New Ricoh GR User Impressions

Hands-on user comments after unboxing

By Sumolux in Ricoh GR on Sep 20, 2013

This is not meant as any kind of in-depth review of the new Ricoh GR; there are many other sources for that who could do a much better job of that than I could (see the PentaxForums GR Review). This is just a first impression after a few hours out of the box. For that matter I am totally new to Ricoh, having previously never had contact with the brand or even any experiences with the rest of the GR series cameras, either film or digital. I only really came across the GR while looking through all the alternatives for a great small camera with high resolution and IQ. So, like many, I read and compared everything I could devour from the Internet. After I tried my friend's Fuji X100, however, the final decision became easy. The Fuji was a great little camera, but somehow it didn’t feel right in my hands, and the colors it produced ‘out of the box’ just never appealed to me, as well as the controls, which were very good, but for some reason did not feel intuitive for me as a user.

So I bought a GR and during the last weeks as a new user I have been deeply impressed with this amazing camera.

Although I have been shooting digital medium format for some years now, and Leica M with film, I was never very enamored of controls with too many menus to go through in order to get things done. The Sony NEX menus in particular used to drive me nuts and I ended up I giving away my NEX for that reason. Thus controls and their uses was the first thing on my agenda. And that's where the GR shines!

Ricoh GR: B&W RAW Conversions in Lightroom

A walkthrough and example

By Jorge Ledesma in Ricoh GR on Sep 8, 2013

The Ricoh GR is like a Swiss Army Knife of the camera world. It can play with the bigger boys and surely competes with and beats many at the 28mm focal length. One of my favorite things about the GR is the versatility of its RAW files when it comes to black and white conversions.

Everyone has a method of converting their images to BW. Some may stick to in-camera processing and others may use simple adjustments like de-saturation, but you'll want to go a bit farther than that for the best possible results.

Today, I'd like to talk about my own black and white conversions in Adobe Lightroom.  While I also use Silver Efex Pro and Photoshop CS5 as part of my digital darkroom, I really wanted to concentrate strictly on Lightroom to see how far it would take me.

Here's the original photo, shot in RAW of course. As I was talking a stroll I noticed this teenager was playing hoops and I wanted to get a shot of him. I framed it in my typical street photography way and captured this image.  Unedited, this file is nothing crazy and a rather mundane image. Because I knew I had the razor sharp lens of the Ricoh GR and loads of detail in that RAW file, I knew I could make it better. So with that said, let's take a look at what I did next.

Tips and Tricks for the Ricoh GR

By aleksanderpolo in Ricoh GR on Aug 24, 2013
First a Little Bit of History

I am a little late as a Ricoh user. The first time I was conscious of Ricoh as a camera brand, was when I was looking for a non P&S to take better pictures of my baby girl. At around that time, Ricoh announced their GXR modular system.  Like many people’s reaction towards the lens module concept, it didn’t make much sense to me to permanently bind a lens with a sensor, as one would need to buy the lens again when they upgrade the sensor later. Little did I know about the long history of Ricoh as a compact camera maker; and that instead of a system camera, the GXR is aiming to be a series of fixed lens compact with a common body.  Well, I didn’t buy the GXR at that time and got a Panasonic Lumix GF1 instead.

Over time, I came to like shooting manual focus lens, especially Voigtlander and Zeiss’s M lenses. I was looking for a camera that does a better job in using M lenses than my GF1.  After some research, I picked up the Ricoh GXR+M module over the Sony NEX-5N.  I was very impressed by its built quality, button layout, customizability, and especially, the well implemented mode 2 focus assist.  I was thinking to myself: I don’t think I would need to get another camera anytime soon.

Then came the announcement of GR.  At first I thought: this is not for me as the lens module or fixed lens camera concept never appealed to me.  At around the same time, I was looking for a 28-35mm eqv. lens to be used on my GXR-M.  The only lenses that I was interested in were the Zeiss ZM 21/2.8 and the recently announced Cosina-Voigtländer CV 21/1.8.  Compared with GR, both of them are much larger, heavier, more expensive, not to mention that the GR comes with a free body attached. So the decision was made.

Again, I was really impressed.  The camera is so tiny compared with the GXR.  The GXR feels very substantial and solid in the hand, the GR in contrast is really light weight, about the weight of the GXR body with the EVF mounted, but it doesn’t feel cheap. The body is texturized, the rubber grip is very secure and pleasant to hold without having the feeling that one might drop the camera anytime (wink at RX100). 

Most importantly, it fits into my pants pocket perfectly.  Before I got the GR, I always carried the GXR with me in a camera case in my backpack.  There were many cases where I felt too lazy to get the camera out and take a picture.  Now the GR is in my pocket all the time and I find myself taking a lot more pictures that I would have otherwise have missed.

So, that’s my little history with Ricoh.  Now I would like to share with you some little bits of tips and tricks.  We all know how infinitely customizable Ricoh’s camera is, so a full coverage of all the options is not my intention.  But though experimenting, trying a few different settings myself, as well as reading other people’s discovery, I have collected a few things that I think is helpful to me, and hopefully helpful to you as well.

Family resemblance, two cameras, three companies

Ricoh GR: Some gems come in small packages

A photographer's experience with the new Ricoh GR

By Haddadlf in Ricoh GR on Aug 20, 2013

Walking and texting

I have been dabbling in photography for over 35 years. I've used my share of different cameras, film, digital, point and shoot, medium format and many in between. Currently I use a Canon 1D for sports, Canon 5D for portraits and landscape, a Fuji x100s for travel and street photography and now a Ricoh GR. The Ricoh has been a constant companion for the last month. Like many photographers, once a new camera or gadget shows up at the door, it becomes the mistress du jour. But boy that Ricoh is so much fun to use. And it yields crisp and sharp files.

Lady Liberty

I have been looking for a small camera that is easy to use and that would yield high quality files. When I first read about the GR, it peaked my curiosity, I downloaded the manual and started reading it, that’s when I realized that the camera has so many functions that are on my wish list for other cameras. For example,  using the TAV mode allows you to over or underexpose with a push of a button, unlike the Canon in manual settings. If I want to bracket for effect, ie if I want a BW, Vivid and default jpg from the same scene while shooting RAW, I can do that on the fly, no problem; the x100s can’t. If I want to snap focus, done. If I want to personalise the settings of half the buttons, no problem. If I want to shoot with an uneven exposure bracket, still no problem. I am sure that the engineers at Pentax and Ricoh are photographers at heart, there is no way one can design such a camera and not be passionate about photography.

30 Rock

It’s a fast camera, quick to boot, quick to focus (in good light), quick to handle and quick to shoot. You will not miss a shot because of the camera, that’s guaranteed. I thought I would miss the hybrid viewfinder from the x100s. I did at the beginning, but soon came to appreciate the ease with which the camera responds, it’s a truly point and shoot camera. In good light the AF is very responsive, you raise the camera to a scene and push the release. Since the camera is so light and small, it never felt awkward to be handled single handedly. With the street shots, the camera did not separate me from the scene I was photographing, I could actually keep eye contact without raising the camera to my face. The camera is so light you do not need your face to stabilize. The camera becomes un-obtrusive.

Sony RX100 vs. Ricoh GR: Why I Jumped

A user's experience with two serious compacts

By pentaxFan85 in Ricoh GR on Aug 15, 2013

Editorial note: Welcome to the first of a series of five guest blog posts about the Ricoh GR.  In these posts, we'll be exploring the camera on its own and alongside other serious compacts.  We hope you enjoy, and stay tuned for more!

For the past year I’ve owned and used a Sony RX100, and in general I’ve been amazed at what the little thing can do. I’ve taken it all around the country and beyond, and I've been consistently amazed at the image quality I can get out of the 1-inch sensor and Zeiss lens. In my position as a camera reviewer and tech guru to friends and family, I’ve recommended it countless times, to all kinds of photographers.

So why did I sell it last week and buy a Ricoh GR instead? Well, it was a very personal calculation, but I had a few solid reasons...

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