Ricoh GRD III revisited

I couldn't resist.  I love the GRD. It's hard to convey how much the tiny little camera means to me. Small enough to fit in my pocket - always. Clever enough to surprise me, and with enough quality to make the lack of sensor progress a genuine tragedy.

I know it sounds faintly ridiculous to talk of tragedy in the context of a camera.  I defend myself robustly and counter that any squandered talent it tragic for the squanderer. 

A tale of two sensors. 

Sigma have placed the awesome Foveon sensor in the DP1/2/3 Merrill bodies.  Epic images in a relatively compact 'form factor'. In my experience - nothing I've used comes close to the images that the Merrills are capable of producing.     

Wonderful but slightly too bulky 'compacts'. 

I wonder what life would be like if the perfect ergonomics, size, quality of the GRD's ever merged with the the astonishing IQ of the Merrill.  If this ever happened - truth be told: I'm not sure I'd ever buy another camera!!

The tiny sensor at the heart of the GRD has definitely passed it's primetime.  I've resigned myself along with everyone else to wait to Ricoh to see the light a grace the wonderful tool with the sensor it so richly deserves.   

Fed up, I sold my little GRD (III) and stuck to larger format cameras.  But I've kept going back to the compact form - desperate for the IQ compromise to be resolved.   

I bought a Fuji X10.... and then sold it - hated the lack of information in the viewfinder and the lack of the AF focus point.  In some respects worse than an external 'finder.   Then I bough the XF-1.... but - oh dear... the IQ does leave a lot to be desired - no better then the GRDIII and physically, the XF-1 is not quite as small as the Ricoh.... so I thought - how much worse is the IQ of the old GRD III? time for a subjective post I thought...... 



So we are left with the gRD still being a truly wonderful photographers camera - small, robust, with brilliantly thought out controls... I could go on for ages about all of the detailed and uniquely useful aspects of the GRD which has been steadily refined though several Film and 4 digital versions... resulting in the most photographer friendly small sensor on the planet....    

Bloody frustrating.  

I would give almost everything for the GRD ergonomics, form factors, weight, materials, software fused with even the old DP2S/X chip.  Priceless.

failing that... take the sensor from 2 or 3 of the new crop of APS-C compacts,  or even Mirco 4/3rds Cameras and you would have an undisputed world beater.  (Go on Ricoh... Pentax .... go on - please?)  


Chris BamptonComment