Interesting enough, the reason I bought the Ricoh GR is primarily influenced by iphone.
I beleive everyone agree that the iphone is soooo portable that basically changes all of our habbits of taking photos – its just ALWAYS AVAILABLE. It makes taking pictures a pleasure. Other “real cameras” are only meant to be carried if you intended to, say, “let’s take some photograph today” . Well, this simple fact about smartphone is important and changes everything. More on my journey on iphoneography in my other post here.
The only pocketable APS-C cameras exist, are Ricoh GR & Nikon Coolpix A. I chose the GR.
I’m really picky – No m43 or smaller sensor camera actually lived up to my standard of good IQ (except OMDs). With the pocketability factor in mind, the obvious answer is Ricoh GR. (GR vs Coolpix A here)
It’s a no brainer. This ultra-light weight, thin camera slip right into my pocket at ease. I don’t even remember it exists sometimes. Yet it’s IQ surpasses a lot of bigger heavier camera+lens combos. And its offers much more than IQ.
The GR has a fame for street photographers who just want to pick up and shoot beautiful pictures. And it does. And believe me, I’m a photographer who always need a lot of manual control, the GR doesn’t fail me on that either. The 28mm eqv./ f2.8 is very versatile for streets and reasonably usable on low-light. ISO performance is as good as any APS-C class camera. the tactile is great the moment you hold it in your hands. Focus is reasonably fast. and IQ is great!
What’s more? It surprise me the first time i actually seriously test it.
Every button and dial location is well-thought out. the menus are soo elaborate and customizable like a pro camera! and shortcut menus are very sensible. The whole design from head to tail are tailored to be used from a photographers’ perspective, yet simplified as possible that even a novice user can just pick up and shoot.
It’s the best everyday pocket camera you can get.
While the IQ/control/form-factor are all great, what it really matters is how it feels to carry around and how it influence your photographic journey. The GR actually influence my habit of photography.
How? I can treat it like my iphone. Meaning it’s always in my pocket, always ready to shoot. No concern to bring it out. It starts up instantly, even no lens cap to handle. On the contrary, remember how many times you want to “take photos today” but your journey just doesn’t give you good materials for photographs. You end up with boring photos and you stop bringing the camera afterwards. Your passion drops. For GR, even I bring it out for a day without seeing anything special to photo. I won’t feel I’m stupid to carry the bulk and stop bringing it tomorrow, the day after, and the the daysss after. This simple fact changes my habit. And this is great because the camera becomes part of me, like an iphone can be, only that you have a “real” camera for good enough images finally.
Despite all my appreciation of the GR, it ‘s still a fixed 28mm eqv./ f2.8. If you want to go less wide. the GR gives you a one-press button to “become” 35mm or 50mm. Yes it’s a digital zoom. but it make sense sometimes when you want that tighter framing in front of your eyes (you will crop it in post anyway which is identical). And even its “fake” 50mm still have IQ advantage over many cameras. Usable for me.
One discrepancies for a pocket camera like this, is GR doesn’t have Wifi, which doesn’t complement my idea of using it like an iphone to share instantly. You might buy a Wifi SD card to solve this.
Finally, if you really isn’t a 28mm wide shooter, nor can you accept the “fake” 35mm and 50mm, but still want to be pocketable and with good IQ. You can go my second route here. This will be a bit less pocketable but opens up another arsenal of possibilities.