Mallorca in January with the Ricoh GR, By Thorsten Richter

Mallorca in January with the Ricoh GR

By Thorsten Richter

Dear Steve,

Mallorca, main island of the Balearic Islands, is a typical and popular dream destination for Europeans searching for relaxation in the Mediterranean. In the summer months this island is bursting with tourists – mainly Germans, British but also Spaniards from the mainland populate beaches, hotels and resorts. In Winter this hot spot becomes a lot calmer, especially in the weeks following Christmas and New Year. The ones crowded beaches are definitely empty, many hotels are closed and the island is mainly back again in the hands of the residents.

As we planned to do a lot of hiking in the mountains I decided to travel really light concerning my camera gear. My normal travel set-up – a Leica M-series with two lenses – is not strictly what should be called hefty but this time the only picture-taking device that I carried around was a compact Ricoh GR.

I never regretted this decision: The GR is a camera capable of taking pictures with astonishing quality. The files this little gem pumps out are of pristine sharpness and give you much leeway for recovering blocked shadows or bringing back some information to washed out highlights – the latter one as a matter of course in much smaller amount as the first. The options offered by the menus are overwhelming and in the first weeks of using this camera I saw me reprogramming and adjusting the three custom user slots that are offered nearly daily. The lack of an optical viewfinder only bothered me for a short time – after exclusively using it for a few days it felt quite natural. In particular the included level gauge is very comfortable and something I definitely miss today as feature in some of my other cameras.

Using just a small camera with wide-angle lens for one week was a refreshing experience. As a photographer normally using only 35mm or 50mm lenses the new view angle required some mental adjustments; however, if used for enough time I think 28mm has the potential to be as universal as focal length as the classical pair mentioned before.

Below you find six shots taken during travelling through the island by car and walking through olive groves and fruit plantains. The last foto shows the Cathedral in the island’s capital Palma de Mallorca.

As the sun in January strikes in a quite flat angle, playing around with *contre jour* situations was possible nearly the whole day. These situations were handled very well by the small lens and I really liked the results you can e.g. see in shot #5. The flare is nicely washing out some areas of the picture but in no way obtrusive or biting.

You can also find some of my work on the website below:
http://www.chromelightphoto.com

Best regards from Cologne in Germany,

Thorsten

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31 thoughts on “Mallorca in January with the Ricoh GR, By Thorsten Richter”

  1. Great shots, shows how versatile the 28mm lens is, and, how it makes the photographer more flexible as a result! It’s been my daily camera for the past 6 months, I don’t always nail the shot, I wish it was a tad faster in low light sometimes, but that’s a minor gripe,it’s a great camera, so much so, I left my DSLR at home, and just took the GR on a recent trip, infact, I got rid if my canon 600D, and a Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 ( great lens) because of the bulk, I replaced it with the OMD E10, and a Sigma 19mm 2.8, and picked up a OM to MFT adapter, so I can use my 50mm 1.4 and the focus peaking! I love the size, it’s snappy, solid, and fun to use just like the GR
    My flickr
    https://flic.kr/ps/wWhdB

  2. Great photos Thorsten! I bought my GR last January and I am very happy. Together with the Nikon A is the only really pocketable-big sensor camera and the usability and image quality are impressive. I recently started a new blog, most of the photos are taken with this wonderful camera: http://www.oriolphotography.tumblr.com

  3. Nice shots. The GR is my pocket camera of choice. Love the IQ and ability to simultaneously control both aperture and shutter speed while also having exposure comp and auto ISO. Surprisingly, I’ve gotten some of my best environmental portraits with the GR. I do find adding an optical finder helpful in very bright sunlight and holding a small light camera steady (with fast enough shutter speed) is essential. As I’m sure you found, there is a joyful freedom in shooting a very small camera with a fixed focal length.

  4. Got my Ricoh GR last fall. Absolutely a super little explorer. Makes magic with colors, I think I may have found my Camera family for awhile. The Ricoh GR for clandestine shots as necessary and my Sony Nex 6 outfitted with both Leica M Lenses and new Zeiss models. Between these for what I shoot I get pretty much all the time just what I want without a lot of SHOP time. I like my photographs to be photographs not pieces of art contrived in a SHOP software. My cameras give me the natural goodness of what they see and I enjoy the outcomes.

  5. I’ll never understand people who consider 28 to be an abnormal or niche focal length. Garry Winogrand used a 28 exclusively for most of his life and only towards the very end, when he was contemplating using large format view cameras, did he consider that he might have exhausted the medium.

    Lovely shots, great choice of camera.

    1. Definitely. I recently got the 27mm equivalent for my V1 and it’s hugely versatile if you think about the results you want. I’ve toyed with idea of the GR as I have a GR2 which has a big dirt mark on the sensor which Ricoh want to charge me the equivalent of about US$250 to clean (have to open the camera up). I love the GR2 but part of me is annoyed with Ricoh so I’m being petulant (!) about spending money of the GR.

  6. Great shots. Really nice colours as others have said. The GR is a superb camera. I think it sometimes gets over looked or pigeonholed as a “small” camera.

    1. Thank you, Simon! Yes, it is small but putting out files like the big ones. Personally see it on par with the output of an M9 with much better high ISO performance.

  7. Hi Thorsten,

    it looks like you get along well with this little gem of a camera. The quality seems to be amazing. I was always hoping Ricoh would push the GXR-system more. But with the GR, perhaps the only thing is to add a 50mm body in the future and you are set for a perfect travel set.
    My problem with the small body-cams is often the low weight( I care mainly about the size not the weight). I’ve got a NEX 6 and with an adapter and old manual glas it feels just right. Your cuban pictures are amazing, did you use the GR for those pictures too?

    Thanks for sharing your pictures, you’ve got me thinking again of the little dark horse called Ricoh.

    1. Thank you, Erik – really appreciate your feedback. The pictures in Trinidad were taken with an M9 and my favorite lens, the Zeiss Planar 50 ZM. However, also had the GRD IV with me on the trip that unfortunately broke and stopped focusing (got a full refund).

  8. Wow, nice pictures, thanks! Very much so the Olive trees. Appealing colors.

    I wish Ricoh would bring this Ricoh to the next level: Integrated optical viewfinder & non collapsible fixed lens.

    1. I have been going through the same analysis and so far I think the RX100 and the GR both might stay – the RX has a nice zoom and takes great video, the GR files are superb.

    2. why would you do that ? the rx100 is as good as the ricoh, i don’t see much difference between the two. can you explain ?

      1. Sensor, lens and controls are all considerably better on the GR (I’ve owned both). RX100 has a zoom, about the only advantage of the Sony (and video).

      2. I have the MK I RX100 and I personally think the camera has amazing IQ and is extremely versatile…

        http://blog.joshsouzaphotos.com/post/76297452548/boston-with-the-sony-rx-100
        http://blog.joshsouzaphotos.com/post/76396447849/seascapes-with-the-sony-rx100

        ..the catch is though, I don’t find it to be a fun camera to grab and bring with me, I hate having no view finder, and honestly I think that it may the single biggest reason I hardly ever use it.

        Something about framing photos on a tiny screen just disconnects me from what I’m actually doing.

        At least with a GR you can attach a optical VF.

        1. ok Josh ! I get your point ! And by the way, thanks for sharing your pictures with us … Great processing

      3. I have both. There is no contest among the two. The Rx100 is the best pocketable jack of all trades and master of none. The GR is an exquisite tool. Sensor, lens, performance and UI make it one of the best cameras money can buy.

        1. Having owned both, its a situation of classic tradeoffs. RX100 = faster lens (f1.8), smaller, better video & overall features. GR = suburb optics, larger sensor & more engaged photographic experience. Pick your poison.

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