Sean Reid reviews the GRD4

Discussion in 'Ricoh' started by Andrewteee, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Welcome to ReidReviews

    Paid site. Been discussed before. But I thought it was an interesting review because it was informative and he takes a slightly different than normal approach. And he compares it a lot with the Sigma DP1x.
  2. Paul Giguere

    Paul Giguere

    May 4, 2011
    Wayland, MA USA
    I too read Sean's review and it was well done. In affirmed my decision to buy a GRD IV (whenever they come out in the U.S.). One thing though that Sean pointed out and that I found disturbing is that you can no longer change the Snap Focus distance by pressing the up arrow button while rotating the front dial in front of the shutter release button. This combination now allows you switch between different sets of Function button settings. Worse yet, you now have to dive into the set-up menu to change the distance setting for Snap Focus. Here is an email that I sent to Ricoh pointing this out. Feel free to use and adapt if you like (as an aside, I heard back from someone at Ricoh within hours and they are forwarding my message on to the appropriate folks . . . I hope):

    Dear Ricoh: As a long-time user of the Ricoh GR Digital line of cameras, I was dismayed to learn that a feature that was present in the recent GRD III camera is no longer available in the GRD IV. The ability to set the Snap Focus distance using a combination of the Up button and the Front dial has now been replaced with the ability to switch between Function button settings. While this new feature is one that is appreciated, many photographers who use the Snap feature of the GR Digital cameras use the Up button/Front dial method frequently (myself included) to quickly change the focus distance setting while in Snap focus mode. Photographers now need to go back into the Control menu to change this setting and given the nature of Snap focus and why this feature was added to the camera (to quickly set focus at different distances) I feel embedding this setting in the Control menu without giving the user the ability to change it more easily using the Up button/Front dial method is a big mistake. In a future firmware update, I feel you should give the user the ability to decide how the Up button/Front dial works (maybe a choice between Function buttons and Snap focus distance setting). If the user chooses to use the Up button/Front dial combination to change the Snap focus distance, then the other Function button sets could be accessed through the Control menu. Thank you for your consideration.
    • Like Like x 3
  3. Will

    Will All-Pro

    Aug 30, 2010
    Paul, thanks for highlighting this feature, I wasn't aware of it on the 3. What a useful tool!
  4. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    I do not understand why they made this change. To me, Snap Focus is a key feature and the ability to change it on the fly was integral. I hope and I assume they will correct this in a future FW update.
  5. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Unreal. The snap is what makes the camera alive. Without it, it's just another camera.
    If the GXR didn't work snap the way it does, I wouldn't have it.

    It should be an easy firmware fix but I'll bet this turns off many potential buyers.
    Surely there must be a work around we don't know about....
  6. When I first got the GRD3 I used to regularly switch between snap distances but never really noticed any improvement. I expected doing so would give me a better chance of nailing the focus but found in my images that when I set snap to 5m it was sharp from much closer than that. So I rarely move it off 5m now. Bear in mind I'm talking about street shooting in daylight and shooting from the hip. I guess if you use a VF or the LCD to compose and/or if you shoot at night then maybe you need to shoot wide open and thus the distance setting would be more critical? I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on this - I'm probably missing out on some clear advantages!

    There is always the MY1, MY2 and MY3 modes on the mode dial that you can set up for different snap distances. Not ideal, but better than digging into the menus..
  7. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Norman, I use snap 75% of the time.
    What I do is look at the DOF scale and determine the zone I want to work in.
    I usually am at 1.5-2 meters. Then by changing my fstop, I can change the DOF if I want to.
  8. Thanks Don, that is interesting. I generally set the camera up before I leave the house. I used to pick a snap distance and ISO and then adjust the aperture to give me as wide a DOF as possible whilst maintaining a workable shutter speed. I read somewhere that the GRD3 lens was sharpest at F4 so I often stopped the lens down some. It is only recently that I've been opening that lens up more and was pleased by the results.

    I for one will be getting the GRD4 soon. I expect I'll lose a few quid selling my GRD3 because it is such a niche camera that is often overlooked but I'm really liking what I see and read about the GRD4. Ricoh have pulled it off again. Hopefully those snap shortcuts can be made available again somehow via firmware upgrade..
  9. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Can anyone wonder why Ricoh made this change?
  10. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Norman, luckily for you and I and some others, we are photographers. We don't always need the technical perfection reviewers always look for.
    So the Ricoh's like any other camera are better stopped down but...
    What if you don't want the sharpest image quality? Then we know, open up and let the light just become softer...

    The new GRD 4 should have better control over snap and I'm sure it will.
    I look forward to your results...
  11. sparth

    sparth Regular

    Oct 28, 2011
    seattle WA
    good call, Paul.
    i still don't know much about the digital GRD IV interface, but can't wait to give it a try in the next days.
    i sincerely hope it will not alter the snap focus mode too much, or that they at least heard your valid concern.

  12. PrimeTime

    PrimeTime Rookie

    Aug 27, 2011
    I guess I'll wait off till Ricoh releases a firmware update. Snap focus adj. like the GR D III was one of the top reasons I wanted the GR D IV, along with IBIS.
  13. Lili

    Lili Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    This and price is the reason I am going with a discounted GRD III.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. PrimeTime

    PrimeTime Rookie

    Aug 27, 2011
    ^ Agree, Still on the fence between the GRD III & GRD IV. Current $200 difference and possible gap increasing as GRD IV come into stock.

    fwiw: No doubt IS helps in low light, but not sure how much it would help with low light street photography/moving subjects.
  15. PrimeTime

    PrimeTime Rookie

    Aug 27, 2011
    Does anyone know if the GRD IV VC/IS works with Snap Focus?

    Does it shut off or stay cont. on?
  16. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Yes, it does, but if you have the camera set to something like B&W it won't show you an on screen preview of how that looks. I set mine to RAW+JPG and set the JPG to the lowest setting. I'm one of those who asked for RAW only but for now I'm not using it :redface:
  17. Duane Pandorf

    Duane Pandorf All-Pro

    Apr 25, 2011
    Western NC
    I'm happy with my III and if I were to buy the IV the III would permanently go to my wife as she is keeping the III in her purse now. (I still have to send it in to have the sensor cleaned).

    On the Snap Focus issue for those on the fence: my very short experience using the company's products tells me this will be addressed quickly and no need to worry. As already posted, one can easily set up the My1-3 for 3 other snap focus distances giving 4 total including what is set outside the My settings.

    I've also come to the conclusion that I don't mind shooting Raw+Jpg. I have a big enough card and carry an extra card anyway that I will never run out of card space. Plus, having a full size Jpg makes it a snap to email or post a favorite shot online if there is no editing required.

    I also want to see B&W through the EVF or on the LCD when I'm shooting B&W too. Makes a big difference now that I'm starting to think that way in my photography. Amazing what the Ricoh product has done to me!
  18. opticagent

    opticagent New Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    a response from ricoh on snap focus

    Hi Paul,
    As I just ordered my GRDIV and wait for its arrival, I went ahead and sent a message to Ricoh addressing the Snap Focus issue. I received a message from them rather promptly. And wanted to share what they had to say.
    I am a little concerned with there response, and without my GRDIV in hand (arriving on the 15th) I am unable to see how effective this solution is. Hanging onto my GRDIII and unsure if I will keep the GRDIV now. Anyone out there able to confirm this is an effective solution, I would love to hear.

    Ricoh's response is bellow:

    Thank you for contacting Ricoh Japan,

    Thank you for your comment on the GR DIGITAL IV product.
    We are afraid that there is no plan to include the function like you

    However, for your case, would you try the following setting.
    Focus > Snap
    Snap Focus Distance > Auto

    Since the GR DIGITAL IV adopts the external AF, the camera always meter a
    distance. If the Auto is set for Snap Focus Distance in advance, The camera
    in the Snap mode will automatically focus on to the distance that has been
    measured with the external AF.
    This procedure will be less than those with Up button + front dial.

    Sincerely yours,
    Ricoh PMMC Japan
    Customer Support Digital Camera Products
    • Like Like x 3
  19. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    I saw the Snap Focus - Auto setting but have not tried it yet. I wonder why Ricoh removed the ability to change it on the fly and not change it back in a FW update?

    I will try the Auto Snap Focus mode this weekend and see how it pans out.
    • Like Like x 1