Ricoh GR II Street Photography Review

If you are into Street Photography, the Ricoh GR is one of the most beloved cameras by street photographers all over the world. Here is a Ricoh GR II review by one of our readers…

I’m Jasper Tejano of Makati, Philippines. My day job is in Human Resources focused on business partnering, employee engagement, performance and talent management. Employee engagement is basically about an employee’s satisfaction at work. As for well-being, it’s cultivating a healthy and happy disposition by doing meaningful activities other than work. Photography fits perfectly in my need to have a positive well-being and balance to my work and personal/creative pursuits.

I got curious about the Ricoh GR because of its cult following and how much it is revered by street photographers worldwide. 

The images that I see online, from amateur and professional photographers to Daido Moriyama piqued my interest. Whatever these street photographers are benefitting from using the GR, my thought was “I gotta have a piece of the action”. 

My curiosity got me interested to eventually try and experience it myself and see if this highly regarded compact camera will help me strengthen my photographic practice. So I bought one – The Ricoh GR 2. I was all smiles from my first click. The Ricoh GR is now my primary gear for my street photography work. 

My gear approach to street photography is always to go compact and minimal. My current cameras are already small – the EM10 Mark 1 and 2 with the Panasonic 14mm pancakes lens; however, the allure of the Ricoh GR, its elegantly simple design, the unassuming matte black exterior, the people who swear by the name with solid work to prove its capability and its customer value proposition (GR at the heart of the photographers ad which moved me) led me to finally decide that it’s high time for me to experience the GR way of documenting humanity. 

What I like about the Ricoh GR2 when you are out there in the streets shooting, is that it’s very inconspicuous and innocent looking for you to be taken seriously in public – you become invisible and that is my intention when capturing the decisive moment. 

Click after click, the Ricoh GR has brought me satisfaction with the high quality images that it has produced. Credit that to its APSC sensor and well engineered fixed focal 28mm lens.

Ergonomically, the grip is comfortable. Instinctively, you know that the camera, and the way the function buttons are laid out on the unit’s back panel, is designed for one handed operation. And because the Ricoh GR2 is small, it fits neatly in my loose pants pocket, coat jacket or small bag. I have no issues with the menu as I find it easy to navigate through the settings. 

On the technical aspect, Auto Focus is slow but this is impressively compensated by its Snap Focus function which I use in all of my street shooting situations. My default setting is ISO 1600, Snap Focus at 1.5m set at P mode. If it’s night time, I would just bump up the ISO to 2500. 

I know this is just wishful thinking but it would be awesome if the next version of the GR will have an articulating lcd panel as another creative option for street shooting but in the meantime I’ve learned to work with its current limitations.  

All in all, for me, the Ricoh GR is not a perfect camera; however, it is definitely a great camera that will work with you in getting the job done in such a small package.

As a street photographer, one thing that I learned in using this compact camera is that once you get comfortable shooting with it, it becomes the extension of your creative eye. 

If your genre is street photography and you’re serious in using a compact camera in documenting humanity, the Ricoh GR will always be a solid choice.

The cult of GR is real and I guess I’m now part of it. 

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