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Question for GR Owners

Discussion in 'Ricoh GR (APS-C) Forum' started by rayvonn, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. rayvonn

    rayvonn SC Veteran

    305
    Jan 19, 2015
    After about 6 weeks of the GR, I'm thinking about future purchases and thinking "what now?".

    I'm thinking of that sharp crispness the GR's non AA filter sensor gives you, the rendering, the....as a GR owner, you'll know what I mean. I'd just like to have something that is as good, image-wise, for other focal lengths. It doesn't have to have the same snap focus type features, just comparable image quality. In that regard, what other camera/ system do you have that you can truly say is comparable? Maybe an X1 Pro? Or an A7R with legacy glass? I'd dearly like to get that same image quality from a camera/ system that I get from the GR, so am reaching out here.
     
  2. taqtaq

    taqtaq SC Regular

    135
    May 31, 2015
    Espoo, Finland
    Tuukka
    I got a Sigma DP2 Merrill and feel like it's a nice companion for the GR. It's a whole different beast though, and you really should do your research before getting one.
     
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  3. MoonMind

    MoonMind SC Top Veteran

    577
    Dec 29, 2013
    Switzerland
    Matt
    How much are you into the way the GR works? In my experience, specs go only so far in order to describe how a camera feels in use - and gets used. The GR is quite unique and very satisfying: Small, capable, respsonsive, fluid in use and pleasantly customisable. And the IQ from this 16MP APS-C chip is astonishing - the lens plays a big part in this, of course.

    Fuji make greast glass, so the lenses won't really be the problem. However, if you're into RAW capture (i.e. maximasing IQ on your own), I'd advise against the Fuji - it's still a bit cumbersome to get the most out of those files, though no way as bad as it was. But if you're into JPEGs, the Fuji will probably easily outperform the GR - its muted JPEGs aren't for everyone, though I find the OOC B&W images from the GR very nice. But: Why the X-Pro1? It's really dated by now, and I think you'll get a lot more immediate performance from the X-T1, X-T10 or X-E2 (the latter would only be a valid choice if the rangefinder thing is important): They have better processors and firmware and respond quite a bit quicker - with the X-E2 bringing up the rear. You will know by now that the GR simply feels very responsive - and I find it quite hard to change (back) to (much) slower cameras from there. For example, I had tried the Panasonic LX100 before buying it and liked the perceived responsiveness - but it feels positively sluggish in comparison with the GR; thankfully, the AF is a lot better, and the zoom and EVF make for a great shooting experience in its own right. But I couldn't let go of the GR as intended initially - it's just so much more fluid ...

    As for the Sony cameras, I found A7R surprisingly unwieldy in use, slow and quite a bit clunky, and there are apparently serious issues (shutter shock - generally a cumbersome shutter mechanism). I haven't handled the A7RII yet, but the A7II, which was already a lot(!) better behaved in every respect, especially speed and sound profile. But here's the catch: Even the A7II isn't a fast camera to deploy in comparison with the GR; I hear the A7RII is better, but with that, you end up with huge files you have to know how to handle before you profit from them. And coming from something as effortless in use and post as the GR, you have to learn how to control your shots a lot better - or you end up with mushy files that mock the price you paid for the camera (shutter shock again, but general camera shake - at that kind of resolution, any kind shoddy technique will show most of the time!). The GR makes controlled shooting a breeze - and is also more forgiving. Of course, the A7 series surpass the GR in terms of image quality, and the R models have a crazy pixel count in their favour - but if you shoot them with legacy glass, you might not be able to use that anyway (as nice as they render in some cases, they're not made for that kind of resolution - heck, there was no way of intentionally doing that back in the day before CAD and micro-measurements). I'd consider that quite a mistake, all the more so because those Sony bodies depreciate extremely quickly (that's Sony's fault for pumping out new models all the time) - you will lose a lot of money if you dare to reconsider (which Sony try to force you into every year - at least).

    All that said, I freely admit that my small system of choice is mFT - and specifically Olympus. Both Panasonic and Olympus make very interesting, innovative and capable bodies - and there's a lot of really good glass to be had for them, and often at bargain prices. And everything is nicely light and small (even the bigger lenses ;)). But admittedly, as good as they may be, they're certainly no match for the GR IQ-wise. Anyhow, I personally like the results from the still-current 16MP mFT sensors, the RAW files have potential and can be handled much the same as the GR's. Most models have EVFs - which I love enough to use those cameras more than the GR. If you don't intend to print large, you'll not miss out on a lot of possibly IQ - at screen sizes and prints up to 20x30'', the mFT cameras can keep up nicely (up to ISO 1600, that is). And I personally never print that big ...

    All in all, I'd say you have to determine subjects and intentions first and look beyond the poster children ... So, if I was to go for manual focussing or legacy glass, I'd choose the A7II - price-wise, it's a fair offering, and you won't spend money on pixels (and technology) you have no intention and/or immediate occasion of using. It's quite a nice camera to use once it's switched on. And of course, there are the Olympus OM-D and Panasonic GX cameras ...

    M.
     
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  4. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    The X-Pro2 will be out in the Spring... I'd hold on until then.
     
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  5. rayvonn

    rayvonn SC Veteran

    305
    Jan 19, 2015
    The images from those Sigmas do look superb, I note that a whole lot of understanding about how the camera works is required (which is ok by me).

    Oh, that was only on my mind because of the lack of AA Filter, like the GR. Of course, I could have mentioned the X-E2, where that also applies. I realise this doesn't mean I'm going to get GR "IQ"; I was only trying to find some comparison that may point to some sort of similarity. I really appreciate your detailed and helpful reply. My main system is also m43 and its going to take some effort to prise me away from that with the Olympus 75mm f1.8. But because of the GR, the 75 and Panasonic 25mm f1.4 are the only lenses I use with that system now (alright, I do have a soft spot for the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 as well). I'm simply not using that system anywhere near as much now and its because of the GR.

    Yes, possibly, the sensible thing may be to wait to see what 2016 brings.
     
  6. MoonMind

    MoonMind SC Top Veteran

    577
    Dec 29, 2013
    Switzerland
    Matt
    rayvonn: There'll be actually a whole host of interesting cameras coming in the first half of 2016 if the rumors and announcements are anything to go by - so I actually concur with the recommendation of waiting. Fuji, Olympus, Nikon - they're all evidently up to something, and they're surely not only ones. I personally hope for a PEN with integrated EVF and an updated sensor (though that's not my main priority), but we'll see ...

    Coming from mFT, I know what you mean: The GR beats each and every wide lens for mFT (except maybe ultra-wides). It has rendered the Olympus 12mm f/2.0 redundant for me - to the point that I'll sell that lens soon. Though honestly, I'm still a "35mm FOV" guy, so the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 is the lens that feels most natural as a single prime in daily use - but even on the quite compact E-PL7, the combo is comparatively big (but still jacket-pocketable). The Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 is better optically and nicely compact, but doesn't behave as well as the 17mm on the E-PL7 or the E-M10 - but I still hold a soft spot for the 20mm, it was my go-to lens for two years. On the E-M10, my favourite is the 12-40mm f/2.8: Since that camera isn't really pocketable anyway, I like the additional flexibility and impressive IQ of that combo. Yet, while that setup is okay for walkaround and street work in terms of size and weight, it's not ideal - it looks too "serious" and makes fading into the background a bit difficult. The GR excels at being inconspicous, it's supremely pocketable, the IQ is visibly better, and you've got considerably more leeway in post - under all conditions. It's simply a fantastic compact if you like the 28mm FOV - and it gives bigger and more expensive gear a run for its money.

    Anyway, exciting times, though probably not the moment to rush in ...

    M.
     
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  7. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    So, bit more time now. When I travel I pack my X-Pro1 and 14mm, 35mm, 18-135mm, plus my GR. The GR gives me a "fast" 28mm (18mm) plus cropped 35 and 47mm equivalents for when, for instance in the evening, when out for dinner, I don't want to carry a camera bag.

    With this setup there's little I can't handle and the GR is a full member of the team, not an also-ran.

    As I said briefly above, right now I would wait before spending. The XPro2 debuts in Spring '16 and should be worth waiting for.

    ...but...

    There is another alternative... Don't forget the Ricoh GXR. You can pick up secondhand and in some cases new bodies and "Lensors" for a comparative song and it is truly the GR's big brother in terms of handling and output. There are three APS-C lensors; 28mm (no point if you have the GR) 50mm Macro (a stunner) and an enormous but slow 24-85mm. I recently picked up a body (with the small-sensor 28-300 unit) and a 50mm for under GBP250 the lot.

    Worth a look if you want to stay with Ricoh at relatively low cost...
     
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  8. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    You should also consider the Pentax DSLRs. They are smallish.... have GREAT primes available.... and have the same sensor as your GR (some models without the AA filter). You won't need to totally re-learn how you process images (which I think would be a big deal).
     
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  9. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    What do you know about the X-Pro 2? IIRC, it was coming in Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, and Fall 2015, and I may be forgetting about Fall 2013... I have serious doubts about this camera and what it will be if it ever does appear. The only thing that differentiates it from the other models in the Fuji lineup is the OVF and I can't imagine they're gonna put a lot of resources into another OVF that only works well with a fraction of the current lens lineup. If I wanted a Fuji to use with a variety of lenses, I'd just get an XT1, XT10, or XE2, depending on preferences. I'll take it all back if Fuji comes out with some brilliant new OVF concept that works well with focal lengths ranging from 10 to 400mm, or at least to 200 or 230mm or so. As poorly as the X-Pro 1 sold compared to their various EVF based models, I wouldn't hold my breath about an X-Pro 2 being that much better than anything they have currently...

    To answer the OP's original question, the closest thing to the GR in an ILC type of system is the GXR with it's 28 (redundant), 50mm, and 24-85 (I think???) zoom. That's a dead system but it has the same basic Ricoh controls and very similar image quality, although those sensors give up about a stop high ISO capability. Still, really nice stuff for a Ricoh lover - I had one for quite a while.

    Other than that, nothing else handles much like a Ricoh (to some of us, that's OK, to others, not...) and nothing else I've seen has quite the same semi-muted color signature. There was something about those GXR files that looked unique and the GR comes the closest of anything else I've seen to duplicating that look. Fuji is great stuff but very different, as is Sony, as is Nikon and Canon and whatever else. I don't know about Pentax - since Ricoh bought them maybe they're converging on some commonalities that I'm not aware of???

    -Ray
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
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  10. serhan

    serhan SC All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    NYC
    They still show up used, but GXR modules have the older 12MP Sony sensors. Popflash has these kits:
    http://www.popflash.com/RICGXRKITAW1
    http://www.popflash.com/RICGXRKITAW2

     
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  11. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
  12. serhan

    serhan SC All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    NYC
    A7R would be a good upgrade to GR in terms of IQ. Even in crop mode A7R has 16MP... Then you have to find good glass eg usually legacy glass is designed to be stopped down to get sharper images esp in corners unlike the newer lens designs which will give you sharp images wide open like Sony FE 35mm/55mm, etc. I don't know what focal lengths you are looking for...

     
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  13. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    To be fair, I don't recall Fuji actually promising anything by way of a release date - and they still haven't. Internet scuttlebutt being what it is, speculation has waxed and waned for months. I'll stand by what I said, though - Spring 2016; mark my words.

    As to the X-Pro concept, it is as much of a "Marmite camera" as the Messucher Leicas it resembles in appearance and concept, if not in execution. It's not for everyone, and that's fine.

    As I type this, I am sitting in a converted monastery on the outskirts of San Gimignano in Tuscany. In my bag is my X-Pro - the more "advanced" X-T1 is sitting at home. For me, it is as close to perfect as I need. After over 20 years of using Leica M the OVF is second-nature. The viewfinder on the left is completely natural and the lack of a hump is as it should be. I reserve the X-T1 for long-lens work, at airshows, motor races and the like. I shall pair it with the 100-400 "superzoom" when that is released. But I won't lug it about without a specific end in mind, unlike the X-Pro.

    Lens compatibility? They all fit and work. Have you never used the EVF on an X-Pro? Mine is wearing the 18-135 as I type. It is best as a platform for the primes, of course and Fuji has given us a great range of those with the new 35 f2.0 about to hit the streets.

    No, the X-Pro is still the top of the tree for me, until I drop coin on the X-Pro2. I expect it to have an OVF similar to that of the current X100T which in hybrid form is the first bit of electronic technology to rival the viewfinder on my Leica Ms for clarity, "wysiwyg" and not getting in the way between me and my subject.
     
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  14. rayvonn

    rayvonn SC Veteran

    305
    Jan 19, 2015
    That all makes sense, thanks guys. I think the K3 and assorted lenses look fantastic, but even there, Pentax/ Ricoh seem to have some big things lined up next year, so I think MoonMind has it right, I need to sit on my hands and be patient. To my mind, a legacy lens on an A7 is not really going to compete with what's going to be coming out in the next year. And if I do get impatient, I can always justifiably look at the GXR in the meantime, I'm going to check out that 50mm module. Your G.A.S counselling here is appreciated!
     
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  15. rayvonn

    rayvonn SC Veteran

    305
    Jan 19, 2015
    Great post!
     
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