The Ricoh GR Digital series is now several generations old, having evolved previously from Ricoh’s film heritage. Its long heritage is a hint at its purpose, too, because this is pricey, fixed lens compact for the ‘true photographer’ – decide for yourself if you qualify.
The latest model, labelled simply the Ricoh GR, is the first from the newly formed Pentax Ricoh stable and is also the first to feature an APS-C sensor. It arrives in a burgeoning enthusiast compact market and thus faces some serious competition.
As mentioned previously, the area that has seen the biggest leap forward from previous GR Digital models is the Ricoh GR’s sensor.
Where previous versions in the series featured a 1/1.7-inch sensor in keeping with other enthusiast compacts, the new GR features a DSLR-sized, APS-C unit with a resolution of 16.2MP. The sensor also lacks an anti-aliasing filter, which means it’s more likely to resolve a higher level of detail than those with said filter.
Paired with this new sensor is a newly developed fixed focal length lens. This lens offers a fixed focal length of 18.3mm – 28mm in equivalent terms – and a maximum aperture of f/2.8. The lens includes a number of impressive features, including low dispersive elements and high refractive indexes, as well as an integrated ND filter.
The list of new features continues with the Ricoh GR’s processing system. A new GR V processor includes, among other capabilities, a ‘Moire Pattern Removal’ function that should counter any ill effects from the lack of the anti-aliasing filter.
Another area in which the GR impresses is its LCD screen. Not only is it both of good size and resolution – at 3-inches and 1.23-million dots – but it also features the same Sony ‘WhiteMagic’ LCD technology as seen on recent impressive Sony compacts, such as the RX100 and RX1.
As a result of this ‘WhiteMagic’ technology, the screen on the GR should provide clear and bright images in a variety of shooting conditions, including traditionally difficult situations such as bright conditions when shooting outdoors.
Another clever feature on the Ricoh GR is an interesting ‘35mm Crop’ mode. In this setting the GR will trim away the edges of the image to give the appearance of being captured at a 35mm focal length, although this does result in a slight drop in resolution.
As well as offering full HD video and Raw image capture, the Ricoh GR also sports a host of shooting effects including High-Key and Bleach Bypass, among many others.
The Ricoh GR is the first model to display the influence of the relationship with Pentax with the presence of a Time-Aperture Value (TAv) setting common to Pentax cameras. It allows you to adjust the aperture and shutter speed desired and then selects the ISO sensitivity to suit the correct exposure.