Design and features
Ricoh has updated its rangefinder-esque camera, the, 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). 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.
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.
|Ricoh GR Digital IV||Olympus XZ-1|
|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|
General shooting metrics (in seconds)
- Time to first shot
- JPEG shot-to-shot time
- RAW shot-to-shot time
- Shutter lag
- 126.96.36.199.3Olympus XZ-1
- 188.8.131.52.3Panasonic Lumix LX5
- 184.108.40.206.4Canon PowerShot S100
- 2.51.340.1Ricoh GR Digital IV
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Continuous shooting speed
- 2.6Panasonic Lumix LX5
- 2.5Canon PowerShot S100
- 2.3Ricoh GR Digital IV
- 2.1Olympus XZ-1
(Longer bars indicate better performance)