From film to digital, Ricoh’s GR series of cameras has been highly regarded by enthusiast photographers. We find out how the latest 10-million-pixel model and its AF system compares

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Ricoh GR Digital IV

Product:

Ricoh GR Digital IV review

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Price as reviewed:

£450.00

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Ricoh GR Digital IV at a glance

  • 10-million-pixel CMOS sensor
  • ISO 80-3200 (equivalent)
  • 1.23-million-dot
  • LCD screen
  • Hybrid AF system
  • expansion mode
  • 28mm (equivalent) f/1.9 lens
  • Street price around £450

Famed for its high-quality lenses, the Ricoh GR series of 35mm compact cameras has been extremely popular with enthusiast photographers since the release of the GR1 in 1996. The GR’s slim design makes it truly pocketable, but it is the camera’s aperture priority and fixed 28mm f/2.8 AF lens that has made it the compact of choice for many discerning photographers.

There have been various revisions of the original GR1 camera, each introducing a new advanced feature, including EV compensation, manual focus and bracketing. In 2005, Ricoh released the first GR Digital model. This 8.13-million-pixel camera owes much of its design to its film predecessors. Two revisions have followed in the form of the 10.01-million-pixel GR Digital II and 10.4-million-pixel GR Digital III. The latter featured a new f/1.9 lens constructed from eight elements in six groups, and it is this lens that forms the basis of the latest in the series, the GR Digital IV.

Features

The basic design of the GR Digital IV is the same as its predecessor, as is its 10-million-pixel, 1/1.7in (approx 7.6×5.7mm or 43mm2) CCD sensor. There have been some improvements to the image processing, though, with the introduction of the new Ricoh GR Engine IV. The company claims this new system has improved colour noise reduction, particularly at higher sensitivities, which has led to an increase in the maximum sensitivity from ISO 1600 in the GR Digital III to ISO 3200 in the GR Digital IV.

There is a wealth of features in the GR Digital IV, and its menu system hosts what must be one of the most comprehensive range of settings found on any compact camera. Among these are full manual, aperture and shutter priority and program exposure modes, DNG raw capture, EV compensation, multiple exposure mode and dynamic range compensation. However, like all other GR compact cameras, it is the lens that is the GR Digital IV’s most defining feature. The fixed 6mm (28mm equivalent) f/1.9 optic has a lot to live up to, but if it performs anything like its predecessors it should be very sharp.

New features to the GR Digital range are image sensor stabilisation, a dual-axis in-camera level and a highly specified, 1.23-million-dot, VGA LCD screen. There is also a new series of auto-bracketing options, but the most intriguing feature is an external AF sensor that works in collaboration with the more conventional contrast-detection AF. More details to come later in this test.

  1. 1. Features
  2. 2. Build and handling
  3. 3. Autofocus
  4. 4. Metering
  5. 5. Dynamic range
  6. 6. White balance and colour
  7. 7. Noise resolution and sensitivity
  8. 8. Viewfinder, LCD, live view and video
  9. 9. Verdict
Page 1 of 9 - Show Full List
  • Andrew Ghim

    I like Sony A77. But I am waiting New Full frame Sony.

    Please let me know Full Informations on It asap.
    by my E-mail Add: aghim@naver.com

    Thanks.

    Andrew.

  • Robert Johnston

    I have found this camera is very impressive in use. There are some innacuracies in the otherwise great AP review. Firstly the peaking function is for focus confirmation only, there is no highlight blowout selection (on my A77 at least – can’t say for the A65). Secondly sensor shift SteadyShot is not used in the video mode. For video, electronic image stabilisation is used instead. It is very effective. Thirdly, I cannot believe that AP did not comment on one very important advantage of there being no mirror. This, combined with an electronic first curtain shutter, means that this camera is quieter than any SLR you have ever used and obviously does not need mirror lock-up.

    The viewfinder is amazing but does take some getting used to. Now I have acclimatised to it I doubt I would go back to an optical one but there are some downsides. The dynamic range of the viewfinder (not the camera) is limited so that in contrasty situations you may not see both the highlights and shadows. A bright sky for example can seem washed out although it will be ok in the file. IMHO the next generation of electronic viewfinders will spell the end of OVFs. Certainly I would prefer the A77 viewfinder to the tiny OVFs of entry level SLRs.

    This camera has a 24mp sensor. Remember this means that to compare the real world noise performance to a camera with fewer pixels is only valid if the final image sizes are the same. Comparing by viewing each at 100% is simply pointless. This is probably not the camera to use if you need ISO 6400 and above, but in return it gives you the most amazingly detailed images at any ISO that you will actually need unless you want it for astro photography. The results from raw files are better than jpeg by the way.

    Finally this camera can do so much so well. For example there is multi-frame noise reduction, panorama mode, video of course and built in HDR modes (although all of these are jpeg only).