Tag Archives: 35mm

Ricoh GR Review

Ricoh GR 16.2 MP Digital Camera with 3.0-Inch LED Backlit (Black)


Something about rangefinders always interested me. My first camera was some sort of Canon point-and-shoot more than a decade ago, from there I learned to use my mom’s film SLR. From there I purchased my first film rangefinder and I’ve had several rangefinders since then. Being a millennial, l I find using film a little inconvenient and needed something more instantaneous instead.

That’s where the Ricoh GR comes into play. It’s just plain easy to use and has a subdued, sleek look it that other cameras don’t have.

The Ricoh GR fit perfectly into the style of photography I’ve enjoyed the most. During college, I photographed nearly every fraternity party, drunken escapade, late night bad-decisions, cheese-fry escapade and travel adventure I experienced. I’ve tried to document my most fun moments, up-close and personal moments, moments that would have otherwise been forgotten in a stupor. The GR is small and compact, simple and intuitive, and capable of taking vibrant or gritty photos.



Vibrant colors in Key West

 Build & Ergonomics & Durability

The Ricoh GR is small, one of the few cameras that can actually fit comfortably in your pocket. Compared to my iPhone 7+, the GR is about 2/3 the size in length and 2/3 as wide, obviously the GR is thicker. But it’s still awfully thin for a modern compact-camera, the 28mm lens is able to fully retract within the camera due to the APS-C compact sensor.

The black body is milled from a magnesium alloy that’s impressively light coming in at 8.07 ounces. There’s a burgeon on the front right of the camera that fits perfectly in the hand. This ‘hump’ is wrapped in a black rubbery material that has great hold and isn’t slippery even when wet.


Back of the GR

When holding the camera my finger naturally floats to the oblong capture button and the mode selection dial is protected from accidental mode changes by a button that when pressed down, the mode can be changed. On the front of the camera, the aperture can be changed by rotating a vertical dial.

On the back, the screen is good but not the brightest screen I’ve ever seen, on days with full sun it can be difficult to make out the display. Another dial on the back is used to pull up the menu that is easy to navigate that’s packed with loads of features. A different lever can set the camera to three different auto-focus modes. Exposure can be changed on the right side.

To pop up the flash there’s a small slide on the left side that brings it up. Below this is a button that can activate the different effect modes.

Durability is probably what I can speak to the most. I haven’t treated this camera very well at all. I’ve dropped it a dozen times, my friends have dropped it a dozen times, girls have dropped it a dozen times,  girlfriends have dropped it a dozen times, the list goes on and on. It’s been dropped it in the ocean, it’s been dropped in bar-tar and stepped on, and it’s been rolled around in the beach. But it always works.

And guess what, it still works just as good as it did the day I got it. The only problem with it is a small piece broke off underneath the flash but it’s not necessary to the performance of the camera. It’s covered in scratches, nicks and it has to have saltwater eating away at it somewhere but for the past 4 years it has worked without skipping a beat. It has taken a fall out of my pocket once when I was biking down the street. Not going to lie, I’ve been beyond rough on the Ricoh and every time I turn it on it works without a hitch.

Shooting with the GR

There’s no good in having a camera that you can’t take with you, with its slim body and retractable lens, the GR can easily slide in and out of my pocket and I don’t feel like I have to lug it around with me.

After pressing the power button it is booted up within 2 seconds and instantly ready to shoot. I leave it in P-Mode, 1200 ISO and with Center Auto Focus and I hardly ever fiddle with the settings, its so versatile in this very basic setup.

The GR uses a 28mm-equivalent 2.8 aperture lens, combined with a large sensor has great control over depth-of-field and low-light functionality. Since it is a rangefinder, you can’t zoom in mechanically so if you want a close-up shot, well, you’re just gonna have to get closer. This works great for wide-angle shots too though.


Street performers in China Town.

There are a few different auto-focus capabilities. You can manually choose the focus area but this takes time, something you don’t always have shooting street photography. Most people have found using Snap Focus feature most versatile. This setting allows you to pick a pre-set distance of 1m, 1.5m, 2m, 2.5m, 5m or infinity so the camera is always ready to focus at that pre-defined point. No waiting on the lens to focus, just snap the picture. Typically I use the Center focus which naturally has some lag as it has to find and focus on the centermost object.

The camera offers continuous shooting that allows you to snap up to 4 photographs a second and can shoot 1080p video but the sound quality is definitely lacking and it doesn’t have the ability to add on an external mic.

It’s very easy to take countless photos every day with the GR. If I’m feeling really trigger happy I can snap 1,500, 2,000 photos a day and I would take more but that’s normally about when the battery decides to give out. The battery will last months if you’re not shooting with it as well, so you can pick it up without a recent charging and not worry about whether or not the battery is going to last.

Low-light, moving, center-focus and blurry. It captures how I was seeing the street perfectly.

Overview of specifications

  • 16.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor with no low-pass filter
  • 18.5mm (28mm equivalent) F2.8 lens
  • ISO 100-25,600
  • 3.0″ 1.2m dot LCD
  • Up to 4fps continuous shooting
  • 1080p movies at 24, 25 or 30fps
  • 12-bit Raw in DNG format
  • 10MP 35mm equivalent crop mode
  • Built-in 2-stop ND filter

There’s now a more updated version of the Ricoh GR, the Ricoh GR II. The GR II adds wi-fi connectivity, slightly faster burst mode and a few new filters, but it is virtually the same camera.


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Charlotte – Roll 4

First time shooting in the city. Didn’t really know what to expect or what to take photos of but these are some of my favorites. Not sure what the lines are that are in a couple of the photos but I’m going to assume that’s CVS’ fault.

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Canon Canonet 28 – Mahogany Veneer

Surprise, surprise.

I decided to veneer my first rangefinder, my Canon Canonet 28 which I featured yesterday with a roll of film, and I took a different turn with it this time. I went with a dark stain this time instead of a clear coat, that highlights the natural colors, and I think it worked really well. I also took a couple photos of it with the other cameras I have veneer and I think you can tell a striking difference in the quality of my work since my first one compared to the Canonet.

I’ve been thinking about starting to sell these on the side or even possibly start a Kickstarter Campaign to get a headstart. Comment if you’ve had any success with Kickstarter or would be interested in getting one.

The dark stain just looks so luxurious.





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Light Leaks Galore – Roll 3

Finally finished shooting my first roll off of my Canonet 28 but I didn’t really check to see the condition of the light seals before I shot it all. So with that having been said a lot of them didn’t come out at all or had some pretty bad light leaks. But I don’t mind, I think it adds some character to them and it just gives me another camera restoration project.

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Ricoh 500G – Custom Veneer #2!

I really enjoyed converting the Minolta Rangefinder from a leather to wood veneer cover so I decided to buy another cheap rangefinder and give it another go.

This week’s custom camera is a Ricoh 500G produced in the early 1970’s with a f2.8 Rikenon lens and even has an 8 second self-timer. You can find these fairly easily for under $20’s, not counting shipping if you’re going to buy it from eBay or something like that. Only two photos but when I put a battery in it I’ll be sure to show some photos I’ve taken with it.

It’s a solidly built camera with a metal body and according to a lot of the reviews I have read, it takes really sharp photos so I’m really excited to use it. It’s got a great feel when it’s in my hands.

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Film Camera gets a Makeover

Remember that Minolta Hi-Matic F I posted the other week?

Well, it doesn’t really look like that anymore.

If you’ve never heard of the company Ilott I highly suggest you check out that guy’s work. He refurbishes old film cameras and gives them new life with a new wood veneer cover instead of the faux-leather that’s on most old film cameras. If you’ve ever worked with veneer you should not it’s really not that hard to work with, and this guy refurbishes $30 cameras, services them, and put’s a veneer on them and charges $2000 for his work, even though it is magnificent, I wouldn’t say it’s worth all that.

So I decided I’d give it a little trial run on that Minolta I have and I think my results are pretty darn good for my first try.

I’d love to hear everyone’s comments and I’d really like to do a few more of these or maybe some custom orders once I get the hang of it.

Thanks again,

John Kirby

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In and Around my House – Roll 2

After a good amount of trouble shooting I figured out how to properly load this film, I feel like an idiot for not getting it originally, but with no further ado here are a selection of photos from my second roll of film.

– Fujifilm Superia 400

Most of these were taken in the woods behind my house except for the photo of the house across the from the street of our country club which I took from a moving car so I’m definitely going to go take a better one. I think there’s a lot of photography potential for that house.

I also bought a Pandigital 35mm scanner which I used to scan all of my negatives so I wouldn’t have to buy prints and then scan them. So it saves on money and I think the photo quality is a lot higher this way. Anyway I’ll probably do a full review on it later as well as of my cameras.

Thanks for checking it out,


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Thrift Shoppin’ – Minolta Hi-Matic F Rangefinder

Hello again,

Got lucky today. Whenever I get bored I’ll hit up the local thrift stores to see if I can find some cool clothes or whatever. In the back of one they had an old Minolta Rangefinder, a Hi-Matic F to be more exact. For the cheap price of $8 I gladly bought it. It’s in working condition but I need to get a new battery since you can’t really use mercury batteries anymore so I’ve got that on order.

The camera is real cool and has a really solid feel to it. It has a 38mm f2.7 Rokkor Lens so I’m pretty eager to use it. It’ll be a little easier to carry around when compared to the AE-1 and I’ve got a Canonet 28 that should come in the mail this week so it’ll be cool to see how they compare in photo quality and build.

Here’s some photos and whenever I get a battery in it I’ll be sure to post some photos taken by it:


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