Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
11-17-2019, 04:03 PM - 2 Likes   #1
Pentaxian




Join Date: May 2016
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,852
Two GR cameras 15 years apart

I got a GR III in March when the first preorders started shipping. It's my first in the series, I liked it from the beginning and over time I've started to want to know more about the series. So, short of the expensive film GR cameras, I got a GR Digital. That's the first digital GR, announced in 2004 and released in 2005. I initially thought it'd be a novelty, similar to how a few months ago I took a few shots with my Canon Pro 1 also from 2005. But no, the GRD is a camera I now use "for real," as much as that can be said about a hobbyist. So here's a comparison in no particular order.

Battery - similar, with a new battery the GRD has at least as good battery life but of course the original one is now degraded.

Screen - in its day, the GRD back screen was described as fast, bright and sharp. It is bright. By modern standards it is not sharp at all and it has poor viewing angles, to the point where I don't really review images for more than basic framing

Image quality - there's nothing to compare here if you pixel peep. But for web resolution and social media, you'd be hard pressed to find major differences or flaws at iso 64, 100 and maybe 200, and from there to 1600 (the max) GRD jpegs look gritty in bw in a good way. The GRD has a 4:3 aspect ratio sensor.

Tech - the GRD is plain obsolete in terms of SD card and USB cable. It takes at most 1gb cards, not the more common 2gb, and the USB connector is so old that well... I only found a cable digging into stuff I knew I had to throw away but somehow didn't That being said, once you find the right stuff it works just fine connected to a modern computer. Moreso, it outputs raw DNG so it's really that compatible (though I prefer sooc JPEG in bw for most of the time).

Firmware - The ADJ dial works the same way. It's surprising how many little software tweaks have been made over the years to improve usability. We take them now for granted, but for example if you have the back lcd off (I do for using the external viewfinder), the GRD won't turn briefly turn the screen on to show changes in aperture (but it will for exposure compensation); another example, the GRD won't show ISO in auto ISO, let alone allow for some customization of how auto ISO works, so I just set a value manually as needed and do not use auto. I like the abbreviated menu options so that they fit on the low resolution screen ("SHTG STGS WARNG." anyone?)

Build quality - this is where time hasn't changed much. The lines on the newer camera are more streamlined especially around the lcd, but otherwise the GRD feels as premium.

Speed - snap focus and metering are equally fast. GRD SD write times are the best chimping deterrent ever. Start-up time, autofocus and continuous shooting are as expected much slower, but not so much to be an issue, I simply shoot one picture at a time instead of bursts, rarely use AF anyway, and leave the camera on with a longer shut down timer.

Snap focus - The GRD snap distance is fixed at 2.5m. At f2.8, this means everything from just over a meter to "far away, not sure it's really infinity" are in focus. For me, there's almost no reason to stop down except in bright conditions, and this negates many disadvantages it has in terms of high iso performance and autofocus, basically I almost never have to do anything except snap focus.

Fun - About the same. There's get a nostalgic feeling combined with surprise that the thing actually works for more than just test shots with the GRD, then a bit of spaceship awe with the GR III. So overall they're both fun to use in different ways.

Some side-by-side photos I've shared before in another thread








Last edited by aaacb; 11-17-2019 at 04:31 PM.
11-17-2019, 06:06 PM - 1 Like   #2
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
ramseybuckeye's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Elida, Ohio
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 10,534
Interesting how little the basic physical form has changed, it's like the Volkswagon Beetle of cameras.
11-17-2019, 06:18 PM   #3
Pentaxian
tvdtvdtvd's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,467
Remarkable how similar they are in design. Bigger sensor, lens to accommodate but the basic design ethos has remained
virtually unchanged.
11-17-2019, 07:00 PM   #4
Senior Member




Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 123
Thanks for your testimony! I've been toying with the idea of picking up a cheap, old, compact, digital camera with a CCD mostly for monochrome photos. Reading this made me research the GR-D a little more, as I had thought that it wouldn't be too great, but your experience and this article I found say otherwise. I'm still worried about picking up an old digital camera considering how unmaintainable they are compared to older film cameras, and even the GR-D isn't so cheap on ebay that I can just take a gamble, but maybe I'll keep a close eye on it. I'm especially worried about dust spots, which seem to be the killer of digital GRs, but for the right price I'd be totally on board for one.

11-17-2019, 08:51 PM   #5
Pentaxian




Join Date: May 2016
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,852
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by StarTroop Quote
the GR-D isn't so cheap on ebay that I can just take a gamble
It was surprising to me as well they're not cheap at all. Maybe they're experiencing a fad (though not anywhere as collectible as the film GR versions). I got mine together with a viewfinder, which I'm using with both cameras and it made the total price seem a bit more reasonable. Agree about your other points, if you're just looking for an old CCD p&s without requiring the GR features, there are cheaper options that are equally unmaintainable and vulnerable to dust. And in particular with the old GR, seems like a common problem is that the ADJ button makes the camera freeze if not used frequently, I have this on mine, even when it doesn't freeze the camera it sometimes misses a click.

Last edited by aaacb; 11-17-2019 at 08:58 PM.
11-18-2019, 04:34 PM   #6
Senior Member




Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 123
QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
It was surprising to me as well they're not cheap at all. Maybe they're experiencing a fad (though not anywhere as collectible as the film GR versions). I got mine together with a viewfinder, which I'm using with both cameras and it made the total price seem a bit more reasonable. Agree about your other points, if you're just looking for an old CCD p&s without requiring the GR features, there are cheaper options that are equally unmaintainable and vulnerable to dust. And in particular with the old GR, seems like a common problem is that the ADJ button makes the camera freeze if not used frequently, I have this on mine, even when it doesn't freeze the camera it sometimes misses a click.
I've been looking for even cheaper alternatives, but because there's such a wealth of shitty generic or rebranded, low-quality, P&Ss once you go cheaper, it's surprisingly difficult to find anything specifically known to be a hidden gem. I also would rather have a fixed focal length, and I do actually like GR features like snap focus, so it seems to be the way I'm going. The first GR Digital isn't really too expensive, but it's more than I should be risking at this time, especially as I ought to pick up a few more Limited lenses to round out my DSLR kit first. Maybe I can hold out and wait for the later iterations of the GR-D to drop in price, or at least until I get my DA 70mm before I commit to a GR. If you know any other good old P&S with a nice lens, then I'd love to look into it.
11-20-2019, 12:06 AM   #7
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
chickentender's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Olympia, WA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,954
The first GR I had was the GRDIII back in '09. Took it around the world. Shot it for years. Missed it after I sold it (even though I had the APS-C version already) and bought wood-grain GRDIV for nostalgic reasons. It just handles a little bit scrappier and small sensor in it is a absolute star for B&W. But I sold that GRDIV a couple months ago in order to fund my GRIII pre-purchase.

The ethos for the line has never changed and design changes have been methodical and deliberate because "if it ain't broke...."
I also shot the GR1s film version for a large chunk of that time as well (picked it up around 2013 I think - though sold it as well because I've too many film cameras and its price kept rising).

I was able to re-sell both of those cameras, wood-grain GRDiv and the GR1s, for more than I bought either of them used. That's not uncommon today for a film camera that has a following, but it's nearly unheard of for a digital.

Grab a film GR version if you can. They're great fun and provide (as expected) surprising results from such a tiny no-nonsense little thing.

Last edited by chickentender; 11-20-2019 at 12:16 AM.
5 Days Ago   #8
Senior Member




Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 123
For anyone who's interested, this thread made me scour the net for a cheap, fun, old, pocketable digital P&S that had RAW capability (or at least GRDi-style B&W jpegs with no noise reduction.) I found lots of cool and interesting cameras that I may try to bid on in the future, but I ended up settling on the Canon Powershot S95. Maybe it's blasphemous to mention that name here, but honestly the compactness of the S95 and the decent image quality for the price ($85 CAD) made it a compelling alternative to the GRDi (twice as expensive).

The body is as pocketable as a GR, although it has a zoom lens. It's quite slow on the long end, but at 28mm-equivalent the aperture of f/2 means I can pretty much treat it as a fixed focal length most of the time. The lens require software correction and the body ergonimics don't seem as nice as a GR, but it'll do. Also, using CHDK, I was able to set up the S95 to have a pseudo-snap focus feature, so I'm always prepared for a quick street photo.


Although the sensor is higher res than I wanted, and the in-camera jpegs have heavy noise reduction, and for some reason the camera won't let you choose jpeg colour settings if you shoot Raw+jpeg (so no B&W preview outside of jpeg mode), using CHDK's own DNG output (simultaneous to the in-camera B&W jpegs) gets around these limitations so I can post-process my B&W images with all noise and DR intact. Funnily, since I want my post-processing to be as minimal as possible, I'm actually just mainly using HaldCLUT imitations of Fuji's film simulations in RawTherapee, mainly Acros.


Because of this unholy union of Ricoh, Canon, Fuji, and FOSS sensibilities, I'm referring to this camera as my bastard child.

I'll probably get myself a GR eventually, but I'll hold onto this Canon till it dies, and then I'll get whatever GR is 10 years old by that point. I can't justify paying the premium for a new, high quality, P&S when I already shoot with an ILC, but I do like having a tiny [non-phone] camera with me at all times.

Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
auto, battery, camera, digital camera, focus, gr, grd, iso, ricoh gr, screen, stuff, time
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Lifespan of ricoh gr / gr II / gr III - how long do/did you have your ricoh? lunarwitch Ricoh GR 11 11-20-2019 12:36 PM
two years with the Ricoh GR pipo01 Ricoh GR 39 09-25-2015 08:42 AM
No dust on my GR sensor after two years. ghostdog Ricoh GR 2 06-19-2015 01:33 PM
95 years apart ismaelg Post Your Photos! 7 07-07-2009 06:29 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:03 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top