Ricoh GR Announcement

Today, Pentax-Ricoh announced a new high-end compact camera. Not someone you’d call a conventional camera manufacturer (neither Ricoh nor Pentax, for that matter), the new camera seems extremely tempting, especially considering its price. Ricoh GR features a 16.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and a fixed 18.3mm f/2.8 lens (equivalent to 28mm on a full-frame camera), and will set you back around $800. At least on paper, it seems to be targeting potential Fujifilm X100s buyers, only with a couple of features missing and at a considerably lower price. Another (even more) direct competitor is the Nikon Coolpix A, which is also much more expensive.

Ricoh GR Announced

Specifications and Commentary

As I have already mentioned, a 16.2 megapixel APS-C sensor is at the heart of this new compact camera, which is in line with its closest competition, the Fujifilm X100s and Nikon Coolpix A. Following the same decision made by several other manufacturers so far, the camera does not have an AA filter. While I strongly believe 35mm (full-frame equivalent) focal length to be the most flexible when it comes to prime lenses, 28mm (full-frame equivalent) focal length in the case of Ricoh GR is likely to be appreciated by street photographers just as much. You may find f/2.8 to be somewhat slow for a fixed lens, but the Ricoh GR compensates by being very small and potentially capable in low light thanks to the ISO range of 100-25600. Even though you should take “paper” specs with a grain of salt, modern sensors, even smaller ones, seem to do rather well up to very high sensitivities in noise department. There’s no reason to think Ricoh GR will be sub-par in this regard or, at least, one can’t be blamed for hoping.

You will notice that the Ricoh GR lacks a viewfinder – arguably the biggest selling point of Fujifilm’s X100s. However, you can forgive Ricoh for such an omission once you take the price and size into consideration. You can purchase an external optical viewfinder for around $250. It may seem steep, but still nowhere near the $450 price of Nikon Coolpix A’s external OVF. Two optical viewfinders will be available: GV-1, which is a 21/28mm full-frame equivalent that can be used with wide-angle converter; and GV-2, which is tiny and meant for standard 28mm full-frame equivalent angle of view.

Ricoh GR may be an alternative to X100s, but several key features are completely different (like the mentioned viewfinder omission and a wider lens). As it happens, though, the Coolpix A has almost exactly the same specifications and also puts a lot of emphasis on its tiny size. The thing is, Ricoh manages to beat most, if not all, Coolpix A specs on paper and is much, much cheaper. Nikon compact will set you back around $1100, which means GR is cheaper even with the external OVF. We have said it before and will say it again – Nikon needs to reconsider its pricing policy for the Coolpix A. On paper, I see no reason why someone would buy it over the GR, which seems to be just as good and is just as small. Time will tell, of course, as features don’t tell the whole story. One thing is clear – Pentax-Ricoh wants the new GR to be a success.

Other specs include 4 frames per second continuous shooting, built-in ND filter, shutter speed of up to 1/4000s and the now almost class-standard hybrid AF system. There’s also a sharp 3″ LCD screen with 1.23 million dots and the usual Full HD 1080p/30 video mode. Pocket-friendly size and tough build quality is probably GR’s biggest strengths, though.

Here is the (official) main highlights list:

  • 16 Megapixel APS-C size CMOS Image Sensor
  • GR ENGINE V & Anti-Aliasing filterless Design
  • Newly designed, 9 blade diaphragm, 28mm F2.8 lens
  • High Speed Auto Focus System with Continuous shooting
  • Designated AF (auto focus) & Aperture Preview buttons
  • Pocket-sized compact with portable design
  • Large 3-inch, 1.23 Million Dot LCD Screen
  • Capture Standard JPG or DNG RAW
  • ISO up to 25600
  • Flexible Shooting Modes
  • Full 1080p h.264 HD video recording
  • Eye-Fi Card Compatible
  • Dual-axis electronic level
  • Image Effects & Macro Mode
  • 35mm Crop Mode
  • It’s tiny!

The short comparison between Ricoh GR, Fujifilm X100s and Nikon Coolpix A is based purely on specifications. We hope to get these cameras for thorough reviews in the coming months.

Official Press Release

Here is the official press release:

Denver, CO (April 16, 2013) — PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION today announced the RICOH GR, an ideal blend of image quality, camera size and price; setting a new benchmark for the advanced compact camera category. The new RICOH GR camera features an APS-C-sized CMOS image sensor delivering shallow depth of field, exceptional low-light performance and a wide dynamic range for remarkable images across a wide variety of shooting styles.

Remaining true to the heritage of the multi- award-winning RICOH GR Digital series the new Ricoh GR camera combines compact size with outstanding performance. Featuring a 16 megapixel, APS-C-sized CMOS sensor, no low-pass filter and a completely redesigned optical path the GR is built for superb image performance. The newly developed and optimized 18.3mm (28mm in 35mm format) F2.8 lens compactly provides high-resolution, wide-angle images with stunning edge-to-edge sharpness all while minimizing chromatic aberration and distortion. The camera’s category-leading, nine-blade aperture diaphragm produces a rounded bokeh effect across a wide range of apertures.

Advanced capabilities of the sensor and lens are supported by a newly developed GR ENGINE V imaging processor which optimizes high-sensitivity shooting to ISO 25600 minimizing noise, producing accurate, color-rich images. Finally, a newly designed lens driving mechanism and optimized AF algorithm combined with faster data readout speeds from the image sensor provide a high-speed auto focus system that can focus on a subject in a mere two-tenths (0.2) of a second. A super quick start-up time of approximately one second ensures photographers are guaranteed a speedy capture ready camera in even the most fleeting scenarios; making the RICOH GR the ideal companion camera at a fraction of the size of a DSLR.

“The introduction of the RICOH GR marks a new standard of confidence in the compact camera segment,” said Jim Malcolm, Executive Vice President, PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICA. “The RICOH GR camera’s unparalleled set of robust features and hardware completely redefines what can be expected from a compact camera.”

In keeping with its advanced functionality the GR also offers a range of helpful features common to DSLRs like in-body RAW-data development and a dedicated depth of field preview button to aid in accurate image framing and quick inspection of focus prior to capturing an image. Additionally, the GR boasts full 1080p HD video recording capabilities replete with continual AF during video capture creating sharply-focused, high-quality video output.

Instantaneous photo and video sharing is now a breeze with the GR’s optimized Eye-Fi SD card compatibility. Built-in menus allow the user to easily enable automatic transmission of images and video to a smartphone for rapid sharing. Users can even select favorite images and resize them before transmission.

For consumers seeking additional creative expression, RICOH offers an optional wide-angle conversion lens extending coverage to 21mm. The new GR is also compatible with the full range of accessories already offered for the preceding GR Digital line of cameras including viewfinders, flashes, lens hoods and adapters and more.

Pricing and Availability

The new GR advanced digital compact camera provides incredible value with a category-low cost of $799.95 and will be available at retail outlets nationwide and online in May 2013.

Pre-Order Information

As always, we trust B&H more than any other reseller when it comes to photographic gear purchases. If you find Ricoh GR a suitable camera for you, please use our pre-order links for your purchase. It won’t cost you any more, but will help us keep Photography Life website running at its best. Thank you!

  • Click here to buy the new Ricoh GR compact camera for $796.95

Comments

  1. 1
    ) David B
    April 16, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    I am (and many others, judging from reading on various forums) are more excited about today’s Fuji announcements, not so much 55-200 but the updated roadmap. I am talking about 56/1.2 lens that is now supposed to come out in Jan of 2014. That can’t come fast enough

  2. 2
    ) Robert
    April 17, 2013 at 4:48 am

    It has lots of sizzle, great features EXCEPT, where is the GPS ? Even the most basic “smartphone” camera features a GPS. I could not even consider buying it without it. It is bad enough that my $3,000.00 Nikon D800 did not include it.

  3. April 17, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Sorry, but it isn’t a competitor to the Fuji X100(s).
    No aperture ring, no optical viewfinder, no electronic viewfinder, no exposure compensation dial, f/2.8 vs f/2.0, …

    But for this price and at only 245g, it could be a very interesting camera nonetheless.

    • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin
      4
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 17, 2013 at 8:39 am

      Eric,

      X100s doesn’t have direct competitors as of today. GR is as close to being one as any. With that in mind, I can see how plenty of users would choose between the two – a viewfinder and a faster lens for more, or a much more pocketable body for quite a bit less. Both cameras will attract casual shooters as well as street photographers looking for a high quality compact camera, for example. Which, the way I see it, makes the two competitors.

  4. 5
    ) Chris Zeller
    April 17, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I am very encouraged by the speed with which these new large sensor compacts are arriving. Right now these are still expensive specialist cameras with fast fixed focal length lenses–true street photographer cameras. It won’t be long before these are more affordable and offer the flexibility of a zoom. I look forward to replacing my Canon S100 with one of these (with a zoom). This makes much more sense in my opinion as a second camera to a DSLR than mirrorless ever did. A DSLR shooter needs a small camera with creative capabilities for active sports and parties and this is the right size. A zoom even at the expense of some IQ would be a nice addition. This to me is the future of the compact camera in a smartphone world.

  5. April 17, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    I’ve been following these cameras lately from everyone and for my needs nothing beats a Fuji X100S up till today ,I’d rather get a Canon S 100 PnS if size matters or I don’t need a VF (which I do need indeed).
    On my short trips where I’ve got less time for PGy ,I tried dragging 3 cameras and 5 lenses in a backpack and was only managed to get 300+ pictures with only one camera and one zoom.
    Even the film camera came home with only 11 pictures :)
    To whichever type of camera market and buyers it is aimed at it will be just another camera nothing else.
    Nikon could have won over Fuji by putting a VF and Fuji type design and a D7000 filter with no AA filter.
    I wonder if they are on pot when they are thinking of introducing cameras like this :) and none of these shoot with high power batteries which is not a weight problem, at least 800+ shots would be nice.
    Sony RX1 much is better technically only in IQ but if you put the optional $500 VF I think I read that the flash can’t pop out. well,so much for rich man’s toy.
    And all of them are much more emphasizing on video and calling it a DSC (Digital “still” camera) …uffff!

    Apart from their culture ,Japanese are very intelligent ppl. when they entered into car making ,after a while in medium size sedan they came up with a great Toyota Royal Saloon and most good things n features were taken from top German ,British and American cars of that time in much less price and was admired as a better car in many developing countries and took a good chunk of their sales and in some countries completely took over the market.

    Thanks Romanas :)
    Cheers!

    • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin
      7
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 18, 2013 at 12:35 am

      Adnan,

      considered an X20? :)

      • April 18, 2013 at 1:01 am

        LOL … yeah right :)
        Never bothered to check it’s specs … out of the frying pan, into the fire ,I’m really annoyed at Fuji why can’t they put a FX sensor into X100 type design ,they make HUGE large format lenses and are very good at sensor making ,they really can put Leica out of business and that 20% increase in film price is another strategy or they might be forcing film shooters to get ready for a surprise …who knows …I just ordered 1 K of Fuji 400H Pro film to freeze anyway :)

        BTW ,what is your fav. B/W Neg. film ?

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