Ricoh may not be a mainstream brand when it comes to cameras, but talk to any professional and they will tell you just how good their products are, especially after acquiring Pentax. One such great product is the Ricoh GR, an enthusiast point and shoot camera with a 16 megapixel APS-C sensor and a 28mm f/2.8 bright lens. Other impressive features include a built-in 2 stop ND filter, a 10MP 35mm crop mode and a 1.2-million dot 3-inch screen.
Using the Ricoh GR is incredibly easy. If you’re a professional photographer who’s used to the various dials and buttons (that can have features mapped to them), then you will love the GR’s extensive suite of controls built onto the back. Speaking of build, the Ricoh GR is made of solid magnesium alloy, the same stuff real professional DSLRs are made of, so don’t think of this camera as a weakling. It can definitely take a beating or two. A really neat feature that it borrows from the high end DSLRs is the mode dial lock, something seemingly very small, but with massive benefits. Ever have the mode dial accidentally turn on you as the camera hangs from your shoulder? Precisely the kind of thing this lock prevents and it’s extremely well designed.
We shot with the Ricoh GR quite a lot, including a popular music festival in the Capital and boy were we impressed! The Ricoh GR is extremely quick to respond, locking focus incredibly fast even in low light. The fast aperture combined with the large sensor produces not just great bokeh, but also helps keep the noise at bay when shooting at high ISO. The video quality is also pretty good, but the camera won’t allow you any exposure control while shooting and neither does it come with a port to attach an external mic.
Another issue of sorts we faced with the camera was with regards to manual focus. There is no ring around the lens that you can rotate for manual focus.
Instead, you must first press the macro button to activate the focussing distance meter and then turn the vertical dial. This can be incredibly cumbersome and time consuming, causing you to potentially lose the moment.
Video limitations notwithstanding, it’s hard to not admire the image quality and the level of detail captured by the Ricoh GR’s 16 megapixel sensor. And if you’re the tinkering types, the menu system of the camera will definitely be love at first sight.