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!


  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. 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. 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. Hello, My GRII has the same issue and this is the first time I read that someone has the same “problem”. I have not sent mine in and keep using it without issues. I live with the “crackle” sound. I adopted a style of shooting where I dont use the rocker very much.

  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. 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. 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 am having issues with my recharge cord. The nib is too large to insert into the side charger compartment!!! What am I missing?

  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.


    Excuse my enligsh, not a nativ speaker 😉

    1. 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. 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. 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!

  7. Hi Andrea,

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


    1. 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. 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. 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 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. 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. 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!

  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?


    1. 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: 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 🙂

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

        1. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  14. 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. 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.

  15. 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. 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 🙂

  16. 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,

  17. 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. 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 🙂

  18. 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. 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!

  19. 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. 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!

  20. 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. 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. 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.

  21. 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. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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. 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!

  24. 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.

  25. What a great review and set of photos! I just picked up a Grii and am happy that I did so. I previously owned a Fuji X100T, and the difference in quality of the lens is shocking. My fuji was so soft, especially wide open-in comparison the Ricoh is razor sharp. The high contrast black and white is worth the cost of of the camera- its pure wizardry. The cost of a new GRII is now half the price of the GRIII in Canada, not sure if the jump up is worth it just to have IBIS, but lose the great rocker switch!

    For architectural subjects, how do you find the wide angle adapter? Is there much distortion? Are you doing any lens type correction in lightroom?

    Thanks of the great read!

    1. Hello Peter! I am glad you are enjoying the GR II. As you said, the detail this lens produces is amazing and the High Contrast Black & White is worth the ticket 🙂

      The 21mm is quite corrected and I rarely need to correct it more in Lightroom. I especially use the GR for details & scenes where formal qualities are not as important as a more creative approach though!

      Thanks for the comment!

  26. Thanks for the really helpful review and excellent photographs.
    Based on this info, I decided to buy the GR ii rather than the newest model, and it has just arrived in the post. Your article was very helpful.

  27. Just want to add to all the comments on how good and refreshing this review is. I’m planning on getting the GRiii and most reviews are full of specs and tests and extremely dull sample images shot by people who can’t even take an interesting picture by accident. But this is a review by an actual photographer. What a relief!

  28. Andrea,

    I just read your GRii article and it is right on target as far as my own experience. I’m a bit late to the Ricoh GR party…but I’ve been blown away with this compact dynamo of a camera.

    I tried out both the GRii and the GRiii (in my hands) and went with the GRii based on how it felt in my hands and the “usability” of its features and menus. I’ve had it for 2.5 weeks and have shot over 700+ photo’s using it almost everyday…experimenting with both color and B&W. My Nikon D750 is sitting in the closet crying at the moment because my GRii goes out with me every day!

    Thanks for your terrific review. I’ve signed up for your newsletter and look forward to learning more about this pocket-sized magical device!!

    1. Thank you for your comment Dave, I wish you lots of satisfaction and great photography with the GR II! Thanks for subscribing, I hope you will appreciate the other posts as well.

  29. Hi Andrea, I got a GR II last year and I asked myself “what took me so long???” I have looked for many articles online to learn more about how to best use this camera and I’d like to say that this article is MY FAVORITE. Great job.

    You capture the soul of this camera and get across how much you enjoy shooting with it. There are plenty of reviews with specs but this really gets to the heart of why people love the GR II. I come back every so often and learn something new.


  30. After reading many articles and watching many YT videos of the Ricoh GR ii. I ordered one from B&H Photo. At first, I didnt care for the GR ii and was going to send it back. I told myself I need to give it a chance and learn how to use it. After spending many hours trying different settings, I find I like shooting in Manual to get the best possible image quality. In low light I tend to lean toward 1600-3200 iso and 1/60 f2.8-f4. This article you wrote is telling me, that I’m on the right path as I grow to love and master using the legendary Ricoh GR ii. I have some latest post from the GR ii here
    and my instagram is @Humblelight77. Thanks again for this great article and amazing photos.

    1. Hello Daniel! Nice photos! Have fun with the Ricoh, it’s a wonderful little camera. Thanks for reading the article, I am glad you appreciated it.

  31. I love your review and pictures (and I have a hard time believing those that come straight out of the camera)! The positive film on the GR is so stunning. How would you compare the GR positive film against the Provia or Velvia simulation on the Fuji X lines (X70, X100T…)?

    1. Hi! The Positive Film effect is wonderful, indeed. I usually play with the white balance to get the proper intensity of Colors in Positive Film effect, because it may happen it is too strong. About the Fuji, I have no experience and I can’t compare. I am not a fan of Fuji, I confess 🙂

  32. Great review. My go-to travel camera was once the MJU II also – I still have it, can’t bear to part with it even though it doesn’t get much use. I picked up a GRII last year and I’ve since sold my other ‘everyday’ cameras (Sony RX100 and an old favourite, Lumix GX8). I even borrowed a friend’s Fuji X100f (double the price, half the portability) and found the images inferior to the GRII. I’ve been ignoring the built in film simulation until now so your images have inspired me to shoot with the positive film effect on.

    Keep up the good work 🙂

    1. Thank you for your feedback 🙂 The look and feel and quality of out of camera jpgs (with filters) made me love the GR II even more 🙂 Keep in mind white balance also has a huge impact on the positive filter, and sometimes changing WB to some weird value will actually work great within the scene and help positive film produce a cool image!

  33. Thought this was such a fantastic, thoughtful and considered review about an excellent little camera. I started off with a GR back in 2013 and I am currently using a GR II which I love. I learned a lot from your own insights and discoveries of this camera and was especially interested to see the examples of work used for both Portrait and Landscape photography. It shows that this is so much more than a street photography camera. I shoot all these types of photography and the beautiful colour tones the Ricoh produces is quite something. Thanks for writing this! Your work is very beautiful!

    1. Hey Matt! Thanks for your words. It would be nice if Ricoh understood their product is much more than a street photography camera — indeed! I’m planning many more posts about the GR, stay tuned 🙂

  34. Hello.

    This is one of the best interviews I’ve ever read. Did it once in 2018 while switching from big DSLR to much smaller analog rangefinder for traveling. I was considering the GR II but… wasn’t sure yet. Yashica 35 I use now is an old and heavy piece of metal so, I was still searching for something smaller. As they say, the best camera is the one you have with you . Also, film is not very convenient for all purposes even I do like the imperfections it has. Finally, I have recently put my hands on the GR II and it looks to be what I was looking for. Also came back again to your review and my GR II should arrive next Monday. Thanks for your review!

  35. Hi Andrea,

    Thanks for your review. It’s the best review of the GR II I’ve read (and I read them all). You know photography from the inside out. Your work is heart-taking.

    I’ve been shooting with an original X100 for 8 years. I quite like it but it’s not pocketable. I need a small camera that I can run/hike with. I’m torn between the GR II and GR III. I can live with the 16Mp and slower focus, but I guess I would benefit from the sensor stabilization and closer focus distance (I run a small rose nursery so I shoot close-up/macro photos occasionally). Do you think the GR II is still relevant in 2020? I’m aware that the GR III has overheat issue but I’m not sure if the new products/firmware fixed that.

    Thanks and take care,


    1. Hi Min, thank you so much for your words, you are too kind! I am glad you enjoyed the review.

      I would definitely say the GR II is still relevant in 2020, I still use it for personal and professional work and not a single time a client complained or I felt it was obsolete. I also feel the camera itself is still as enjoyable as the first day I bought it, maybe more, because I know it much better. If you can stay below 800 ISO the image quality is quite good, and it becomes excellent at 200 and 100 ISO, and I like to use its macro feature from time to time, it is great fun! Even without stabilisation you can confidently manage to get sharp photos at 1/30 or even 1/15 if you have can stay still enough — the beauty of wide angles!

      From what I gathered from users experience, the new firmwares didn’t fix the overheating issue in the GR III, but it also seems the perception of its importance varies depending on the the user and the location weather. So you may give it a try and see how does it work for you!

      Thanks for visiting the blog, come back any time!
      Take care too!

  36. Thanks for your excellent review which proves that the GR can do more than street photography. The GR2 is my 6th Ricoh camera after the GRD1, GRD3, GRD4, GXR with the 28 and 50macro lens, GR and now GR2. I still shoot with the GRD4, which is absolutely amazing, the GXR and the GR2. The GR2 covers most of my needs with the crop mode. I shoot B&W high contrast, positive film and my own settings as well. I really appreciate how you can customize the GR. The user interface is just brilliant. After more than 100 000 images with the GR I bought the GR2 after reading your review, followed your advice and did not upgrade to the GR3. The GR2 is my go to camera and my Leica X2 gathers dust except when I want to shoot some landscape. The GR2 is just the best camera I own. I also love the GRD4 for its huge depth fo field and colours . Thanks again

    1. Hi Jean! You really did sum it up quite good, the GR 2 is an amazing camera indeed! Thanks for your feedback 🙂 I’ve got to find a GRD4 to play with sooner of later!

      1. The GRD4 is about the same size of the GR3 but no touch screen and a very similar user interface to the GR series. It’s a 10MP CCD sensor I think quite similar to the GXR 24-72 module. Rendering can be grainy like film cameras, got in body stabilization and unlike the latest iteration of the GR is not dust prone (I’ve had no dust problem after about 10000 shots with it so far). Have you ever tried the GR film cameras? If so I’d like some feedback. I’ve attached an article I wrote a while back about the camera o the macfilos blog. There’s also a French street photographer that uses the GRD 4 but you may already know him. However here’s the link to his site:
        Truly enjoy reading your blog

        1. Hi Jean, thanks for the insights! Never tried a film GR, I shot a lot of film back in the day and I moved on I guess, it just became too expensive and I do enjoy digital advantages. I am searching for a good GRD4 for testing it! The impression I have is of a Pentax Q-S1 with Gr ergonomics.

  37. ciao Andrea,
    mi sono convinto ad acquistare la ricoh gr 2 leggendo la tua recensione.
    l’ho trovato molto utile in quanto il tuo pensiero è in linea con la mia idea di fotografia. ero alla ricerca di una compatta premium e devo dire che sono molto soddisfatto dell’acquisto. con la gr 2 riesco ad ottenere finalmente quello che penso semplicemente premendo il tasto di scatto, questo perchè con lei divento un ninja mentre con la mia nikon d750 avevo il problema di creare soggezione.
    e’ chiaro che prediligo la street e la gr 2, oltre a farmi superare la paura reverenziale andando in giro, mi sta aprendo a nuove possibilità che prima neanche consideravo.
    a presto S.

    1. Ciao Simone, sono contento che tu stia apprezzando la Ricoh GR 2, è davvero una macchina meravigliosa. Non scatto street quindi non so pronunciarmi su questo aspetto dell’esperienza, ma per tutte le tipologie di lavori che porto avanti si sta rivelando di giorno in giorno sempre pratica, veloce, adeguata a contesti diversi e a volte sorprendente, nonostante siano ormai anni che la uso. Ho da poco iniziato un progetto di foto notturne con flash esterni, prima o poi farò un post a tal proposito, per ora posto qualcosina su Instagram man mano. Buona fotografia e buona serata!

  38. Thank you for your excellent review.
    In the meantime, I have lost interest in the GR2 camera. your blog have made me understand the camera more and I love it more.

  39. Hey big guy, can’t get thru on but go check Ricoh Rumors 100.00 off gr111, so number 4 coming or sales bad?

    1. Hey John, what do you mean with “can’t get through”? Sorry, my English has its limits 🙂

      About the Ricoh GR III: I don’t expect a new model this year, it would really surprise me if it happens. I think they are trying to attract more customers since the GR lines seems to be still an active market niche. We’ll see!

  40. Such a well written appraisal with examples that aren’t street photography focussed. I’ve just sold my xf10 for a gr2 as I couldn’t get on with the ergonomics. Positive film and JPEG’s all they way. I’m going to enjoy the scene, relax with the paired back nature of the camera and film simulation settings. I appreciate writing these are time consuming but it’s so refreshing. I was drowning YouTube idiot reviews all saying the same soundbite but nobody really comparing the positive film. I love in human feel it produces. Why do we strive for perfection when we ourselves are not perfect. Let there be character and embrace it. I’ve spent too long trying to tweak settings in my x100f and as much as I love the camera it seems to take over the moment. So with the gr – If there is dust it will remain, if there is a lens flair and noise well it’s just another layer of the story. No editing for me 🙂

    1. Well said Ian! It’s a waste of time to focus on configuring and worrying when there are probably ways to avoid this and enjoy the act pf photographing. Shooting jpg+dng is bringing the best of both worlds — you get a jpg that is already beautiful and usable, plus a raw file “just in case”. It’s a shame Ricoh changed the effects so drastically in the GR III!

  41. Hi Andrea, I’ve been using the GRII for a couple of years now and I’m still trying to improve. I’m wondering how you get that stunning clarity in your B+W shots (specifically the one with the women standing under the tree and the woman leaning on the wooden fence on the beach). Is any of that done in post?

    1. Hi Will! The woman under the tree: ISO 100, 1/160, f4. Shot in DNG, I did the B&W on myself because I wanted high contrast but still maintain detail in the face (the tests with Hi-Contrast B&W in camera were losing too much face detail). The woman on the wooden fence: ISO 100, 1/400, f4. Also shot in DNG and edited to B&W on my own, but I think this could have been shot with in-camera normal B&W. The final look of these photos depends a lot on the quality of the light in the scene and the editing technique. I don’t do anything to add pseudo detail or make the image look sharper than what it is. I also don’t use any pre-made filter. I do apply a special kind of black and white treatment I developed over the years. It’s an interesting digital technique, one day I will write a post about it! Have fun with your GR II!

      1. Thanks, Andrea. I will try shooting in DNG and doing B+W in post to see how that works. I appreciate the response and look forward to your blog posts.

  42. Hi Andrea, finally received my Ricoh GR II and took some photos today. However, I found GR tends to under expose! I was using Multi metering in Av mode with Auto-Hi ISO (100-3200 and 1/250 minimum shutter speed). Any tips?

    1. Hi Roc. I would say 1/250 as minimum shutter speed is quite a strong requirement. Considering the maximum aperture is f2.8 and the maximum ISO is 3200, this leaves few space for adjusting to low light. Even now in my home studio at 10am I would get an underexposed photo if shooting at 1/250, f2.8 and ISO100, because the room is not well lit in this moment of day. I would put the minimum shutter speed to 1/60 if you don’t have the need to freeze some movement, that will make you gain 2 stops of light. The Ricoh GR lens is a 28mm equivalent and this will allow to shoot sharp photos with such a speed (well even 1/30 will be fine, with a bit of care). As with every camera, and especially with older sensors like the one in the GR, it is important to look for quality light and make the best of it, that’s half the fun 🙂

  43. Ciao Andrea,
    da un pò meditavo di vendere la X100S (ottima macchina ma con cui non è scattato il giusto feeling) e prendere la GR 2…la lettura di questa originale recensione mi ha dato la spinta decisiva.
    Ovviamente anch’io sono approdato alla Ricoh perchè sono un fan di Moryama, ma il tuo articolo fa ben capire che è uno strumento molto versatile, che non si presta solo alla “street” (pensiero che mi aveva invece frenato dall’acquistarla, portandomi verso la Fuji).
    Approfitto della tua competenza per chiederTi se oltre al Tuo blog c’è qualche altra risorsa in rete che possa essere utile per sfruttare al meglio la GR 2.

    1. Ciao Fabio, sono contento che l’articolo sia stato utile. Non saprei che altre risorse consigliarti però, ho frugato la rete parecchio in questi anni ma quasi tutto sembra incentrato sulla “street photography” (che mi interessa poco) oppure è ostaggio di una mentalità “da fan” (che mal digerisco). Il mio consiglio è di buttarti sulla sperimentazione personale, manuale e curiostà alla mano 🙂

  44. Still an awesome camera in 2021. The image quality is very film like, and I love the out of camera jpegs — positive film and high-contrast black and white. I wanted to get back to film, but lost my dark room. This camera is bringing the joy back!

    1. Absolutely, still such an impressive camera. I agree with all you said — its combination of old sensor and very sharp lens are creating a unique look, that is both defined and somewhat film-like. Lovely indeed.

  45. Ciao Andrea,

    spinto dai tuoi articoli e da qualche video su YouTube mi sono deciso a comprare la Ricoh GR II … nel 2021. L’ho acquistata online nuova di zecca, a un prezzo abbastanza buono, ce n’erano anche delle altre e sono andate a ruba in un battibaleno. L’ho comprata perché penso che una buona macchina resti tale anche se poi escono versioni successive. Credo inoltre che la Ricoh non tornerà più indietro, nel senso che una volta che hai abbracciato la strada della complessità tornare alla semplicità diventa quasi impossibile. E’ stato seguendo questo ragionamento che ho deciso di “rischiare” e acquistare adesso la vecchia GR2. A questo proposito avrei una domanda da farti. Oltre alla GR2 ho anche acquistato l’adattatore GH-3. Mi piacerebbe poter usare l’adattatore da solo, senza cappuccio opzionale, semplicemente con un filtro hoya UV montato sopra. Il problema è che andare in giro con un filtro UV scoperto non è molto pratico. Mi piacerebbe trovare un tappo, un copriobiettivo, che possa coprire l’adattatore con sopra il filtro UV. Su Amazon ho adocchiato questa soluzione: un copriobiettivo da 49 mm

    ma non so se potrebbe montare sull’adattatore+ filtro hoya.

    Sapresti dirmi se esiste una qualche soluzione già collaudata per coprire l’adattatore GH-3 col filtro UV montato? Non penso di essere il primo che si è posto questa domanda. Grazie e buona giornata. Fabio

    1. Ciao Fabio, la Ricoh GR II è una macchina unica e non mancherà di darti soddisfazioni. Personalmente non darei tanta importanza al filtro UV: ne monto uno “nudo” da anni e non ha che qualche micro graffietto del tutto ininfluente per la resa delle foto. Sa mai dovesse danneggiarsi, il costo per la sostituzione non è eccessivo, anche prendendo filtri di qualità.

      Temo anche io la Ricoh non tornerà indietro, anche perché molte persone trattano per partito preso la GR III come una macchina perfetta e senza problemi, a partire dagli YouTubers più o meno sponsorizzati da Ricoh. Mi viene un nervoso guardando certi video dove il problema del riscaldamento viene ignorato o minimizzato in due parole, oppure dove si ignora che il nuovo sistema di effetti ha distrutto l’esperienza di scatto e la resa jpg che avevano reso celebre ed amata la GR II. Ma ormai YouTube è diventato soprattutto questo, una specie di mercato senza etica.

      Buona giornata anche a te e grazie per aver letto e commentato!

  46. Hello, Andrea!
    I’ve just found your review and I must say, that it makes me want to give another try with GR II. I have it for about two years and we have some kind of love-hate relationship 😉 But I know this little gem deserves another chance!
    I find your blog and photos very inspiring! I love some of b&w photos (like portrait at the fence and empty beach) great in terms of light, framing, tonality and contrast!!! I hope you’ll find some time and write post about your workflow and approach to b&w photography 🙂
    All best from Poland!

    1. Thanks for your comment Maciek! I am very thankful for your kind words and I wish you the best with your GR relationship 🙂 I will consider wirting a post about how I do Black and White, sure! All best from Italy 🙂

  47. He Andrea, awesome blogpost. Thank you for that. I wonder why nobody asked your positive film recipe? Colors are really good. I especially like the one with the blond girl and the hat. Let me know if you want to share this. All the best and keep up the good work.


    1. Hi Jelmer! The photos of Nastya at sea with the hat are:

      1) shot as DNG
      2) balanced a bit (whites, blacks, sharpening, etc)
      3) duplicated the layer
      4) applied a vintage RNI filter to the new layer
      5) changed the opacity of the layer to decrease the effect of the filter

      I did this because Positive Film on the GR is giving very strong and deep reds and blues, but I wanted to be more on the green/yellow side for these shots. I also could have done that without RNI, using just curves, but that RNI filter was giving me exactly what I wanted, so what for to reinvent the wheel? 🙂

      The rich golden skin is given by a reflector with gold side: that’s something I use often for that kind of photos.

      Thanks for you comment, have a nice time! 🙂

      1. Little late, but thanks for this. I thought that this might have been a post edit. Couldnt get my head around the colors. Hehe. Thanks for sharing. Would mind sharing your positive film most used setting?

  48. Buongiorno Andrea,
    Always a pleasure to read your blog. I read a couple of time, with a lot of interest your Ricoh GRII experience which you are kind to share with all of Ricoh Gr users…
    Morever, your blog is very appealing regarding your island. I used to visit Italy so many times (piu di cinquanta volte..) except Sardegna… Spero visitare la suo isola la prossima volta !
    Cordiali saluti,

    1. Bonjour Nicolas! Your Italian is far better than my French 🙂 I am happy your found the blog post to be useful. Sardinia is a nice place — it is quite similar to Corse, and it’s no surprise since they were once joined together!

      I wish you a great day, thanks for your comment and for reading the blog!

  49. Actually, I just saw that someone asked the same question as I did. 🙂 Feel free to delete my posts. Great blog!

  50. I used a Ricoh R1 and before that mju-II for years now to capture night life and party with flash. Do you think the ricoh GRII it s a good digital option for that (pocketable, wide lense, small built in flash, fast enough autofocus)?
    Do you have some photos in those setup?

    1. I shot the mju-ii for long, but only a couple of times at night with the flash. The same goes for the Ricoh GR II, so I can’t be very useful in this sense. I think the GR can do everything the mju-ii does. The mju-ii had a 35mm lens, so the GR II is wider (28mm equivalent) and that can be good for night life, I think it is a very good focal length for that. The autofocus of the GR II is not fast, but for night life I would use the snap focus feature anyway. And most of all, I would consider getting a LightPix FlashQ for using with the GR: it is small, light, cheap, powerful, it comes with colored gels and it can be used in camera (with tilting head) and off camera with its included wireless… I love that flash and it is really the best companion for the GR — I will post about it soon.

  51. Thanks for sharing such a great in depth review! I am looking into the grii/griii/griiix reviews and I am having trouble deciding between the two. I normally do candid/street, portraiture(cosplay photography actually!), and I love a good landscape. I have two olympus stylus epics that are kinda starting to falter, plus since becoming disabled/COVID I can’t really get out to shoot around, I already have a lot of film photos from around the house! I want that film feel while being able to save money and experiment with digital again. I have never used an external flash before! I was never taught photography so I do not know a lot of the tools. Did you utilize it in your beach and villa shoots? I think they came out gorgeous and have the kind of lighting effect I would desire.

    I’m going to go check out your griii review now! Thanks again for the great sample photos.

    1. Hello Elle! Thanks for your comment! Most of the photos in the article are shot without flash. That being said, the GR is a great choice for off camera flash photography, because it has a leaf shutter and can sync at every speed. If you point out which photo you are referring to, I can give you more details about how it was shot. If you want a film like effect I suggest you to stick with the GR and GR II, because the GR III has in my opinion a more digital look. Thanks again for reading and commenting! 🙂

  52. I’m a semi-pro photographer. I only do it part time now though. I bought the GR II in 2018 and loved every second of it. Then sold it when they announced the gr iii, after some reviews I ended up buying the gr ii again and now I was re-thinking of buying the griii. After reading this, I am reminded of how fun this is to shoot with and how unnecessary the gr iii features are. Your review makes me want to be better and I appreciate how thorough you were and the FANTASTIC examples of people, places and all things are in your photos. BEST REVIEW EVER. THANK YOU!

  53. Great read Andrea

    As a casual weekend and whenever I get the time photographer, I’ve used a GR II as my 2nd camera for a few years now however since it seems to suite my shooting style, aesthetic and mood more than my ‘main’ camera, I’ve been putting 100% into this little beauty to see if I’m indeed willing to commit to it as my only body and sell my other gear…how I feel using it and articles like yours makes me think I’ll indeed ready to commit to it to as only camera for many reasons I won’t bore you with.

    If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t have spent some much $$ on my other camera if I knew how much I’d enjoy the experience with and results from the GR.

    I’m sure at some stage, I’ll need to move on when my GR gives up on me but until then, I hope to use it till it don’t wanna be used anymore!

    Thanks for the inspiration and I hope your journey with the GR remains a rewarding one! Keep telling us your story!

    1. Hey Rob! I am glad you found the blog to be inspiring and interesting! The GR is indeed a good candidate fot being a main camera, it all depends on the scenarios you shoot. It surely brings a fresh approach to making photography –– using only one camera and one lens pushes us to adapt reality to the camera and not the other way round… it’s a very good exercise! Have a great time and thanks for reading and commenting!

  54. I hesitated to write this comment, because I feared it would be taken as hyperbole, but this article completely changed my relationship with photography. I have been shooting for a number of years, trying to perfect my technical skills, and slowly moving into a more expensive and more cluttered kit. I was about to leap into full frame, because that is what you are *supposed* to do. However, I realized that I hardly shot at all during 2022 and looked for reasons to not take my DSLR out, I was missing shots, and making excuses, and looking back, my few favourite photos from the year were taken on my smartphone.

    After reading your article, I decided to take a jump and restart. I sold all of my gear (this was an unbelievably cathartic exercise) and purchased a used but almost new GR I from eBay. The II was almost 50% more expensive at time of purchase, and I did not deem the handful of improvements and WiFi to be relevant enough given that the picture taking was identical in most ways. I did test a GR III at the store, I was a bit underwhelmed by the smaller width and lack of physical controls, even though the camera is “better” on paper.

    The GR has reinvigorated me, and not just in your typical excitement about getting a “new toy”. I bring it everywhere, every day, I am shooting more than I have in years, and I am leaning into a grittier, less perfect style of photography that is making me happier and more fulfilled. I am finding that the GR is is challenging me both technically and artistically. On a technical level, I am used to a viewfinder, and composing and focusing from the screen has been a challenge. However, as I learn, I am finding I can take on street photography and not stick out like a sore thumb. Artistically, 28 mm is a bit wider than I would normally shoot, I have spent most of my time at a 40 mm FF equivalent, which has made me re-think scenes and get closer to subjects.

    I even picked up a Lumix LX5 locally for a song a few weeks ago, using such a small and older sensor (relatively speaking) has changed my approach and I love the creamy tones and filmic look from the CCD. The pictures are not perfect, but I cannot stop returning to my album to view them. I have taken more photos in the first two months of 2023 than I did in all of 2022, and the number of keepers is growing exponentially.

    Thank you again your your words and passion, take care.

    1. Hello Matthew! I am very thankful for your comment, it’s so nice to know that my article had an impact on how you live photography and its role in your everyday life. Thank you very much for letting me know that. I wish you lots of fun with your GR, it’s a wonderful little companion –– aknowledging its presence and seeing reality through its lens is often bringing lots of joy and unexpected visual bliss. Take care, greetings from Italy!

  55. Hello- I pulled a GR II out the electronics graveyard in my closet recently. I had purchased this camera for my wife to use but she never took to it and has moved on to different kit. We are headed to Alaska on a cruise in a couple of weeks and I am going to do everything I can to shoot 1k photos with the Ricoh. Half of which I would like to shoot in B&W. But I am in desperate need of specific settings that might work for this trip to be put into the presets. Do you think that you could help? Thanks.

    1. Hello Chris! I always shoot the camera the same way, no matter the location, that is, mostly with Positive Film effect (my settings are reported somewhere in the post) + DNG as backup. I wish you a great trip!

  56. Hey Andrea,
    Wondering if your GR II is still going strong after all these years. Are you still using it regularly? How many shutter actuations since you bought it new?
    I’ve been shooting 35mm almost exclusively for the past 15 years or so but it’s getting so expensive that I’m “scared” to experiment so as not to waste shots, and my enjoyment of photography is suffering as a result.
    So I’ve been looking for a pocketable every day carry digital point and shoot and love what I’ve seen and heard about the GR II, but with them being 8 years old and still selling for 500€+ used, I’m wondering if it’s worth spending that amount on something that may not last me very long..
    Would be curious to hear what you think about my dilemma.

    1. Hello! My GR II has around 14000 shutter actuations and it still works perfectly. My advice would be to try one before you buy, if possible, but I understand that’s rarely the case. You may also look for the GR instead of the GR II: it is basically the same camera, only the without the wifi module, and it is usually cheaper. Another solution would be to pick up a Sony RX100 III, it is a very good pocket camera, more versatile than the GR, but the image quality is not as good ad GR’s one (especially if you stay under 400 ISO with the GR).

  57. Hello Andrea

    Congratulations for your review.
    I like too the BW of Daido Moriyama, I use Ricoh GRII tto.
    Would you please answer to me after all your tests and photos which are the best settings to reach the Moriyama result sooc? Which are your settings?
    You use Black and white or Hi contrast BW and which settings
    Contrast , sharpness and Vignetting?

    Thank you

    1. Hello Greg, the Hi Contrast BW was probably created especially for mimicking Moriyama gritty look. I think it does a good job at that. My advice would be to collect as many photos by him as you can, beter if printed on books, and try to understand how to use the Hi Contrast BW for that. The point where you measure the spot exposure is crucial for having a good jpg from that mode. Experimenting will surely help you achieve what you are looking for. Have fun!

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