Many years back, when I first started photography, I would have never gotten a 28mm fixed prime lens. The conversation I have with my then photography buddy will go something like:” Why a 28mm, it’s neither wide nor long, neither here nor there”. I would have read about how restricting oneself to a fixed prime lens will help us improve, but I would not have truly understand why and how it will help us.
Fast forward to 2014, what has changed? So much so that I am willing to sink my hard earned dollars into a compact with a 28mm fixed primes lens? When I first got my Ricoh (GRD3) 3 years back, the camera is so intuitive to use that all I need to focus on are creating images. The Ricoh GR has the familiar intuitive user interface that once again re-focuses my effort back on creating images for the past one month.
Photographically, I would like to think that I have “matured” into a better photographer, but looking at this link on Scoopit, I am nowhere near the folks featured. Practice, practice, practice.
The Ricoh GR is a high quality, fixed 28mm prime lens compact camera with a APS-C sized CMOS sensor. It is the smallest APS-C sensor with lens combination that I have ever used. The camera body is only slightly bigger than my GRD3, which has gone dead from water damage. The portability is liberating; I can bring the camera to work everyday and even go for ad hoc photography strolls on the way to my after work activity. Of course, we can simply mount a prime lens onto a mirrorless camera but that will still be bigger and heavier than the GR. A simple Think Tank Little Stuff it is all I need to protect the camera during transit and I hardly notice the weight of the camera.
Despite the Ricoh GR’s diminutive body, the GR and the many Ricoh GRDs before this, is built from the ground up as a single photography tool. The Ricoh GR is what I term as best-of-breed for a 28mm matched lens-sensor pairings. A specialize tool of creation with a single focal length that is so good that some even postulate that these large sensor compacts are even better than the best DSLR optics as the “lenses were designed to match the sensors“.
A compact camera has no option to change lenses, unlike a DSLR or mirrorless camera, you are restricted with what is already fused onto the camera body. The simplicity and “restriction” of a single focal length forces one to be more creativity and focus on “seeing” the image. Shooting with a interchangeable DSLR/mirrorless system will see me changing lens to try a different perspective for a subject. With a fixed 28mm prime lens, instead of fussing over which lens to use, I move my position, changed my angle, climb higher, crouch lower or go closer (Ricoh GR comes with macro mode with a focusing distance of 10cm), in a bid to be more creativity (and get some much needed exercise).
This post is not a review as there are already quite a few reviews online for the Ricoh GR, the more notable ones are by Ming Thein, Wouter Brandsma and Mookio, all whom are much better writer and photographer than I. So I will not try to re-invent the wheel here but simply share some of the images created with the Ricoh GR.