My tale of an optical viewfinder on a compact camera Ricoh GRD IV

I thought i’d be satisfied with the stock Ricoh GRD IV shooting photos happily with the LCD screen. Until I looked at my photos and deleting them one by one, even more frustrating is the shutter speed that I shot with the photos; they were more than I could handle 1/10, 1/8 and even slowest 1/4. I could get a sharp shot with my Lumix G3. So what else am i missing?

There’re two factors that caused the handheld shake:

  • Weight of the camera
  • Pose when not using an optical viewfinder

Yes, I went from over 500g to 200g. Seriously i don’t get blur from cellphone…that’s not an issue.. The pose? I have my elbows locked beside my ribcage. It’s steady, i’m darn sure on this. It’s just that I’m not too used to shooting photos this way. I feel like I’m holding a food tray or something. Weird… To shoot photos with a viewfinder becomes my second nature and it does improve my composition quite a bit. Prior to my G3, the last time I used an optical viewfinder was from a cheap Olympus film compact camera. I had no idea how to shoot photos back then (more than 16 years ago). I never understood why many says a viewfinder helps you compose a photo. I was thought the LCD screen in the modern days does everything you need easily, directly, comfortably..without squinting our eyes. My experience on G3 even with the modern Electronic Viewfinder is so unique. I get readings, stats, histogram, other info of what I’m doing while maintaining my focus on what I’m shooting. It’s just nice!

So I trusted my instinct and believed buying an optical viewfinder GV-2 for my compact – Ricoh GRD IV is a right choice. I like the camera obviously. The viewfinder costed me a bunch, ehh..you go check the market price tag and you’d know. It’s not cheap for that tiny piece of accessories. That’s how the camera manufacturers make money these days. The moment i slid it on, it made a huge difference. I immediately felt like I’m not shooting with a compact camera no more. I feel like I’m using more of a camera that I’m accustomed to, with more edge to it. The results I got were surely exactly what I want from the viewfinder. The shake caused by handheld was gone or greatly reduced to acceptable level. The scale is 1:1 on this viewfinder, I get exactly what I aim for in my photo unless I shoot macro (plants, tiny objects).

This little box contains an über expensive gadget

“Seeing is believing” is a bit cheap. I’d say “Testing is believing”. I shot moving vehicles with motion panning. I was able to catch it with my G3. I tried not to use the optical viewfinder to shoot with 10 attempts. They were ALL FAILED. I really thought, man, i suck. I told myself I did it with a G3 before on a viewfinder, I’ll try it out with an optical viewfinder on the Ricoh. Booooom..I performed my first panning shot. I nailed it with the optical viewfinder, and guess what, the GRD IV can do this kind of shot. It’s a nice serious compact camera. Very snappy!

Ricoh GR Digital IV w/ GV-2 optical viewfinder

With the viewfinder pose when shooting photos, I can lower the ISO even when shooting at night without blur. But then you’d ask, how am I get the readings from the LCD screen? Here’s how

I tend to half press to display the shutter speed when I get to an area (let say an alley) i intend to shoot for before hand. I tapping from time to time to get a sense of what ISO i need before shooting unexpectedly.

We always chimp on what I shoot anyway, I get around and got the results I wanted. I ease all my wonders and doubts on a viewfinder without data reading. I can do it, so can anyone!!

Ricoh GR Digital IV w/ GV-2 optical viewfinder

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