RicohGR Review // the Camera I Can’t Leave Home Without.
October 12, 2014
When I travel, I usually bring two cameras. One is a mirrorless interchangeable camera (sony, fuji, leica) and the other is the RicohGR. For some reason, I ended up using the Ricoh more than 80% of the time. And no, I don’t use it just because it has my initials on the body.
It all started when I saw the photos of the photographers at Magnum Photo Agency. They made ordinary daily life became extraordinary.
I instantly got myself sucked into street photography, it became a medium for me to express how I see the world without rules and boundaries. I can shoot anything and not worry about a single thing.
and how does this relate to the RicohGR?
It is so small that it’s not the “in your face” type of camera, a camera that can actually fit inside your pocket. This, for me who loves natural moments, is just perfect. People wouldn’t stop what they are doing even when I point my little camera at them. This would be so much different if I held a camera with a bigger lens. I can just focus on being a collector of moments.
2. Image Quality
For a camera shorter than your iPhone, it’s really amazing what it can produce. Having an APSC sensor in such a tiny body is an amazing achievement. It can produce sharp images, render amazing colors and has adequate bokeh just when you need it.
Although it has a wide lens, the distortion is pretty good. Good enough for the feel of image that I am looking for.
4. The Positive Film (in Camera Preset)
I always shoot RAW, even on my travels with the Fuji. Yet with the RicohGR, setting it on the Positive Film preset on JPEG format made me ditch the RAW.
It produces one of the best SOOC(Straight out of Camera) JPEG I have ever seen.
5. Snap Focus
A feature where we can shoot without worrying about autofocus. Set your camera at f4.5 or narrower, you will produce sharp images from 1.5 meters until infinity. I use this feature a lot when shooting wide shots.
6. 300 Seconds of Long Exposure
When all my bigger cameras only go to 30 seconds of long exposure. The Ricoh GR can go as far as 5 minutes.
This feature allows me to create something different when shooting in the middle of the night.
7. Limitation Pushes Creativity
To quote from the book Show Your Work from Austin Kleon, “It seems contradictory, but when it comes to creative work, limitations mean freedom”. It’s exactly what this camera does to me.
Having a fixed lens at 18.3mm (eq. 28mm on Full Frame) with f2.8 which means we cannot zoom nor change lenses, the ISO in my opinion is only good as far as 3200, battery life is only around 400ish shots, autofocus speed is moderate and there is no viewfinder.
Yet it’s a camera that brings me joy every time I press the shutter, a camera that made me fall in love with photography all over again.