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
Build and handling
The magnesium body of the GR Digital IV is virtually identical to its predecessor, with the small AF sensor, just above and to the left of the lens, being the only noticeable difference. While the camera’s small size isn’t quite as extreme next to other digital models as the GR1 35mm camera is compared to other film cameras, it is still slim and well contoured. It fits comfortably in a pocket and, with a wealth of different buttons on the back and a control dial just above the front handgrip, it is easy to access and change settings and features.
The live view shooting screen has a huge amount of detailed information about the different modes that are being used. This can be minimised by using the DISP button, but for the most part it is fairly unobtrusive. While the in-camera level isn’t a new feature, it now has the ability to detect front and back tilt, as well as the more conventional side to side.
If I have any complaint about the handling of the camera it is that the menu could benefit from being broken down into more subcategories, and that some of the settings could be grouped together and reordered a little more conveniently. However, there is a My Settings custom menu, which has an extensive set of options to choose from. Once you have decided which options to include in the menu, it is easy to access them by pressing the ADJ button on the rear of the camera.
The rocker switch, which is also on the rear of the camera, is somewhat confusing. This type of button is usually reserved for controlling a zoom lens, and I did find myself, on one occasion, instinctively pressing the button to zoom. Perhaps this is more the case of me nitpicking and having tested a lot of compact cameras, but for a camera without a zoom, the rocker switch is an odd choice of control.
Overall, the Ricoh GR Digital IV handles like a real photographers’ camera, in the same way as its film and digital predecessors. Its design is quite stark and understated, and its menus are as basic-looking as they are comprehensive, so it definitely isn’t a flashy consumer camera.