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Ricoh GR Digital 8.1Mp camera

A classic camera revived for the digital era

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Review In October 1996, the Ricoh GR series of 35mm film cameras was born. They were some of the company's first compact cameras aimed at the enthusiast and pro snapper where image quality and the resolving power of the lens were the paramount considerations, and not just a tiny package. A digital GR that aims to follow those illustrious forbears in terms of image quality, usability and sheer panache has its work cut out...

ricoh gr digital camera

The Ricoh GR Digital certainly looks the part of a GR of yore - its 2.5cm "thin" body with slightly bulging handgrip-cum-battery-and-memory-card housing are key traits. Its fixed focal length 28mm (35mm equivalent) lens has a bright F2.4 maximum aperture and as a prime lens, it's the key to preserving the GR's reputation. It provides the same unparalleled sharpness and lack of distortion synonymous with the GR name.

Those familiar with GR film cameras know they were not simply point-and-shoot cameras, and the GR Digital is no different. It provides a comprehensive set of controls, full manual shooting settings and a range of fine-tuning options that will satisfy the most demanding professional or enthusiast.

There are also a set of accessories including wide-angle lens adaptors, matched optical viewfinders - disappointingly there is no built-in optical viewfinder - and Sigma-made external flashguns that allow you to expand the camera and its versatility.

In use, the camera sits snuggly in the hand with the shutter release and dual control dials - one front and one on the back, a la digital SLRs - making the camera feel every inch a camera within your complete control. A mode dial with the manual, aperture priority and program settings includes a green-coloured point-and-shoot setting; a 320 x 240-pixel, 30fps movie mode; and a single scene mode, a black and white text setting for snapping documents.

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