I’ve been a fan of Ricoh’s digital cameras for a few years now. It started with the Ricoh GX200. I immediately fell in love with the camera because of a few standout reasons. At the time, and I believe to this day, there is no other compact camera that is as comfortable and secure in the hand as these Ricohs. The simplicity of the menu is something that all other manufactures can learn from and I’ve owned and operated Canons, Nikons, Olys, Panasonics, Sonys and Leicas. The Leica’s menu (M8 and M9) is pretty straight forward too, but there are so few options and parameters to change it would be pretty hard to complicate it. Along with the excellent feel in the hand, the buttons, dials and switches are thoughtfully placed and have excellent feel with positive feedback. Finally, that Ricoh lens is quite stunning. Sharp across the frame, good contrast and very little distortion.
By far the weakest point of my previous GX200 was its sensor. Of course that was years ago and technology has moved on considerably, but even for the time the sensor was lagging behind its competitors in anything but perfect lighting conditions. Thankfully all of this has changed.
A review of the GX200 could easily stand in for a review of the GR in every way mentioned above except for the part about the sensor which is a very, very good thing. I hope that Ricoh knows that ever other aspect of the previous generations was perfect with the exception of the sensor. Ricoh has worked hard to shove a relatively huge APS-C sized sensor in a body roughly the same size as all their previous compact bodies. It makes what was a fantastic line of compact cameras even better.
Subjectively speaking, it’s a beautiful piece of equipment as well. A flat black, textured surface and a rubberized grip with nothing shiny on the camera make in quite the stealthy, unassuming piece of gear. If you’re looking for a flashy camera that says hey look at me this is not the camera for you.
I’ll talk about the performance of the camera in a later piece, but right now I’ll let the photos do all the talking.