Excerpt: Large sensors in small cameras! Remember those ads for diamonds that promised that good things come in small packages? The Ricoh GR packs a large APS-C sensor , with a fixed focal length lens that is both small and sharp, built into what might just seem like an ordinary point-and-shoot pocket camera, but instead can often outperform its full-sized DSLR larger cousins.
Conclusion: The Ricoh GR fits a niche - enthusiast photographers wanting a wide-aperture pocketable camera - and does so very well. The Ricoh GR provides DSLR image quality in a camera that's one of the most customizable models out there. Ricoh, long popular in Asia, has burst onto the U.S. market in a big way with this aggressively priced and engaging model.
Pros: Excellent image quality, Great customization options, Sharp, high-quality images, Easy to use
Cons: Macro focusing isn't automatic, No viewfinder included
Conclusion: Although we have seen prints of a couple of impressive sample images from Ricoh, we will reserve judgement about the image quality until we have shot some pictures. However, Ricoh has a reputation for producing cameras that capture plenty of detail, with a tendency to reveal some noise. Our only reservation at this point is the file write times. We hope that the production sample will make shooting in raw format, or raw and JPEG format, a realistic proposition.
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Conclusion: As much as we like to save money, the Coolpix A is a better overall camera than the Ricoh GR. The Nikon’s images are sharper and colors more accurate. The fact the Coolpix has built-in image stabilization while the GR does not is definitely a factor. Also the lack of a focus ring takes away half the fun of shooting with an enthusiast camera. The Ricoh can take solid photos with enough light but in dim settings it doesn’t have the ISO chops of the Nikon.
Pros: Compact size, large APS-C sensor, 28mm prime lens, Solid photos with enough light, Extensive controls and customization
Cons: No focus ring on lens, Dual mics are mono, No built-in image stabilization, Noisier than main competitor
Conclusion: When we first picked up the GR, we didn't think its tiny, plastic body would hold a candle to its beefy competition, such as the leather and metal X100s or the large bodied super zooms. But boy, we were wrong. The GR is an incredibly well thought out camera, with simple operation, and a no-frills construction that has great image quality and great ease of use. The prime f/2.8 28mm lens provides good sharpness and contrast to the 16.2 effective megapixel sensor.
Conclusion: If you're a fan of large sensors and fixed prime lenses, things are really starting to look up for you. For years, your selection of cameras has been fairly limited. This year, that's finally changed, with the debuts in quick succession of the Nikon Coolpix A and Ricoh GR. Both companies have clearly had the same photographer in mind with their creations, and on paper the two cameras are incredibly hard to separate.
Pros: Good ergonomics, Light and compact for its lens and sensor size, Well-suited to single-handed shooting, Extremely (!!) customizable, Sharp, detailed images, Very good high ISO performance, Excellent dynamic range in RAW files, Excellent f/2.8 lens, with built-in ND filter, Low lens distortion (with no correction performed by processor), Fast autofocus, Very good low-light focusing (though can be slow), Very fast prefocused shutter lag, Bright, vivid RGBW LCD monitor, ...
Cons: Good ergonomics, Light and compact for its lens and sensor size, Well-suited to single-handed shooting, Extremely (!!) customizable, Sharp, detailed images, Very good high ISO performance, Excellent dynamic range in RAW files, Excellent f/2.8 lens, with built-in ND filter, Low lens distortion (with no correction performed by processor), Fast autofocus, Very good low-light focusing (though can be slow), Very fast prefocused shutter lag, Bright, vivid RGBW LCD monitor, ...
Summary: The Ricoh GR is quite a special camera; a pocketable compact that benefits significantly from its APS-C sensor. Comparisons will naturally be drawn with Nikon’s Coolpix A , which currently commands an asking price around £400 more, and testing the two side-by-side shows the GR to either equal or better it in most areas.
Pros: Light weight yet solid build; Consistent sharpness across frame; Great shot-to-shot times; Speedy AF
Cons: Slightly warm AWB; Disappointing video quality; Sensitive metering system; JPEG noise reduction too harsh