TRA – The Ricoh Approach

I am soon going to have two Ricoh compacts: The GR and GRD IV. Here are few of my ponderings why it might be wise to keep them both

The GRD IV has a small compact camera sensor which is handy in some situations. I can easily achieve lots of DoF and that way the shots are sharp. This camera has a fantastic macro feature where you can shoot 1 cm from the subject. With the small sensor this is possible because the DoF will remain wide enough. But with this kind of macro it is possible to get nice blurred background even if that will be quite tricky with the GRD IV in normal shooting situations. GRD series cameras are very well known for their suitability for street shooting. I do not do any street photography but I love the gritty JPEG options (like the high-contrast B&W) these cameras have. Bleach bypass option is also very cool.

Ricoh GR has, instead, an APS-C sized large sensor. With the GR you are able to get lots of details in the shots and also very narrow DoF is possible. Lens is slower than in GRD IV (f/2.8 vs. f/1.9) but that is okay even in indoor shooting because the GR has very clean high-ISO shots up to ISO 6400.

What the all above then means? Well, I think I have use for both Ricoh’s. The GRD IV will be my gritty stuff camera. I will shoot JPEGs with it. I have three different JPEG options saved into camera’s MY1, 2, and 3 positions, namely positive film, bleach bypass, and high-contrast B&W. I use square format for all of those as I really like 1×1 aspect ratio at the moment. HC B&W and bleach bypass I am going to keep but not totally sure yet which in-camera processing option to save into the third My position. I have noticed that if you want to have clean photos (without noise grain) you really have to be at ISO 100 zone, not much above that. With ISO 400 or 800 you will get quite much noise.

With the GR I will shoot only RAWs. I want to use GRs full potential for maximum image quality. And if I want to have high-contrast B&Ws for example, I have my own Lightroom presets for that. With the GR I am able to obtain my loved narrow DoF and nice bokeh in regular shooting much more easily than with the GRD IV.

So, it really seems that these two cameras which look like almost the same and have also many common photographic properties, complement each other nicely.


  1. Sounds like you’ve got the right ideas but of course after using both cameras for a while you may decide to do something different. It’s all good. You’ll have two great tools that are small and light enough so you can have them both with you when you go out shooting.

  2. I got the GR yesterday. I didn’t have much time to shoot, mainly fixed all the menus etc. to my liking. Good news is that I have two DB-65 batteries plus a charger from my GRD IV and they work nicely with the GR.

    Nice to hear that you are going back to Fuji and will get your X100T soon. Can’t wait to hear your opinions on it.

    Btw, this guy has compared X100 and X100T:
    He has also compared the GR and X100.

  3. I just stumbled accross your blog this morning after searching something regarding the Ricoh GR on google (The second result! You must have great SEO!)
    I’ve only had a chance to read this post but I found your situation to be very similar to mine!

    I have shot with the GRD1, GRD4 and recently I got the GR.

    There is so much to love about the GR that I suspect your IV will probably begin gathering dust like mine! I love the IQ of the GR; there’s so much detail there! 28mm, 35mm and 47mm crop modes are awesome to have built in. And RAW processing on-the-go is great for blogging. My only gripe is focus speed, especially in the dark. I find it so so much slower than the IV, which is expected due to the CMOS sensor but still, I miss the speed.

    I’m interested to see how you find the differences between the IV and the GR.

    I also look forward to reading more of your posts when I get time. Maybe at lunch!

  4. Thank you very much for commenting, Ant Tran! If you read more of my posts you will notice that I have had the GR before, then sold it, and now bought it back. 🙂 This same has happened to me also with Fuji X100 and X-Pro1. I think this is a needed (and quite expensive) process for me to realize that they are fantastic cameras.

    1. I can vouch for the effectiveness of cycling through cameras (even mistakenly). If you didn’t, you’d be dead in the water. The idea is to have ideas and think of how to use your tools to actualize them. If an expensive tool isn’t working in the mix and you can unload it, why not? I just bought back a second Sony RX100 III… I didn’t and still don’t like its ergonomics compared with the GR but for at least some of what I do, it’s fine and it has a zoom lens, something that’s useful for me that the GR lacks.

      Even if the process gets messy from time to time, if it’s moving forward that’s all good.

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