As always we’ll start from technical features:
|Sensor||APS-C size, CMOS type
16.9 megapixels in total
16.2 megapixels effective
|Images||JPEG (Exif 2.3), RAW (DNG)
[3:2]4928×3264 (L), 3936×2608 (M), 2912×1936 (S), 1280×864(XS)
[4:3]4352×3264 (L), 3488×2608 (M), 2592×1936(S), 1152×864(XS)
[1:1]3264×3264(L), 2608×2608(M), 1936×1936(S), 864×864 (XS)
|Video||MPEG, 4 AVC/H.264
Full HD (1920×1080, 30p/25p/24p)
HD (1280×720, 60p/50p/30p/25p/24p)
VGA (640×480, 30p/25p/24p)
|ISO range||100 – 25600|
|Lens||18.3 mm (28 mm equivalent in 35 mm format)
7 elements in 5 groups, 2 aspherical elements
|Shutter||1/4000-300 sec, Bulb, Time|
|Zoom||Digital zoom only|
|Focusing system||TTL contrast detection auto focus
min 0.3 m in Standard mode
min 0.1 m in Macro mode
|Screen||3.0″ transparent TFT color LCD
With protective acrylic cover, 160°
Frame rate 60 fps
Resolution 1.230K dots
|Exposure system||TTL metering in multi, center-weighted, and spot modes with autoexposure lock|
|Flash||Integrated with guide number of 5.4 (ISO 100 equivalent)
Effective range 0.2 m – 3.0 m
|Functions and special features||ND filter (On, Off, Auto)
Digital filters: Black&White, B&W (TE), High Contrast B&W, Cross Process, Positive Film, Bleach Bypass, Retro, Miniaturize, Shift Crop, High Key, HDR Tone, Clarity, Brilliance, Slight, Vibrant, Bright, Portrait
Face recognition (up to 10 faces)
JPEG: approx. 4 fps (max. frames at cont. shoot: 999 frames); RAW/RAW+: approx. 10 frames
Release time lug approx. 0.03 sec
Start-up time approx. 1 sec
|Storage||Internal: approx. 54 MB
External: SD/SDHC, SDXC memory cards (conforms to UHS-I standards)
|Wireless connectivity||IEEE 802.11b/g/n standards
|NFC||ISO/IEC14443 TypeA, ISO/IEC14443 TypeB, JIS X 6319-4
Operating frequency: 13.56MHz
|Interfaces||Video output: NTSC/PAL
AV/USB: USB 2.0
HDMI output terminal
Audio output (monaural)
|Power||Rechargeable DB-65 lithium-ion battery
Optional AC Adapter available
Stills*: approx. 320 shots
Playback**: approx. 190 min
Movie*: approx. 45 min
* Recording capacity shows approximate number of shots recorded during CIPA compliant testing. Actual performance may vary depending on operating conditions.
** According to the result of PENTAX in-house testing
|Body||Height: 6.3 cm
Width: 11.7 cm
Depth: 3.47 cm
Weight: 221 g (body only), 251 g (with battery)
|Kit content||Battery DB-65
USB power adapter
Hot shoe cover
Ricoh GRII was release more than two years ago, in June 2015. So, how will it perform in modern environment? Is it still capable to compete with modern camera models?
Currently sellers ask about USD 600-650 for this camera. And this, probable, scares away some potential buyers. Because of its size majority of people consider this camera as “ordinary point-and-shoot”. But let its size does not deceive you. The secret is inside – its APS-C sized sensor with adequate 16 megapixels. As a modern trend the camera also has no AA filter.
This “tiny beast” is really small – the same size as many point-and-shoot cameras. It jas almost the same body size as its predecessor – GR, but with a small increase in height due to Wi-Fi antenna on the top.
You can take GRII everywhere you want: work, travel, vacation, friends, etc. It won’t take much space in your bag or pocket.
It is a bit heavier than its “parent GRs”, but just a bit. So, it keeps the form-factor and style of previous generations.
Ricoh GRII will satisfy the needs of different potential buyers: professional photographers, amateur photographers, non-photographers. It may be used for taking family photos, landscapes, street photography, general photo shoots and many other purposes. But there is one “BUT” here – potentially it will not be the best choice for majority of people due to its “higher tier” features: full manual control and plenty of settings for taking stills.
GRII has already got a name of the “best camera for street photographers” and it is true indeed.
Small form-factor allow to avoid extra attention from people on the streets. It has no viewfinder, the only source of visibility is the screen. The only lack here – the screen is fixed, so it will not be comfortable to see anything if you try to take candid images. But with extra practice you can take good images without the use of the screen.
APS-C sensor – the same as in all cropped DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. The sensor is capable of taking high quality images with low noise, probably due the fact that is has “only” 16 megapixels. If you need more flexibility with your images, just shoot RAW and process files later. During my test the size of RAW files ranged from 14 to 25 MB, while JPEGs – 4.5-6 MB. This means that if you prefer full scale shooting you should use at least 8 GB memory card. I think this size will be the best if you do not want to pay extra for larger size cards or if you are not using extra batteries for longer shooting. During my test I’ve used RAW+JPEG mode and I could not exceed 5-6 GB of card memory. But I’ve taken images of everything, without paying extra attention to composition. So if you are a more experienced street photographer, you will get more good photos with less shutter count.
Creative film look filters allow you to get images with different look, style and mood. You may select from: Black&White, B&W (TE), High Contrast B&W, Cross Process, Positive Film, Bleach Bypass, Retro, Miniaturize, Shift Crop, High Key, HDR Tone, Clarity, Brilliance, Slight, Vibrant, Bright, Portrait. Each filter can be adjusted with several options upon your taste.
Worth mentioning that the native JPEGs from Ricoh GRII are great. This means that if you are not the person who prefers sitting in RAW converters, this camera will be just what you need. All the automatic assistance features, like auto exposure or auto ISO work nice. I haven’t observed any substantial shift into over- or underexposure areas. Auto white balance also works nice (less visible in Digital Filter modes).
Ricoh GRII has a fixed 18.3 mm f/2.8 lens or approximately 29 mm in 35 mm format. Aperture f/2.8-f/16 allows you to take slightly out-of-focus background to all-in-focus images. Infinity starts approximately from 5 meters. And there are also several focusing modes: Infinity and Snap. Infinity allows you to avoid focusing completely, just point at your subject and press the shutter (just try to consider the minimal distance). Snap mode allows you to pre-configure the focus distance and the camera will focus on this set distance.
It is a bit soft at open aperture, but if you stop down to f/5.6 or f/8 the sharpness is good all over the frame (with a bit softer corners). In general, the center of the image is visibly sharper than corners on all apertures (I haven’t tried though any aperture higher than f/8, because due to diffraction it will not improve image quality).
Chromatic aberrations are present. though they are at adequately low level.
There is some vignetting in the corners especially wide open. But we can consider it as a “feature”. Especially taking into account various built-in film-look digital filters.
The lens does not have any zoom feature, though the camera has special digital zoom feature – it crops to 35 or 47 mm equivalent mode to produce less wide-angle shots (M and S resolutions accordingly, with no upsampling).
I did not have any opportunity to conduct any reasonable lens quality test, but the “real life” images confirm all other reviews of Ricoh GRII.
It worth mentioning that the native camera JPEG processing reduces all “non-desirable problems”. And if you will compare the JPEG file with RAW you may see improvements in image quality – less chromatic aberrations, higher overall brightness.
The lens has built-in ND-filter that can be activated, set to Auto or deactivated. It allows you to reduce the amount of light for very bright scenes.
Screen & Menu
With the size of 3″ the screen is good enough for comfortable use, either composition or just viewing your images. You can activate focus assisting feature to improve the accuracy of focusing.
Also a nice feature, pretty popular in the last several years, is an electronic level. When activated the level will appear on the screen showing you any deviations from the horizon. This feature also shows the forward or backward tilt of the camera.
In-camera RAW processing can also be performed on-the-go, also applying digital filters to your existing images.
The menu of GRII is nice, though if you need to change some less used setting you need to make a bit more clicks up or down. Obviously this isn’t a problem for an everyday shooter who has already customized the camera for himself.
Ergonomics & Body
One of the benefits of GRII. It continues the shape and design of its predecessors. All main functional keys are easy to reach with one hand. You can also customize two function buttons and Wi-Fi button according to your preference. This easily can be done using the menu. The user interface is also customizable.
Magnesium body is pretty rigid and lightweight at the same time. Rubber grips help to have more control over the camera.
Flash and Hot shoe mount
During my test I haven’t used the built-in flash. But it is a nice extra feature for some specific cases.
The availability of hot shoe mount is also a nice bonus. You can attach external flash or trigger if you need to add some additional lighting to your shots.
You may also play with this camera in a photo studio 🙂
As was already mentioned – the image quality is great! For most user probably the JPEG file format will be fine. But if you want more versatility and squeeze maximum details from your images then I recommend shooting in RAW.
Obviously different in-camera filters do not apply to RAW files.
Also worth mentioning is that camera noise reduction works nice, yes it softens the image a bit, but still you have plenty of details.
On this JPEG vs RAW comparison sample you may see (just try not to pay attention to colors) that details are pretty much remain in JPEG. In addition if you look at out-of-focus area – it is much softer than in RAW image.
JPEG vs RAW side-by-side (standard mode), iso 500
Then let’s switch to portraits, for example. The film filter was applied with slightly tuned sharpness. In this case wee see that JPEG is sharper than RAW file (directly out-of-camera). Also, if you loot at the top of the crop or hair you may see the absence of chromatic aberrations.
JPEG vs RAW side-by-side (with film filter applied), iso 100
So, as you may see, depending on your need you can tweak either camera filters settings or work with RAW files in post production. You have plenty of choice.
Now let’s talk about some improper comparison 🙂
During the test of Ricoh GRII I’ve also used my good old Pentax K20D (with Pentax-A 50 mm 1.4 lens). If to compare GRII with DSLR camera, they have almost the same resolution, but everything else differs a lot. First it is details – K20D demonstrated more details. Second, image clarity – K20D and GRII demonstrate different “styles”: GRII makes more film look images with some grain and less saturated images; K20D – a bit clearer images at low ISO, but with more vivid colours. Then noise – GRII outperforms DSRL because its noise reduction works excellent, with almost no colour noise.
High ISO test JPEG vs RAW side-by-side iso 6400
High ISO performance is also good. But as for my personal taste the in-camera noise reduction had made the image over soft. It works fine on lower ISO settings, but on higher – I would prefer RAW files.
Such high noise will work great if you will shoot black and white images, especially with some retro look.
Here is some sample shots gallery, I’ve taken with GRII. All are in-camera JPEGs with or without filters applied.
So, how Ricoh GRII feels itself in the early 2018? Frankly speaking… great! Its APS-C sensor still can perform great in comparison to newer models.
And if you can put everything this camera offers just in your pocket? Yes, in your pocket, even in your jeans or trousers (if they are not too tight).
You can carry GRII everywhere, everyday. Probably you even will not remember that you have a camera with you. But when some interesting situation will occur just grab it and take the shot.
Just try not to forget its integrity. Yes, its magnesium alloy body is nice, but try not to sit on the camera. Also, keep an eye on the lens. It is also not water proof, so keep away of bad weather.
While shooting some street photography GRII really is a diamond, as it doesn’t pay as much attention as other “bigger” cameras. People do not take you seriously, in most cases they’ll think something like “oh, another crazy tourist taking pictures of everything”. Some people even will not pay any attention to your camera. The only “issue” you may encounter – its wide angle lens. If you are using DSLR or other camera with interchangeable lens you could opt for some zoom lens. But when you a fixed to 28 mm equivalent, you have to come closer.
Snap focus is also a nice benefit of GRII. It simplifies focusing a lot.
Pentax’s TAv mode plays its role here also. It gives you some manual control, while taking extra “manual setting” for every shot from you.
In terms of ISO and noise. It works fine even on high ISO settings. But even if there will be a pretty a lot of noise on your image, it probably won’t spoil it. It is more like a film grain, than a noise that many of you have got used to. Especially when you convert some of those images to black and white – you enter a time machine and get this retro styled look.
I would like to express special thanks to Pentax Ukraine for giving me the opportunity to experience the Ricoh GRII.
Additional camera used: Pentax K20D with Pentax-A 50 mm 1.4 lens.
Ricoh GR II
Image quality (raw)8.5/10
Image quality (jpeg)9.0/10
- Image quality
- Built-in filters
- Fast autofocus
- Body & Grip
- Sharp lens
- Built-in ND filter
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- Low-light performance
- Default noise reduction too strong
- UI hard to read for some people
- Fixed focal length (also a strength for someone)
- Some buttons can be pressed acidentialyl
- Poor video features
- No weather resistance