The Ricoh GR is incredibly, almost unbelievably compact- well built, like some kind of rare, precious object, and the quality one can squeeze from this diminutive operator is near legendary. It certainly doesn't supply the classic camera, tactile satisfaction, but being the rather unique creature it truly is, it nicely creates its own individual user aura. And because of that nearly non existent environmental signature- you want to (and can) take it everywhere!.
|Photo: © S. Banos|
Frankly, I detested the very thought of having to compose on a tiny 3 inch screen; it's hard enough trying to make sense of 'em in the best of light with glasses on- what chance does one possibly have in real world circumstances!?!? Easy it ain't; that still doesn't mean it can't be done... and the photo up top proves it.
I was left eyed all my life- until ten years ago when I developed floaters in that eye. It made focusing difficult- easier to change what side you bat from, what hand you throw and write with! Nevertheless, I was forced to adapt, and adapt I did. It certainly wasn't overnight, but with time and practice- I've been a right eyed shooter for several years now with no ill consequence.
Likewise, I was always a manual exposure, full control kinda guy; with the GR, I set the shutter speed and let the autofocus and other bells and whistles that I configured do what they do, while I concentrate fully on somehow trying to position that 3 inch rectangle. Problem solved? Yes and no. Not perfect by any means, but that selfie photo was done on the quick, in very BRIGHT light and is every bit as well composed as if I had done it on my F3. Beginner's luck? Believe it!!! I was damn lucky to get that shot on the second day with the camera, shooting in a completely foreign manner- and I'm sure there'll be many a cussing shit fit yet to come on many another occasion... Right now though, it seems almost magical that despite the odds- sharp, colorful, well exposed images manage to regularly pop up.
The GR opens some doors, while making you you jiggle the lock on others- you accommodate to it, learn its strengths and let it "free" you, or spend your time wallowing in its shortcomings. Why am I so much more forgiving of the GR than the full featured XT-1? Because: A) This was never meant to be a "do everything" camera, and B) It's near supernatural portability is, in fact, it's greatest technological feature and asset. Also, unlike the XT-1, where I was shooting similarly to my analog SLR (except with a crappy EVF that made shooting outside less satisfactory in every way), the GR forces one to use the LCD screen (a la Avedon shooting with his 8X10), or shoot from the hip- you can't condemn it for what it wasn't made to do; either way, people are less threatened by it since it shoots and looks as much phone as camera. Some photographers can't handle the 28mm coverage (too wide), I've been married to a 20, so it's a change for me as well, if from the other direction. But shooting in color with a 28mm isn't that bad for me, being that color adds so much more information- and that combo kinda worked out well for that Eggleston fellow as I recall...
|Photo: © S. Banos|
Must say, the add-on (3rd party) OVF makes it! Accurate? Hell, that cheap ass piece o'plastic'll give ya a goddamn headache if ya even think of looking through it!