Ricoh GR Digital II Preview
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Digital Camera Special
Ricoh GR Digital II
Published : Wednesday, December 5th 2007
Written by Dennis Hissink
Introduction "Ricoh GR Digital 2"
Two years have already passed since Ricoh digitalized the famous GR camera and introduced the GR Digital. In September 2005 I received a pre-production model of the Ricoh GR Digital and now, two years later, the successor lies in front of me: the Ricoh GR Digital II. Over the past few years many hundreds of digital cameras have been introduced and to say that each and every one of them is a unique piece, would be exaggerated. The majority of the cameras belongs to the compact camera category and these cameras offer more or less the same functions and quality compared with each other. Once in a blue moon a camera will stand out and boost on a unique concept. The Ricoh GR Digital 2 is such a camera. Aiming at a very specific target group, in a segment where Ricoh still holds its market share in a heavily competing camera market, Ricoh has succeeded in developing a unique camera that is not immediately recognized by the crowd but definitely by the expert. The philosophy of the Ricoh GR Digital II is to turn back to the base of photography with a complete own style.
Ricoh GR Digital II Digital Camera Review
Ricoh GR Digital II Ricoh GR Digital Cameras
GR Digital 2 Ricoh GR Digital Cameras
Ricoh GR Digital II Compact Camera Ricoh GR Digital Cameras
At first glance the new Ricoh GR Digital II might seem the spitting image of its predecessor but when taking a closer look some differences in appearances can be found. During my conversation with Takashi Arai of Ricoh International B.V., located in Germany, I was able to dig in deeper to the other differences mainly found in the hardware and software of the Ricoh GR Digital 2. For this preview I had a pre-production model at my disposal and therefore I cannot offer a conclusion about the image quality of the Ricoh GR Digital II. A full production model is expected to become available by the end of November / beginning of December. This model will be extensively tested in our DIWA test lab. But first things first; let's take a look at the differences with its predecessor. It is unusual to see the new Ricoh GR Digital II still carrying the name GR Digital on its front side and its entire name only on the bottom side. The external AF has disappeared from the camera; we only see the AF assistant illuminator on the front side. Ricoh claims that the internal AF (CCD-AF) works sufficiently fast and precise to replace the external AF. On the top side of the Ricoh GR Digital 2 camera we detect the command dial again, but this time without video function. The Ricoh GR Digital 2 compact camera does offer a video mode but it is taken up in the default menu of the camera. Instead some two My-settings have been added enabling for calling up your favourite camera setting directly. The on/off button has been equipped with a LED. The button will glow with a bright green light when activated. Purists among us might frown upon this kind of communication. The back of the Ricoh GR Digital II contains a larger size LCD monitor. The predecessor had to settle for a 2.5-inch one but the Ricoh GR Digital II boasts a 2.7-inch sized monitor.
Internal flash Internal memory Ricoh accessories
Ricoh GR Digital 2 Large LCD monitor Ricoh GR Digital 2 SDHC memory support Ricoh GR Digital 2 Accessories
Ricoh GR Digital 2 Large LCD monitor Ricoh GR Digital 2 SDHC memory support Ricoh GR Digital 2 Accessories
Besides the enlarged size of the monitor, also the resolution has been enhanced from 210K to 230K pixels. And on top of that the reproduction quality has been considerably improved by enabling a 160˚ angle of view. This works for all sides, so above your head as well as down to the ground, but also aiming at the left and right side. Although the GR Digital has been used as a base for the GR Digital II the new model also had a lot of input from the GX100 camera that was introduced this year. For example the internal flash can be manually folded up through the switch on the side of the camera just like you can on the GX100. When the flash is folded up it will not automatically be activated. The internal memory of the Ricoh GR Digital 2 camera has been doubled. Instead of offering 26MB internal storage capacity the new GR Digital II offers 54MB storage capacity. Newly added is the support of the SDHC platform besides the standard Secure Digital memory card. SD cards offer a maximum storage capacity of 2GB and are available with various speeds. The SDHC memory card offers a minimum storage capacity of 4GB and will be enhanced up to an impressive 32GB storage capacity. I would say that 32GB suffices to store your JPEG and RAW images during reporting. While writing this preview I keep discovering more and more differences ensuring that the Ricoh GR Digital II compact camera is not just the difference between more or less Megapixels. In my opinion Ricoh has carefully listened to the experiences in practice and taken into account the various reviews and then took another critical look at the GR Digital concept in order to renew and improve it where possible. This way the GR-community's trust in Ricoh grows and it shows Ricoh's loyalty to the consumer, the user of the GR Digital camera. Besides a new GR-model, Ricoh has also introduced a number of optional Ricoh accessories. Unfortunately the GT1 tele converter, one of the new accessories, was not yet available during this preview.
Ricoh DB-60 battery Battery compartment Dennis Hissink - LetsGoDigital Online Magazine
Ricoh DB-60 battery Ricoh Battery compartment
Editor's comment:
"The introduction of the successor of the GR digital is a clear sign from Ricoh to the faithful GR-fans. The concept still stands strong and where possible it has been improved or renewed in the spirit of the age. At first sight not much seems to have changed but when you put some more time into this new model you will soon find out that some tenth of improvements and renewals have been applied. Bottlenecks from its predecessor, like a too long processing time for RAW images, have been dealt with and improved on the Ricoh GR Digital II. The GR lens still stands strong and how could it be otherwise since the lens has proved itself in practice? This preview is aiming to give some insights in some essential differences with which the new Ricoh GR Digital II distinguishes itself from its predecessor."
Ricoh GR Digital 2 Battery Ricoh GR Digital 2 Battery compartment
The improvement of the camera's energy consumption is a very important factor. Although I was not able to test it, due to the pre-production status of the GR Digital II, I presume that the figures are in accordance with the CIPA standard. The GR Digital is capable of shooting an average of approximately 250 images; the Ricoh GR Digital II should be capable of capturing an average of 370 images with a full battery. The same battery is still being used; the Ricoh DB-60 with a capacity of 3.7V 1150mAh. The battery has to be inserted in the battery compartment at the bottom of the camera. The compartment cover still works the same however; Ricoh did apply a safety catch inside the compartment this time. The predecessor, lacking this safety catch, did drop the battery sometimes when opening the compartment with a vast chance of damaging it. This was an unnecessary thing to happen, we found at the time and the design department must have come to the same conclusion. The Ricoh GR Digital 2 prevents unnecessary risk and keeps the battery nicely in its place by means of the safety catch. Inserting the battery upside down or the wrong way around will not easily happen again either, for the compartment will immediately spit it out!
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