Ricoh GR Review

Ricoh GR Review: Ricoh GR with APS-C sensor and 28mm fixed focal length introduced

With the new GR, which features an APS-C sensor and a 28-millimeter fixed focal length (KB), Ricoh is a powerful competitor to the Nikon Coolpix A – and at a much lower price. Ricoh’s GR series has a 17-year history of analogue and digital products, but the Japanese manufacturer has decided to keep its name simple and call the new model simply “Ricoh GR”. In fact, it is the first camera to appear under the Ricoh label since Ricoh acquired Pentax over a year ago.

Brief assessment


  • Very fast autofocus
  • Lightweight and high quality camera housing
  • Wide range of functions (for demanding photographers)
  • Hot shoe


  • Image stabilizer, GPS and WiFi are missing
  • Display rigidly installed, no EVF
  • Picture quality only up to ISO 1,600 at APS-C level

The Ricoh GR is a very special compact camera: it doesn’t have a zoom lens, but instead has a 28 mm/F2.8 aperture. The image sensor in APS-C format is unusually large and promises image quality well above class average. The result is a lightweight and compact camera that does without scene mode programs. With this reduction to the essentials, the Ricoh GR is clearly aimed at ambitious photographers.

The pop-up flash of the Ricoh GR has a guide number of 5.4 [Photo: Ricoh]

The Ricoh GR comes in a classic digital GR design. However, the compact housing houses an APS-C sized CMOS sensor with 16 megapixels and a 28 mm fixed focal length (KB). [Photo: Ricoh]

The Ricoh GR’s 7.6 cm screen has 1.23 million pixels and offers a refresh rate of 60 frames per second. The hardened acrylic protective glass is resistant to scratches. [Photo: Ricoh]

For example, the Ricoh GR can be expanded with a viewfinder and lens hood. A wide angle converter to 21 mm is also available. [Photo: Ricoh]

Not only with identical focal length, sensor size and resolution, the Ricoh GR competes with the Nikon Coolpix A. It even undercuts its competitor in terms of volume, because although the Ricoh is six millimetres wider, it is three millimetres less high and five millimetres thinner than the Nikon. The housing is made of a robust magnesium-aluminium alloy. In terms of price, too, the GR seems to be located in a much more attractive region at just under EUR 750, while Nikon charges almost EUR 1,100 for the Coolpix A. The lens of the Ricoh GR has a focal length of 18.3 millimeters, which corresponds to a 28-millimeter 35 mm lens in terms of angle of view thanks to the APS-C large sensor. The maximum aperture is F2.8, unfortunately the customer has to do without an image stabilizer – but with Pentax’s SR technology (image stabilization by means of a movably mounted sensor) one would have an adequate system in house. The lens was developed specifically for the APS-C sensor and is designed to counter optical errors by means of two aspherical elements and a highly refractive low dispersion glass. In total, the lens consists of seven lenses in five groups. The close-up limit in macro mode is ten centimeters, which allows a maximum magnification of 1:5. Nine aperture blades should provide a nearly round opening for a soft bokeh. A swing-in grey filter allows the light to be reduced so that the open aperture can be used as a stylistic device even in bright environments. A novelty in this class: the GR has a depth-of-field preview button on the side of the body so that the photographer can judge the depth of field on the screen in advance.

Speaking of screens: This is permanently installed on the back and measures 7.6 centimetres diagonally. It is protected by a hardened acrylic glass, which should be scratch-resistant. The 1.23 million pixels provide a finely resolved, bright image. The GR does not have an electronic viewfinder, but a purely optical viewfinder, available as an accessory, can be attached to the hot shoe. A spirit level and grid lines can be superimposed on the screen. In addition to full-auto, the GR also features classic shooting programs on the program dial, such as program auto, aperture priority, aperture priority and pure manual exposure, as well as three user memories. In addition, the TAv mode allows you to set the aperture and shutter speed, while the ISO auto mode ensures the correct exposure. In addition to JPEG, the Ricoh also offers saving in DNG raw data format. These files can also be developed directly in the camera. The built-in flash must be manually flipped open and has a guide number of 5.4. flash exposure correction, long flash sync, and flash on the second shutter curtain are also available.

The APS-C sensor in CMOS design measures 25.7 by 15.7 millimetres and has a resolution of 16.2 megapixels. Ricoh does without a low-pass filter to get even higher resolution out of the lens. Should moirés occur nevertheless, they can be eliminated at the push of a button. Effective noise reduction is intended to keep image noise to a minimum, so that one should be able to work sensibly with the GR even at high sensitivities of up to ISO 25,600. In addition, GR wants to shine with high speed, for which the powerful image processor GR V Engine is primarily responsible. It should be ready to shoot after only one second, the autofocus should have focused after 0.2 seconds and the shutter release delay should be only 0.03 seconds. The continuous-advance mode allows four frames per second. The Ricoh records videos in full HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels at a maximum of 24, 25 or 30 frames per second. If you switch to the small HD resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels, even 50 and 60 frames per second are possible. In VGA resolution, on the other hand, there are again only 24, 25 or 30 frames per second. Videos are stored in MPEG-4 format with H.264 compression and can be cropped directly in the camera.

The extensive range of accessories includes, for example, the GH-3 filter adapter, which allows filters with a diameter of 49 millimetres to be screwed in, the GV-2 optical viewfinder with the field of view of a 28 millimetre 35 mm lens, a 28 millimetre sun visor and the GW-3 wide-angle converter, which reduces the focal length to 21 millimetres corresponding to 35 mm. Matching this converter there is also an optical viewfinder (GV-1, due to markings also suitable for 28 mm) and a lens hood. The Ricoh GR is equipped with the DB-65 rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which can last for 290 shots according to the CIPA standard or 45 minutes when shooting video. It is charged in the camera using the supplied USB cable and USB power adapter. The external charger BJ-6 is available as an option, as is the AC adapter AC-5C. In addition to a built-in interval shooting function, the Ricoh can be triggered with the optional CA-2 cable remote shutter release. In addition, the GR has a micro HDMI connector (type D). The SD memory card slot is compatible with SD, SDHC, SDXC, UHS-1 and Eye-Fi WLAN SD Card X2. Also in the accessories range: the GF-1 attachable flash, the leather loop GS-2 and the straps GS-1 and ST-2.

The Ricoh GR is extremely compact and weighs just under 250 grams despite its robust metal casing. [Photo: Ricoh]

The Ricoh GR features a 12-megapixel APS-C sensor and a 28mm fixed focal length (35mm equivalent). [Photo: Ricoh]

The Ricoh GR’s program dial has a locking mechanism, and the distinctive grip makes it easy to hold. [Photo: Ricoh]

Ergonomics and Workmanship

The first surprise is already there when you take the GR out of the box: The camera is so light (249 grams ready to use) that you almost think you are holding a toy in your hands. But far from it: Ricoh uses a light yet robust magnesium-aluminum alloy for the camera. The shape of the GR is unusual but quite successful. It extends far into the width, but remains very flat. When the camera is turned off, the lens disappears almost completely into the flat housing, and the GR will fit in your pocket. The wide shape may look unusual, but it is definitely practical. For a compact camera, the GR offers a well-defined grip, and the camera can be held securely with one hand. In addition, there is more space on the back next to the display than usual for operating elements and for the thumb.

The Ricoh GR is aimed more at experienced photographers, as the functions of the controls make it clear. For example, the program selector wheel is equipped with a safety device – it can only be adjusted if the safety button is pressed down at the same time. In contrast, the front wheel turns very easily. At first glance, the GR even offers a thumbwheel, but this soon turns out to be a rocker with a touch function. This gives you fixed access to the settings for ISO number, light meter, autofocus and file format, for example. Also professional is a switch between single-frame AF and continuous AF, as well as a second rocker switch for exposure correction only.

As generous as Ricoh has provided the GR with controls, the manufacturer has saved as much on the display. Although it has a very fine resolution of over 1.2 million dots, it is rigidly flanged to the camera back. This is all the more annoying as the GR also does not offer an electronic viewfinder, only an optical viewfinder can be retrofitted. Ricoh would have liked to have made more effort in the layout of the menus, too, there are only three lists of a cubit length, the font is rather small. As a small compensation for this, there is an electronic spirit level, with the help of which a sloping horizon in the picture can be easily avoided.

On the right side, the USB and HDMI interfaces are hidden under a somewhat fiddly rubber cover, and on the left side of the case, Ricoh has placed two additional controls: the flash release and a switch for selecting the image effects. The battery and memory card share a common slot that is accessible from below. The tripod thread is located directly next to the shaft and far outside the optical axis. So when the quick-release plate is attached, the battery/memory card compartment is blocked – a tribute to the compact design of the APS-C camera.


The Ricoh GR is aimed at photographers who know how to operate a camera. The only concession to novices is a fully automatic system that hardly allows any intervention. Scene mode programs or even assistants (e.g. for HDR or panorama photos), on the other hand, are not present. The GR is therefore preferably used as a timer or aperture priority, but it also offers a program automatic as well as the possibility of manual exposure. And there’s more: in TAv mode, the Ricoh GR controls the exposure at a preset aperture/aperture combination via ISO sensitivity. A function, by the way, that first appeared in this form in Pentax cameras, which have since slipped under the Ricoh umbrella.

But the GR pampers you with functions that are far from commonplace on a compact camera. For example, with an interval automatic that takes up to 99 photos at intervals of one second to one hour. Or the possibility of multiple exposures. The bracketing functions of the GR. It not only takes the usual exposure series, but also varies the white balance, contrast or three freely selectable image effects. There are also many possibilities for intervention in noise reduction, which can be configured separately for low, medium and high ISO levels. So that you don’t lose track of all the many possible settings, the GR allows you to store up to three camera configurations, which can then be quickly recalled via the program dial.

A special function of the GR allows the usable dynamic range to be extended. Simply put, it takes a tightly exposed photo to improve the highlights, and then brightens the depths. In order to be able to shoot with an open aperture even in bright light, the GR allows an ND filter with -2 EV attenuation to be swivelled into the beam path. This is all the more important because the shortest exposure time at open aperture is only 1/2,000 second; only from F5.6 does the GR control even shorter exposure times up to 1/4,000 second. Should the GR’s 28mm focal length ever be too short, it offers two crop modes that crop shots according to a focal length of 35 or 48mm.

The Ricoh GR’s metal tripod thread is far off the optical axis. [Photo: Ricoh]

On one side of the Ricoh GR body are the controls for manually opening the built-in flash and adjusting image effects. [Photo: Ricoh]

On the other side of the Ricoh GR, the interfaces (HDMI and USB) are located under a rubber flap. [Photo: Ricoh]

The battery and memory card are divided into one compartment on the Ricoh GR. However, it can no longer be opened with the tripod plate attached. [Photo: Ricoh]

The GR is in its element when it comes to focusing. The autofocus works extremely fast, after only 0.16 seconds the camera in the lab of digitalkamera.de had focused and released. If even that still takes too long, you can specify a distance such as 2.5 or 5 meters, but also infinity, at which the GR starts focusing, or with which it functions as a fixed focus camera – a smart idea, for example for quick snapshots or landscape shots. The close-up limit is 30 centimeters by default, but can be shortened to ten centimeters in macro mode. For those who prefer manual focusing, the GR provides active support. If desired, an enlarged display can be shown under the current focus field, and the size and magnification of this focus magnifier can be adjusted. But what the GR really lacks is an image stabilizer. The little board flash is a little weak on the chest, but is enough to brighten up the foreground. If necessary, the GR can be equipped with a more powerful flash unit via ISO shoe.

When it comes to video recording, the GR is not quite up to date. Although it films in Full HD resolution and records the sound in stereo, the frame rate is a maximum of 30 fps. The fact that neither aperture nor exposure time can be specified for film recordings is also not very practical. On the other hand, the editing functions are rich in playback mode. This allows you to develop GR Raw files and even offers a function to reduce moiré. However, the GR completely dispenses with GPS or WiFi functions.

Image quality

Ricoh equips the GR with all the ingredients necessary for the finest image quality. The image converter in APS-C format has a moderately high resolution of a good 16 megapixels – the best prerequisites for low-noise and recording and a good dynamic range. In addition, the sensor dispenses with a conventional low-pass filter, which limits the usable resolution to prevent moiré effects.

In terms of “noise”, the Ricoh GR behaves in a classic way: with every increase in ISO sensitivity, the signal-to-noise ratio decreases, reaching the critical limit of 35 dB at ISO 1,600. Conversely, the luminance noise increases almost linearly, but remains uncritical up to ISO 6,400. GR has better control over color noise, and visible color interference does not occur even at maximum ISO 25,600. In order to keep the visible influence of noise reduction low, GR sharpens sharply – a little too sharply at low ISO values. Up to ISO 400, texture sharpness is over 1.1, and edges of high-contrast motifs may well show fringes of brightness.

Rather professionally tuned is the tone curve of the GR. She avoids a too crisp treatment of contrasts, which makes the shots look nicely differentiated on the one hand, but also a bit reserved on the other hand. The color fidelity of GR is almost exemplary, it’s just a pity that the white balance doesn’t work accurately enough at higher ISO values. The dynamic range of the GR is very good up to ISO 800, but then collapses and reaches just about good values at ISO 3,200.

The GR lens is characterized by its low distortion, low darkening of image corners and almost no chromatic aberration. However, the resolving power is somewhat low with a good 40 line pairs/millimeter. On the other hand, the resolution hardly decreases towards the edges of the image – especially for a wide-angle lens this is rare and therefore excellent.


The Ricoh GR combines a 28-millimeter fixed focal length with APS-C sensor in a handy, high-quality body. The performance of the lightweight camera is solid, especially the resolution of the lens, which is very uniform over the entire field of view, stands out. But despite the comparatively large sensor, the image quality is only convincing up to ISO 1600. At higher ISO values the dynamic range collapses and the signal-to-noise ratio becomes critical. The Ricoh GR’s set-up and features are aimed more at ambitious photographers. The autofocus is very fast and accurate, and for manual focusing the GR offers a wide range of assistant functions. However, scene mode programs are missing, and face recognition can only be used in fully automatic mode. There is virtually no intervention for video recording, WiFi and GPS are missing on the GR. The ergonomics of the camera are very good, and the GR is also extremely light in relation to its size. The bottom line is that the Ricoh GR is recommended primarily as a high-quality travel and reportage camera, although the lack of a zoom lens imposes certain limitations.

Limited special edition of Ricoh GR for the Christmas season: Individual colour scheme and exclusive accessory set

Ricoh launched special edition of the GR, limited to 5,000 pieces worldwide, in time for the Christmas season. The Japanese manufacturer is pleased about the market success of the premium compact camera GR as well as the positive feedback from retailers and photographers. The GR has a fast F2.8 lens with an equivalent focal length of 28 millimetres and an APS-C size CMOS sensor with 16-megapixel resolution.

The green color scheme with a wave pattern, the glossy wooden-look handle, a silver engraving on the lens ring, and the bayonet ring and shutter-release button in the same color distinguish the Ricoh GR special edition. [Photo: Ricoh]

A special accessory set consisting of a strap and a bag made of brown leather as well as a lens shade with filter adapter is included in the scope of delivery. [Photo: Ricoh]

The special model is to be distinguished by the green colouring with a special wave pattern and the high-gloss handle in wood look. Furthermore, besides a silver engraving on the lens ring, the bayonet ring and the shutter release are in the same colour. The limited special edition contains a special accessory set consisting of a strap and a bag made of brown leather as well as a lens shade with filter adapter. Ricoh will not announce the price of the GR special edition until the market launch, but the manufacturer’s definition of the latter as “Christmas sales” is rather vague. The camera is supposed to be pre-installed with firmware 2.05, which is supposed to bring many additional functions. It also remains unclear whether these are additional functions that are not yet included in the recently released version 2.03.


Manufacturer Ricoh
Model GR
Price approx. EUR 600 at market launch
Sensor Resolution 16.9 megapixels
Max. Image resolution 4.928 x 3.264
(aspect ratio) (3:2)
Lens F2,8 28mm
Filter thread 49 mm (optional)
Viewfinder optical (optional)
Dioptre compensation
Image field coverage
LCD monitor 3″
Resolution 1.230.000
as viewfinder yes
Video output AV/HDMI (PAL/NTSC)
Automatic programming yes
Automatic aperture control yes
Automatic timer yes
manual exposure yes
BULB long time exposure yes
Scene modes Not present in this model
Exposure metering Multi-field, centre-weighted Integral, Spot
Flash yes
Flash connection ISO TTL system hot shoe
Remote release Cable
Interval recording yes
Storage medium SD/SDHC/SDXC
Video mode
Format MPEG
Codec H.264
Resolution (max.) 1.920 x 1.080
at frame rate 30p
automatically ISO 100-25.600 (can be limited to ISO 800)
manually ISO 100-25,600
White balance
Automatic yes
Sun yes
Clouds yes
Fluorescent lamp yes
Incandescent lamp yes
Miscellaneous WB fine correction
Manually yes
Number of measurement fields 810
AF auxiliary light green LED
Speed approx. 0,16 s
Languages English
More 16 other languages
(ready for operation)
249 g
Zoom adjustment
One-hand operation
(zoom and shutter release)
Triggering during storage possible. yes
Battery life approx. 290 recordings (according to CIPA)
– = “not applicable” or “not available

Brief assessment


  • Very fast autofocus
  • Lightweight and high quality camera housing
  • Wide range of functions (for demanding photographers)
  • Hot shoe


  • Image stabilizer, GPS and WiFi are missing
  • Display rigidly installed, no EVF
  • Picture quality only up to ISO 1,600 at APS-C level

Ricoh GR Data Sheet


Sensor CMOS sensor APS-C 23.6 x 15.8 mm (crop factor 1.5
)16.9 megapixels (physical), 16.2 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 4.8 µm
Photo resolution
4.352 x 3.264 pixels (4:3)
3.488 x 2.608 pixels (4:3)
2.592 x 1.944 pixels (4:3)
1.280 x 960 pixels (4:3)
640 x 480 pixels (4:3)
Image formats JPG, RAW
Color depth 36 bits (12 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.3), DCF standard
Video resolution
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 60 p
640 x 480 (4:3) 60 p
Video format
MPG4 [codec MPEG-4]


Focal length 28 mm (35 mm equivalent
) digital zoom 4x
Aperture F2.8 (wide angle)
Autofocus yes
Autofocus functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Area AF, Manual, AF Assist Light
Sharpness control Depth-of-field control, depth-of-field button
Filter thread 49 mm

Viewfinder and monitor

Monitor 3.0″ TFT LCD monitor with 1,230,000 pixels


Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement, spot measurement
Exposure times 1/4,000 to 300 s (automatic)

Bulb function

Exposure control Programmed automatic, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Manual
Exposure bracketing function Exposure bracketing function with a maximum of 3 shots
Exposure Compensation -4.0 to +4.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Photosensitivity ISO 100 to ISO 800 (automatic
)ISO 100 to ISO 25,600 (manual)
Remote access non-existent
Scene modes No scene modes in this model
Picture effects Miniature effect, bleach bypass, cross development, effect function for black and white, color reversal film, high key, retro, black and white with high contrast
White balance Auto, Cloudy, Sunny, White balance bracket, Fine tuning, Fluorescent lamp, Tungsten lamp, Manual
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 4 fps at highest resolution and max. 999 stored photos
Self-timer Self-timer with 2 s interval, special features: or 10 s (optional)
Recording functions Live histogram


Flash built-in flash (flip-up
) Flash shoe: Ricoh, standard center contact
Flash range 0.2 to 3.0 m at wide-angle flash range
at ISO
5 (ISO 100)
Flash code
Guide number 5 (ISO 100)
Flash functions Auto, fill-in flash, flash on, flash off, slow sync, red-eye reduction


Image stabilizer no optical image stabilizer
Internal memory yes (54 MByte)
Power supply unit Power supply connectionUSB charging function
Power supply 1 x Ricoh DB-65 (Lithium ion (Li-Ion))
Playback functions Red-eye retouching, cropping images, image index, slide show function
Face recognition Face recognition
Grille can be faded in during recording yes
Special functions Electronic spirit level
Connections Data interfaces: USB video output
: yes (HDMI output Micro (Type D))
Supported direct printing methods PictBridge
Tripod thread 1/4″
Special features and miscellaneous Dynamic expansion via double exposureGR-V-Engine signal processing processor Simultaneous

recording of DNG and JPEG images possibleEqualizing


setting sets can be programmed onto the function dial

Size and weight

Weight 215 g (ready for operation)
Dimensions W x H x D 117 x 61 x 35 mm


standard accessory Ricoh DB-65 Special Battery ChargerUSB Connection CableStrap StrapImage Editing Software

Silkypix Developer Studio 3 for Pentax/Ricoh for Windows and Macintosh

additional accessories Nikon HDMI Cable Audio / Video CableRicoh
BJ-6 Power SupplyRicoh
CA-2 Cable Remote ReleaseRicoh
DB-65 Special BatteryRicoh
GF-1 Plug-on Flash with Pan ReflectorRicoh
GV-1 (plug-on viewfinder)
Power Supply AC-5CRemovable memory cardFilter adapter

Wide angle attachment 21mm (GW-3)
Mini viewfinder for 28 mm (GV-2)
Lens hood for 28 mmLens hood
for 21 mmLeather wrist strap


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