New Arsenal: Ricoh GR Digital IV

Ricoh GR Digital iV

Welcome my new pistol: Ricoh GR Digital IV. With much of the research, I decided to get it for street photography. I still very much love my Lumix G3, the unsurpassed image quality still kept me shooting with it daily. There’re just times that we need an absolute compact/quiet camera to do random/spontaneous shooting in quiet area. I want to be discret on those situation. If my G3 was a submachine gun, the Ricoh GR Digital IV would be a suppressed assassin pistol.
Ricoh GR Digital iV

I visited DCFever today to get a waist strap. The one i found was Hakuba waist strap that screws into the tripod screw hole. It’s just HKD $58. Pretty cheap for a strap like this and I wanted to try something slightly different. The only downfall is i’ve to unscrew it for the battery/memory card compartment lid. I’m fine with that as the screw is made out of metal = durable.
Ricoh GR Digital iV

Impression:
The initial feel of the camera is that, the surface of is grippy. It’s not as light as I’d have thought – i compare it to Nikon P300. It has so many customizations in settings. The color filters are fun. Focusing is fast enough. It’s quiet (this is arguable, as muted compact cameras are basically the same and I’d been using M4/3 for 3 months now – getting used to the shutter sound).

The learning curve can be steep for someone who knows little about camera. There’s adjustable fixed focusing, manual focusing as well!!! But I still have no clue how to adjust it yet. The 2 customizable function keys are useful, what’s even better is it can be switched up to 4 pairs of function keys. Meaning for instance (1st pair fn1 AE/AF, fn2 ISO – 2nd pair fn1 color filters, fn2 WB, …) There’s a bypass key allow us to switch between them by pushing bypass and rotate the front dial. Very good features so far.

Japanese really knows what the photographers want. The implication I see it this way – Ninjas makes weapon for another ninja. If this camera is designed for street photography, I’d believe it now. When we are shooting, you want to be discret. How about switching off the LCD display/viewfinder by pushing the display button 3 times. Oh..The bright little green LED power on button is lit, can I turn it off? OMFG *&%$#. The answer is yes! That can be done too, so now we have a completely black camera that DOES NOT glow in your hand.

There are just so many things to play with. And all comes from this compact camera.

Ricoh GR Digital iV
f1.9 wide angle prime lens is totally new to me for such small sensor. It’s a wide angle lens, yes..I’d been using M4/3 20mm and 25mm lenses quite extensively. The distancing between subjects has to be reconfigured in my brain again. Prime Lens most of the time guarantees us quality.
Ricoh GR Digital iV

Image Quality:
I could only play with it after work at night with the sky completely dark. I tested it with super high ISO 800-1600. It gets really noisy and really easy to get blurred. Not like how it advertised large aperture, shake compensation, etc. Perhaps I’m still new to it. The contrast of the images i found are quite weak, it has much to do with the high ISO. Color loss is significant. For a compact camera is okay, acceptable. It can be better though. I’ll be posting photos later on. The above comment is based on the AF auxiliury light being turned off. Sharpness might improve if I have it turned it back on. Further testing still needed..

Now I should appreciate my Lumix G3  even more. The performance in dim light for M4/3 is reasonably great. I’d been getting sharp images i want most of the time with it.

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