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02-07-2015, 10:24 PM   #1
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GR vs Coolpix A

After sending my camera in to Ricoh for warranty coverage on a faulty front control wheel in early December, I finally got a call back from the camera store where I bought it that it was ready this week. Turns out, Ricoh just does a CLA and upgrades the firmware, sending it back without addressing the faulty dial. That surprised me - in the past when CRIS managed repairs they were pretty good on turnaround and addressing issues the first time. After testing it with the associate, she agrees they need to either fix it or send me a new camera, then asks if I would like a loaner camera. As they don't have any open GR stock, I ask about the Nikon Coolpix A. Turns out, they have one and I now have a long-term Coolpix A loaner!

I've been reading all the comparisons online, after playing with it a while, and agree the interface isn't as slick as Ricoh's, nor is it as easy to grip. It also doesn't have a wrist strap, so I'm carrying it without a strap, but it does feel like it's a tank. Just set it to NEF+JPEG and will try it out at my son's b-day party tomorrow. Anybody else gone to the dark side and tried out the Coolpix A?

Also, has anyone had a similar issue w/ the GR's control wheel sticking? It won't let me move it more than 1 stop either way of the aperture it's set at.

02-07-2015, 10:55 PM   #2
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I had the pleasure of reviewing both side by side:
Ricoh GR vs. Nikon Coolpix A Review - Introduction | Reviews

While the GR has many advantages, the Coolpix A does pull ahead in other areas such as build quality and it feels very similar since it has the same FoV and resolution. As long as you're cool with it no being pocketable (no pun intended), I'd probably just hand on to it.

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02-08-2015, 02:02 PM   #3
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Thanks Adam - that was a very good review, part of the reason I originally bought the GR!

The only other thing I'm going to be looking for is if there's any difference between 12 and 14 bit RAW files. I took some shots of the woods blanketed in snow today with the Coolpix, hoping I could notice a difference between the shadow/highlight performance of the 2 cameras...we will see!
02-08-2015, 03:40 PM   #4
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Update...people shots on the Coolpix A seem to have a better look to them vs the GR...white balance indoors is more accurate, the Nikon processing tends to give nicer looking skintones...TBD on B&W, landscapes...

02-09-2015, 10:11 AM   #5
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Adam, you mention that you can only view histogram in the exposure compensation mode... I can also view it in one of the screen modes although I have not investigated the issue too much as I consider histograms useful only for blind people.

I agree with you that
Another nuisance is the exposure compensation feature. While in live view, the two zoom buttons directly control the exposure compensation. However, the camera stays in the exposure compensation menu (shown below) unless the user specifically presses the OK or cancel buttons. Taking a photo does not snap you out of this menu.
and I am very disappointed this issue has not been addressed by Ricoh - say in form of a menu option with "Exposure compensation: Disabled / Full (with histogram) / Minimal" the last being just the exposure compensation value appearing in addition to other values on the screen.

Regarding the Ricoh vs Coolpix issue, I do not understand why Nikon didn't make a "regular grip" on the right of their lens, as the lens is already sticking out so much. They have put a wheel on it too.

I would like slipdm16 to tell us more about the difficulties encountered with the Nikon Coolpix A interface and how they are linked to the differences between the two cameras (has one camera "solved" what the other is struggling with?) Nikon used to be the King of user interfaces when they started producing SLR's but today it seems to me that they only consider people who use their cameras for the first time, like their cameras were meant to be used for less than a week by anybody who puts their hands on them... contrary to Ricoh who would prefer their camera stays with you for decades (even though they commit incredible gaffes - especially considering the huge amount of attention they put in designing the interface: see the exposure compensation mode which needs to be addressed IMMEDIATELY and the other things I mentioned in my other topic).
02-09-2015, 07:14 PM   #6
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very important edit regarding the quote I gave from the comparative review you linked: with Firmware version 3.0 (I updated to the latest, 4.0 but apparently the change was made in 3.0) you can enable [Shutter Button Confirmation] in the menu; this makes the camera confirm exposure compensation pressing the shutter button half way or all the way - so you don't need to push OK if you don't want to and the camera snaps out of the "shutter compensation menu" after you take a picture; this is a fantastic option and somebody should mail the reviewer because the "new" function is not self evident and would benefit anybody reading the review!

I would also like to say sorry for my English. In the future I will try to make my posts shorter and more concise with proper grammar.
03-12-2015, 10:18 PM   #7
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So I finally got my GR back, round 2...same story, they said the camera was "within spec" and returned it. Although the guy in the camera store was able to get the front control wheel to cycle through the apertures VERY SLOWLY, I told him I had the camera for 6 mos before and never had any issues with the dial no matter how fast I moved it. I gave back the Coolpix A and took home the GR again. Long story short the front control wheel still doesn't work. It's stuck on a set of 2-3 apertures around f/6.3. The camera store told me I could work out a deal with them if I'm really not happy (which I'm not) so I'm thinking of just taking the credit (whatever they give me) to apply to the next version of the GR (hopefully soon?!). Very disappointed in Ricoh/Pentax support on this. Anybody have any ideas for recourse? So far I've just been working with the camera store and haven't called Ricoh myself - maybe I could persuade them to just give me a new one (assuming there's an actual person I can speak with).

To Mr. Rutger's question, the issues I had were just with the interface and getting used to it. You don't have instantly updated exposure information once you get AE lock on the Nikon, which is nice on the GR if you're shooting aperture mode and are concerned w/ shutter speed for instance. The Nikon's physical dials just felt clunkier (and maybe better built) so it seemed a less fluid camera to use on the go, but if the durability were better than GR, I might accept this as a compromise. After looking at the pictures out of the Nikon vs GR, I think although the in camera white balance is better on the Nikon, the colors/rendering I got from the GR lens seemed nicer. I didn't notice a difference in 12 vs 14 bit RAWs. Outside of that the only other thing I'd comment on was the Nikon AF - it's accurate but much slower in daylight, so I felt I missed some shots I would've gotten with the GR - but that's my subjective review - I didn't compare side by side.
03-17-2015, 01:40 AM   #8
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I lost my GR about six months ago, and since have used a Sony RX100 my son gave me. Not as good ergonomically, but the images are just fine. But today I decided to use my K-5ii s as my 'pocket camera'. Not literally of course, but it just feels so good to use xompared to the much smaller models. Put the f/4 16-45mm lens on it, tossed in in the car, and off I went. And since we are having a heat wave here in San Diego, it was nice to just wear a t-shirt... no need to wear a regular shirt since the K-5 won't fit in the pocket!

It's strange, old tech compared to new. A simple Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen feels so much better to write with than any of the new gel ones... and the DSLR feels so much better... amazingly better... than taking pix with an iPhone. But the new always overcomes the old... smaller, lighter, more convenient.

03-31-2015, 08:28 AM   #9

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QuoteOriginally posted by slipdm16 Quote
Very disappointed in Ricoh/Pentax support on this. Anybody have any ideas for recourse? So far I've just been working with the camera store and haven't called Ricoh myself - maybe I could persuade them to just give me a new one (assuming there's an actual person I can speak with).
Have you contacted Ricoh? If you get unsatisfactory results after speaking to them contact your local or state consumer protection office.

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