Last week Jamie reviewed the Ricoh GX200, a £350 12-megapixel compact camera with a 3x zoom lens and a range of features designed to appeal to enthusiast photographers. Today I'm taking a look at the GX200's stablemate, the Ricoh GR Digital II, an even more specialised camera unlike any other camera on the market - except one.
The GR Digital II is a replacement for the original GR Digital which Ricoh launched in 2005. I'll come clean and admit that I own a GR Digital, in fact it's the only compact camera I do own. I've used it extensively for landscape, travel and macro photography, where its wide-angle f/2.4 lens and excellent Raw image quality at low ISO settings have provided some superb shots that I couldn't easily have taken with any other camera. While it's never been a particularly big seller, the GR Digital gained positive reviews from most sources and has many fans, myself included. Hopefully the Mk. II version can live up to its predecessor.
The appearance and specification leave no doubt over its ancestry. The body design is almost identical to the Mk. I, a no-frills matt black rectangular box finished in a scratch-resistant high-friction coating, with a comfortable rubberised handgrip, a recessed hot shoe and a pop-up built-in flash. It has the same high quality non-zoom f/2.4 GR lens with a focal length of 5.9mm, equivalent to a fixed 28mm wide-angle. In fact sitting the two camera side-by-side it's hard to tell them apart at first glance.
However a closer inspection reveals a number of significant differences. The LCD monitor has been enlarged from 2.5 inches and 210k dots to 2.7 inches and 230k dots and now has a very wide viewing angle of approximately 170 degrees, the sensor for the original camera's hybrid AF system has disappeared, and there are a couple of different options on the main mode dial.