A photographer's experience with the new Ricoh GR
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.
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.
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.