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Archive 2013 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100
  
 
millsart
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


Recently picked up the Ricoh GR which is a nice little pocketable (barely) camera with an APS-C sensor. Its got a fixed 18.5mm f2.8 lens and some really nice ergonomics, including one of the best grips I've ever handled. Very customizable camera which lets you assign pretty much any feature to any button you want, and just all around a very photocentric design, taking into account one handed shooting, preset snap focus distance, selectable minimum shutter speeds, you name it.

RX100 as everyone probably already knows is a 1" sensor compact with a 28-100mm equiv zoom. Its f1.8 on the wide end though, and have some very fast AF, 20megs of resolution and it easily fits into any pocket.

Naturally I had to compare them....

As far as customization goes, the Ricoh naturally wins. The Sony isn't bad, and better than most compacts, but its not going to give you things like a distance scale for MF, or minimum shutter speeds. Its more of a point and shoot in that regard, but it does have some rather nice modes like sweep pano that work very well.

For AF, the Sony is hands down faster and more accurate. The GR is good in decent light but gets quite slow in dimmer light, and in less contrasty subjects. It also has a fair amount of AF errors which I never get with the Sony. Also the Sony has face detect which the GR doesn't and I have to say, I actually rather miss it. When using the camera socially its a handy feature to have, likewise when handing the camera off to others.

There are plenty of other pro's and con's of both, such as the GR having an automatic ND filter which is great for sunny days, while the RX100 needs a filter or to be stopped down due to its 1/2000th max shutter speed.. On the other hand, the RX100 has a zoom lens which while I'm probably at 28mm most of the time, can come in handy with a pocket camera. Both have the Sony White Magic LCD but on the RX100 is seems brighter and more readable under bright conditions. The GR fits into a pocket, but it can be a little tight with jeans, and the rubber grip makes it a bit tough to pull it in/out, while the RX100 fits much easier.

The GR can also take an accessory WA conversion lens giving 21mm equiv, though of course ruining any pocketability. Haven't been able to find one in stock so can't comment on that yet, but it is a nice feature to have, as I do enjoy WA.

What really interested me though is the IQ differences between them. A 20meg 1" sensor with a 10mm f1.8 Zeiss branded lens, vs a 16meg APS-C sensor with a 18.3mm f2.8 lens and I might add, no AA filter.

How much more subject isolation could the GR give me and how much more detail ? Those where the main questions in my mind, and what was most important to me. Would the GR give me a real larger sensor camera look while still being pocketable ?

Here are the first in a series of comparison I made between the cameras both shot wide open and just with default JPEG settings. Sony files have been downsized to 16megs for more direct comparison, not other editing done to either camera.

Ricoh GR


Sony RX100


100% crop Ricoh


100% crop Sony



The Ricoh gives a little more subject isolation, and a little smoother bokeh, but the difference is pretty slight. Sony has more saturation out of camera and a little better color. Really no a very big difference though I was surprised to find. The little 1" sensor holds its ground.



Ricoh GR


Sony RX100



Ricoh 100% crop center


Sony 100% crop center


Again, the Sony stands pretty much on par with the GR to my eyes and maybe shows a little better DR



Now in lower light I'm going to be curious if the larger sensor really pulls ahead at higher ISO, so still need to do those comparisons and post them, but I'm waiting the the RX100 mkII so might hold off to also include that in the comparisons.

Likewise, need to do a little most testing of corner performance, but it looks pretty equal in what I've seen so far with a little edge going to the GR.


Really for shooting in good light though, I don't think the GR brings much to the table other than the admittedly better handling of the camera. Your really not getting any real advantage in detail, resolution or subject isolation from the bigger sensor IMHO.

The RX100 (ii) has some real advantages such as OS, the zoom, better AF, more pocketable, better video specs, sweep pano, and when you factor in the MKII, you also have a tilt LCD, and the ability to use an EVF (which I have from my RX1) plus wifi.

The GR though is a fun camera to shoot, and feels great in hand. Its a little bigger but its so light I always think it must be missing the battery.

Have to ask myself if its worth an extra $799 over a camera I already own, and what benefits it would bring me if not really giving me better bokeh or resolution.


The



Jul 28, 2013 at 11:30 PM
ken.vs.ryu
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


I'd love a fixed lens rx100. Thanks for the review.


Jul 28, 2013 at 11:37 PM
philip_pj
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


Will be interesting, millsart. DxO data indicates that the RX100-2 closes the gap to the GR at higher ISO, say above ISO 2000. It also looks like a step up in many ways from the first version.


Jul 28, 2013 at 11:57 PM
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


Yikes, the bokeh looks seriously messed up on the rx100.

The exposures don't look the same on some of them.



Jul 28, 2013 at 11:59 PM
aleksanderpolo
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


Would love to see the comparison in raw. Don't know about the Sony, but Ricoh is not known for their jpg engine, except perhaps the high contrast B&W stuffs.


Jul 29, 2013 at 12:03 AM
millsart
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


FlyPenFly wrote:
Yikes, the bokeh looks seriously messed up on the rx100.

The exposures don't look the same on some of them.



I didn't try to equalize exposures, just let both cameras meter the scene. The RX100 does look a bit busy I agree ( more so than some other images I took) but at the same time, its a pocket camera so the fact it has any subject isolation to even have a "bokeh" to speak of is a bit of something I never was previously used to.

More so than the quality of the RX100 though, I was more taken with the lack of subject isolation I saw from the GR. Its got a nice smooth quality, but the camera really gives very little isolation given its got the much larger APS-C sensor.

My Fuji 18mm f2.0 on the XPro/XE-1 was a bit of a dog as far as sharpness and corner performance went, but it gave a bit more subject isolation from what I remember, and its only a stop faster.

Now again, we can only expect so much from an 18mm lens f2.8 lens, but I rather expected it to give me a bit more ability to isolation subjects for creative purposes, while still being a true pocket camera.

Perhaps my RX1 just spoiled me lol



Jul 29, 2013 at 12:08 AM
millsart
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


aleksanderpolo wrote:
Would love to see the comparison in raw. Don't know about the Sony, but Ricoh is not known for their jpg engine, except perhaps the high contrast B&W stuffs.



I do love the high contrast B/W look too, as well as their cross process. Ricoh has hands down the best jpeg settings of any camera, blows away Fuji, Olympus et al. You can match them in post, but as far as just having a SOOC effect that looks "right", Ricoh gets it.



Jul 29, 2013 at 12:10 AM
millsart
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


Here is another shot at even closer subject to camera distances.

Ricoh


Sony



Jul 29, 2013 at 12:13 AM
aleksanderpolo
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


I love the positive film setting too, however in terms of dynamic range and sharpness, I think one can still extract a whole lot more from the raw than the jpg. So you feel that the GR is significantly bigger? I thought that it is actually thinner if one measure the back of the body to the lens, could that be because of the grip?


Jul 29, 2013 at 12:15 AM
millsart
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


The GR is about 1mm thinner if you measure both to the lens bezel, however, the GR body is a little longer, and also it has the thicker grip so it just fills a bit more of my pocket. Additionally, the grip is wrapped in rubber, which feels great and secure when holding the camera, but makes it grip the lining the my jeans pocket a bit when removing it. I don't think I could pull it out as a moments notice and grab a shot as easily.

Both are clearly pocket camera's, no question about it, as they will fit into jeans, dress pants etc.

The GR just can bit a bit more difficult to retrieve and depending on the fit of your pants, can feel a little more noticeable when sitting down.

Just a quick iphone snap, that probably is skewing the size impression a bit




Jul 29, 2013 at 12:27 AM
 

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michael49
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


I prefer the overall look of the Ricoh images, much smoother and I like the slightly warmer WB also. But, as you say, the Sony holds up quite well for having a zoom lens and a smaller sensor.


Jul 29, 2013 at 01:14 AM
jffielde
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


That Sony is incredible given its size. Those guys know a thing or two about sensor design.


Jul 29, 2013 at 03:27 AM
skibum5
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


michael49 wrote:
I prefer the overall look of the Ricoh images, much smoother and I like the slightly warmer WB also. But, as you say, the Sony holds up quite well for having a zoom lens and a smaller sensor.


Yeah contrary to claims above the Ricoh seems to have the truer colors and WB. I should note though that sony changed the colors/WB with the RX100M2 and they are now warmer and more natural and look like the Ricoh colors. Bokeh will obviously still be vastly worse though than with the Ricoh. Of course the Ricoh is also getting to be a bit larger and it's saddled with a restrictive fixed focal length lens and cost even yet more.



Jul 29, 2013 at 03:32 AM
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


The JPGs on the Sony are just pushed a bit more from default.

A true test would be to under expose and over expose at the same levels. Then push pull the files to see how much latitude is available on the sensor.



Jul 29, 2013 at 03:33 AM
millsart
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


My gut feeling is that the GR will have more latitude being the larger sensor, but that little 1" Sony sensor has pretty darn good DR for something so small so could be a little closer than you'd think at first.

Sony colors are a bit more saturated, or rather, the Ricoh ones are a bit more muted, especially with the raw files I've tried. You can of course saturate them a bit more, but some people probably like the more muted colors out of the camera.

I just really expected it was going to be a real slam dunk for the Ricoh killing the X100 and it was going to be this easy no brainer where the RX100 went up for sale, but then when shooting with the GR, I just wasn't really seeing anything to wow me and really it didn't look too different than my Sony RX100, thus why I started comparing them.

That isn't to say its a bad camera, its not, and naturally its not going to be like the RX1 by any means, but I guess my benchmark is that it was going to be something like the Fuji X100s.

X100s is no "cream machine" either with its 23mm f2.0 lens, but it can get pretty good subject separation for the most part. It also isn't lightening fast with the AF, but its pretty darn quick.

In my head, the GR was going to be like that camera, sans the VF, slightly wider, and pocketable. Who wouldn't like that, right ?

As it turned out, the GR is as slow as my RX1 in terms of AF (not that the RX1 is unusable), and misses far more often is poor light. Its also got a look more akin to a small sensor camera, like the X100, or Nikon 1 system.

Its a fun camera to use, and so amazingly well thought out for the most part, but I think some of my expectations were too unrealistic.



Jul 29, 2013 at 03:52 AM
aleksanderpolo
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


Above 1m, snap focus is instantaneous and miles ahead of competition, well maybe not miles ahead of OMD or Nikon 1. Count the clicks, forget about AF and shoot.


Jul 29, 2013 at 05:28 AM
snapsy
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


millsart wrote:
Additionally, the grip is wrapped in rubber, which feels great and secure when holding the camera, but makes it grip the lining the my jeans pocket a bit when removing it. I don't think I could pull it out as a moments notice and grab a shot as easily.

Thanks for the nice comparison. Placing the GR in a small plastic bag should resolve the rubber sticking to the pocket lining, while also protecting the body/lens from lint. Doggie poop bags work well for this.



Jul 29, 2013 at 05:55 AM
millsart
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


aleksanderpolo wrote:
Above 1m, snap focus is instantaneous and miles ahead of competition, well maybe not miles ahead of OMD or Nikon 1. Count the clicks, forget about AF and shoot.



I do really like how you can assign a button to toggle between af/snap focus mode, and more so, how easy it is to set the distance and more so, that the camera remembers the settings. So many brands could do well to take notice of this implementation.

The mode where a fast press of the shutter goes to a default snap focus distance and a soft half press does AF also is pretty interesting, though I haven't found it to be too useful in actually walking around with the camera, as I find either I'm using AF, or I know I want to work with zone focus.

In some ways, I can shoot with the Sony in the same way. What I would do is set it up so the center of the D-pad is the AF/MF switch, then I would just focus on something about 6 feet away using AF, hit the center button, and I'm in MF mode, with instant shutter response. There is no scale or anything fancy like the GR though.

I find zone focusing works pretty well, and have done it with my Fuji X100 in the past too, but you have to accept some shots with less than perfect focus because I find I try to shoot a subject a little too close for my given DoF etc.

Its a viable method, but in a perfect world I rather like the focus point to be on my given subject.


Speaking of the Nikon V1, those little guys really do have some amazing AF. I got a 2 lens v1 kit for $300, and while not the best IQ (too bad they don't have the Sony sensor) the AF really is DSLR fast, even with tracking subjects. The EVF while somewhat low rez as well is really good. Much better than my XE-1 and the X100s. Just looks very natural with no tearing, or motion lag. Heck of a cool little camera for what they are practically giving them away for these days.



Jul 29, 2013 at 05:55 AM
barisaxer
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


I like my rx100 but would love it with a better lens. Sharper corners and better macro performance would be my first wants.


Jul 29, 2013 at 10:10 PM
millsart
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Ricoh GR vs Sony RX100


barisaxer wrote:
I like my rx100 but would love it with a better lens. Sharper corners and better macro performance would be my first wants.



Have you tried adding a diopter to it ? Works pretty well to give some more macro magnification and plenty of inexpensive options out there.

Not a lot you can do about the corner performance, which isn't stellar, but actually is a bit better than many "kit" zooms, other than shoot raw and don't allow the software to correct the distortion which makes things a little sharper, at a price.



Jul 29, 2013 at 11:59 PM
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