Summary: The Ricoh GR is an impressively spec'd camera that we couldn't help but put through our testing. A fairly new brand to the Indian camera scene, Ricoh has on its hands a camera that really could be a winner.
Pros: Very well built, Fast focusing, 35mm crop mode is great, Very low noise even at ISO 3200
Cons: Manual focus is cumbersome, Macro mode doesn't get you very close
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.
Excerpt: The Ricoh GR is a technological marvel as much as it is a camera. if you didn’t know better, you could mistake it for a typical point and shoot. But the GR is more than that. Inside its 225g magnesium alloy body resides a 16.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor that can produce high-quality raw files at 4,928 x 3,264 pixels.
Pros: Sturdy, light, magnesium alloy body. 16.2mp APS-C sensor in a super compact body. Excellent image quality. A plethora of enthusiast features. Excellent menu system and physical controls. Handsome 1,230,000 dot LCD. Excellent Raw files with in-camera Raw processing. High-quality complement to smartphone for travel photography
Cons: Separate battery charger sold separately; must otherwise plug in camera to charge. Movie recording options more basic than functions for still photography. No built-in Wi-Fi. No image stabilisation. JPEGs not as snappy and colourful as the Raw versions. Exposure compensation rocker switch convenient, but prone to accidental changes.
Conclusion: If you've been stroking your chin about buying a fixed focal length compact camera with a large sensor then we're not surprised: the choices in this niche market are limited, while each available option has its limitations. Fortunately the Ricoh GR sits up there among the best of them in - for us it's better than the Nikon Coolpix A on account of its price tag alone.
Pros: Image quality is exceptional, super-sharp lens, well priced considering the competition, plenty of customisation options, f/2.8 aperture, built-in ND filter (also works in auto), converter lenses and hotshoe for optical finder/accessories
Cons: Autofocus can be hit and miss, autofocus in low-light hunts to excess, battery life isn't good enough, no tilt-angle screen rules out waist-level work, limited buffer capacity for burst shooting, clunky manual focus