely we'll see a smaller improvement, say f1.7 or something like that if they decide to go down the faster route;

  • add image stabilisation in addition to or as an alternative to a faster lens; and/or

  • return the B&W quality to that of the original GRD, although I guess that involves a different sensor that no longer exists.

In any event, people won't buy a camera that they perceive to be dated, i.e., the GRD III came out in summer 2009, so by summer 2011 it's getting "old". So perhaps it's just a marketing ploy. Make a few tweaks, stick the GRD IV sticker on it and the camera is marketable for a couple more years.

Joel Stern
Joel Stern Forum Pro • Posts: 10,926
Re: GRD IV second half 2011

GRD otaku wrote:

Agree with Tom on this one. Although I would love to see a 4/3rds sensor in the GRD, the consensus seems to be that they can only do that by making it considerably bigger. Having played with the various flavours of the PEN my major complaint is that it is way too big, clearly aimed at the small DSLR market, the GRD is something else altogether. In my case the GRD is a digital complement to my Leica with a 50mm lens. If I want bokeh I use the Leica, for pretty much anything else I use the GRD. So if they are going to maintain the same form factor and sensor then it is very hard to see what they are going to change except for tweaks around the edges. That said, they could presumably:

  • make the lens faster, say f1.4, although more likely we'll see a smaller improvement, say f1.7 or something like that if they decide to go down the faster route;

  • add image stabilisation in addition to or as an alternative to a faster lens; and/or

  • return the B&W quality to that of the original GRD, although I guess that involves a different sensor that no longer exists.

In any event, people won't buy a camera that they perceive to be dated, i.e., the GRD III came out in summer 2009, so by summer 2011 it's getting "old". So perhaps it's just a marketing ploy. Make a few tweaks, stick the GRD IV sticker on it and the camera is marketable for a couple more years.

and I believe we get the upgrades for our GRDlll's?

rondom Veteran Member • Posts: 3,434
plateau schplateau
Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 43,372
Re: plateau schplateau

rondom wrote:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VodhwvJZfL0&feature=player_embedded

Smile

Off in the wilderness with my ipad and apple does not seem to want it to have anything to do with youtube.

Maybe you can tell me what the video is all about?

In my case we had better be on the plateau as I already have the makings of a digital camera museum. Have run out of money, the will to keep going, and the room to store this stuff. Maybe I should pitch my survival tent in one of those little ledges like you see those guys do when they are climbing Mount Everest?

Wishful thinking does not a plateau make, but my gear is good enough to see me happy for a few years longer.

I will be sticking to my little camp on the side of Everest in any case. But I still guess that if I was able to inch my way around to the other face I would be able to walk for ages through rolling countryside.

I guess there is the hard way to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving technology situation but I have done my personal hard yards, time to sit back and watch others compete.

Did get my original GRD out yesterday, great little bit of equipment, I now remember why I was so pleased when I bought it.

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OP GRD otaku New Member • Posts: 21
Re: plateau schplateau

Tom - the clip was about a fashion photo shoot in, I think, South Africa, where the cover of a glossy magazine was shot entirely with the new Nokia N8 phone camera. It seems to largely support the view that we might have plateaued ... the point being that a 1/1.8" sensor is even adequate for a fashion shoot that might ordinarily use a Hassy with a 30mp digital back. If I were a Ricoh engineer what I would take away from this is more support for the idea that a small sensor is fine for the GRD IV.

rondom Veteran Member • Posts: 3,434
Re: plateau schplateau

that's not evidence of plateau but constant advance.

meanwhile you can take iso25600 pictures with apsc cameras. much better dynamic range etc.

it is another question if one needs all this or not, and different subject matter. but there is no proof of plateau whatsoever.
that is the sensor technology part of the discussion.

the other is the ability to squeeze larger sensors to smaller bodies. that's also improving. there is more ricoh can do without changing form factor.

mind you that cell phone is much much smaller than grd3, and almost with same size sensor in it.

none of this should stop anyone from loving their cameras. i love my grd3. but there is no sign or proof of any plateau whatsoever.

Harold66
Harold66 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,285
Re: GRD IV second half 2011

hopefully it would be one. with a 40mm equivalent

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Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 43,372
Re: plateau schplateau

GRD otaku wrote:

Tom - the clip was about a fashion photo shoot in, I think, South Africa, where the cover of a glossy magazine was shot entirely with the new Nokia N8 phone camera. It seems to largely support the view that we might have plateaued ... the point being that a 1/1.8" sensor is even adequate for a fashion shoot that might ordinarily use a Hassy with a 30mp digital back. If I were a Ricoh engineer what I would take away from this is more support for the idea that a small sensor is fine for the GRD IV.

Thanks for the info might have a look on a proper computer (smile)

I support the proposition that small sensors have come a long way in just a few years. My guess is that they will be regarded as good enough if not quite the very best and their weakness compared to larger sensors will continue to narrow.

Hard to say they will ever outperform a larger sensor of similar vintage but we may see the day when a good new tiny sensor might hold its own against an older technology larger sensor.

As size always matters the ability to get professional level images off such a small sensor is going to give a significant advantage to compact cameras of all descriptions.

Film buffs scoffed at the idea that film would ever be superseded by digital capture. Mmmm ... Tiny sensors get the thumbs down simply because of seeming common sense technology, however if the small sensor ever were accepted as good enough then perhaps the aps-c to the tiny sensor might grow to seem like Hasselblad is to the aps-c. Rarified atmosphere. The fact that the somewhat smaller 4/3 sensor is pretty well accepted as equivalent to the aps-c is surely a nod in that direction.

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Tom Caldwell
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rondom Veteran Member • Posts: 3,434
Re: plateau schplateau

1.the gap will not narrow because the advance is not limited to small sensors.

2. no matter how advanced the small sensors get one problem will remain: the depth of field control. unless the max aperture value gets ridicilously small (at around f 0.8) everything further than 1 meter will be more or less in focus.

this puts small sensors in a different league of cameras which makes the film comparison pretty much inapropriate. i think for street shooting purposes the small sensor and 35 mm film comparison is still valid to a degree, as selected focusing have never been a preferred style for street shooters-typically....

Najinsky Veteran Member • Posts: 5,739
Re: GRD IV second half 2011

I think a slightly larger sensor (1/1.6" for example) combined with a slightly larger aperture, say f/1.8 would be a good incremental improvement.

Perhaps a 35mm model would be welcome, or even a small 'fixed' three step zoom: 28:35:50 f/1.8 - f/2.3. I think I'd buy that in a blink!

-Najinsky

Archiver Veteran Member • Posts: 3,720
Re: GRD IV second half 2011

As the sensor gets bigger, the lens will have to change in order to retain a 28mm eq. field of view. Anything significantly larger than the current GRD III sensor will have to have a redesigned lens, unless they want to make a 35mm eq. But then it is no longer in keeping with the GR tradition.

The camera ergonomics and design itself is as close to optimal as I can think of. Ricoh does not have to do much to improve it. Any real improvements will most likely be in the sensor, as Ricoh does not have a good track record for peripheral camera functions like video or sound recording. It will be a long time before we see a Ricoh compact with 720p AVCHD Lite recording.

A GRD IV would have to be a heck of a lot better to make me want to upgrade. The GRD III is my favourite compact camera, and I've got a LOT of compact cameras.
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VladimirV Senior Member • Posts: 2,676
Re: GRD IV second half 2011

GRD otaku wrote:

Took my GRD into the Ricoh service centre in Tokyo's Ginza earlier today. Whilst there asked whether we will ever see a GRD IV. The response was an emphatic YES.

Ricoh still sees the GRD line as their high end line despite the GXR system with APS sensors and now with the 28mm A12 module. I spoke with them during Photokina about the GRD IV and they confirmed it will come but did not have more details than this.

Reading through here it seesm most people would like and expect more of a gradual improvement from the GRD III, which is the most advanced small sensor camera available. While this is nice, I think the GRD IV needs to take a step back rather than trying to improve on the GRD III.

What I mean by this is simple, the GRD I is still a classic and has not been surpassed by any small sensor camera when it comes to the AF speed and the excellent b&w JPGs or even the high ISO capabilities (yes, it has noise but no smearing or banding). When the GRD I came out it did one thing and it did this better than any other camera at that time and this is exactly why it's still highly regarded where the GRD II is almost forgotten. The GRD III is technically very advanced and highly customizable but does not do anything much better than any of the other enthusiast compact cameras.

What I want to say with all of this is that maybe the GRD IV needs to get back to do one thing only but do this better than any other camera out there. I want to see the GRD IV going back to the GR1 film camera basics and get rid of all the dials and Fn buttons and focus on A & P mode only with a simple EV compensation dial and a focus button, implement an OVF with electronic overlay like Fuji has done and as they had in the GR1, use a sensor which excells at b&w and is as big as possible but without increasing the size much even if they have to go back and use only a f2.8 lens, lastly make the Af as fast as possible.

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