Is the almost 6-year old digital compact camera, street photography beast still viable with the newer micro 4/3 or mirrorless cameras?
All the samples in this post (and its related post) are JPEGs straight from the camera on P mode.
Here are some bullets why
The camera is ergonomic and compact. The lens retracts when closed and the general metal build quality is smooth and scratch resistant. It’ll be easy for you to pocket this and whip it out when needed. You can easily navigate the menus, adjust settings and, most importantly, shoot quickly with just one hand. The size is also non-intimidating for when you want to discreetly shoot and it is also simple enough so others can take look at the screen and press a button if you need to be in the photos as well.
Picture quality is on point. Images are tack sharp and colors are vivid. An APS-C sensor in such a tiny body can do that for you. You also get f/2.8 at the widest, so decent enough bokeh should you need it and since image output at ISO 3200 is still workable, it’s okay during select low light situations. This is basically a straight-out-of-the-camera camera. Set the camera mode to P (or even Auto) and let the camera do all the work so all you have to do is compose and shoot.
This post has mostly street/landscape shares, but you can also see regular, day-to-day party photos on my previous personal post here. The filmic look is still there specially when you pop that flash.
If you want to see more street/landscape samples, click here for shots around my block.
For the quality of build and output, this is at a good value. If you can get this under $200 (as of writing this), it will be a great price for a camera some renowned street photographers use as a main body. I got mine for $180 on Craigslist so I had budget to get at $30 wi-fi enabled SD card. There are more GR IIs around too,(the version with wi-fi so you can beam your shots straight to your phone or laptop from the camera) but those are closer to $300. If you can get the II at $250, you’ll be in a really good spot.
Here are some numbers on how to maximize the camera
Customize all the buttons to your preference (yes, you can literally customize almost all of them). That way you can quickly access the features listed in the numbers below. This will also make you familiar with all the features the camera can do.
Use Snap the focus feature. For those already familiar with zone focusing, this is Ricoh GRs version of it. On a full shutter press, the camera can focus on 1 of 6 predetermined focus distances (1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 5 or infinity meters). So if your subject is at or around the focus distance you have your Ricoh GR set to, you can instantly capture that photo without having to half-press the shutter to autofocus.
You can quickly switch between 28mm and 35mm crops. Stemming from point number 1, I made my Fn2 button the crop adjustment so I have the option of switching between these two focal lengths.
Play with the different Effects on both color and black and white presets. I personally use the Positive Film at +8 Vividness, +8 Contrast and +8 Sharpness because the colors are so rich and I also love the High-Contrast B&W.
Always have it on you. Whip it out. Shoot. Enjoy. Repeat.