The Ricoh GRD4

41 thoughts on “The Ricoh GRD4”

  1. I like my film, but i like my LX7 for some of the same points you make – small, hasn’t broken yet … until it does i’ll not buy another. LCD … its just another way of taking photos, its neither better nor worse. If anything the blur gets boring on my LX7 so i like that it has an aperture wheel i can dial up to 8. When you got various elements at different depths then shallow depth of field can discard what makes the shot great.
    A lot of people are loving their phones and tiny sensors for photography, why – same reason – depth and easy focus.
    For me SLR is about enjoying the distorted or altered look of the lens – like seeing the world through a different eye. When you’re shooting between 35 and 50mm i’d rather just use LCD or range-finder and get the shot while its there because you’re composing with your mind, or its just happening in front of you. With SLR you can end up feeling limited – but thats great if you are bored and wanting to see mundane things differently. With a small utility camera.

    Daido wouldn’t even listen to himself – why try to copy someone who was avoiding copying others?

  2. …and if I want to BUY one? What are my best chances? Thrilling post, Josh – you ignited my GAS big time. I looked into the new Fuji X70 but well, just another digicam.

    The GR /GRII are not that thrilling, and you are right, the small sensor cameras rule!

  3. Great post Josh . I have an old GRD2 and although im a Fuji man I still pick up the Ricoh and put it in my pocket if I want to travel very light. I have to say I do like a viewfinder , not due to any kind of snobbery , just how I like to shoot. I didnt want to spend a load of cash on a proper one though so I made one out of the plastic box a car electrical relay is in …. Gives me a near enough framing experience 🙂

    1. haha, I was half kidding about the viewfinder thing. I’m just sick of my hipster friends talking about them like they are what makes a real camera. Sounds awesome though, the homemade version 😉

      1. Ah the viewfinders…. That’s what keeping me from falling totally for a GR or Fuji X70 right now. I’m an old fashioned photog and I just THINK I need one…. Right now theres a GRD IV for sale around here and I’m just having a hard time to decide. Abyways, the GRD IV is 340€….. Apparently very clean. Is that price a rip off or is it acceptable?

      2. Kinda expensive I would say.. Although they are holding their value compared to the newer ones. They sell here for around 250 Euro for the white and 270 for the black.. Or thereabouts

  4. Hi Josh
    I can see very much your line of thought, man, even if I only fell for Ricoh when it was “too late” and the GR(5) was by then the game in town. Can’t complain about that one, either, but I see the point of infinite depth of field in many circumstances!
    Most important though is the vision, and you got loads of that, as these images clearly show. Moriyama or not, you’re the man in Seoul!

  5. i’ve always been a fan of black and white photography and your blog is amazing! thank you for sharing these amazing photos with us! these photos are very raw and i like how they are mostly spontaneous not many are of people posing.

    1. Haha, well, my favourite serious camera is still the omd em1. Don’t you have one? Basically for the same reasons I mentioned in the post about depth of field and such.

      1. I have the EM5 mate, yes I totally get that DOF thing. It’s the thing that full frame guys don’t mention when talking about the small sensors, it’s a big advantage if you’re not in search of the ‘holy grail’ BOKEH!! 🙂

  6. Couldn’t agree with you more. I am on my fourth GRD now. My first GRD died couple of years ago. My second GRD is a bit quirky but still works after what, 6 years already? Now I mainly use a GRD3 and 4. When the new APS GR was announced I immediately went to buy one of the last GRD4’s still available new. I think they should have kept the same size, put a 1″ sensor in it and a fast lens. I felt no reason to get a much bigger sensor.
    For the first few years I used the viewfinder all the time, thinking it is the only proper way. For the past 3-4 years I have not bothered. In bright light you sometimes have to guess a bit but that is fine.
    I have occasionally considered jumping to the APS version but have not really felt the urge after holding it in my hands in the shop. I also considered the X70 but it is just so different. No reason to mess with something that works so well.

  7. I follow your blog from time to time and am a big fan of your style. I’ve been going thru a Ricoh GR phase myself the last 2-3 years, tried out a used GRD3 to get a taste for the GR range, then sold it and bought a GR2 to get serious about things. Went with the GR2 because I want to print my better shots over time and thought larger sensor = better print. I’ve printed 1 and very happy with it. Curious to know if you’ve printed any photos from your 3 or 4 and any comments on their quality.

    Anyway, I noticed a few weeks ago, and checked again today something in Sydney that might interest you. There’s a photography chain store here in Sydney called Paxtons ( Their 285 George Street store has a new (not shrink wrapped however) GR3 for AUD299 (they would do AUD265 they said but I don’t know how long they would hold that price). If I didn’t have my GR2, I probably would have bought it, being new and all that. You won’t find it on their website (because it’s so old I guess) but if you contact them on maybe they would ship it? Good luck.

    1. Hi, and thanks for the comment. The print doesn’t really rely much on sensor size so what you said doesn’t really make sense. What is true is the older GRDs have less megapixels so that might effect print size if you’re printing huge. Something like an 11 x 14 would never show a difference between the two if everything else is equal. I’ve printed quite large, had photos in books from both the 3/4 and aways looked fine. I printed a huge print from an 8 megapixel Sony from 2006 and it looked fine. I don’t worry about it too much with my style. I don’t shoot raw ever so I’m not so much interested in ‘getting the best out of my camera.’ Thanks for the tip on the Ricoh. It’s a bit pricey compared for what they sell for here, ha.

  8. Great article! Totally agree with you. I am a happy user of the GR V but I’m thinking about doing a downgrade to the GRIV as you said with these one you need some post production to get the look of a small sensor, and this look is the one i like most, really cool pictures in the article by the way. What ISO did you use in this photos?

    1. I am aware how flashes work, thanks.You said they don’t have the chops, but in fact I think they do fine enough even without flash. One of my favourite photos taken with the grd3 is the one above of the girl on the bus holding her head. No flash and it was quite dark. I think it turned out fine. Then again, maybe I don’t care about the grain as much as others do.

  9. Oh, you can get keepers with the GRDs in low light, but the rate for me is considerably lower. One of my favorite shots was done at night with the GRD 1 at ISO 1600, which is the best setting on that camera. I was panning on the subject and got lucky. Otherwise, the entire image would been blurred, and not in a good way. The GRD IV has a nice grain, but it’s not as good as the GRD 1, IMO.

    1. I haven’t used the original much. I had one but it died after a couple of weeks and I haven’t had the heart to buy another. I did fall in love with an old Sony point and shoot once (I wrote about it here a bit) that has the same sensor as the original grd (Sony made the sensor apparently). It had a good look as well even though the lens was quite different.

  10. They are all good…the GRDs…because they use CCD sensors. I wish Ricoh would go back to using them, but I doubt that will happen. Not that the apsc sensor in the GR is bad, it’s just different. The masses want clean, sterile, noiseless images. For those of us who don’t, we’re left to find older cameras like the GRDs.
    I used to have a Nikon D40…a 6 mp CCD sensor. I wish I still had it, and will probably buy another one.

  11. The Grd´s are the ones! Going for my 2nd now (i have the black sheep grd2, and i have bought a grd3 today). I’m mainly a videographer, i use to work with slr´s all my life since i have 12 years old, for professional reasons or not, i´m almost 30 now. My life has been all around art and image, 2 years ago i start to really get involved with photography, in the past it was something more forced, my dad had an home photography studio, and photography was always present because of that. That being said, i´m very used to work with “real cameras”, like nikons and canons, i still work with them for professional reasons as i said, but my way to do what i really like is with the ricohs….. I mean, they are fantastic, and i have the worst of them, but the image just fits me right, its not about quality its about the way they look. Even my father that is used to work with film all is life, was amazed about the look of the JPEG´S of this Ricohs, and i don’t use any filter at all, just high contrast black and white mode on the camera, and 1 stop down. Congrats for your blog, in my humble opinion is the best that i know in this field. Cheers from Portugal

  12. Found your blog only recently and been reading it from newer to older posts… enjoying you writing and especially your photos.

    I have a GR II and love it though you made me curious about the GRD IV.

    What B&W settings did you use in your Ricohs for JPGs? I shoot in high contrast B&W mode, but that’s only for the LCD view, as I PP the raws later. Sometimes I find it too extreme.

    Cheers and congrats.

  13. to be honest I think it’s image processing here is more important than the camera …. atmosphere with epson, fuji x100 any Ricoh. …….all the same looks…….but I still like it

  14. just bought my 1st digital camera, i’ve opted for the GRD3 (was about all my low budget could stretch to)

    Originally i was pretty gutted i couldn’t stretch to the GR, but after reading this i am very excited to get shooting with the GRD3.

    Really good photos!


  15. jtinseol, I just bought myself a GRD3 and I love it!!! However…how are your settings on it? since my black and white photos don´t look anything like yours.. my jpgs seem a bit more silver and not that much into black and white, like yours…? Is there a special setting you use? Are those all pictures taken by night?

    1. Hi!

      It really depends on how you expose the photos. I tend to expose them as if they are film.. I underexpose quite a bit and then I push them in Snapseed. That helps makes them feel a little more dreamy I find. Anyway, I think getting the exposure right is important. Also, I never use the “high contrast” settings or something like this. The grain I get is more like noise from the ISO and the pushing back of the photo from being underexposed.

      Hope this helps!


      1. Thanks, it makes sense… Do you use Snap focus? or AF? I tend to use snap focus and 400 or 1200 iso… But the look does not come near like yours, until I pass them through lightroom and use contrast and put shadows way down and blacks down a bit. I guess I will try to underexpose a bit, maybe using Exposure Compensation? or do you use it in Manual Mode? Have you talked about the modes and settings you use? Thanks again for your reply… and the insight… Thanks.

  16. Hi there, love this blog!

    I have owned a GRD 1 (still have it, love the film-like quality) and GRD2 (sold it, didn’t like it as much as the 1)

    I am soon going to purchase a used GRD3. May i ask, what are your recommended MY1 & MY2 settings ?

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