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

What kind of travel combo to take with?

In coming November our family is going to have a vacation in Puerto Rico, Canary Islands. I am already now thinking about which camera equipment to take with me for that trip. Most of the shots will be definitely taken outdoors and some of course in the hotel environment. There are some landscapes to shoot and certainly lots of pics about my family and their activities. I don’t want to take very extensive camera stuff with me. I have three cameras at the moment but I am not sure how well they would serve me in a trip like that. I am usually photographing quite near our home (or summer cottages) and I am able to go back to those sites quite quickly with different camera stuff if needed. In this forthcoming trip it will be different story in this respect.

I have following camera stuff:

– Leica Digilux 2; 28-90 mm (equiv.) fast lens; on-board flash; old, slow camera; only JPEGs

– Ricoh GR; 28mm (equiv.) lens; very small; on-board flash great IQ

– Fuji X-Pro1; 53 mm (equiv.) lens, two manual-only focus lenses (83 mm, 203 mm equiv.), reasonably small; no flash; great IQ

I have been thinking about to get XF 18-55 mm (27-83 mm equiv.) zoom as a travel lens for my X-Pro1 even if I like primes more. In that way I could take only X-Pro1 with me (it has great high-ISO capabilities so no flash is needed). That lens has image stabilization which could prove to be a nice feature.

I would be very interested in hearing your opinions on this? What would you do?

Travel kit

Okay. I found out that I have a perfect sized (actually I do not want to have any larger than this for travel) camera bag for travel. I even didn’t remember that I have such a bag. Lowepro Cirrus 110. Now I would like to have some gear to fill it up.

First of all I have my Ricoh GR which is of course part of my travel gear. Cirrus 110 bag has a removable divider so it is very easy to have different compartments, e.g. for two cameras. The GR is very small and will nicely fit in as standing on its short side. I measured with my old Olympus E-P1 with 14-42 zoom and that combo went nicely in the bag with the GR. But my Fuji X-Pro1 with Fujinon 35/1.4 lens is a different story. Let’s say so that it may go in but just barely and then the GR will not fit in comfortably. I have a larger camera bag but I definitely feel that it will be too big for the travel and I do not want to carry it with me all day.

Ricoh GR has a 28mm equivalent lens which will be my wide angle camera for the travel (and in general too). What I will need is a camera or body plus lens combo for a longer focal length area. Let’s say at least 70-75mm equivalent or longer. I stated above that my old E-P1 fit in nicely but it is quite old camera and its low light capabilities are not very good. PEN cameras with, say, 45/1.8 (90mm equiv.) lens would go in nicely in that bag. Also maybe even with 75/1.8 (150 equiv.) lens.

Question is that is there any sense to buy new (or mint used) 45mm or 75mm lens for my old E-P1? That 45mm is very reasonably prized (about 290 euros) but the 75mm is then quite expensive (about 850 euros). If I would do this (which means that I would buy m4/3 stuff once again!), I would be graving for a new m4/3 body too after the trip.

Or maybe I just have to look after next camera bag size above Cirrus 110 to fit in my X-Pro1? In that case I still have that longer focal length question in my hands.

I hate and love this kind of pondering. Makes life more interesting and complicated. 🙂