By Daniel M. East
The biggest advances in the latest incarnation of Ricoh’s GR series (http://www.ricoh.com), the 10-megapixel Digital IV (US$599), are in speed and usability. With regard to speed, the maximum ISO is now 3,200, and the auto modes include an Auto-Hi option that maintains a selected shutter speed and adjusts the ISO.
Ricoh adds AF Continuous Shooting that performs best in bright daylight. The shooting mode adjustment wheel on the top of the body locks into position, but unlocking the wheel is fluid and simple to do.
The Digital IV also sports a crisp, bright LCD that’s easy to see in most daylight, but isn’t blinding indoors. Shooting is at its best for landscapes, interiors, and in what is an excellent macro mode that has a minimum shooting distance of 1 cm. Outdoor landscapes under overcast skies are properly exposed, but where some brands have 5% more cyan, the Digital IV is approximately +4% blue for a cooler perception of color; however, grays remain closer to neutral than most models in this category.
The f/1.9–9 lens has a fixed focal length of 28mm. Unfortunately, the rocker-type button on the rear panel isn’t set to control the digital zoom by default. Getting into digital zoom mode takes several steps, and image quality suffers at even the minimum magnification (so it makes sense to not have it as the default setting). While there’s no telephoto conversion lens option, there is a wide-angle conversion lens available, as well as Ricoh’s GF-1 flash unit and a variety of filters and accessories.
The Ricoh GR Digital IV is capable of producing some excellent images for nearly anything that doesn’t require a telephoto or zoom lens. Where it’s strong, it’s very strong, but it’s more of a niche item that’s best for capturing the wide-open spaces.
Rating: 6 out of 10
(This review is brought to you courtesy of “Layers Magazine”: http://layersmagazine.com/ .)