A mini review of the original Ricoh GRD.

R0011430

This is a relatively old shot that I took some time mid last year. I was playing around with the Ricoh GRD (the original one) and I was tossing up going back to digital (or something to compliment my film gear) with that camera. I had it for quite a while and I enjoyed shooting with it a lot. The main reasons I enjoyed it so much were it's limitations. The fact that it was close to un-useable over ISO400 (this image was shot at ISO400 and you can tell how grainy it is); didn't support a card of more than 2GB of storage; it took forever to store a RAW image (the class 2 SD card wasn't helping either) and a few other things that generally people didn't like about it. But I was drawn to those things because it still maintained a little bit of the essence of the original film GR series. Sure it wasn't full frame, sure it didn't have an optical viewfinder and sure the battery ran out even before you could fill up a 1GB SD card but just the way it felt when you were shooting with it was amazing. It had a proper standard hot shoe so I used to slide in an optical viewfinder (it was suited for a 35mm focal range but it worked), set it up in 'Snap' mode, ISO400 and f8, switch the LCD off and I was ready for action.

I used to just loose myself when I was shooting with it. Absolutely no distractions - just frame (loosely) and shoot. With the 'Snap' mode, there was no lag between me pressing the shutter and it processing the image. I decided to stick to JPEG since the RAW shooting experience was just too awful, as I have mentioned above (though the files it gave were surprisingly good). Also, by sticking to JPEG, I was able to utilize the unique black and white filter it had.

The image above is mainly SOOC. I just added a bit of a vignette and did some very slight exposure correction. That was it.

Needless to say, I was very impressed by it.

I eventually sold it with the intention of purchasing the GRD IV but for some reason, that never happened. But now that the GRD V is out, it is by far the best digital compact in the market and I am considering buying it in the near future. Of course, this is just my humble opinion but there simply is no other digital compact that does a better job than this at street photography.

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