I like to record my first impressions of a camera so when I opened the box from lensrentals.com, I was prepared to jot down a few notes. I rented the Ricoh GRiiix for a week and to be honest, it looks at feels just like the GRiii I rented last fall. Small, compact, lightweight. It’s quite astounding to me how they’re able to get such a large sensor and IBIS (or as Ricoh calls it, “3-axis shake reduction) into such a tiny camera.
Anyone with a bit of camera and photography knowledge will find this camera pretty user friendly. It took about 30 seconds to change some of my preferences in the menu and get shooting. The menu system is very well laid out and simple to use. Things are where you’d expect them to be. (Fujifilm should take note…they have the most overly complicated menus). The touch screen is plenty responsive and makes navigating the menu even easier.
I’ve said before that a Fujifilm X80 (an update to the cult classic X70) with at least a 24mp sensor, better autofocus, and a few tweaks to the ergonomics would be my perfect camera. However, the more time goes by, the more obvious it seems that Fuji has no intention of producing such a camera, opting instead to invest R&D into the continued improvement of the X100 series. Sad.
I’ve been a Fuji shooter for nearly seven years but I am growing increasingly disillusioned with the company. Oh, their products are still amazing, don’t get me wrong, and I appreciate the continued firmware updates. But like other companies before them, they too have succumbed to over production. New cameras every year with only marginal updates. Not only does this devalue the older gear, but it’s this constant chase (granted, I could have more self control, but I know my own weaknesses) for the latest and greatest.
Compare that with Leica. A company that has been producing cameras with nearly the exact same body styling and lens mount for many decades. A company that is synonymous with quality and longevity. Ricoh isn’t Leica, but I get a similar vibe. They don’t seem interested in mass production, but rather, making the best tool they can for what their niche market wants. In my opinion, that’s where Fujifilm started, but they wound up going the direction of Canon and Nikon rather than Leica and Ricoh. Feel free to disagree of course. That’s just my viewpoint. I’ve grown really tired of the complicated use case of my Fuji gear. Sometimes, you just want to go out and shoot quickly and without a fuss.
Back to first impressions. I love the 40mm equivalent focal length. I mean, really love it. It’s one that has grown on me. When I first tried it with my Fuji system, I wasn’t a fan and actually sent the lens back. But it always nagged at me and I wound up buying it again because I didn’t feel I gave it a fair shake. It took a bit of time to get used to it because I was so used to shooting at either 28mm or 50mm, but I gradually came to really enjoy it and count it among my favorites. Which made picking up the Ricoh GRiiix feel familiar. It’s a very versatile focal length for my life and what I shoot.
One of my favorite things about the tiny Ricoh (a trait it shares with Leica) is the RAW file format: good ‘ol DNG. I love working with DNG files. They are so easy to process and they can be read by every software I’ve ever used. With my Fuji gear, there is certain software and apps that cannot even generate a JPEG preview of compressed Fuji files, which means I have to shoot uncompressed and that generates massive file sizes. It’s a small thing but one of my biggest pet peeves. Everything about my photography workflow has gone fully mobile and I don’t have the patience for things that don’t work well within those parameters.
I actually ordered – and cancelled – the Ricoh GRiiix twice back in the fall. I talked myself out of it because I already had a really good camera system in my iPhone and did I really need another expensive point and shoot? I enjoy having a camera with me at all times and my iPhone is just that. But shooting with my iPhone isn’t as tactile or as quick as shooting with a standalone camera. That gives the little Ricoh a clear advantage. It’s far above a typical point and shoot camera.
In fact, I find myself increasingly fascinated by the point and shoot camera in general and now have a desire to try out as many as I can get my hands on… but that’s a post for another day.
Ultimately, I wanted this camera and knew the “itch” wouldn’t go away until I devoted some serious time to it. (After all, my desire hasn’t abated at all in the eight months since I first heard about it). So, I ordered it renewed – aka “refurbished” – from Amazon in an effort to save at least a little bit of money and I’ll continue playing with the rented version until it arrives.
G.A.S. – 731 / Lea – 0