Ricoh GR II Review

The Ricoh GR II –– I’ve been using and loving this camera for years and it’s about time I write about it. I’ll try to avoid the usual review format –– the specifications are everywhere in the web anyway, this is a 3 years old camera after all. I’ll be focusing instead on my direct experience as a photographer.

I was introduced to this camera like many others — admiring the work of Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, who created an impressive opus of work using prevalently the GR, in both its film and digital version.

Bergman, is it you?

This is indeed a camera with roots that go back to 1996 when the first film GR was released. It transitioned from film to digital while keeping its original concept and design: a practical & compact 28mm f2.8 camera with high class optics. This heritage and commitment to a good idea is also part of what makes it so dear to many, in an era where camera makers keep chasing new trends and updating models every 6 months.

This book somewhat lead to my discovery of the GR. The first photo with the GR had to to be this then!
The Ricoh GR is a wonderful camera for capturing spontaneous moments.

Moriyama is both a blessing and a limit for the GR. While it’s true his work popularised the camera, it’s also true it induced many to just try and copy what he did — super contrasted black and white photography, with a prevalent attention to street photography.

The little marvel Inna is using is the Pentax Q-S1. The next review for the blog?

I think this approach to the GR is limiting, but I understand it. There’s no denying his work touches some primal notes in the mind of a photographer, and that’s why he is considered a master after all.

I have always been a fan of very hi-contrast B&W.

I remember watching a video with someone talking about the Ricoh. He said –– joking –– that he bought the Ricoh and started running around taking photos as if he was Daido Moriyama, the wild street dog etc, and that all of his photos turned out to be terrible. I felt this joke was spot on. It made me realize the danger of turning into a stereotype. Just like people buying a Leica and thinking they will magically turn into Cartier-Bresson.

Finding an empty beach in August is not easy.

To say it all, Leica built its modern fortune on this myth. A couple of very important photographers used it in the past, and thousands of irrelevant photographers are buying a Leica today because they think this will make them and their random snapshots special.

I love this portrait. Crazy rain happened right after shooting. Too bad the GR is not weather sealed!

I understood I had to use the Ricoh in my own way and try to accomplish my artistic vision. Moriyama is unique and he depends on his own culture. You can’t be Moriyama in Italy. You can’t be Moriyama in 2019. Unless you are Moriyama, and even then, it is not easy. 

Some macro-ish detal..

The Ricoh GR is much more than a Moriyama cosplay accessory. It is a marvelous versatile camera with superb optics. It is compact and yet it features an APS-C sensor. Its ergonomics and user interface are unmatched.

..and one more.

The whole camera is usable with just one hand, all the controls are in the right spot, you can configure it the way that better fits your shooting style.

Another legendary compact camera I love.

I always had a soft spot for compact cameras with good glass on them. The first camera I started bringing with me always was the Olympus Mju-2 in 1998 –– how much I loved that camera! I still use it from time to time.

Then I discovered the Soviet rangefinders –– Kiev 4, Zorki 4 & Fed 2 were my favorite though I ended up collecting tens of them –– but in meantime another jewel from the Soviet era ended up being my everyday camera, taking the spot from the Olympus: the classic Lomo LC-A, of course.

The Olympus had a 35mm, the LC-A had a 32mm.. I didn’t know but I was already slowly moving toward the 28mm!

There is much in common between these three cameras: they are compact, with very good optics, wonderfully built. They propose a definite shooting philosophy and became cult items.

Instagram is filled with self proclaimed influencers and honest young lovers of film shooting with the Mju2 even today, while the LC-A was the genesis of Lomography movement & company, which is what brought us the filters hype and everything that came with it, Instagram included.

Most people don’t fully realise the way we experience and share photography today has a lot to do with these little cameras, especially the LC-A. The arrival of smartphones applied its influence on a path that started with cameras like these.

I don’t use the Olympus nor the LC-A so often anymore. Digital changed the way I work for clients and I like its advantages even for my personal photography. I love film but I don’t think it is purer than digital nor better.

From an objective point of view, digital reached a point where it surpassed 35mm film photography in terms of quality –– and yet we often want to mimic the imperfect look of film. It is clear there is something unique and beautiful in film: this could be the topic for another post.

A portrait on location. High ISO is not where the GR shines, but this ISO 1600 was still managed decently. A Leica M9 would do quite worse.
More architecture, same villa as before.
I love the Positive Film effect. Most of the times it requires no editing at all.
Living room in the same villa. The GR is an amazing tool for pre-visualising.

Some will find the fixed 28mm equivalent a limitation. Not me, since this happen to be my favorite focal length.

It’s interesting to see what is happening in the world when it comes to focal lengths. For quite long the 50mm has been considered a lens that lacked personality. I still hear this nonsense from time to time –– as if the personality of photograph could be dictated solely from the focal length used.

From a fashion set where I used both the Nikon D850 and the Ricoh GR.

Maybe it is because of my film days, when most of my rangefinders had a 50mm on them, but I do like shooting 50mm, it makes me happy. My favorite lens on the Nikon D850 right now is the Tamron 45mm 1.8 SP VC –– wonderful lens, I will review it sooner or later. I may occasionally shoot 85mm for some portraits, if necessary. I always found 35mm quite boring and probably too close to 50mm. I use much wider lenses for most of my architectural works. But when it comes to the focal I love — that’s 28mm.

The GR has excellent macro capabilities. Positive Film, straight out of camera.
One more macro. Positive Film, straight out of camera.

For this reason the Ricoh GR is a sort of dream came true. It has everything I could ever want in a camera. My favorite focal length, superb optics, great image quality, perfect ergonomics and interface, it fits in my pocket, it sends the photos to my mobile devices and it lets me compose with a big bright LCD.

I don’t like viewfinders anymore. They do have a use, but most of the time I prefer shooting with a screen. It reminds me of shooting with my 6×6 film pit cameras. I don’t want to separate myself from the reality I’m into. And I find it much funnier to compose when using a nice screen, even better if with a preview of exposure and tones.

I just can’t get myself to appreciate EVF. I can’t forget for a single moment I am keeping a tiny screen 1cm from my eye. Why should I do that when I can use a much bigger screen and have it at a more comfortable distance from my face?

Positive Film, straight out of camera.
Positive Film, straight out of camera.
Positive Film, straight out of camera.

This brings us to another great feature of the GR: its film simulations. They are simply wonderful. My favorite ones are the Moriyama like filter (called “Hi-Contrast B&W”), the slide simulation (called “Positive Film”) and the classic Black & White. There are also other usual suspects like Cross Process, Bleach Bypass, Retro, High Key, HDR Tone, and more exotic ones like Miniaturize or Shift Crop. They are all customisable with a bunch of parameters and they are useful and inspiring.

Positive Film, straight out of camera.

My GR is always set in Hi-Contrast B&W, Black & White or Positive Film and I shoot DNG + JPG for this reason. The filter allows me to study the scene with the tones and contrasts I have in mind. Most of the time I love the jpeg result and I do few to no edits, but I still have the DNG raw file if I need.

A great sunset I witnessed during some model shooting.
I am not a fan of landscape photography, I confess.
I love my island, there are countless magic places like this one. Positive Film, straight out of camera.

The Ricoh is also a very nice landscape camera, being the 28mm a focal that works quite fine with this subject. Putting the 21mm converter on it makes it even better. The quantity and quality of details is amazing, especially if you keep ISO low and put the camera on a nice tripod.

Long exposure at night.

I won’t go too deep into the options the GR offers you. I will just say that it offers plenty and you can customise it and shoot it pretty much in any way you like. It has an integrated ND filter (2 stops) if you want to use it. You can bracket everything you can think of, from exposure to filters to white balance to contrast and more. You can sync the flash to every shutter speed thanks to its leaf shutter. I love leaf shutters.

Positive Film, straight out of camera.

I experimented with various shooting modes and I am feeling more comfortable with Manual mode and occasionally with the TAv mode: when in TAv I just spot meter and change aperture and shutter speed if needed. The camera sets the ISO for me, using the Hi-Auto value ranging from 100 to a maximum ISO of 3200.

Positive Film, straight out of camera.

The Ricoh is at its best sharpness from f4 to f8, so that is where I prefer to keep it. The minimum shutter speed I like to consider is 1/60, even if you can successfully shoot sharp static scenes at 1/30. So I usually set the camera at f4 and 1/60 or 1/125 and let the TAv set the ISO depending on where I did meter. Sometimes I need to bring down the aperture to f2.8 which is the largest it gets –– and just to be clear, at 2.8 the sharpness is already excellent. High ISO is fine in BW but it is better to stay under 1600 for color photography. 

Of course I could shoot faster if thinking with a film mindset –– setting the ISO to let’s say 800 and never changing it, ignoring exposure compensation and only changing aperture and shutter speed to get as close as possible to the optimal exposure. Maybe even use zone focus instead of autofocus. This would be faster indeed but it would not allow me to maximise the quality.

If I could manage to shoot a photo at 100 or 200 ISO why do I have to stay on 800? It is not only about noise, it is about dynamic range. High ISO means lower dynamic range. I don’t want to sacrifice details and dynamic range for the luxury of shooting slightly faster. That’s why I find Eric Kim advice of setting the camera at ISO 1600 or 3200 and shooting in aperture priority not a very wise one.

Positive Film, straight out of camera.

The camera has a decent autofocus and a customisable zone focus system that is also usable together with the AF, thanks to something Ricoh calls “snap focus”. It’s simple and effective: if you focus by half pressing the shutter button, the camera uses AF. If you press the shutter fast without half step, the camera uses the zone focus you selected. Perfect for street shooters in a hurry, though I rarely use it.

Behind the scenes for a video I shot

Talking about street shooters: is this a camera made only for street photography? It would seem so, watching the countless reviews on YouTube. They all say the same stuff over and over again. You watch one, you saw them all. Street photography, snap focus, Moriyama. I believe this is not respectful for what this camera can do. While it’s certainly correct to say the GR is perfect for street photography, it’s also correct to note how it can be used for every kind of photography you can deal with in 28mm — which is most of the photography, in my opinion.

The GR has a leaf shutter so you can plug it to any flash system and enjoy syncing at every shutter speed.
Using an external flash can make the GR lens shine. Black and White effect, straight out of camera.

I use the GR for architecture, for portraits on location, for studio portraits, for abstract photography, for events. It is an excellent camera and its image quality is among the best. Yes it looks like a compact point and shoot, and it also could work as a point and shoot — but it is much more.

It’s revealing to see the face of clients when I momentarily put aside the Nikon D850 and pick up the Ricoh GR. They think it is a toy. Proving them wrong is a great conversation topic. I shot many photos with Ricoh and sold them to satisfied costumers –– no client ever complained.

I briefly mentioned before that there is a 21mm converter: it is called GW-3 and it is a 0.75x converter. Mount it on the GR and it indeed becomes my third favorite focal length, 21mm (the second is 50mm as you may have guessed).

The 0.75x focal length converter GW-3

The quality of the GW-3 is impressive, both as construction and as optical features. It is a heavy piece of glass and metal. I am not a fan of focal length converters but this is an exception. It makes the GR even better for landscape and architecture or for experimental portraits, without reducing the native image quality and famous lens sharpness.

The GH-3 filter mount with an HOYA Pro1-Digital UV filter on it, plus the optional hood.

What about the dust? If you know anything about this camera, you heard about the fact that it could have issues with dust entering and going on the sensor. This depends on the fact that the lens is collapsible and it sucks dust when closing down. There are a couple of strategies for managing this:

  • be very careful when retracting the lens (aka turning off the camera)! This is the basic advice. I suggest you to turn off the GR with the lens pointing down, to get some help from gravity in keeping dust away. A very weak help considering the situation, but still a help!
  • avoid extending the lens if not necessary: for watching the photos you shot you can turn the GR on by keeping pressed for a moment the PLAY button, and turn the camera off pressing PLAY once more –– awesome feature!
  • avoid putting the camera in pockets or bags that are not clean, because dust will get on the camera, ready to be sucked in..
  • use the GH-3 filter mount plus a very good quality UV filter. This way you are separating the lens from the outside, so when it sucks back air, it can’t gather dust. Of course this is also valid if you mounted the GW-3 focal converter. My GR mounts the GH-3 or GW-3 most of the time, I guess that’s why I never had dust issues in 2 years or so.

My advice is to just be reasonably careful and shoot and enjoy the camera. Dust is generally removable with a singe click in Photoshop or Lightroom anyway. A bit of dust is not an issue. The issue is when there is a LOT of dust! In that case you should send the camera to get cleaned in some tech lab that offers the service, or if you are brave (crazy?) enough you can try to open the GR and clean it yourself. There are videos on YouTube showing how to do it.

From a fashion shooting at the beach.

The lens of the GR is a work of art. It is one of the sharpest and more pleasing 28mm lenses existing. We are in Leica Summilux territory, and I am quite familiar with Leica glass. This 28mm is just amazing and it shows what you can do when you build a very cohesive and well thought camera.

The kind of batteries I use. Original on right, compatible on left.

What about the battery life? It depends on your usage but I found it to be decent. Just buy a bunch of batteries and you are good to go for long photo sessions. I have both original and third parties batteries and they both behave fine. They are charged inside the camera, plugging it to the electricity with a wall charger.

It’s interesting we complain if we have to change battery every 300 shots, when not so long ago we had to change the 120 film every 12 shots or the 135 film every 24 or 36! And changing roll was not as fast as changing a battery, anyway.

Shooting architecture in very High ISO B&W.

There is an app for smartphones and tablets — a web app actually, called GR Remote — and it lets us move jpg or DNG to our devices, via Wi-Fi. The fact that it lets us move the raw file is quite unique. This means you can shoot and the edit raw on the go, without touching a computer and producing very high quality images. The GR + iOS + Lightroom CC combination is letting me enjoy photography on the go in a new, happier way.

Portrait on location.

Some people can’t just understand this camera. They complain because it lacks some technology they think is important — because the marketing department of some other camera brand told them so. They can’t understand the beauty of 28mm and are convinced it is a useless focal length — I wonder how could Jeanloup Sieff, Daido Moriyama, William Klein, Antonin Kratochvil, Bill Brandt and many more create such amazing photography then, using mostly 28mm.

Portrait on location.

Who says 28mm is useless only shows a lack of knowledge or appreciation for the fact that some of the most gifted and revolutionary photographers worked mostly with this focal length.

Portrait on location.

There is no universally better focal length of course, because we all need to find something that works for who we are and for what we have to shoot, but to say that 28mm is useless is just stupid. I don’t like 35mm and I find it has no place in my camera bag, but I would never assume it is useless. Ok, let’s get back to the GR.

Some find the GR to look comical with the GH-3 and lens hood mounted, but I think it looks quite sexy instead!
On the side we find the Effect button, that turns on the Wi-Fi is pressed and held down, plus the control for opening the flash.

The GR is made in metal for the most. It is light, small, very well built. It is not a super cheap camera as you would expect, and that’s fine. This is a professional quality camera with the form factor of a point and shoot. It eclipses any smartphone in terms of quality, but modern smartphones have much better software control of noise levels, thanks to computational photography. The GR is not a high iso monster. It is still not worse than a Leica M9, mind you!

Nowadays everyone has a smartphone in their pockets, and these smartphones are very often quite capable cameras, thanks to computational photography patching the issues of a very small sensor and low quality optics. The detractors of a pro compact like the GR are usually bringing to this argument against it.

My first reaction is: why should you build an argument against a product? I just can’t understand such people. You can just not buy something if you feel you don’t need or like it. What’s the point of spending time on the web trying to convince others they also don’t need something since you don’t? I believe 90% of the posts on photography forums would not exist if the original poster would have just thought rationally for a minute before posting.

It turns out a smartphone camera has its usage, a camera like the GR has, a dSLR has, and so on. The fact that both the smartphone and the GR are compact cameras isn’t describing the whole situation, it is just focusing on one parameter, portability.

A comparison in size between the Ricoh GR II and the iPhone 8.

In reality, the differences are enough to justify the existence of both cameras, just in different pockets! For starting, no smartphone has good optics, and their sensors are very small: the quality of their photos depends on software techniques, and software can (right now anyway) just go that far. Shoot a photo with any good smartphone today and then the same photo with the GR, you can’t deny the difference in terms of detail and tonal richness. The GR also has an ergonomic design based on physical controls, which can help greatly in many situations.

Where smartphones seem to be better is in the High ISO department, which is quite ironic if we think of sensor size etc. The GR has no software for improving the photos, while modern smartphones are adopting various techniques (mostly combining frames with different exposures and advanced noise reduction) for making a terrible photo seem nice on a small screen (or a distant billboard..). You could do the same with the GR, shooting multiple exposures with bracketing, joining them as HDR on a computer, using a software like DXO Prime for removing noise, etc. The smartphone does it all for you as you shoot, and the tradeoff for such convenience is the lower quality of the final shot.

From a fashion shooting at the beach.

I believe at some point computational photography will go inside bigger cameras too, transitioning from smartphones. Optics and sensor on smartphones will always be inferior to the ones on bigger cameras, it’s a matter of physics –– but software improvements can easily be ported.

Right now I happily carry around both iPhone and Ricoh GR: the iPhone is perfect for casual photography and as editing studio, while the GR is for more serious photography.

Portrait on location.

The next iteration of the GR, called GR III, introduced a new sensor and lens design that are supposedly helping with High ISO photography. It also has ibis, thanks to Pentax technology. I will get one and carefully test it as soon as possible, so you can expect a Ricoh GR III review very soon.

Portrait on location.

The web is full of “Ricoh GR III hands on” videos right now, done by people that didn’t test the camera in real scenarios –– filled with info we know since the announcement. I find this behaviour to be revealing of what photography became in the Internet –– a constant race for clicks and sponsors.

In the end, I know the Ricoh GR is not a camera for everyone, but I still would like you to consider it. Something in this little camera is just fascinating and precious.

I will expand this article adding more samples of photography made with the GR and some usage advices and resources. If you want to stay updated please subscribe to my mailing list, I use it only as a notification for blog posts and for sharing free photography knowledge and resources –– no spamming, no selling, no nonsense!

72 Comments

  1. Very nice review, I enjoyed reading it and the pictures are very deep, liked that. I want to buy a ricoh camera but can’t decide whether I should buy a third generation or previous one. Can’t wait for your review of Ricoh GR III, I hope it will help me to decide which one to buy 😉

    1. Author

      Hi Dmitry, thank you very much for your words! I am also wanting very much to put my hands on a GR III.. some new features are wonderful but at the same time some of the changes are not making me happy. I will judge after using it! The existence of the GR III will make the prices of the GR II go even lower, which is something to also keep in mind — and the difference between the GR and the GR II is only the Wi-Fi, so that is another idea in meantime! See you around 🙂

    2. This is the one of the best reviews of the GRII I have read. I especially like your recommendations about the known dust issue (pointing down and turning off, using Play button to power on, using the GH3 filter adapter).

      One frustrating thing is quality control issues seem to be reported over and over. I just bought the GRII in October 2019. The ADJ ISO rocker button makes a crackle sound when pushed to the left. Is this normal?

      1. Author

        Hi! Thanks for your kind words. The crackle sound is surely not normal, the ADJ rocker should give no audible feedback and no crackle feel. Did you buy the camera used? If not it could be you got a defective model. I advise sending it back if possible and getting another one!

  2. This was super helpful. Been getting a bit lost in all the specs/ prices/ etc. etc., and after getting a little overwhelmed with all of that noise, it kind of forced my hand to think: how have I been pursuing photos over the past few years, and what’s the hype I got swept up in, but didn’t end up being relevant to me?

    So after doing some thinking about how I enjoy shooting, I reduced my uses and interests down to a few things that don’t need amazing specs or the latest and greatest tech… but I do need versatility and precision for a few key things.

    That led me to think about XF10 vs. GR II vs. GR III.

    I was already kinda leaning towards GR II, but after reading a lot of reviews (that you point to in your blog) and not getting a clear sense of how people were actually using the cameras, your post helped to really solidify a lot of things I was feeling/ thinking/ assessing. Thank you for this. Really enjoyed your other posts as well.

    1. Author

      I am glad my review was useful to you! I tried to present a different point of view about this camera, because it really seemed to me most of the other reviews were presenting it only as a very specialised street photography tool. I believe the GR is much more. I also absolutely agree with your search for a clear understanding of how we want to shoot photography — only this kind of search can help us understand which camera is good for us. If we follow all these (sponsored) reviews it seems we should be buying every new camera, but the truth is that some cameras will fit us, and some others will not. The GR is not a perfect camera, but it gets close to what is perfect for me. I hope you will also enjoy using it if you will buy one! And thanks for reading my other posts, I really appreciate it.

  3. Thank you for your deeply review of the GR2. Im really looking forward to read you upcoming review of the new GR3. Because what I read already about reviews is my question of its worth to buy the new one or for 300 euro less a new GR2. Hopefully you will give me insight of the cons and pros. Again thank you!

    1. Author

      You’re welcome! I’ll surely review the GR III as soon as I can get one, it’s still not available in Italy (apart from import). Please consider signing up for the mailing list for getting a notification when I will post the review!

      1. I like to sign up for the mailing list?
        Most comprehensive GRII to date. The selling point for me was the size of the sensor and the secret “snap focus” feature🤗!

  4. This was the best review of the GR II i read so far.

    Really liked your style of writing and storytelling combined with the pictures.

    Not just specs and the limited view of the camera for Street Photography.

    Keep up your work and i highly expecting your review of the GR III.

    P.S.:

    Excuse my enligsh, not a nativ speaker 😉

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for your feedback, Andre! I am glad you appreciated the review and I hope you’ll find the rest of the blog also to be interesting! See you!

  5. I like your view on the Ricoh very much because its exactly what i think about the Ricoh. Its much more versatile than most people give it credit for. I have the Ricoh GR I and i will buy the III the coming month. Can’t wait to try it out. Thanks for your review and your blogs make interesting reading

    1. Author

      Thank you very much! I hope you will also enjoy future posts 🙂

      1. Hey Andrea, loved this review and your work. Just recently picked up a grii, very excited to get out there and create with it. Just wondering what levels of contrast, saturation and sharpness you found to use most on positive film simulation? Thanks!

        1. Author

          Hi Jonathan, I have +7 on all of them and Weak for the vignetting. The saturation is sometimes too strong so I bring it down to 5 if needed, but really, it is +7 almost always. By the way, since you can do RAW development in camera, if you notice some value is too strong you can always create a different version with less aggressive values, or even a version with no effects and then mix them in Photoshop, etc. Thanks for stopping by!

          EDIT: it’s good to point out that my +7 on sharpening is just personal taste. If you are going for a film look you want to keep the sharpening much lower, between +2 or +4: that’s because the GR lens is very sharp, and nothing screams “digital!” like a very sharp image 🙂

  6. Hi Andrea!
    Great photos and write up. Just wondering for those photos of you, who took them? I suppose not all taken with tripod?
    Thank you!

    1. Author

      Hi, thank you for the comment! There are no photos of me in the review 🙂

      1. Ah! My bad, I thought you are her. Ha! =)

  7. Hi Andrea,

    Love the sample images with the Positive Film effect. I was wondering what values you used for Vividness, Contrast, and Sharpness.

    Thanks!

    1. Author

      Hi Wade, I have +7 on everything. If you want more of a film look, bring down sharpness to something between +2 and +4. Since you can do RAW development in camera, if you notice some value is too strong you can always create a different version with less aggressive values, or even a version with no effects and then mix them in Photoshop. Have a nice day!

      1. hi andrea, u have written a great article!
        can u remember the settings of the picture from the ladybug on the leaf? looks biutiful, but not like +7 in customs settings of positive film…

        1. Author

          Hi there! I would never remember that of course, so I just did put the original dng and jpg back into the GR and I did some tests. It turns out that macro shot was made with Positive film, +5 on everything and vignetting OFF. That’s all 🙂

  8. Great review of the GRII. I think you are going to love the GRIII. I’ve used the GR since 2013 and now have the GRIII and find it a decent step up in both ergonomics and image quality. I previously had the GRD and GRDIV and the GRIII goes back to the size and handling of that range.

    Touchscreen for selecting focus point, IBIS, and much greater control over image settings including no less than 4 black and white modes are all brilliant improvements.

    1. Author

      I’m also quite confident I will enjoy shooting with it. My only concern is the lack of AEL/AFL button, because I use it a lot and I am not sure the touchscreen will do. But I will discover it once I manage to get a GR III 🙂

      1. Ciao Andrea, per curiosità, come usi il pulsante AEL/AFL?
        Ottima rensione! 🙂 Grazie.

        1. Author

          Ciao Patrick! Inizialmente lo usavo per bloccare l’esposizione, ma poi sono passato ad usarlo per bloccare la messa a fuoco. L’esposizione infatti viene già bloccata premendo a metà l’otturatore, quindi avere un pulsante per fare quello è uno spreco! Di contro invece è utile avere un blocco del fuoco, dato che ti permette di scattare foto in rapida successione senza dover di nuovo mettere a fuoco: ad esempio da poco ho scattato una modella quasi solo con la Ricoh, e dato che stavo usando f4 su un equivalente 28mm la profondità di campo era abbastanza estesa, e mi ha permesso di mettere a fuoco sul volto, bloccare il fuoco con AFL, e poi muovermi nella scena tenendo la modella sempre più o meno a quella distanza e scattando senza dover rimettere a fuoco. Grazie per i complimenti!

  9. Hello,

    I’m reading through the reviews of Ricoh II before deciding whether to buy it or not. This is quite a long post to read but I have to say, I was not bored for 1 second. Great job! I love your writing and the images that come along. Will sign up for more :).

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write this comment! I am glad you found the review entertaining and interesting. And thank you for signing up! I hope you will find more interesting stuff in future 🙂

  10. Do you focus and recompose using the center autofocus point? When shooting wide open, how do you avoid throwing the focus out? I’ve been using GR for a long time, and I miss some shots with this technique, but I find it too cumbersome to change the point on the fly, much slower than focus and recompose. Other than snap focusing or having a larger depth of field, any pro tips for this/experiences you’ve had?

    1. Author

      Hey! With the GR I mostly focus and recompose, yes. I find the (equivalent) 28mm and the maximum aperture of 2.8 make the focus misplacement less a problem than let’s say my D850, where it would always bring missed focus issues. The only situation where this was a kind of issue on the GR was when the subject was quite close, off-center and I was shooting at 2.8, but this has been quite rare, at least for me. The fact is that when I want to create a “clean” portrait I put the subject quite central, so the focus is not changing much when I recompose; if I want to create a more exaggerate look and put the subject near the frame of the shot, then I am already accepting the distortion, the vignetting and so even the focus being slightly wrong. I guess if the focus is critical when the subject is far from the center the only solutions are what you mentioned (moving the focus point manually and/or raising the fNumber). Thanks for reading!

  11. Was searching for reviews of the GR III on applications other than street photography and am quite happy to have landed on your review of the GR II! Amazing photos! Much like you, I main a D850 but needed something I could carry around everyday that’s not my iPhone! Looking forward to your review of the GR III!

    1. Author

      Thank you so much! The GR and the D850 are both amazing cameras 🙂

  12. Love the review, nice job! I currently own a Fuji X100s, which is lovely. But: I find that I don’t take it with me a lot of times, because it does not fit in a normal pocket.

    How would you say the GRII compares to the X100s?

    //Peter

    1. Author

      Hi there! I am glad you like the review!

      The X100s is a very good camera, but it’s also quite different from the GR.

      The Fujis are trying to offer an (optional) experience that mimics old film cameras, with manual controls, a viewfinder and so on. The GR is wanting to offer the best possible optics and ergonomics in a pocketable camera that is fast to operate. The controls on the GR are optimised for what the camera is: a modern digital pocket camera. After using it for some time and learning to adapt to it (and not the other way round!) it becomes clear how a lot of thought went into its design.

      Another (for me, anyway) notable difference is the focal length: I love 28mm (the GR has a 28mm equivalent lens) while I am not a fan of 35mm (the X100s has a 35mm equivalent lens).

      The GR isn’t only smaller, but also roughly half the weight than the X100s (visual comparison: http://j.mp/2WZEfCC). It is also much more discreet than the X100s: most of the time people won’t even notice you are shooting with the GR, while the X100s will scream: here I am, I am a cool camera! And sometimes you don’t want this to happen 🙂

      So, all in all I would say they are quite different cameras, suitable mostly for different styles of shooting. Even if I shot and still shoot since many years with film rangefinders (Zorki, FED, Kiev and other Contax/Leica soviet clones, mostly), which I love, I just can’t appreciate Fuji philosophy … I believe it is fine in 2019 to embrace technology and so maybe old manual controls are something we can make without at this point in time. But that’s just my opinion of course 🙂

  13. Fantastic review and stunning photos, what flash do you use with the gr ii

      1. thanks, are they ttl or manual flashes. Also, can you recommend a battery charger that plus in the wall

        1. Author

          Hi there! I only shoot flashes in manual and I don’t even know if TTL works, sorry! I bought a Patona wall charger plus a couple of batteries, they are quite cheap and work fine.

  14. Hi just got my Ricoh gr ii today. What do you find is the best exposure metering mode.

    1. Author

      Hi, it really depends on what you are shooting and what you feel comfortable with. I use spot metering most of the times, but in many situations the multi is a better choice.

  15. An excellent insight into the merits of the GRii. Many thanks. All too often reviews concentrate wholly on the technicalities. Very refreshing – and interesting.

  16. Thanks so much for this review, Andrea! I own an GR2 and when my son was born that was the only camera I used in the delivery room and it did not disappoint. For how it captured that moment alone, it was worth the money.

    All the current high-ISO, fast lens rage these days it’s easy to think the GR2 is limited. But like all cameras if you play to it’s strengths deliberately, it is fantastic. I shoot with this and an M8 + “slow” lenses and the effect it’s had on me is that I actively seek out the best conditions to shoot: favorable light (especially early mornings and nice angular window light) and nice locations.

    I don’t see myself upgrading to the GR3 soon or the latest M. This is the sort of camera (or these cameras, rather) that leads me shoot it where it shines.

    1. Author

      Thank you very much for the comment! What you say is absolutely true: “actively seek out the best conditions to shoot” is a very good advice and once it becomes a habit it really changes the approach to photography. With smartphone technology and computational photography we are being led to shoot whatever happens in front of us, hoping and expecting the camera software to fix the photo for us. Searching for the best light conditions (or creating them) is a different matter all together and the only way to consciously create good photography.

  17. A really good article, Thanks. It’s nice to finally see a GR review that isn’t about street photography. I love the flexibility of the GR series (film and digital). For me at least, they are the perfect travel camera. Looking forward to your experiences with the GR III.

    1. Author

      Thank you! I was tired of seeing the GR treated only as a street photography and this review was born for that reason. As you say, the GR is a very flexible camera! To say it all, I am not even a fan of street photography: I believe doing good street photography has nothing to do with going out and pointing a camera at people while they mind their own business. For me, most of the “street photography” on the web is nothing more than following a trend. But that’s a topic for another post I guess 🙂

  18. I have just ordered the Gr2 and I found your blog. A very nice and thoughtful review which I know I will reread when my camera arrives. I to am glad you talked about more then street photography,

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for writing your comment! I wish you a great time with your GR!

  19. Hi from Indonesia. Finally i found ur blog, which is awesome. U managed it very well to make me finish the article :).

    By the way, do u think purchase this GRII in 2019 still worthy, even GRIII already launch? Thank you..

    1. Author

      Hi! Thank you so much for your comment! The GR II is still a very good choice. I will surely keep my GR II even after buying the GR III 🙂

  20. I appreciate your review very much. By far i think your review are among the greatest on the Ricoh GR. Thank you for great work, Andrea.
    I’m mostly a street shooter and keep thinking about your advise on the ISO setting. Based on real practice on the street I finally understand that I (and maybe Eric Kim) cannot sacrifice shutter speed for ISO or dynamic range. Slower shutter speed end up getting a blur image. Things move extremely fast down the street. I regret a lot when I get home and open the playback. But your advise is still a good one when we have a stable environment.
    Thanks again Andrea. I think me and the rest of the world are waiting for your review on the GR III :). haha

    1. Author

      Thanks for your comment and your kind words, Andrew! My remark about Kim’s advice is that I think it is not always a good idea to suggest putting the ISO on 1600 or 3200 and just forget about it, especially with the GR II, because in many situations we could go for a much lower ISO and still maintain shutter speed above 1/250. I just think that “set and forget” is taking away some fun from the problem solving process, which for me is part of the joy of shooting photographs. But again, it all depends 🙂 About the GR III, it is crazy but they still don’t sell it in Italy! I could import it but I want it with Italian support, so I am waiting. I asked my trusted shops and they all said they have no idea about when the camera will be available in Italy, which is a shame!

  21. complimentoni!
    la foto della modella con il costume e il cappello in testa sembra uscita pari pari dalla mia contax G1+28mm in accoppiata con il portra 400.
    questo mi dà da pensare…
    anche io allora ti chiedo se si riesce a tirare fuori un file già bello così (contrasto e saturazione) senza fare postproduzione.

    1. Author

      Ciao Michele! Che spettacolo la G1, assieme alla RTS3 ed alla Bessa R3/4 è una delle macchine che sogno di avere da una vita, ma ormai scatto davvero poco con la pellicola. Sia con la GR che con la Olympus PEN-F raramente faccio post per i colori, tutte e due se impostate bene mi forniscono jpg che per me vanno già bene così. Nel caso del servizio con Nastya a cui fai riferimento: c’era brutto tempo, avevamo solo poche ore per scattare perché lei poi ripartiva per Mosca (è un’attrice di cinema, non una modella) e quindi per simulare il sole ho usato un po’ di riflettori oro e un preset RNI al 30% di intensità sopra la DNG base prodotta dalla GR. Il filtro RNI in questione dovrebbe simulare un’AGFA se non ricordo male, ma mi fido poco del fatto che sia una simulazione fedele 🙂 A me interessava usarlo perché unito all’effetto dei riflettori dorati ha donato all’incarnato un poco di vita ed un barlume di estate! Nella recensione ci sono però molti file non postprodotti, caricati online esattamente come li ha prodotti la GR, l’ho indicato nella didascalia. Grazie per il commento!

  22. Great review. I think the results you’ve got with the GRii are absolutely fantastic! I’m a street photographer who’s looking to pick up the GRii as an alternative to my X Pro1. You’ve made my decision to pull the trigger.

    I look forward to the review of the GRiii.

    1. Author

      Thank you for your comment. The GR III is now somewhat available in Italy, so I guess I’ll finally get one! Thanks for reading the blog 🙂

      1. Do you adjust the positive film settings at all?

        1. Author

          Hi Scott! As I answered to some other comment, I keep everything on +7 for the Positive Film, and vignetting to Weak. If you want a more authentic film look I suggest to bring down sharpness a lot. Over sharpening is one of the things that screams digital the most.

  23. Really enjoyed this review, expanded my education on theGR2. This little camera is a joy to use, just got mine 3 weeks ago, so Still learning. Will be anxiously awaiting your GR3 review, because I can already tell I am going to surprise birthday gift myself either another 2 or 3. I also use Leica x, they are also in my camera bag. I got rid of D850, I will be 72 and that beast was just to much for me to lug around anymore, fantastic camera I believe is best in its class, but Ricoh is even more liberating than my
    Leica’s! So thrilled I found your review and signed up for your blog.

    1. Author

      Thank you very much for your comment John! As much as I think the D850 is an amazing camera I also don’t bring it around as an every day tool: I basically use it only on a tripod for my architectural photography works. The same goes for the D810.

      There won’t be a review of the GR III: I bought one, tested it for a while and sent it back to the shop because it was warming too much for my taste. I also didn’t like some its changes and so I will keep the GR II instead. You can find more about it in my last post.

      Thanks for subscribing, I hope I will post more articles that can meet your taste!

    2. Here it is “A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT” Halloween and I am rereading for the 10th time your review, still find something new each time I re read.

  24. Hi Andrea, wonderful photos & comprehensive review. I got a great complete used bundle of the earlier GR+Adapter+Hood+Wide Angle+Viewfinder. With my 8″ pad & a little otg hub, I have everything for a fun walk around mobile set-up. A light pix labs flash & manfrotto evo pixi tripod, its like quality in miniature and so versatile a shooting experience as your excellent review highlights. I love going wide with it as well. So much fun and quality output which is what it is all about for me. I live in se Asia and the portability factor is important in the extreme heat and humidity.

    1. Author

      Thank you very much for your comment, I like your setup and really agree with the philosophy behind it. Have fun shooting! 🙂

  25. Hi, your photos are awesome and that you have a great photographic eye and mind. I like your positive film simulation images a lot. Other than the positive film situation is there anything else you changed like white balance, image settings etc?

    1. Author

      Hi! I didn’t change anything apart from the settings I wrote about. I like to keep things on default when possible. About white balance: I usually keep it on “multi-p auto” or “outdoors”. Thanks you so much for your kind words!

  26. Lovely review of one of the great cameras…ever…by one of the best camera companies ever. Ricoh made unique cameras that produced unique images, images with a certain ‘filmic’ look. I came to digital quite late and bought the Ricoh Caplio GX100…and many years on, I don’t think I’ve shot anything quite as good as those images I took with the Ricoh. I use a fuji XPRO2, and while it’s a fantastic camera and has been my jobbing camera, there’s something unique about the older Ricoh digital cameras. Portable and easy to customise and they just cry out to be used…all the time.

    1. Author

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us! Ricoh is surely a company that did cool stuff in the past, I hope they will stick around for long.

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