The Ricoh GR Digital IV is aimed unashamedly at the clued-up enthusiast. It’s the compact you slip into your pocket when your hideously expensive DSLR just isn’t practical. And it excels at this, thanks to a wide f/1.9 aperture lens, lightning-fast autofocus and a range of tweakable shooting settings so vast that the average casual snapper will be sent running for their Polaroids.
Ricoh GR Digital IV – image quality
The Ricoh can produce some excellent images, although given its price we’d expect that. Colour reproduction is accurate and noise levels are low at the bottom of the ISO range, so for outdoors and daytime use it's great. High ISO, low light shots don’t look quite so clean, with graininess showing up earlier than we'd like.
Ricoh GR Digital IV – fixed lens
It’s not the most practical or versatile camera. The lens is fixed, with a focal length of 6mm (that’s 28mm in 35mm film terms) and lacks an optical zoom. Vdeo is non-HD and feels like a total afterthought, and there’s little in the way of bells and whistles, save a hotshoe for an external flash and an electronic spirit level for keeping photos level.
Ricoh GR Digital IV – add-ons
The hotshoe lets you bolt on an external flash – ideal for those murky, gloomy occasions when the pop-up effort just won’t reach far enough. The battery lasts for around 400 shots, and alongside it is a slot for SD, SDHC and Eye-Fi memory cards – but unlike its rivals, the Ricoh doesn’t support ultra-high capacity SDXC cards.
Ricoh GR Digital IV – tweakables
Shutter nutters will love the customisable user interface, where you can set buttons to tweak settings and create three shooting modes from a huge array of options. Macro focus is also a real winner, allowing you to snap subjects as close as 1cm from the lens. It focuses more swiftly than most and produces incredibly sharp, popping shots.
The GR Digital IV is good for purists but it’s not the all-rounder it could be.