Officially that’s the Ricoh Caplio GX100, but a camera shouldn’t need a middle name. Mine arrived yesterday.
Why? · You just gotta have a pocket camera, because the single greatest factor in taking good photos is being ready to shoot when opportunity knocks. I still regret my deceased Canon S70, and while I got some OK shots with the Canon A710, I never actually liked it that much; the ergonomics were so-so and it wouldn’t shoot RAW and the shutter lag was irritating.
On paper, the Ricohs scratch a few of those itches, then when I was in Tokyo last year, it became obvious that the Ricohs are the preferred camera flavor among the Japanese geek contingent; I got to fool with a couple of them and liked the feel.
If you look at DPReview’s take, it’s pretty negative, but the lines aren’t hard to read between: on the upside, the ergonomics are great, the wide-angle is huge, the thing reacts fast, and the lens is good. On the downside, the JPEG conversion is second-rate in anything but really excellent light; and the dynamic range is not that great, it’s easy to blow out the highlights.
Well, I’d normally shoot RAW rather than JPEG anyhow, so the really big downside isn’t that big an issue. There is another issue in that the RAW write speed is sluggish, so you can’t shoot a whole bunch in a row.
Another alternative would be the much-ballyhooed Ricoh GR Digital II, with all the same ergonomic goodness and a neato prime lens too; lately I’ve become a bit of a prime-lens junkie.
I spent some time poking around the Ricoh Forum, and it seems that the GX100 lens is not significantly behind the D2 where it matters, plus it’s a little more resistant to highlight burnout. And damn it, a pocket camera’s about convenience, so why not a zoom?
Impressions · I unpacked it, I charged it up, I turned it on... nothing. Talk about a mood-destroyer. Had to go out, when I came back an hour later it was fine. Go figure. So, late at night, the lights low, I jammed the ISO over to 800 and took the first shot at what I could see from where I was sitting.
Hey, the image stabilization is pretty good, that’s at 1/13 of a second.
So I snuck up on the cat and balanced the camera on a stool: ¼-second shutter. Fortunately, the cat held still.
Yeah, there’s a lot of luminance noise in those, but... usable, I’d say.
Today I was pinned by the phone/chat/email torrent from the moment I got breakfast stuffed into the kids until like three PM, so after I got my shower I grabbed the Ricoh and went around the block.
The first crocuses are starting to think about showing their faces.
I shot that one with both RAW and JPEG, and there’s no doubt that Lightroom does a better job than the idiot software in the camera. Don’t know how visible it would be at screen resolutions. Also, they’re right about the sensitivity, I managed to blow out highlights even under the cloudy sky. There are EV compensation tricks that the Ricoh Forum experts recommend, have to learn them.
The ergonomics, even in the first 24 hours, are wonderful! It’s easier to switch ISO and resolution and so on than with my Pentax. And in decent light, the shutter lag is amazing, up there in SLR territory.
Hey, it even does bokeh! The macro setting is slow but slick.
Obviously there’s quite a bit of learning that’ll need to happen. I’m in California and Geneva over the next two weeks, and I’ll leave the SLR at home; forced education.