Upload & Sell: Off
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.
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 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.