So I’m testing the Ricoh GRD4 and actively thinking what are the appreciable differences between this model and the Ricoh GRD3.
By appreciable I mean things that on a day to day basis will make your user experience that much better than the previous model. If you’re a jpeg shooter, then you’ll love the various effects the Ricoh GRD4, two of my favorites being Color Process and Bleach. Those two give you a certain kind of look that is a little bit difficult to get in Lightroom but yet again I don’t think I would shoot RAW and then go through the trouble of trying to make a preset to match those two.
Without a doubt the GRD4 trumps the GRD3, no questions asked. I shot the GRD3 for 3 years and there are appreciable differences between then ― it just works great. I think its worth highlighting here the 1-area AF feature of the Lumix LX5 and LX7 (I don’t remember if my now gone LX3 had it) which is totally awesome because it you can change the width of the AF by differences sizes. I personally used X Large, put that square in the middle and shot away after setting up Zone Focus. Why do I mention that here ? Well, because one of the areas that shine in the GRD3 and GRD4 is the Snap Focus features which gives you something similar but Ricoh varies it by distance instead. It works relatively well and the number of keepers in various street shooting scenarios is always ok, sometimes great and other times not but, I’ll just say perfect practice makes perfect, but the Lumixs’ are not far behind, if at all, via Zone Focus.
I’ll just say that I wished the GRD3 had it. You can shoot at 1/9 sec, steady of course, and your Macros will come out fine with nice detail in the overall image.
Honestly, its the same and once I’m done with either images(GRD4 or GRD3) they look the same to me and that of course is expected but poses a larger question to current GRD3 owners looking to upgrade to a GRD4 or the newly released Ricoh GR. Well, that all depends on your wallet and how much are you willing to spend on a compact camera. I’ll say this, if you’re a GRD3 owner in a budget and don’t have the funds to pony up for a new GR, then get a GRD4 at a discounted price and you’ll have some slight improvements in features but your IQ will be about the same, perhaps some sharper files with the IS at lower shutter speeds, images that you wouldn’t normally take with your present GRD3 but all of a sudden are now possible.
I mean if you’ve been shooting the GRD3 for a few years, perhaps, its getting a little beat up already, and you’ve the sound decision to stay with Ricoh, then by all means get the GRD4 and enjoy a few more years of image making, its a fine camera, and I’m sure you’ll be happy with your upgrade. Now, if you have some disposable income or not so disposable and you want to go all out, then the Ricoh GR all of a sudden becomes your dream Ricoh. What’s not to like, APS-C sensor and one helluv of sensor I must say. If you’ve shoot the Nikon D7000, D5100, Pentax K5(and the newer ones) then you know its banging sensor and it just screams out in the IQ department. But now of course, there is also the Nikon Coolpix A which is rocking as well with the same sensor and things get interesting but I’ll wait to see what Ming says about the whole thing soon enough.
Decision, decisions, I tell you what though, put an APS-C sensor on an LX7 or the upcoming Ricoh GX 300 with an APS-C and I’ll be in heaven. For me, sometimes the 28mm FOV is not the end all be all in the compact department. I always wanted to try the GX 200 but in 2013 it doesn’t make any sense to me to acquire one. Sometimes, I like to have a bit more reach but nothing is perfect and the in the 28mm department the Ricoh’s do well.