Thoughts on handling and snap focus
You know how they say that usually part two or three for that matter of any movie is usually not good, or at least not as good as the first one. Well, the Ricoh GR is a testament to that the fifth is the charm. In the weeks to come I’ll be expanding on each question of the poll but I have start somewhere. So far, the poll leading question is on handling (don’t forget to keep voting) and snap focus. So we’ll start with handling. Keep in mind this is a user based review of the Ricoh GR. I don’t do walls nor charts. If you have need to get the specs of the camera help yourself to DPReview.
As soon as you hold the GR, you know you’re holding something special, its just that simple. Its funny because perhaps some of you out there reading this post have never handled a Ricoh GR Digital before and perhaps are even questioning what’s the big deal. Well, the Ricoh GR Digital series is what they call a professional’s compact camera. Everything from its magnesium body frame to the precise position of the buttons have been carefully thought of and are not an after thought like some other manufacturers. If you’ve handled the GRD3 or the GRD4 then you know where I’m going with this. Folks, this feels 1,000,000 times better than the aforementioned GRD’s. Its hard to articulate but I’ll give it my best shot.
The body of the new Ricoh GR is a little bigger than the GRD (from now on, know that I’m referring to the GRD3 and GRD4, when I mention GRD) both horizontally and vertically, not much bigger, but slightly bigger, enough for it to feel, big word coming now, brace yourselves ― perfect. Yes, I said it, it feels just perfect. I can totally see and picture a guy like Gruber sporting one of these in Philly and doing some street photography, nah, he’s not that cool, maybe Marco though, well maybe. If you’ve ever held a GRD, well at least for me, I always felt it was a little small and this is coming from someone who has small hands folks. Envision yourself holding the GRD in horizontal mode one-handed, your there, well that’s exactly what I’m talking about. When you hold the GR in horizontal in the same way it feel awesome, its slightly bigger dimensions are just what the doctor ordered for this professional compact. You’ll remember this post when you get one in your hands.
They buttons are a new type of rubbery material that dampens the pressure when you press on them ― they feel great! The play button is positioned right below the the level that moves exposure compensation (you can program it to do other things as well) and you can see easily, one-handed, press it to review your images or as they say “chimp away”. The macro, fn1, wb, and flash buttons also have that feel to them and just a pleasure to press them, all buttons feel the same. The keys and levers have a very tactile feel to them and overall, I’ll just reiterate that its a home run by designers of GR.
Powering the camera is very snappy. When I walk around, like I did this morning, I sometimes turned off the camera and when I saw something of interest I quickly turned it on and no issues there ― the GR was up to the task every time.
Folks even before you get your Ricoh GR buy yourself an extra battery and a charger that you can plug into the wall socket. The GR comes with a little attachment type of charger that only charges via mini usb. Meaning that in order to charge the camera the battery must be inside the GR, in its regular compartment and plugged into the usb cable and the little black adapter into wall charger. I’ll be ordering mine in the days to come. If I’m not mistaken Amazon has a little kit which comes with the Wasabi DB65 and a wall charger for about $20, which I think its a great deal. I’ve had plenty of experience with Wasabi batteries and they are one of the most reliable 3rd party battery manufacturers.
Snap Focus, well I’ll save that for tomorrow as I’m still testing it out but the images but two bw images with the older gentleman and the couple were both using snap focus at 1 or 1.5 meters. I’ll say this, its no the same as the GRD3 or GRD4, I think slower. Mind you, I could be wrong but its my initial impression. When you press the shutter all the way down fast, enabling snap focus and bypassing the traditional way, this lens take a tad longer to do what it does, so its a matter of timing I think, getting in that zone. I don’t anticipate this being an issue. Talking about AF, its freaking fast during daylight conditions. My Fn1 key was set to activate the ND filter and the FN2 to 35mm crop mode, I love this setup and we’ll probably end up saving it to one of the custom menus. But like a good relationship, getting around all the features and all the combinations needs a little time. My GR came without a user manual and I already contact Pentax-Ricoh to send me one. If you’re an experienced GR or GXR user then you’ll feel at home like I did but its a good idea to brush up on the features to fully extract all the juice out of this compact. Ok, I’ll stop writing, gotta go, see y’all tomorrow or the day after.
PS. The 100% crop in Lightroom out all these images are amazing, this sensor and lens combination is resolving just the right amount of detail.
Strobist, did I say strobist, yes, David and Zack would be proud of me. I switched the GR’s flash setting to manual and powered it down to 1/64 and gave it a negative flash exposure compensation of -2 alongside manual setting for aperture and shutter and triggered an off camera flash and the results were very nice.
Click on any of the images to view them as a gallery in full screen mode. The images a mix of macro, landscape, street photography, and general snap shots.
All images by Jorge Ledesma
I am using the Ricoh GR with Yongnuo YN560iii Flash and YN603c Trigger. Of course I have to set the exposure manually but it works great.
beautiful work !!
Piece of writing writing is also a fun, if you be familiar with afterward
you can write otherwise it is complicated to write.
It’s nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people about this subject, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about!
Could you check the menu language, does it support traditional chinese ?
Hello, when I go to the Language setting on firmware 1.11 this is what I see, hope it helps ― http://cl.ly/image/3D0o3e1d0L3p
Thank you for your rapidly reply.
It’s a pity that there is no chinese support.
Thank you again.
My pleasure, I’ll try to find out why from some people. Stay tuned.
cool…wait for your good news…
Just communicated with my contact, they’re going to find out more information on this.
Did you find out about ability to have Chinese in Menu?
You should be ok, cheers.
Great set, Jorge. You´r hot and going!
You´l soon be able to tell if the GR live up to the expectations. And I think that when the passion cools down, the serene, durable love can begin…
Thanks Antonio, you’re right, this camera, as well as any other passion, takes time. I believe the Ricoh GR is like a good wine, the good ones take time.
Wow. That lens/sensor combo is crossing into Foveon territory. Are you processing JPEGs or DNGs? Any issues with reds? Thanks for posting these shots and commentary!
Thanks, these are all DNG’s, no issues with color either. I’m processing some from today that will blow your mind. This lens / sensor is outstanding!
Jorge, can you please confirm that the ND filter automatically actuates when shutter speeds go past 1/2000 while the aperture is wide open?
I’ll check it out.
Jorge, You mention that snap focus is a bit slower than the previous versions when you’re using the “press through snap” thing where you leave it in AF and just push the button all the way down. What about when you change the focus mode to snap focus directly? Is there still some lag or is it pretty much instant? I had a GRD3 and have a GXR-28 and its pretty much instant with both. The whole “full press snap” thing never worked well for me – I either used too soft a touch and just got stuck at the focus lock step or I pressed too hard and got camera shake. I just assign one of the fn buttons to toggle between snap and AF and its about as quick to switch as I’d ever need – and then in snap I can just press the shutter button normally… But if there’s lag in that process, I’ll have to try it to see if that’s gonna be an issue…
Ray, I had it as “press through snap” while in Tv/Av/TAv. I had the same setup you used while I was on the GRD3/4 and it worked pretty well, I’ll probably adopt on the GR as well or save it to a custom setting. I know exactly what you mean on camera shake. I’ll run some more test tomorrow and report back.
Tomorrow, I hope to get a chance to just select snap focus instead of my usual MF or Spot. Ray, I know you’re well verse on the Lumix side, it would be so cool if the AF area could be controlled and made small or large on a setting, I really think that works super well on compacts.
Yeah, every camera should be able to save a small AF area. Are you sure the GR can’t? The GXR can – I stumbled onto the setting at some point and now I have a very small AF target, but I’ll be damned if I can find the menu item that sets it. But I’d bet the GR has it too, buried in those menus somewhere.
Realistically, I don’t use AF that much with these compact 28mm cams anyway – I tend to use zone focus for anything that’s moving much and for stuff where I can take my time, it doesn’t seem that critical. But its still a nice feature to have…
Yes, the GR has one to make the AF box super small, its called Pinpoint, its like a smaller version of Spot, If you’ve seen spot then its about half of that, the size of the box. I’ve never really use zone focus before on any GRD but I think I’ll try it on the GR and report back. I remember that ZF worked really well on the Lumix LX3 and LX5. Thanks again Ray
You’ve used snap focus – that’s basically just a shortcut to zone focus. So you’ve used it, just by a slightly different name. And a different way of setting the focus distance. I personally slightly prefer a focus ring when I want to change the zone quickly, but snap focus works well enough.
Oh I know but something is happening when you “full press” to activate snap focus from any setting. I almost feel like its a slight delay, don’t quote me but I’ll keep testing it out as I have not had that much time with the GR.
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