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Hands On: Ricoh GR4D

by Chris Gampat on 09/15/2011

The other night, I was able to get my hands on the newly announced Ricoh GR4D digital camera. The new camera is a premium point and shoot targeted towards those that want to shoot, “Candids” as they stated during the presentation. Here are the specs you care about and my hands on time with the camera.

Available in white or black.

My apologies for the noisy images, my EP2 has been steadily becoming noisier and noisier.

Tech Specs

No. of Effective Pixels (Camera):
Approximately 10.00 million pixels

Image Sensor:
1/1.7-inch CCD (total pixels: approx. 10.40 million pixels)

Lens:
Focal length: f=6.0 mm (equivalent to 28 mm for 35 mm film cameras)
F-aperture: F1.9 – F9 (exposure control with both aperture and ND filter when F8.0-F11 displays in
auto shooting mode)
Shooting Distance (from the front of the lens): Approx. 30 cm – infinity; Macro (from the front of the
lens): Approx. 1 cm – infinity
Lens Construction: 8 elements in 6 groups (aspheric lens: 2 elements and 2 surfaces)

Digital Zoom Magnification:
Digital Zoom: Approx. 4.0x; Auto Resize Zoom: Approx. 5.7x (VGA images)

Focus Mode:
Multi AF (Hybrid AF) / Spot AF (Hybrid AF) /Subj. Tracking/ Manual Focus / Snap / Infinity (Focus
lock and AF auxiliary light available. For Multi AF and Spot AF, full-press snap and pre-AF are
possible.)

Blur reduction:
Image sensor shift-type image stabilization function

Shutter Speed:
*1
Still image: Bulb, Time ,180, 120, 60, 30, 15, 13, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3.2, 2.5, 2, 1.6, 1.3, 1 – 1/2000 sec.
(maximum and minimum shutter speeds vary depending on shooting mode and flash mode)
Movie: 1/30 – 1/2000 sec.

Continuous shooting:
Continuous shooting speed*11  Approximately 1.54 frames/second
Maximum continuous shots 999

Exposure Control:
Exposure Metering Mode: Multi (256 segments), Centre Weighted Light Metering, Spot Metering
(TTL-CCD metering method, AE lock possible)
Exposure Modes: Program shift AE/Aperture priority AE/ Manual Exposure /Shutter priority AE
Exposure Compensation: Manual Exposure Compensation +/-2.0EV (1/3EV Steps), Auto Bracket
Function (-0.5EV, ±0, +0.5EV / -0.3EV, ±0, +0.3EV)

ISO Sensitivity (Standard Output Sensitivity):
AUTO, AUTO-HI, ISO80 – 3200 (1EV, 1/3EV, selectable steps)

White Balance Mode:
AUTO / Multi-Pattern AUTO / Outdoors / Cloudy / Incandescent / Fluorescent 1 / Fluorescent 2 /
Manual / Detail, White Balance Bracket Function

Flash:
Built-in flash mode: Flash On, Auto, Red-eye-Reduction, Flash On, Slow Synchro, Manual Flash,
Flash Off
Built-in flash range: Approx. 20 cm – 3.0 m (ISO Auto)
Flash compensation: +/-2.0EV (1/3EV Steps)
Charging time*12: Approximately 5 seconds

Monitor:
3.0-inch Transparent LCD (approx. 1,230,000 dots)

Shooting Mode:
Auto Shooting Mode / Program Shift Mode / Aperture Priority Mode / Shutter Speed Priority Mode /
Manual Exposure Mode / Scene Modes (Dynamic Range / Movie / Skew Correction / Interval
Composite) / My Settings Mode

Image settings:
Vivid, Standard, Setting1/Setting2, B&W, B&W (TE), High Contrast B&W, Cross Process,
Positive Film, Bleach Bypass

Picture Quality Mode:
*2

F (Fine) / N (Normal) / RAW (DNG file format) *3

No. of Pixels Recorded:
Still image: [4:3]3648×2736, 3648×2432, 2736×2736, 3648×2048, 3264×2448, 2592×1944,
2048×1536, 1280×960, 640×480

Movie: 640×480, 320×240

Recording Media:
SD memory card, SDHC memory card, Internal memory (approx. 40MB)
Eye-Fi cards (X2 series) can be used

Storage Capacity (Pictures/Time):
*4
(internal memory 40MB)
Still image: 3648×2736 (RAW: 2, F: 10, N: 17) / 3648×2432 (RAW: 2, F: 11, N: 19) / 2736×2736
(RAW: 2, F: 13, N: 23) / 3648×2048 (RAW: 2, F: 13, N: 23 ) /3264×2448 (F: 12) / 2592×1944 (F: 15)
/ 2048×1536 (F: 24) / 1280×960 (F:43) / 640×480 (F: 158)

Movie*5: 640×480: 30 frames/sec. (22 sec.), 640×480: 15 frames/sec. (43 sec.), 320×240: 30
frames/sec. (54 sec.), 320×240: 15 frames/sec. (1 min. 38 sec.)

Recording File Format:
Still Image: JPEG (Exif ver. 2.3) *6

, RAW (DNG)
Movie: AVI (Open DML Motion JPEG Format compliant)
Compression method: JPEG Baseline method compliant (still images, movies)

Other Major Shooting Functions:
Continuous / AF-Cont / S-Cont / M-Cont / Self-Timer (operation time: approx. 2 sec. / custom) /
Interval Shooting (shooting interval: 5 sec. to 1 hour, in 5-second increments)*7 / Image Setting
Bracket / Dynamic Range Compensation Bracketing / Contrast Bracketing / Color Space Setting /
AE/AF Target Movement / Camera Shake Correction / Dynamic Range Compensation / Multiple
Exposure Shooting / Noise Reduction / Histogram / Grid Guide / Depth of Field / Electronic Level /
Hot Shoe

Other Major Playback Functions:
Auto Rotate / Grid View / Enlarged Display (maximum 16x) / Slideshow / Resize / Trim / DPOF
settings

Interface:
USB and AV output terminal: USB 2.0 compliant, mass storage compliant*8 / HDMI micro output
terminal: Type D

Video Signal Format:
NTSC, PAL switchable

Power Supply:
Rechargeable Battery: DB-65 (3.6V) x1, AAA Dry Alkaline Battery x2, AAA Nickel-Metal Hydride
Battery x 2, AC adapter (AC-4c option) 3.8V

Battery Consumption:
*9

Based on CIPA Standard: Using the DB-65, approx. 390 pictures / Using AAA Dry Alkaline Battery
x2, approx. 30 pictures*10

External Dimensions:
108.6 mm (W) x 59.8 mm (H) x 32.5mm (D) (CIPA-conformant)

Weight:
Approx. 190 g (excluding battery, SD memory card, strap), Accessories approx. 30 g (battery, strap)

Operating Temperature Range:
0ºC-40ºC
*1. Shutter speed upper and lower limits vary depending on Shooting Mode and Flash Mode.
*2. The picture quality modes which can be set vary depending on the image size.
*3. The DNG file format is a RAW image file format and is the standard format of Adobe Systems.
*4. Estimated number of still images it is possible to record and estimated amount of movie recording time.
*5. The maximum length for one instance of movie recording is 29 minutes or the file size upper limit of 4GB.
*6. Compatible with DCF and DPOF. DCF is the abbreviation of the JEITA standard “Design rule for Camera
File system.” (Full compatibility with other devices is not guaranteed.)
*7. With flash off.
*8. Mass storage driver is compatible with Windows (R) XP, Windows Vista(R), Windows(R) 7; Mac OS X 10.4
-10.6.7.
*9. Shooting capacity was measured using CIPA-standard parameters. This is only an estimate, and
performance may vary according to usage conditions.
*10. Using Panasonic AAA alkaline batteries.
*11. Measurement values obtained under Ricoh measurement conditions using Panasonic Pro High Speed
2G Class 6 cards. Results may differ depending on the speed and/or number of continuous shots, shooting
conditions, and recording media, or on the condition of the recording media.
*12. When using rechargeable batteries

Quick Video Tour

Ergonomics

First off, this camera is small and fits very nicely in the palm of your hand. It feels very good and I was told that the camera has an aluminum body. For the shooter that wants a compact camera with a prime lens, this may be the one to look at if you can’t justify the Sigma DP2x to yourself that we reviewed.

The front of the camera features an autofocusing sensor right above the lens and between the grip. I tried to see if someone would actually block it when in use, but in order to properly and comfortably hold the camera, you often will not. Still, this is an interesting feature for a camera in this class.

The lack of HD video in this camera specifically means that it was designed for photographers: those that want to focus on making better stills.

The top of the camera is very simple. There is a hot shoe in the middle, a recessed power button that won’t get hit at all when in use for a while, a shutter release button, a top dial to manipulate settings like shutter speeds, and a mode dial on the right. Plus, there is your pop up flash on the left.

To pop that flash up, you’ll need to hit that button right there shown above.

This is how high the flash comes up. It’s a decent height above the lens though some may argue that it should be higher.

Inside of the grip houses the battery and SD card unit. The camera is Eye-Fi card compatible: which means that the candid street photographers they are targeting this product towards will love to shoot and upload immediately.

For a size comparison, here it is next to a Ricoh GXR. As you can see, it is a bit thinner, shorter, and not as wide.

The back of the camera is not as complicated as the GXR, but instead much more simple but still coming from the same design essentials.

Autofocus

It’s quick. In fact, I tested it a couple of times and saw Dan Havlik of PDN play with it for a while. The contrast focusing from the processor combined with the external focusing sensor around the lens make this camera extremely quick focusing even in low light (such as at the event we were at for this product briefing.)

Image Quality

I had put a card inside the camera, took a photo, and then was told that I was holding and playing with a prototype. With that said, I couldn’t use the one image I snapped. However, I have to say that it looked on par to many other cameras in this class. At the moment, I’d actually still prefer the Sigma DP2x.

We’ll be getting our hands on this unit soon though. It will launch at a starting price of $599 and at $650 for the white version; which is rare and only 10,000 are being made. Speaking candidly, it will be a bit hard to justify it at that price point with mirrorless cameras with a larger sensor being around the same price and offering much more.

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