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Ricoh GR Reader Comment: “sharpest images I’ve ever attained”

See the in-depth review of the Ricoh GR including usage and settings tips.

More blog coverage of Ricoh GR using Search: link, just above.

Ricoh GR

I named the Ricoh GR camera of the year for good reason, a recommendation that I affirm, especially at the bargain price of about $659.

The Ricoh GR is the carry-anywhere camera that brings it all together: usability, image quality, fill flash, pocketability, intelligent menu layout—like no other camera on the market today.

Douglas C writes:

I bought a Ricoh GR, on your recommendation. These are the sharpest images I've ever attained -- and I shot with some of the best Leica and Zeiss glass for years. The lens is unparalleled.

I'm interested that you've remarked in a couple of places that the sensor isn't the best. I also have a D7100, whose sensor you seem to think is as good as it gets in that size, and I'm achieving superior results with the GR.

The D7100 is fabulous, and I'm using some of the sharpest Nikon lenses -- the 50/1.8G, the 85/1.8G -- but nothing is miraculously sharp like every second image that emerges from the GR. It may be that the D7100's 24.1 MP sensor is less forgiving when it comes to comparable optics, and that this is the difference I'm seeing.

Also, I suppose the Ricoh does seem noisier at high ISOs (which is counter intuitive, given the pixel density).

Still, I shoot mostly black and white, and the noise on the Ricoh looks almost precisely like film grain, whereas I have to process Nikon RAW files through Silver Efex to get the same texture.

DIGLLOYD: the Ricoh GR lens I will hold up to the best Leica M 28mm lens in sheer wonderful sharpness, and better bokeh. In fact, its’s generally sharper: very little field curvature, much sharper at ƒ/2.8, more depth of field, and with much closer focus capability too. A lens matched to the sensor is hard to beat, a quality also found in the Sony RX1R and the Sigma DP Merrill cameras.

The Ricoh GR sensor is excellent. While it has some noise, it delivers outstanding night photography images up to five minutes. Its subjective qualities are lovely. The main mistake (easily made) is underexposure. Use RawDigger to check and hone your exposure technique, and check images for underexposure that seem noisy—chances are they are 1-2 stops under exposed: this is a very common issue with auto exposure on all cameras resulting from JPEG-orientation, which is why I shoot manual exposure most of the time.

As for the Nikon D7100, the Nikon lenses mentioned, indeed most of them, are not up to the task. The D7100 sensor is the equivalent in full frame terms (if scaled up in area) to a 56-megapixel sensor. Oversampling is what it’s doing in essence, so downsample properly and then compare finished 16-megapixel images from both; the D7100 should look fantastic.

Ancient Bristlecone carcass and White Mountain Peak, White Mountains
Ricoh GR Digital, 300 seconds @ f/5.0, ISO 100 +1.5 push
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