Ricoh GR Digital IV Review

October 26, 2011 | Mark Goldstein | |

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#1 BT

It’s not “fixed-focus”.  It has a fixed focal length lens.

6:42 pm - Wednesday, October 26, 2011

#2 danaceb

Despite being updated its still a stodgy old 10mp 1/1.7 CCD, and Still 4/3 aspect ratio for all those faux pros. I cannot wait for the X10 to come out and put this overpriced overrated camera in its place the same way the Nex systems have shamed the GXR. A hallow hope though as Ricoh fans are the obnoxiously dumb Konica fanatics of the digital era.

8:08 pm - Wednesday, October 26, 2011

#3 Nigel

Nice camera, looks very usable but I can’t get past the P&S image quality. The small sensors just don’t cut it anymore…

9:23 pm - Wednesday, October 26, 2011

#4 Nc

Looks like a great updating of he GRD range.
@danaceb has obviously never used a Ricoh.

12:14 am - Thursday, October 27, 2011

#5 Shenanval

Well, it is a very small sensor, and obviously image quality suffers if compared to 4/3, aps-c, etc. But, that’s not what the camera was first and is now designed to do, compete with the other sensors for image quality, especially at higher iso’s. What it is very good at is getting the shot (as in street work, quick snaps), getting it quickly and being noticed as little as possible in the process. It is extremely well built, as in last most of a lifetime. It is very small, as opposed to almost any other camera on the current market, while delivering the image quality it was designed to deliver. I have owned and shot with a small Ricoh, and it was a joy. A complete joy. With the fixed focal length lens, you gain a new prospective, and a renewed interest in what photography has always been about: interaction with others, with the environment, learning better composition, etc. But, and this is the key, the main reason I buy these Ricohs is that if I want a truly small, unobtrusive camera with acceptable IQ, a fast lens, and built with quality in mind, this is the one. If I want great IQ at larger print sizes, in lower light, at higher ISO’s, I buy a DSLR. I simply don’t see the point in the compromise for anything inbetween the two.

1:19 am - Thursday, October 27, 2011

#6 Fraser

Sadly a review like this can’t cover all the bases.

The GRD 1 and GRD 11 had a problem where the rubber grip would stretch and peel off after a year or so, leaving a sticky goo behind.

The GRD 111 supposedly fixed that problem, to an extent. It now takes a couple of years before the rubber grip stretches and peels off. Perhaps this is just a cynical fix by Ricoh, assuming that the next model will come along in time for everyone to upgrade before they have a problem.

2:03 am - Thursday, October 27, 2011

#7 G

People buy this sort of worthless compact camera? What a waste of money and time, either making it or buying it.

4:46 am - Thursday, October 27, 2011

#8 Robenroute

If this GRD IV is anywhere near the GR1 I used years and years ago, it’s worth every penny of its high price. The user interface is so much better/practical than any other camera I’ve used. Having “just” a 28mm lens to your avails is, like one of the other posters wrote, not a limitation at all; it’s a big help in becoming a better photographer. 

9:23 am - Thursday, October 27, 2011

#9 ohreli

Wow, $700 for a P&S with a maximum 640x480 resolution video!!  (Since this is not mentioned even once in this review, I presume the reviewer never tried out the video capabilities? And…otherwise, how could it score a perfect ‘5 out of 5’ for ‘Features’?!!)

10:57 pm - Thursday, October 27, 2011

#10 Garry

If I had to choose between my Ricoh GRD, and my DSLR, I’d keep the Ricoh.  There’s more to a camera than megapixels and zoom lenses. 
The Ricoh is a photographic tool, while the DSLR is an overblown gadget.

11:04 pm - Thursday, October 27, 2011

#11 Antony Shepherd

I’ve owned a GRD since 2006 when the first version came out and it’s still my favourite digital.
Sure it’s not got the sensor size of a DSLR, or even a Micro4/3rds camera, but then again you can’t fit a DSLR or m4/3 camera into your trouser pocket, which you can do with a GRD without any problems.

The user interface is a delight, the best I’ve ever seen.

I got rid of both Canon DSLRs I owned, I’m planning on getting rid of my Oly EP1 which I never got on with, but you’ll have to pry my Ricoh from my cold dead hand…!

9:42 am - Friday, October 28, 2011

#12 vaquey

Great that the Ricohnians made moderate improvemnent where it was necessary. The superb prime of GRD3 with a lower time lag is awesome. Sure a bigger sensor would be great, but on the other hand: you can take this tiny cam everywhere - it fits in every pocket. The best cam is this wich is with you. Hey DSLR-user: how often do you see a spontaneous scene that you want to shot and your gear is at home?
Yes I am a huge fan of this little cam. I began with the analogue GR1V and sold my DSLR for it.
Hey Ricoh do you hear me? Please drop this film-mode. It should be a pure still. And please never add face detection or scene modes
I will buy GRD5 too.
By the way: the quality of the RAWs of GRD3 is good enough to sell them, as I do, from situations where I never had humped a DSLR.
I am keen on seeing the new output…

9:32 am - Saturday, October 29, 2011

#13 norman shearer

I’m happy with the small sensor - it gives greater DOF which is what you want for candid street shooting and this after all is what this camera really excels at. My LX5 was quickly sold after getting the GRD3 and the GRD4 is the only camera that I would replace it with. Well done Ricoh

7:43 pm - Saturday, October 29, 2011

#14 danaceb

@Nc yes I have, but you are obviously one of those Ricoh users who has never used anything else.

2:47 am - Sunday, October 30, 2011

#15 mike

danaceb= troll.

Trolls don’t speak, just babble nonsenses with lots of hate.

Don’t listen to them, they not worth it.

2:24 am - Monday, October 31, 2011

#16 John Gregory

Loved the GRD III, and am waiting eagerly for the IV. I think some of the comments here get out of hand, which is not in the spirit of good fellowship.

5:12 am - Tuesday, November 1, 2011

#17 Portishede

Wow, Danaceb - if you become more corrosive, you’ll need to wear a health and safety warning on your forehead.

1:01 pm - Tuesday, November 1, 2011

#18 Nc

@danaceb - I’ve used many, Ricoh and Pentax being the best in terms of photographic tools. Controls, handling and UI perfectly fit for purpose.

10:08 pm - Tuesday, November 1, 2011

#19 Adrian Boliston

Looks quite a promising camera for a DSLR user who also wants a quality compact.

I have never owned a zoom lens in my life and have no interest in zoom lenses so a compact with a prime lens seems ideal.

I have zero interest in shooting video so am not worried about it having a basic “movie” mode.

People talk about the small sensor being a problem but being able to shoot wide open yet retain reasonably wide DOF would be quite useful.

It seems like this is a true photographic “tool” compared with a lot of compacts which are more like toys with lots of gimmicky “features”.

9:00 pm - Wednesday, November 2, 2011

#20 Richard

The GRD is absolutely great! But it’s not a camera for everybody…

If you are into street photography this is your perfect 10…

It is stealthy, highly customizable, fast, intuitive and simply a true companion!

5:24 pm - Monday, November 7, 2011

#21 Lennon Lim

What I like this GRD IV:
1. Do not have face detection
2. Do not have fancy articulating LCD
3. Do not have fancy touch screen
4. Do not have GPS
5. Do not have high MP
6. Do not have loud shutter sound
7. Do not have Zoom
8. Do not have 1080p HD video recording
9. Do not have firmware to fix bugs but only have firmwares to add in MORE SHOOTING FUNCTIONS/OPTIONS
10. Do not have plasticky feeling


10:55 am - Wednesday, November 9, 2011

#22 Jos

and the high iso pics are better than the S95 and LX5 (only a bit but better) so its IQ is right up there at the top of the small sensor league, but its a bit pricey…and the S100 with its CMOS sensor is a disappointment (better iso performance but pics are much softer with less detail compared to S95) used Imaging Resources Comparometer and compared the 2 cam’s and in terms of detail the S95 is better and has better lens (if one uses the comparometer and selected the house poster pic and opens up the full size pic, check out the right top section of the pic, teh S100 looks pretty horrid…)

3:07 pm - Wednesday, November 16, 2011

#23 Perry

Sad that you find negative comments at the bottom of GR Digital reviews but indicative that none of them ever seem to be by someone who has actually used one.

As someone who has had experience with DSLRs, SLRs and many different compacts I have to say my GRD III has been a fantastic camera and the best of the lot.

Unless you rely on heavy cropping to get the composition you are looking for the sensor on the GRD III (and now the IV) will only be inadequate for those who spend too much time on the magnifier tool in Photoshop.

Most people look at the whole picture and judge it on composition, subject matter and so on. Why the number of pixels is such an obsession for so many people really beats me.

The GRD certainly isn’t a camera for everyone - the lack of zoom being a primary concern for many but it never was a feature I wanted, but very occasionally I miss the fact that I can’t get the close up that I want.

Video seems to be important to many. I think I have only ever used the video function on mine the once just to try it out. I bought a still camera because I am not interested in sitting at home editing hours of video footage, much preferring the impact and immediacy of still photography.

The lens is just superb and I’m really hankering for an upgrade to the IV for the increased speed and sensitivity alone. I would definitely consider trading in my GRD III for one.

Back to my initial comment about people who criticise the camera without actually using it. As anyone who has played with a GRD will tell you they are an absolute joy to use.

They are expensive, though if you are patient they do start to come down in price.

But as far as I am concerned they are worth every penny and Ricoh are unusual among manufacturers in that they actually listen to what their customers are saying and make incremental improvements accordingly (and also firmware updates that actually add features rather than merely fix old ones).

I never go anywhere without mine and take far more pictures as a result of the convenience of having a high quality camera in my pocket.

3:14 pm - Wednesday, November 16, 2011

#24 Nc

Just ordered the GRD IV today to upgrade my GRD. Looking forward to delivery. Probably means the LX5 won’t see much use though. The GRD handling is so much better though.

6:25 pm - Saturday, December 3, 2011

#25 pifar

shall i shoot a freehand portrait in the dark? no serious photographer would try to do such things. i love the ricohs gx100 and gr3 for its realistic and perhaps traditional feeling of photography. the spartanic, professional and direct way at work. no stupid features. compare it to an old rollei or minox. pay the price and enjoy.

9:41 am - Tuesday, January 10, 2012

#26 jimmyfuture

I’ve had the GRD1 ever since it came out and I’ve had nothing but praise for it, and for the pictures it allows me to make. It’s not a camera for everybody, that’s for sure, and it’s expensive. But as others have already said, it has a wide-open customizable interface that makes it a photographic tool; the composition and subject matter is up to you. My favorate thing about the GRD series is that the pictures really do look like they came from film (although the 2 had an unfortunate Auto NR that somewhat negated this. ) It gives a very analog feel from what is after all an electronic device. This camera pulled me away from zoom lenses and post-processing, and pushed me towards interacting with the subject more and playing with light and space more. That made me a better photographer. Anyone who complains about the price obviously isn’t interested enough to save their pennies for a month or three, which is exactly what I’m planning to do to get this camera!

2:28 am - Tuesday, April 10, 2012

#27 Garry

@ danaceb Quote:“Ricoh fans are the obnoxiously dumb Konica fanatics of the digital era.”

You said the same about Sigma users!!

11:43 pm - Monday, June 25, 2012

#28 patrick

I’m surprised no one has pointed some of the best features of this camera over anything else in it’s class. The combination of a fixed 28, maximum aperture of 1.9 and close macro distance is unheard of on any other compact! The low distortion in the lens is pretty sweet too. The sample images here don’t do it justice as they don’t show off the nice bokeh you can get with such a small camera/sensor.

Why would anyone want high quality video on something that weighs nothing? You’d have high quality video that looks so obviously like it was shot with a point and shoot.

I went from a Nikon D100 to a D3, and eventually came to my senses and sold both and picked up a Leica M and RicohGR III and couldn’t be happier. It’s not for everyone, especially those who want to shoot sports, spot owls, or be lazy and stand in one spot zooming ;)

7:59 am - Thursday, July 19, 2012

#29 JohnnyGlasgow

This is the most frustrating bunch of comments I’ve ever seen, all you idiots sporting wood over a point and shoot, get over yourselves you load of elitists, there’s no way a 10mp point and shoot with a fixed lens is better than 90% of the dSLR’s on the market today. And someone up there listed a bunch of things this camera didn’t have, like 1080p video, stating this is why they loved the camera. Save yourselves $700 and just use your iPhone 5’s which I’m sure you all own bc it’s the newest fanciest waste of money on the market.


3:01 pm - Saturday, October 20, 2012

#30 Patrick

Awww, JohnnyGlasgow’s gettin all rattled over a point n shoot. Hahah. Get over youself and your obsession with specs and go shoot a good photo. Who gives a fuc whether it’s with an iPhone or a dslr.

5:46 pm - Saturday, October 20, 2012

#31 ftpie

I bought a GR Digital IV just a few weeks ago at product End Of Life from a well-known authorized Ricoh dealer on the web for under $400. At that price point, this camera beats every compact camera, including the Canon S110 and new models like the Nikon P330. The only thing the GRDIV cannot do is HD video and zoom.

Video - when is the last time you watched the movies you took from your digital camera?

Zoom - quality from a prime is more valuable to me than the ability to zoom. But, yes, many will be turned off by the lack of a zoom lens.

I have been using a DMC-LX3 for a number of years and the GRDIV image quality and performance are in an entirely different league; makes the LX3 look like a budget camera. The LCD is amazing, the controls and interface are second to none, the battery life is amazing, and the build quality is terrific. This camera can be taken with you just about anywhere because of its small size.

I’m tempted to buy another one as a spare…

The new GR is almost certain to put the GRDIV to shame, but the cost is significantly higher, and the physical size has grown enough to make it no-so-pocketable (arguably).

3:05 pm - Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Entry Tags

3 inch LCD, compact, wide-angle, movie, video, 10 megapixel, flash, ricoh, 28mm lens, hotshoe, f1.9, vga, gr digital iv, gr digital 4, Ricoh GR Digital IV Review, ricoh iv