Ricoh GR Digital II Preliminary Review

004_1172138, originally uploaded by infrar3d.

My lovely wife gave me an early xmas gift, a lightly used Ricoh GR Digital II. I've only had it a few days, but so far it's great. I've had my eye on the Ricoh digitals for a while. I've wanted something decent that would still fit in the pocket of my jeans. I would've rather had the GR Digital III, but this came with the GV-2 mini viewfinder, and both the GW-1 21mm wide angle lens attachment and the GT-1 40mm telephoto lens attachment. So I'm not complaining.

I'm still getting used to it, and haven't quite finished looking at the rather thick owners manual. One thing I wasn't aware of from just reading online reviews, is how good the macro mode is. It's quite useful, even with the 40mm attachment, and likely the only time you'll ever see any bokeh from the lens. Shooting macro with live view on the LCD actually seems easier than using an SLR.

So far I've been shooting mostly in raw, and that's another nice thing about the Ricohs - they shoot raw in Adobe DNG format. The camera also saves a JPG even in raw mode, I'm not sure how to feel about that yet. The raw files seem fairly robust up to about 400 ISO, above that you've really got to watch your light. For example, I took some ISO 800 shots with auto white balance under tungsten light, and was unable to fully correct the yellow cast in Adobe Camera Raw. So far I usually keep the ISO set to Auto-Hi with a cap of 800. The write times aren't blazing fast, and there's only a 1 frame raw buffer, so I'll probably pick up a faster SD card soon. According the the Ricoh Forum, the card to get is a Panasonic 4GB SDHC gold label.

I've been shooting mostly in 3:2 crop format, just because I like it. It also saves a bit of room on the card at 9 megapixels instead of 10. The camera will also shoot in 1:1 square, and it's native 4:3.

It's also very quiet. Combined with it's small size and point-and-shoot demeanor that makes it a very discreet camera.

There will be some challenges getting comfortable with a camera like this versus something with an APS-C or larger sensor. For example the extremely long depth-of-field (which could also be a positive in some cases.) The camera has a 28mm equivalent lens, which is a little shorter than I'm used to. There's also the fact that the files can be a bit harsh, you can easily clip the highlights. Overall though, it seems to be capable of producing interesting images, and I don't think you can currently find anything much better that will fit in a pants pocket.

No comments:

Post a Comment