The Game has changed: Ricoh GRD V


[I] love gear like everybody else, but I am before anything an Image Maker. The bulk of my work (And I still use it for weddings!) was done with either a Ricoh GRD III or Ricoh GRD IV, so what Leica M type 240 is to the Leica fan, the GRD V is to me. Jump in for toughts,Β  full rez samples, my images with the III, IV and GXR 28mm.

The camera killer
When it comes to gear we deal in terms of the inverse square law: The more cameras you have, the less time you will spend with each. My experience with the GRD cameas (Don too!) makes me believe that it is a camera killer. Once you get it, other cameras quickly fall from grace, and it's very hard to dethrone. I've had 4 complete Ricoh GXR systems, they are gone because I got the III. I have a Nex 7 and an Epson RD1, they both do not get as much attention as my GRD IV. When I am at weddings I have to force myself to put the IV back in my pocket, or else I would shoot it completely with it.

There is reason to keep your APSC camera with the GRD IV, they are different sensor sizes, but with the GRD V, I know many that will sell their kit after getting their GRD V. If only there was a GRD with a Leica Tri-Elmarit type lens! I would drop everything in a heartbeat. I still want to get a GRD II because of that 40mm lens…oh well!

Value / Price
I would really like to congratulate Ricoh, they are the first to release the smallest APSC sensor camera with the smallest price: $799. I'm flabbergasted. At the time of writing the Nikon A is $1099, the Fuji X100 about the same, the Fuji X100s is $1499. The GRD V is $799. I never expected this, APSC in small bodies are still fresh and new, but Ricoh found a way to give you so much value for such a low price. I know for a fact that lots of cameras will have price cuts! The price is amazingly low, if you look at my previous post, I expected $1200+. I remember when the GXR had shortages when the M mount came out, my bet is the GRD is going to sell like hotcakes at this price point and at the same time be in the public eye. Up to the GRD IV, GRD cameras were alone in their segment, you will only learn about them if you search.
But with Fuji putting the X100s out there and Nikon with the A, what I think will happen is that people will be exposed to the GRD IV as a cheaper alternative, boosting Ricoh's popularity. I think that “effect” button on the GRD V is prepping for a broader acceptance. But who cares? A killer camera at an unbelievable price. An offer you can't refuse in my opinion.

Image samples
These are samples from the Ricoh Japan website. For convenience, here's what I believe shows the power of the sensor:

Ricoh GRD V Full size sample


Ricoh GRD V Full size sample


Ricoh GRD V Full size sample

The GRD V continues the tradition of the lengendary GR Lens….16 Megapixels are perfect for the APSC sized sensor. We won't be able to know what the camera can really do until a photographer gets their hands on one, full size samples are more for pixel peeping than anything. Look at what a GR lens can do at the bottom of this post, and that is on a small sensor.


ricoh grd V vs XPRO1 vs Sony rx100

Mirrorless rumors posted the image above, more HERE

I was wondering how the JPGs would handle a little stretching….out of curiosity I slapped in some of my presets on one. Actually, no not out of curiosity, it's just that if I were in the person's position it would be what I would see. Note that these are JPGs, that means much less information than you would get than a RAW file. Why don't every camera output DNGs (like the GRDs) and make everybody's life easier?

ricoh grd v test-2

I'm impressed. Tack sharp, exposure was put up, the highlights still hold good. Can't wait for the RAW files!


What can you do with it
A spec sheet does not really mean much to me, and I seriously do not care that much about them. The only thing of interest is the max ISO of the Ricoh GRD V, it's 25600. It really makes up for the slower 2.8 lens. But I am sure that at max ISO's it's pretty much dirt (like any camera). In a nutshell, what the GRD is “Pocket DSLR”. I consider my GRD IV as my pocket DSLR but that's not really true because it's not a large sensor. The GRD V truly is a pocket DSLR, top notch, high quality GR lens, APSC sensor, legendary ergonomics and you can slip it in your jean pocket. By the way, the handling of all the Ricoh GRD is simply the best. When you hold it you know it means business, it also makes other point and shoot type cameras feel like toys.

What the GRD V does is simply put the power of a DSLR in your pocket. You will never miss a picture because it's always with you in your pocket. You will be able to bokeh with it because it's a large sensor. I am eager to see what folks who shoot with a DSLR and a wide angle will think of the GRD V (See Christophe's comment in my previous post). Don't be too afraid of the 28mm, I used to be the 50mm kind of guy, but the Ricoh made me used to 28mm field of view. Now I'd say I am more of a 28-35 guy.

Previous work with the previous cameras
I don't have the Ricoh GRD V, but I can tell you what to expect, having lots of experience with the III, IV and GXR 28mm.

Ricoh GXR 28mm:

ricoh gxr 28mm-1




ricoh gxr 28mm-3


Ricoh GRD III:

Ricoh GRD III Image


ricoh GRD III-2


Ricoh GRD IV:

Ricoh GRD IV


Ricoh GRD IV


Ricoh GRD IV


Am I exited about the new Ricoh GRD V? You bet! Am I going to get it? Maybe πŸ™‚

Click here for a discussion between Ricoh GR Photographers.

There is more to photography than cameras
Once you get a Ricoh GR, what then? Cameras are good but in and of themselves they are unfulfilling, it's like having a piano and not using it. Get Inspired Eye, a digital magazine all about photography, it will help you develop yourself as a photographer by being inspired, and by teaching you a thing or two. Like many readers said “It makes me want to go out and shoot”. You can get your risk free trial on the website.

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About The Author

36 thoughts on “The Game has changed: Ricoh GRD V”

  1. Bulldinky Olivier. You and everyone else that uses a GRD4 will get the GRD5. Of course you’ll have to stand behind me cause I’m an out of the closet Ricoh user since 1970 and I’m standing right in front of da wifey and getting this camera.

    This is a nice article ya done here…..don

    1. I use a GRD4. Give me some improvments why we should upgrade πŸ˜‰ The only one is better resolution and better ISO. I had never an issue with both of them and I think you have eighter…

      I can give you some disadvantages; shallow depth of field, no hybrid af, not as snappy,

        1. Hey there, IQ is prime but not everything. The Sigmas give great images but the handling and build quality are really not there :/ Plus the GR is slimmer than the DPs

          Depends on the photographer I guess.

          1. With all due respect, I beg to differ.

            In my opinion, the picture a person is looking at is everything, you are souly
            judge by that photo.
            The viewer dosen’t care how well built your camera is, or which software you
            used, or how fast the shutter went off, whether you had to carry heavy equipment or not, or if you have AF tracking or not, etc ,etc…..
            You are judge souly on those photos.

            The Ricoh is a very good camera (my second choice) and gives very good results, but the
            the sigma is breath taking.
            The results of the Ricoh are good but not special, most of those results
            can be had with entry level Dslr.

            Not so with the Sigma, there are amateurs on flikr,
            that have very impressive portfollios. Stunning I would say.

            Sorry for the rant,
            Just my worthless opinion.

            Here’s a saying that applies, your only as good as your last shot.
            or something like that, Lol.

          2. With all due respect and not to argue your rant…..saying “Not so with the Sigma, there are amateurs on Flickr,
            that have very impressive portfollios. Stunning I would say.”…

            is the same as saying that Ricoh or Sigma was used to make the image.
            If in fact we are judged by the voice of our images, then being a pro, enthusiast or amateur has no value in the end because only the image matters.

            I do agree with that frame of mind but I am totally aware of PROCESS.
            Process is what makes our thoughts, hidden images come to visual life.

            We are a part of our process as much as our camera etc is. Without respect and attention to that, in the end…our images will not sing.

          3. No worries,
            The issue is, we were talking about cameras, then you jumped to the viewers. The image is everything, doesn’t matter what you use, how you use it, so I agree with you.

            When I said that IQ is not everything, I’m only talking about the photographer and his camera, nothing to do with the viewer. In my case, for my relationship with cameras, most cameras are good enough, my thing is the operation.

            Makes sense??? πŸ™‚

  2. if i werent suddenly rx1 poor, this new ricoh woulda made me buy a grdiii on the super extra cheap, but itll hafta wait! cant wait to see what you and everyone else can do with it tho!!

    you should do a review thats nothing but photos and brief comments about each shot… end of review. that would be amazing

  3. great write-up… sums up my thought about the line and feelings about the coming.
    i’d not seen those sample shots… just made me more excited than i already was.
    i still have my iii and never bought the iv… just wasn’t enough for me – i don’t like upgrading what isn’t broken. but…. this time… well…
    2 days of waiting is all that’s over since my preorder. there are far too many more to come.

    1. Lucky you. I had the III. Sold it. Could not sleep because I did that! I upgraded to the IV for that reason

  4. Hi Olivier,

    How would you compare this Ricoh to a Sony RX-100 ?

    Bigger sensor and fixed focal = better image quality ?
    But no zoom = less flexibility ?
    What this camera is design for : B&W, Street photography mainly ?


    1. Salut!

      It’s simple: The bigger the sensor the better the image quality, the better ISO handling, etc. The sony RX100 in the comparison shots you see above handles real well because it has a larger than normal sensor and a Zeiss lens but you can see that the GRD V image is much more defined and sharp.

      I am a HUGE proponent of limitation creativity. It simply the idea that you are more creative when you are limited. Rembrandt painted some works with a palette of 6 non primary colors for example. This idea therefore means that if you have a fixed focal length you will be more creative. I can tell you that this is true in my experience.

      I was a 50mm kinda dude, but my GRD made me fall in love with 28mm. That also happened with my friend Don with his natural field of view of 35mm. It’s just a matter of trusting the way you were built: Resolving problems. By having a fixed focal length you give your brain a problem: You can’t zoom, you have a scene: make it work.

      The image I attached is the best example I have.What I REALLY wanted to shoot was the volcanoes in the background. But I could not zoom with my GRD III, so I figured out a way to incorporate everything that I had to include in a composition. In my opinion I was left with a much stronger image than the original one I wanted.

      I’ve never felt limited by the 28mm, it makes me more creative, especially when it comes to portraits. You can’t shoot too close (it will distort), you can’t blur the background = you have to find a way to creatively use all of the background to bring attention to the face = limitation creativity. But the GRD V will be able to bokeh tough πŸ™‚

      The camera is designed for photography. The real thing is it’s portability. I use my GRD IV for streets, but my goodness, also for weddings and lots of family stuff. BW photographers like it because you can fine tune the black and white JPGs in camera and Street Photographers love it’s inoffensive looks and snap focus but before all it’s a great camera.

      I think the camera is designed to melt in you hands, to get out of your way once you learn to use it. What you use it for is up to you. For my personal case that’s pretty much everything. It’s there for pleasure (street), work (weddings), family and whatever might come up. It’s in your pocket, it’s ready when you are!

      Hope I helped! πŸ™‚

      1. Sure it helped ! πŸ™‚
        Great comment, insightful…

        Portability is a deal breaker for me. The famous quote, “the best camera is the one you have with you” is just so true. DSLR are like PCs, they are very powerful, but they are like trucks, big and heavy with too much power for most people. People now buy tablets. If manufacturers manage to pack some good technology in pocketable cameras, like they did with Sony RX100 and mirrorless, I am sure there will be a big renewal of this market section. Smartphones won’t kill compact cameras. They are killing crappy, small sensor compact cameras…

        I used to have an entry level DSLR, then sold it and did iphonography with my iPhone 4 for a few years. That’s “limitation creativity” as you named it and it’s true that you can do very nice pictures this way. Vutherea ( is a good example of that… And sharing is so frictionless with a smartphone.

        Still, now that I have a Nexus 4 with a very average camera, I am looking for a “real” camera. I am still hesitating between those too. Video will be an important part of my use I will wait for reviews of the Ricoh before choosing. I saw that the Ricoh has a intervalometer which allow to do timelapse, something the Sony doesn’t have. But the previous version was not very well rated for video I think.

        1. I know what you mean, DSLRs are too big for me, left them a while ago and never going back. The pocketability of the GRD cannot be understated.

          That instagram is nice. My only issue with the phone is the user experience. No shutter buttons and no dials πŸ™ Indeed the iphone is a fixed focal length like the GR

          The Video in the IV is laughable. But for the GR it has 1080p video. Only the software I think will dictate witch one wins. Since it looks like Ricoh is embracing a larger market, I am sure it will have good enough control on the videos. Speculation tough…..

        2. The D600 is a nice camera for certain kinds of work, like high dynamic range photos, by my favorite is beyond doubt the Nikon V1. Some guys even use their 800mm lenses on them, with great success!

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  7. I’ve been looking for a decent small camera to replace my DSLR, which while I love the fact I can use old manual lenses and experiment, it’s not exactly an all rounder, I was looking at the X100 which is around the same price as the GR D V, but I’m kinda a wide angle guy, so the 28mm equivalent lens, and small, stealthy, all black body is ticking all the boxes for me, and the APS-C will give me the same great res images. I’ve also been dabbling in film, digging out my old OM-1, picking up a Yashica Electro 35, and recently an Olympus XA in the quest for great fixed lens and usability, if Olympus bring out a digital version of the XA, well, that is pure stealth…. Only time now!
    My everyday digital has been a Panasonic LX3 for the last few years, which again has been a great servant, and I do use it everyday as it fits in the pocket and has a great lens, so on balance usability wins out over having an all singing and dancing DSLR

    1. According to the reviews, the GR V is average in video (no manual controls, only 30fps at 1080p). As it is very important for me, I decided to wait till this summer. Hopefully an RX100 successor will come out with a wider angle than 28mm.
      Still undecided.

      1. I assumed as much πŸ™‚
        It’s very hard to find a camera that do both, especially in that form factor….Try renting the RX100 and see if it fits your needs then when the GR comes out rent it too and make a decision.

        1. My wife has a OM-D, and a RX100, plus a K-30, and she’ll swear that they all are better than her former love, the Pentax K-5.

    2. You are naming some solid film cameras there!
      This should be a pocket dslr because it has the same APSC size sensor and is very pocketable.

  8. Adrian Boliston

    Definitely looking forward to upgrading from the IV to the GR – I hope the manual focus is as easy to use as it is on the IV as I use manual focus 90% of the time. I prefer it to “snap” focus as there are about 10 distance settings available and it’s quicker to switch manual focus distance (single button press) than it is to switch snap focus distance.

    1. I wouldn’t see it as an upgrade but a totally different camera. I never really took a serious look at manual focusing on the GRD like that, I wonder if you can switch to auto focus quickly?
      You will have to be more generous in your aperture tough because this is an APSC sensor camera.

      1. Adrian Boliston

        I have the “MY1” selector for manual focus use and the “MY2” selector for auto focus use so really quick to switch between the two without having to use a menu.

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  10. Hi,

    Interesting series of articles! I, too, was struck by GAS, beginning with Pentax K-x, and now sitting happy with a tiny D600 (compared to other full-format cameras) and a glorious V1! I do have a few old Pentax left, and one, or two, others, but it is the D800 and the V1 I use, often sharing the same lens!

    I blame Steve Huff for my GAS problems, but I too has settled down, I hope.

    It will be quite a few years before I get another camera, but still I do get some craving for new lenses. No more compact cameras, but maybe a V3 (which haven’t even been released yet) ;-)!

    Still got my NEX-5N, and its lovely Zeiss lens, but it will be years before I upgrade to another NEX!

    I still have my old Olympus C-8080, a camera that could have become a classic, but didn’t, due to bad implementation of the hardware (for instance: about 30 seconds between shots, if you shoot RAW!), but equipped with a superb lens, and a professional-like design. The articulated display was about an inch wide, but quite good in those days. The camera was a total failure in any kind of back-lighting situation, sadly enough!

    Alas, yet another big money-looser for Olympus, due to abysmal sales! Amazingly, you’ll get about 50% of your investment back if you sell yours now, after close to ten years, close to unheard of!

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  12. how does ricoh gr compare against sony rx100 iii in terms of high iso image quality? and image quality as a whole too, is the ricoh better?

    1. Hey Isaac,
      I don’t have the III to compare. But TECHNICALLY, the Ricoh GR *should* be better, the sensor is much larger than the Sony’s. But at the same time the Sony is a little beast, so I really do not know πŸ™‚
      But there’s other things to factor in, the RX100 III has a very interesting zoom lens that is very fast and a viewfinder….Make sure you go here:
      And sign up for updates, I’ll have some folks talk about their RX100 III πŸ™‚
      Also see this:

        1. x100 is 35mm with the possibility to add a 28mm converter and soon enough (dunno if its released) a 50mm. So it’s more versatile and has that unique viewfinder. Its much bigger than the slip-it-in-your-pocked GR and more expensive too. Decisions, decisions!!!!

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