The Ricoh GR Digital Camera: A Philosophy of Design

Remko

Rookie
Aug 8, 2010
Netherlands
Thanks for this write-up. To me the GRD is a classic example of a serious compact.

I've been tempted to purchase one of the GRD over the years but never did for different reasons. The GXR with the A12/28 is now my main Ricoh, but I still see benefits of the more compact GRD. And I'm not ready to part with my GX100 that is as compact as the GRD but can't match the IQ.

Thanks also for sharing your settings always nice to compare how other people configure their Ricoh's.
 

ronin

New Member
Oct 9, 2011
Thanks for the write-up

Very enjoyable.

As a user of the film GR1, but not of the digital descendants, I have a question.

Can I simply walk around with the GRDx just turned on all day long, waiting for an opportunity to snap away? Or, like other advanced compacts, do I have to continually power it on, because it wants to go to sleep and shut down every minute or so?

To me this is the biggest, yet undiscussed, problem with compact digitals when using them for quick shots. Not the AF speed, not the shutter lag, all of which are improving with each model.

But the inability to turn it on once, and have it ready all day long without having to continually look at it to see if it shut itself off, fuss with it again to turn it on, all of which distracts me from the environment, disturbs the flow, and calls undesired attention to my constant fussing.

Please let me know if the GRDx's are immune to this achilles heel of this genre.
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
You can set the "auto power off" feature to 5, 15, or 30 minutes, or you can turn it off altogether. So if you turn it off, the camera won't automatically turn off by itself. But that means the lens will be out and exposed all the time, so you might not want to stick it in your pocket, and the battery is no doubt draining to some degree when the camera's on, but if you turn off the rear display and the power button lamp, probably not a whole lot. Whether a battery would last all day like this I don't know. I tend to power it on for a shooting session and then turn it off until I'm ready to shoot some more. It only seems to take a couple of seconds from hitting the power button until its ready to shoot, so if I hit the power button as I'm pulling it out of a pocket, its ready to shoot by the time I am. So to me, this isn't even remotely an achilles heel, but YMMV.

-Ray
 

_z0rk

New Member
Oct 21, 2011
usa
Lens Armor, Viewfinder, AAA

Paul,
Thank you so much for sharing your soup recipe, workflow and philosophy. I am now very excited about the potential of this little camera. Though I am left with a few questions for you and maybe some of the other gurus here on the forum.
You mentioned that you don't prefer to have anything on your lens and therefore didn't opt for the AC-MAXX Lens Armor. What's your personal reason?
The tech specs for the camera state that it's possible to use 2x AAA batteries in place of the DB-65. The power range is supposed to last for approx. 25 pictures. Does this jive with real world usage (no flash)?
Lastly I was wondering, if there are any less expensive viewfinder options available than the very expensive Ricoh GV-2 Mini ($200,- yikes!)?

Thanks
 
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matthewm

Regular
Jun 23, 2011
Sumter/Charleston, SC
Matthew Morse
Paul,
Thank you so much for sharing your soup recipe, workflow and philosophy. I am now very excited about the potential of this little camera. Though I am left with a few questions for you and maybe some of the other gurus here on the forum.
You mentioned that you don't prefer to have anything on your lens and therefore didn't opt for the AC-MAXX Lens Armor. What's your personal reason?
The tech specs for the camera state that it's possible to use 2x AAA batteries in place of the DB-65. The power range is supposed to last for approx. 25 pictures. Does this jive with real world usage (no flash)?
Lastly I was wondering, if there are any less expensive viewfinder options available than the very expensive Ricoh GV-2 Mini ($200,- yikes!)?

Thanks
I'm not Paul, but if I may, I'd like to chime in on some of your comments here if that's okay.

1. I can't speak for Paul on why he doesn't use the lens armor, but I don't use anything on my camera either. I know there are some people that will glue or attach a rimless filter of sorts to the front of their compact camera, but I, like Paul don't put anything on my camera. I don't do it mainly because I'm worried that if I put it on there and it becomes damaged or I don't like it, I won't be able to get it off. And, assuming I do get it off, I would be worried that the outward pressure of prying it off would damage the motor that pushes the lens in and out, possibly knocking it off track. When I worked at Ritz Camera years ago, people would bring in point and shoot cameras with a lens error and you could literally just grab the front portion and tweak it to get the gears to line back up properly. They're just little plastic teeth in there and I'd be nervous about damaging them.

2. I've used AAA lithiums one time when I was in a pinch and I got at least 50 or so images and they weren't dead, I was just done shooting. I don't know about alkaline batteries or how long the lithiums would have lasted. Someone else may be able to offer some more insight on this.

3. As for viewfinders, any viewfinder that fits in a standard hot shoe will work. I used a Voigtlander viewfinder for a while. It was very bulky compared to the Ricoh VF and its front element protruded quite a bit and I ended up nicking it on something. It didn't affect anything really, but was just more annoying. No EVF will work with the GRDIII that I know of. I'd search eBay and see what you can find in the way of viewfinders.
 
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Paul Giguere

www.paulgiguere.com
May 4, 2011
Wayland, MA USA
Response

Paul,
Thank you so much for sharing your soup recipe, workflow and philosophy. I am now very excited about the potential of this little camera. Though I am left with a few questions for you and maybe some of the other gurus here on the forum.
You mentioned that you don't prefer to have anything on your lens and therefore didn't opt for the AC-MAXX Lens Armor. What's your personal reason?
The tech specs for the camera state that it's possible to use 2x AAA batteries in place of the DB-65. The power range is supposed to last for approx. 25 pictures. Does this jive with real world usage (no flash)?
Lastly I was wondering, if there are any less expensive viewfinder options available than the very expensive Ricoh GV-2 Mini ($200,- yikes!)?

Thanks
Actually my reason for not using a filter on the lens is that I don't want or need something covering the lens. It is like putting glasses on when you already have perfect eyesight. You can only degrade the quality of what you see, not improve upon it. I know some people feel free they need a filter to protect the lens but I prefer to take my chances rather than possibly degrade the lens quality. For an SLR, I usually keep the lens shade on rather than a filter to protect the lens but this isn't possible with the GRD however, because the lens retracts and has an automatic barndoor on the front, I don't usually experience any problems. Remember, you can also clean the GRD lens of any dust or fingerprints without much of a problem using a clean microfiber cloth. This is my preferred approach to keeping the lens clean.

I think with 2 AAA batteries you should be able to get about 25-30 photos (maybe more if you shut off the LCD and power button light). Use of flash and such will of course knock these types of batteries down very fast.

As for the viewfinder, you can find used Voightlander viewfinders online for half the price usually. They are kind of big (as already stated) but they will do the job just fine.

Hope this helps,

Paul
 
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Will

All-Pro
Aug 30, 2010
England
I had/have a GR1 film camera and it also has to be turned on and the lens extended before use. it however can only take 36 or so images before changing the film. My GRD3 with it's current card can take hundreds of RAW file images, and a battery swap is a lot quicker than a film change.

And a tip for those that don't already know, use rechargeable AAA batteries, they give way more shots than alkaline,
 

_z0rk

New Member
Oct 21, 2011
usa
Matthew,
I appreciate your comments. I don't like gluing anything to my camera either. Although the Lens Armor looks admittedly slick. It's good to know that modern rechargeable batteries can give a a solid performance in a pinch. I think I won't bother with the viewfinder. I really like the Ricoh one, but the price - oh my. Half the price of the camera? I think not.

Cheers

I'm not Paul, but if I may, I'd like to chime in on some of your comments here if that's okay.

1. I can't speak for Paul on why he doesn't use the lens armor, but I don't use anything on my camera either. I know there are some people that will glue or attach a rimless filter of sorts to the front of their compact camera, but I, like Paul don't put anything on my camera. I don't do it mainly because I'm worried that if I put it on there and it becomes damaged or I don't like it, I won't be able to get it off. And, assuming I do get it off, I would be worried that the outward pressure of prying it off would damage the motor that pushes the lens in and out, possibly knocking it off track. When I worked at Ritz Camera years ago, people would bring in point and shoot cameras with a lens error and you could literally just grab the front portion and tweak it to get the gears to line back up properly. They're just little plastic teeth in there and I'd be nervous about damaging them.

2. I've used AAA lithiums one time when I was in a pinch and I got at least 50 or so images and they weren't dead, I was just done shooting. I don't know about alkaline batteries or how long the lithiums would have lasted. Someone else may be able to offer some more insight on this.

3. As for viewfinders, any viewfinder that fits in a standard hot shoe will work. I used a Voigtlander viewfinder for a while. It was very bulky compared to the Ricoh VF and its front element protruded quite a bit and I ended up nicking it on something. It didn't affect anything really, but was just more annoying. No EVF will work with the GRDIII that I know of. I'd search eBay and see what you can find in the way of viewfinders.
 

_z0rk

New Member
Oct 21, 2011
usa
That's the same reason why I was torn about the Lens Armor, but on the other hand you really like the LCD Armor. It's holding up well I assume? Thanks for your feedback.

Actually my reason for not using a filter on the lens is that I don't want or need something covering the lens. It is like putting glasses on when you already have perfect eyesight. You can only degrade the quality of what you see, not improve upon it. I know some people feel free they need a filter to protect the lens but I prefer to take my chances rather than possibly degrade the lens quality. For an SLR, I usually keep the lens shade on rather than a filter to protect the lens but this isn't possible with the GRD however, because the lens retracts and has an automatic barndoor on the front, I don't usually experience any problems. Remember, you can also clean the GRD lens of any dust or fingerprints without much of a problem using a clean microfiber cloth. This is my preferred approach to keeping the lens clean.

I think with 2 AAA batteries you should be able to get about 25-30 photos (maybe more if you shut off the LCD and power button light). Use of flash and such will of course knock these types of batteries down very fast.

As for the viewfinder, you can find used Voightlander viewfinders online for half the price usually. They are kind of big (as already stated) but they will do the job just fine.

Hope this helps,

Paul
 

_z0rk

New Member
Oct 21, 2011
usa
Thanks Will! I am planning to use rechargeable Lithiums or NI-MHs.

Cheers

I had/have a GR1 film camera and it also has to be turned on and the lens extended before use. it however can only take 36 or so images before changing the film. My GRD3 with it's current card can take hundreds of RAW file images, and a battery swap is a lot quicker than a film change.

And a tip for those that don't already know, use rechargeable AAA batteries, they give way more shots than alkaline,
 

Paul Giguere

www.paulgiguere.com
May 4, 2011
Wayland, MA USA
That's the same reason why I was torn about the Lens Armor, but on the other hand you really like the LCD Armor. It's holding up well I assume? Thanks for your feedback.
Yes, the LCD Armor is holding up very well. There are a couple of very fine micro scratches on the cover itself but only visible when looking at an angle with the LCD off. Given the fact that the camera sees a lot of use and is not handled gingerly, I'd say it works quite well. Also, if the LCD cover gets too scratched up for my taste, I can always replace it with another one for about $20 USD.

Paul
 

Lili

Hall of Famer
Oct 17, 2010
Dallas, TX
Lili
Paul, after much thought I opted to not repair my GRD first gen but rather ordered one of the now discounted-GRD III's.
God help me
 

Isoterica

Hall of Famer
Dec 6, 2011
I stumbled on this article looking for information on the new GRD IV and was impressed with your post. Just saying.. I joined the forum shortly thereafter. My GRD was already on order and until I actually get to try it I won't know if it is the right compact for me however I just wanted to thank you for writing. My camera arrives today so maybe after I put it through some tests I'll post back my impressions. :)
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Jul 15, 2010
SoCal
Bob
great post on a truly great camera line, as soon as my IV arrives today I will have used and still own a GRD I,II, III and IV. I know there are some who think the I is still the best but for me they have done nothing but get better with each new version. It is the camera that is always in my bag, the funny thing to me with the GRD, is even though it shoots fine in color, I never think about using it to shoot color.
 

Lili

Hall of Famer
Oct 17, 2010
Dallas, TX
Lili
I stumbled on this article looking for information on the new GRD IV and was impressed with your post. Just saying.. I joined the forum shortly thereafter. My GRD was already on order and until I actually get to try it I won't know if it is the right compact for me however I just wanted to thank you for writing. My camera arrives today so maybe after I put it through some tests I'll post back my impressions. :)
Welcome the GRD of any version are superb streetshooters and blackand white cameras!
 

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