Ricoh GR Digital IV review: Ricoh GR Digital IV

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Fast, fixed-focal-length lens. Great image quality. Rangefinder style.

The Bad Only VGA video capture. Very expensive.

The Bottom Line Designed for serious photographers, the Ricoh GR Digital IV will appeal, thanks to its fixed focal-length lens and its fast maximum aperture.

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Design and features

Ricoh has updated its rangefinder-esque camera, the GR Digital III , with this new model. External elements are all but identical to its predecessor, providing a reassuring upgrade to those photographers who are used to the Ricoh ecosystem.

With little to no badging identifying its brand on the front, and just a small sliver of silver underneath the 3-inch LCD screen at the back touting the brand name, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this camera wants to be a bit incognito. It's an all-black box (apart from the limited edition white colour), with a rubberised grip on the right-hand side, protruding from the diminutive frame, which adds a reasonable amount of bulk, weighing it down accordingly for one-handed shooters. It's a touch lighter than the older camera at 190 grams, rather than 208, with battery.

Elsewhere, there's a small flash nestled at the top corner that pops out only when needed via a dedicated switch on the side. The hotshoe is covered with a small plastic piece that can be removed to attach a viewfinder or external flash, and a standard shutter and power button can be found nearby.

The fixed-focal-length lens is the most interesting part of this camera, offering a great basis for anyone interested in street or situational photography. It's fast, too, with a maximum aperture of f/1.9. Behind it sits a new 10-megapixel 1/1.7-inch CCD sensor (the same size as the Canon PowerShot S100 ). The mode dial at the top houses all of the controls (full PASM as well as automatic, custom presets and scene options), and there's a small button that needs to be pressed slightly to turn the dial — useful for making sure that you don't accidentally switch between modes. At the rear is a four-way directional pad and a small smattering of other functional buttons.

Not only is the lens sharp for regular photography, it also excels at macro photos, too.
(Credit: CBSi)

New features also appear in the form of the image stabiliser, which Ricoh claims can achieve an effect equivalent to increasing the shutter speed by 3.2 stops. Like the earlier Digital III, the IV has multi-pattern white balance, which makes for better colour-balanced images.

Filters include the addition of positive film and bleach bypass to the existing settings, including vivid, black-and-white and cross-process effects. Scene modes also include a new interval composite mode, which combines images of the night sky to capture star trails. There's also a multiple exposure setting that can combine up to five images in one.

Fortunately, the Digital IV carries over the high-resolution, 3-inch, 1.23 million dot screen, and it can capture JPEG and RAW images (though not simultaneously). Video capture is a measly VGA only, though.

Compared to

XZ-1 vs
Canon PowerShot S100 Ricoh GR Digital IV Olympus XZ-1 Panasonic LX5
12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor (1/1.7-inch) 10-megapixel CCD sensor (1/1.7-inch) 10-megapixel CCD sensor (1/1.63-inch) 10-megapixel CCD sensor (1/1.63-inch)
3-inch, 461,000-dot LCD 3-inch, 1,230,000-dot LCD 3-inch, 610,000-dot OLED 3-inch, 460,000-dot LCD
5x optical zoom, 24mm wide-angle No optical zoom, 24mm wide-angle 4x optical zoom, 28mm wide-angle 3.8x optical zoom, 24mm wide-angle
Full HD video (H.264, 1080p, 24fps) VGA video (AVI, 30fps) HD video (Motion JPEG, 720p, 30fps) HD video (AVCHD Lite, 720p, 30fps)
Pop-up flash Pop-up flash Pop-up flash Pop-up flash

Performance

General shooting metrics (in seconds)

  • Time to first shot
  • JPEG shot-to-shot time
  • RAW shot-to-shot time
  • Shutter lag
  • 1.41.11.90.3
    Olympus XZ-1
  • 2.21.42.60.3
    Panasonic Lumix LX5
  • 2.33.13.70.4
    Canon PowerShot S100
  • 2.51.340.1
    Ricoh GR Digital IV

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Continuous shooting speed

  • 2.6
    Panasonic Lumix LX5
  • 2.5
    Canon PowerShot S100
  • 2.3
    Ricoh GR Digital IV
  • 2.1
    Olympus XZ-1

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

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Where to Buy

Ricoh GR Digital IV

Part Number: CNETRicoh GR Digital IV

Typical Price: $799.00

See manufacturer website for availability.