While I myself am an awful street photographer and frankly, the genre doesn’t lend itself well to the suburbs (a.k.a ”home”), a little over a year ago, I rented a Ricoh GRIII. I just had to. I kept hearing about it and the idea of a truly pocketable large sensor camera was very appealing to me. Yes, my phone is awesome and takes great pictures. But this isn’t about quality, it’s about user experience. I don’t enjoy shooting with my phone. I do it because it’s always with me and convenience trumps user experience, but if given the choice, I’ll always opt for a standalone camera. While the GR series may be most known for street, it’s a great fit for documenting your life.
I loved that little Ricoh. Such fun to shoot with, quick and easy to use and get the hang of. And yes, it did produce beautiful images. For all my female photogs out there, the thing fits in even my small clutch bag and well, that’s clutch. (Did I mention I’m the one with the dad jokes in our family?) Next, I tried out the Ricoh GRIIIx with the 40mm equivalent lens. I loved that too. So much. In fact, I could be quite content (for a while at least, this is me we’re talking about) with a kit comprised of just those two tiny workhorses. I know I’ve talked extensively about my adoration for DNG files. That pretty much means you shoot Ricoh (to include Pentax – yeah, they still make cameras) or Leica.
However, when it comes down to it, as much as I love both the Ricoh GRIII and GRIIIx, I cannot for the life of me justify a $900+ point and shoot camera. Certainly not for one with no weather sealing and a retractable lens that is prone to dust. There’s just not enough longevity there. So, what’s a girl to do? Because once I tried them, I knew I had to have one…but it didn’t have to be the latest and greatest.
Enter the GRII. Look up the full specs if you want but in a nutshell, it’s a 16 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor with an equivalent 28mm f/2.8 lens. It also boasts a leaf shutter and a built in flash, a feature that was sadly removed from newer models. It does lack the 3-Axis image stabilization (ie. Ricoh’s version of IBIS) found in the III and IIIx but given that I’ve never owned a camera with IBIS, I don’t think that’s a deal breaker for me. This also isn’t my only camera so I’m not relying on it to do everything.
My other reason for purchasing this camera is my desire to share my love of photography with my kids. Frankly, I don’t particularly want to hand my expensive kit to my youngest kiddo. But a $300 used Ricoh GRII? Sure, why not? (Shout out to Adorama who may not have the widest selection, but typically has the best prices of any other used retailer I frequent, including B&H and KEH).
I’ve been having a blast using this older little Ricoh to photograph the day to day. I’m sure I’ll use it until it stops working. And then maybe I’ll get a GRIIIx, which will likely be years old at that point and hopefully, much less expensive.