A tempting camera

I seem to have stumbled across a camera that is, in many ways, ideal for me: the Ricoh GR Digital. My reasons, in roughly decreasing order of importance:

  • 28mm is my favourite focal length; it provides the perspective that comes most naturally to me when composing images. It is as wide as my best SLR lens goes, and I almost invariably use the widest focal length on my A570IS. Having a prime lens means (a) more light hitting the sensor and (b) potentially sharper images.
  • The camera is versatile in terms of aspect ratios: with options for 4:3 (standard digicam), 3:2 (standard film), and 1:1.
  • The camera is small enough to carry around, unlike a digital SLR.
  • The camera is made of metal. (An advantage provided the weight is tolerable.)
  • The camera can shoot in RAW format

That being said, it does seem a bit strange to spend $700 on a fixed-lens point and shoot camera when you can get a DSLR kit (something like the Digital Rebel XT) for a couple hundred more dollars. The DSLR is far more versatile and capable overall. That being said, my Elan 7N has spent the last year gaining dust in its case; my point and shoot digicam, by comparison, basically only leaves my side when I am in the shower.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

15 thoughts on “A tempting camera”

  1. The camera is versatile in terms of aspect ratios: with options for 4:3 (standard digicam), 3:2 (standard film), and 1:1.

    This isn’t all that meaningful, is it? It just means the camera can crop in preset ways using internal software.

    Since the maximum resolution is 3648 by 2736 pixels, we can determine that the sensor is 4:3, not full frame.

  2. True on both counts. That being said, I cannot help wondering whether I would end up taking more and better photos with the Ricoh.

  3. Ricoh GR Digital
    Edward Gabriel , Nov 08, 2006; 11:44 a.m.

    “The shutter lag is negligible. I thought it was zero for a long time but I finally noticed there is a tiny amount of AF lag – in manual focus and snap focus (3m) modes there is no lag I can detect.

    On the other hand it takes about 10-12 seconds to write RAW which makes RAW pretty useless for any kind of photojournalism use.”

    Ricoh GR Digital
    by Bob Atkins; created 2005

    “Well, they’ve sort of done that, but the “fly in the ointment” is that the digital sensor is the same tiny size that is used by most consumer digicams. It’s a 1/1.8″ sensor which means that the actual size is about 7.2mm x 5.3mm. The problem with this is it means that high ISO images will be noisy and it will be impossible to get shallow DOF. The lens is a 5.9mm f2.4 (which gives the same angle of view as a 28mm lens on a full frame 35mm camera). Another problem is that there isn’t any sort of optical viewfinder.”

    Ricoh GR Digital
    John Mitchell , Apr 05, 2006; 10:24 a.m

    “This is a superb camera that turns out very high quality images, it depends on the user and how you apply the available options.

    I have had mine for 9 months and always shoot in Raw to convert in photoshop – apart from the admittedly slow write in Raw it is superb.”

    The Ricoh GR-Digital II – An Appreciation
    Mitch Alland , Mar 09, 2008; 01:33 a.m.

    “Basically, I only use RAW files I should mention the obvious, that the RAW write speed of the new camera is excellent: about three seconds, and that you can shoot two pictures in quick succession and then it takes about four seconds to write both files…

    (Many sample images)”

  4. For taking photos of people in bars, the DSLR, especially when combined with your 50mm F1.8, would be unbeatable.

    For taking photos of the real world, as you see, it, as you move around in it, on an everyday basis, I am inclined to believe you would take better photos with the Rico. I havn’t looked through those reviews, but if I did the only thing that would put me off would be if it had worse low light capability than the digital you already have, and if it exhibited significant distortion.

  5. Tristan,

    Unfortunately, the Ricoh is only 1/2 stop faster than the A570. Furthermore, there is no image stabilization.

    As for distortion, people seem to speak of the lens in very positive terms.

  6. Ricoh’s 12 megapixel GX200 for the undecided

    So long GX100, hello GX200 and your new 1/1.7-inch 12 megapixel CCD sensor. Ricoh’s bridge between point-and-shoot cameras and DSLRs also features new Smooth Image Engine III processing to better control noise, a larger 2.7-inch LCD, and a 5fps continuous RAW shooting mode. The 24 to 72-mm (35mm equiv) wide-angle lens, SDHC slot, RAW image support, thin 25-mm chassis, and removable tilting electronic viewfinder all carry over from the predecessor. Available next month for £350 (about $689) or £400 (about $788) if you find that viewfinder a must.

  7. I am torn about whether a Rebel XS would be better, or a Ricoh fixed 28mm.

    The Rebel is way more versatile.

    But I would carry the Ricoh everywhere.

  8. Ricoh’s CX1 point and shoot combines two shots for greater dynamic range, glory

    by Tim Stevens, posted Feb 19th 2009 at 9:12AM

    While high dynamic range is only recently getting some attention in the gaming and display worlds, for decades it’s been a tool of serious photographers wanting eye-popping exposures. Now Ricoh’s gone and offered it to the masses with its latest consumer digi cam, the CX1, creating a “dynamic range double shot” mode that takes two images nearly simultaneously with different exposures, then combines them automatically to present the best bits of both. It features a 9 megapixel CMOS sensor fronted by a 7.1x (28-200mm) lens and backed by a 3-inch LCD. VGA videos are a bit disappointing these days, but 120 frames per second can be captured at that resolution, which is good news for slow-mo junkies. UK release is mid-March for £299, about $430, and we expect/hope it’ll be lighting up dim photos Stateside around the same time.

  9. Canon EOS Digital Rebel T1i now official

    Yep, Canon just went live with that Rebel T1i DSLR that leaked a bit earlier, and it’s looking like a hell of a response to the Nikon D90: an XSi body jacked with a sensor matching the 50Ds 15.1 megapixels, 1080p HD video recording, and a $900 price tag. Yeah, it’s gonna be a hit. Other notable specs include a 3.0-inch Live View screen, a Digic IV processor, ISO 12.8k sensitivity, and the same 18-55 IS EF-S kit lens as the XSi — in other words, all those rumors were true. Hit up the read links for more info!

  10. Ricoh’s CX1 camera gets reviewed

    The kids at Photography Blog have finally got their hands on that Ricoh CX1 that won our respect not too long ago, and they’ve been cool enough to post a review online. The camera, the reviewer said, begins where the ol’ R10 left off, throwing features like multi-pattern auto white balance, multi-target auto focus, and 4fps continuous shooting speed into the mix, making this “the best Ricoh point-and-shoot yet.” That said, it can’t all be groovy — the review goes on to cite the camera’s “bog-standard” 640 x 480 / 30fps video and rudimentary face detection as “nothing to write home about.” Image quality — often a deal-breaker for this company — has greatly improved, with a new 9 megapixel CMOS sensor sporting “a now usable ISO range of 80-800.” Of course, the big news is the camera’s high dynamic range. DR mode is, for the most part, “radical and very effective.” But there’s much more to it — hit that read link for all the gory details.

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