Ricoh's intention with the GR Digital (both I and II) is to make a compact camera with the control and versatility of an SLR, and within the limitations of the format it largely succeeds. The range of exposure control is wider than most other compacts, with aperture settings of f/2.4 to f/9.0 available in 1/3EV increments. There is no shutter priority option, but the inclusion of full manual exposure makes up for it, with shutter speeds from three minutes to 1/2000th of a second available. Exposure settings are adjusted via two input controls, similar to the dual-wheel control system found on top DSLRs.
The rear control also doubles as a function menu button and selector for quick adjustment of up to four frequently-used parameters. The selection of parameters available on the function menu can be chosen by the user via the menu.
The menu also offers a wide range of control over picture style and quality. There is a huge list of image size options, frankly more than anyone could sensibly need, but it does include three different sizes of Raw file. The GR Digital uses the Adobe DNG Raw file standard, which is growing in popularity.
The main mode dial has two positions that weren't present on the original model. These are My1 and My2, which as the name suggests are user-programmable pre-sets. There GR Digital offers a very wide range of user control, so it's certainly useful to be able to save a particular set of parameters.
Most of the control over picture style is found in the Image Set option of the main menu, which offers a wide range of pre-set styles, including four which can be customised by the user, with a wide range of adjustments for colour depth, contrast and sharpness in the colour modes, as well as two black and white modes, one of which has an adjustable toning effect. As well as these adjustments, image noise reduction can be turned on or off, and the camera also features a versatile manual white balance option, with colour temperature settings and fine adjustment of pre-set values.