My 26 day road trip thru Australia with a Ricoh GR By Gabriel Lima

My 26 day road trip thru Australia with a Ricoh GR

By Gabriel Lima

Hello everybody!

I’m Gabriel from Brazil and the moment I write this article I’m in the city of Ubud, central Bali, Indonesia. I’m here to talk about my user experience for travel, landscape and long exposure photography using the RICOH GR and filter adapter with B&W ND filters.

First a bit of my background. I’m a 27 year old guy from Curitiba, South of Brazil. After I graduated in a 4 years Business degree in the Uni I realised that it was to boring for me and decided to pursuit 2 old dreams: Travel the world and be a photographer. So, my first steep last year was move to Australia learn english and photography.

My first problem was: Which camera should I buy? Oh god, its hard, there are heaps of models, sizes, sensors, lenses, brands, DSLR, mirrorless and all that history I sure you guys now about. What did I? I immerse myself in review sites and forums searching for specs, image samples and user reports. After long hours and days here in Steve website and searching for samples on flickr I got stuck in 3 cameras: Olympus EM1, Sony A7 and Ricoh GR.

My weapon of choice was the Ricoh GR because it`s small form factor, height, IQ and easy of use. I have to confess that I had to eliminate the Sony A7 cause its price got over my budget and the EM1 because its problem with noisy long exposures in the dark.

After 6 months of practicing with and testing the camera, on 6 of June I left the City of Gold Coast for a 4 weeks road trip sleeping in the back of a small 97 Daewoo hatch from eastern to western Australia, till the city of Perth, a 8000 Km trip always driving the coast and photographing some great Australian spots like the Sydney Opera House, The Great Ocean Road and the Bunda Cliffs. Now I`m in the start of a 2 months backpacking trip thru Bali, Philippines and Thailand.

So, How is the camera doing? How am I feeling about my decision? Even though I still want a Sony A7 (anyone interest in help me? just kidding LOL… Ok, maybe not…) I couldn’t be happier and i’ll tell you why in topics!!!



Sleeping in a hatch and backpacking with a very small budget means I often have to carry my life on my back city and island hopping, hiking in the forests to a desert beach and even driving a scooter in Asia. The camera is so small that it packs anywhere. My entire kit with a Macbook Air, a MeFoto Backpacker tripod, B&W polariser and ND filters and a Mophie battery pack packs in a small backpacker and height less than 5 kg.

As most of my work is about landscapes i use the camera most at F8 and set to snap focus in the infinite what means i need i tripod most of the time and i found myself walking around Sydney or a forest in Bali with the MeFoto Backpacker with legs extended and the camera attached without any problem (ok, I often get some weird locks from the crowds, LOL).


The possibility of having 3 personal camera modes on the top dial is amazing and you can configure just everything there I have MY1 set to auto bracketing AE where i can set the exposure I want in each photo and even the order that the camera take/store the shots for my landscapes, MY2 set to F2.8 shallow exposures for temples, confined spaces or portraits and MY3 with my settings for long exposures. That means i don’t have to go thru the painful long menus of the camera, one of the disadvantages of the high user configuration that the RICOH GR allow, what would make me lost lots of shot opportunities. The camera even allows me to configure 3 other buttons for some functions, I use the effect button for shooter timer(use this a lot to eliminate the need of a non available shutter cable to avoid camera shake, just set for 2sec and everything will be ok), FN buttons for ND filter, snap focus distance or autofocus point and I have every thing I need easy to find.


The ability of move the focus point with the back dial makes me happy every time I have to compose and not worry about choose the correct focus point in a predetermined matrix during a shot in a confined temple.


That`s one of the main reasons for me to choose the RICOH GR, just so easy to configure the distance I need and click. So easy, no shooter lag at all, perfect for street photography when you can`t miss the moment.


I`m very happy with the IQ i get from the RAW files in the Lightroom 5 but I wont talk about that as lots of people already did. The only think is that I felt that I need to expose to the right to get best results and avoid noise.


I love for long exposures, specially in rock beaches and i got really frustrated during my road trip in Australia where i missed many opportunities cause the built-in ND filter wasn’t enough to produce good results during the day and I didn’t have the time to wait for the blue and golden hours on every location I stopped. So I got myself a GW3 adapter that fits around the lens and allow me to use 49mm filters in the camera and that changed my life, with the B&W ND 3,0 now I`m able to shoot long exposures and get cool effects from the water almost any time of the day and use a B&W XS-PRO MRC nano circular polarizer that have been helping me to increase the contrast of my photos and eliminate water reflections.

What could be better?

-The camera takes lots of time to process long exposures, almost the same time of the exposure itself, so when I take a 5 minutes exposure it takes more almost 5 minutes to process and show the photo;
-The button that hold the top dial in position got stuck after I felt climbing a dune and the camera got some sand;
-The display drains too much battery and I learnt it loosing an amazing sunset cause I composed the shot and kept the camera on waiting for the sun to set and the last bar of the battery was gone in less than 5 minutes.

That’s  it guys, I hope you like the reading and to help anyone interested in the RICOH GR for travel, landscape and long exposure photography.

You guys can follow my adventures in: – my iphone dairy















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  1. Great photos, great assessment of GR. I bought a GR six months ago and am still discovering options. The truth of the matter is zooms are a bit of a marketing con in the sense that IQ goes down the more you zoom. I prefer the Ricoh over many others cameras I have used, including upper-end Nikons and Canons. I aspire to sharpness, not images with blur everywhere. The GR gives me the best sharpness of any camera I have used. I will not be dumping it for a DSLR or a f1.4.

  2. I can`t Thank you guys enough for your amazing support and advices. That keep me going, pursuing my dream. After i wrote the article i been to 2 more islands in Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. You can see more at

  3. Nice capture on Bali’s images…mate, you can buzz me anytime if you plan to visit ears java, only 45 minutes from Bali by plane, will take you for photos hunt. I live in Surabaya…you should visit, mount Bromo, Ijen, Tanjung Papuma-Jember….

    • Thanks mate, I will contact you my next time in Indonesia. My last visit i was stuck in Bali and Gili cause of my small budget but i really want to explore more your beautiful country

  4. Very nice work – it must have been an amazing trip. Concerning the GR – I only wish one of the two would happen: 1) me being able to use wide angle lens more effectively, or 2) Ricoh to release 35 mm or 40 mm version of the GR. I had the GRD3 and loved the UI and colours.

  5. The only photo I have issues with is the sunset one of the Sydney harbour bridge and opera house as I fell the photo needs straightened and moved slightly to the right .. but all other photos are great.

  6. The GR is a great everyday camera, small, powerful, had mine for about 10months, still learning new tricks, but you can use it right out of the box without any problems. The high contrast B&W is just perfect
    I also swapped my Canon 600D for an Olympus OMD Em10, again because it was small, compact and while not as user friendly initially due to its unique menu system, I’ve paired it up with the Sigma Art 19mm2.8 lens, and have used a wide range of manual lenses, from 24mm, upto a 500mm shooting the moon, it might not have the sensor size of the Canon or the GR, I found I’ve managed some decent OOC jpegs of the moon, and 50second exposures messing around with light painting

  7. Please don’t fault the camera for this: “The camera takes lots of time to process long exposures, almost the same time of the exposure itself, so when I take a 5 minutes exposure it takes more almost 5 minutes to process and show the photo”. You have the option “long exposure noise reduction” on. In this case, the camera makes a second exposure of same length to get a noise pattern which is then deducted from your image. If you are impatient, set it to “off” and be content with noisy images.

  8. Thanks for sharing. These are among the best photos ever share here. You clearly know how to get the most out of the GR. I’m wondering which ones made use of the polarizer. I recently bought a GR based on comments and work shared by others here and elsewhere on the web. I was rather surprised, if not shocked, to see the quality of the images it’s capable of. And ease of use, not to mention having a high quality camera in one’s pocket at all times. Dust. No problem yet, but I’m curious if your use of the “GW3 adapter that fits around the lens and allow me to use 49mm filters” would help prevent dust getting into the camera, if say, you only used the camera with them attached and closed the camera in clean conditions when not in use.

    • Hello Larry,

      Thank you for your support. All the pictures after the night city reflection have the polariser on. The GR is really an amazing camera for its size, I think the GW3 will help to prevent dust spots as it fit tight in front of the lens covering e protecting all the moving parts. You can get an UV filter and a 49 cover for the filter and basically you wont have to remove it anymore losing just a bit in size.

  9. Wow! What fantastic images! I can see all of them on canvas or printed large! Particularly love 1,2,5, and the last two…awesome light and colours!

  10. Thank you so much guys, your support really means a lot for me, I still have much to learn but i always try to do my best and your incentive is my fuel to keep going.

  11. Great photos, and I hope you really enjoyed your trek across Australia – not many people realise how big and varied it actually is. I can pick out my office window from your shot of the Perth skyline!

  12. Thank you for a refreshingly enjoyable post. The road photo was my favorite of the many excellent pictures.

  13. Wow beautiful pictures! Dreamy…

    I envy you for this lifestyle! If you don’t mind me asking, how do you support yourself financially – does photography pay for your bills? If so, I envy you even more 😉

    • Thank you Jay, even that i call myself a photographer i wouldn’t dare to call me a professional photographer as i fill that i still have much to learn and i still don`t make any money from this. So all the money come from previous hard work.

      • You don’t have to be a professional photographer. Follow my lead: sell a few prints to family members for a dollar or so a piece and become a “semi-professional photographer.” That’s one who sells but not enough to support oneself without other income.

    • I think what he’s talking about is the dark frame subtraction, which is equal to the exposure time, so if you take a 5 minute exposure, then it takes another 5 minutes of closed shutter exposure to subtract out noise, hot spots etc. Every camera I’ve owned does this, or at least has the option to do it. It is NOT an issue where the camera takes 5 minutes to write to the card after exposure. Just wasn’t presented very clearly by the author. I don’t have my GR in front of me but I’m pretty sure you can disable that feature as well

  14. I bought a GR off eBay, was fun messing with it but it had a spot of dust on the sensor and I sent it back. My conclusion was that even though it was pocketable… like my RX100, it wasn’t fun to have pocketed.

    • Depends what “better” is. I use both, but the GR is much easier to process, more versatile if you need it to be, etc. For pure IQ at low ISO, the Sigmas always win. But that applies to nearly any camera up to medium format, not just the GR.

    • Disagree, because as much as I love the DP2m and DP3m, the 1, which is the 28mm equiv model, wasn’t nearly as good. In fact, I found the GR produced pretty similar quality, and had obvious advantages in higher ISO.

      I pair the 2/3 with the GR, and may consider the DP1Q if the lens is better, though will miss sharing batteries

  15. Hi, Gabriel! I’m from Porto Alegre and just sent you a message on Facebook about an a7 I AM selling!

  16. You certainly know how to use that Ricoh GR. These are wonderful photos that I’m sure you will treasure for a lifetime.

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