Some thoughts on the Ricoh GR as a travel camera

I had my Ricoh GR and my Fuji X-Pro1 with 35/1.4 lens with me in our Canary Islands vacation. Here are some thoughts on the GR and how I liked it as a vacation camera.

The absolutely biggest asset of the Ricoh GR was its small size. I carried it in my shorts’ pocket all the time and I never needed any special camera bag for it. Very easy and handy. I had the GR in my hand mainly using its wrist strap but sometimes I would liked to have it in a neck strap. Why so? Well, there are many situations, especially with kids with you, in which you would need your both hands. In those moments I had to put my GR in the pocket first and after that help my kids. With a neck or sling-type strap I would have had my both hands free when needed. This strap-question is one important thing to solve out soon. At least I have to think about other options in addition to the wrist strap.

I shot about 90% of shots in snapshot mode with the GR. I used snapshot distance of 2 m and aperture of 7.1 in TAv mode (so the camera decides the ISO value). The shutter speed was somewhere in the 1/250-1/320 s area. I had the back button focusing enabled too and that was a very nice thing because in that way I was able to override the snapshot mode if needed. In addition with the back button focusing the special macro mode button is not needed at all and this feature made the macro focusing much more faster to apply. I also had the ND filter in the auto mode (as I always do) all the time. This is so cool feature because it allows you to shoot wide open in bright daylight if needed.

I did not use in-camera effects at all and shot only RAW all the time. I think that was a good decision because there was heavy sun shine every day and you could easily have some burned areas in the shots.

The most difficult thing for me was the 28mm focal length of the Ricoh GR. I should go closer to my subject! There are many of those vast wide-angle shots which just give you the “blaah” feeling when seeing them on the computer screen. Fortunately, there are also those good ones where I have some foreground subjects and still nice background. I have to learn wide-angle shooting more. I have to admit that there were quite many situations where I missed a zoom lens. Me missing a zoom, oh my.

All in all, I have somehow mixed feelings about the Ricoh GR as a travel camera. My inabilities to use wide-angle lens is the main reason for those feelings. I do not yet have the proper touch and understanding of this camera and wide-angle focal lengths in general.

Fun in the pool Amadores beach - the rocky part Mud master


  1. A wonderful series of photos and a great ideas about the traveling camera situation, I’m thinking there is always going to be a part that one has over others, just have to make sure that what you got has the most important features. The colors and sharpness is great with these images.

  2. I’ve been using the GR since it first came out in 2013. I mostly like it. The low light performance has been very bad for me (lots of sensor noise). The autofocus is slow and loud. The worst problem is the ease with which dust gets into the sensor, and the correlating pain involved in getting the dust back out again. I agree that the 28mm effective focal length is too wide for more general use, and would have preferred a 35mm effective focal length. Anything over 40mm would be, IMO, too long.

    We’re still waiting for a GR III. I would love to see three different GR’s. The GR (28mm), GRN (35mm), GRL (50mm). (Collect all three!)

    1. I doubt you’ll see a GR III, Ricoh is struggling. I agree, the GR and GR II are extremely fragile cameras and low light use is tough. I still have mine but don’t use it as much as I used to, preferring the Fuji X100F and X70. They don’t have Ricoh’s magic but they’re much sturdier and the image quality is excellent.

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