Ricoh GR comparative review
The Ricoh GR isn't a camera we'd expect to be especially quick - we struggle to think of many situations that require both a fixed wide-angle lens and incredible rapidity. Bit it still can rattle off a couple of frames in quick succession if you need it to.
It's also a pleasantly responsive camera - it's only if you put a memory card in while the camera's turned on that you'll see a delay (as the camera will continue to try to use its slow internal memory).
The Ricoh offers a Continuous shooting mode, which has to be engaged from the menu unless you've dedicated a button to it. This allows you to shoot JPEGs at 4fps until the card is full. In Raw the camera can't keep shooting so consistently, but will actually shoot its first four shots quicker than it will in JPEG mode.
|Frame rate||4 fps||~6 fps||~6 fps|
|Number of frames||999||4||4|
|Buffer full rate||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Write complete||N/A||3 sec||3.5 sec|
These timings were taken with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I card but we were able to re-create the results with a slower 30MB/s UHS-I card, albeit with slightly longer delays between being able to shoot another burst.
The Ricoh is a reasonably fast-focusing camera for a large sensor compact, but there are situations in which that won't be quick enough. For these situations it has a Snap Focus mode that pre-sets the camera to a chosen focus distance. Alternatively there's a 'Full Press Snap' option that over-rides the Autofocus mode if you fully press the shutter button.
We had a look at the differences in timings these made:
Spot AF (Center
Full Press Snap (1m)
Snap Focus (1m)
|∞ – 0.5m||0.35/0.77s*||0.17s||0.14s|
|0.2m – 0.5m||0.43s||0.25s||0.14s|
*camera sometimes takes an extra cycle to confirm focus on our moderate-contrast target.
As you can see, the Snap Focus mode itself reduces the delay to a bare minimum (Screen Lag + Reaction Time + Shutter Lag). Watching the subject directly, rather than judging using the camera's screen knocks another 0.4-0.5 second off this time - meaning it's essentially instantaneous or, at least, indistinguishable from reaction times.
The Full Press Snap mode helps improve the responsiveness of the camera, compared to autofocus mode so, if you have an idea of how far away your subject might be, it's worth leaving turned on.
The GR can capture Full HD moves at 30, 25 or 24 frames per second but, sadly, the camera gives you essentially no control when you do. Some control is given over focus (AF, MF, Snap or Infinity being the choices), but this is disabled as soon as you start recording.
|The GR provides no control over exposure in movie mode.
When shooting, your only control is to pause the recording or apply either AEL or AFL.
When the camera is shooting footage the only controls available are Exposure and/or Focus lock (depending on how you've defined the behavior of the AEL/AFL button). Since you cannot split AF and AE lock onto different buttons, you can't even access both separately, while shooting. The only other option is the ability to pause and re-start shooting within a single clip. You do not re-gain any control while paused.
Beyond this there's the option to apply one of the Effect filters as you shoot your footage but, overall, the GR's video capabilities are disappointingly limited.
And, of course, while image stabilization isn't a pressing issue for a lens this wide when shooting stills, its absence is more apparent when recording video - meaning you'll need a tripod if you want your footage to look any good.
|1920x1080 30p, MOV, 17 sec, 46.9 MB Click here to download original file|
As with the Nikon Coolpix A, the footage is OK - it's fairly smooth and its higher bitrate (~25mbps) means there's less in the way of compression artefacts. The camera's attempts to adjust exposure are rather unsubtle but overall it's an acceptable performance. Sadly, with such limited control over the video, it's hard to make much use of this capability.
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