I want to buy a new camera. What should I get?
I get that question more than just about anything else, and I have always wished that I had a go-to answer that worked for most people. Everybody shoots differently and expects something different from their cameras, so there's no one-size-fits-most in the world of photography.
Having said that, I've found myself recommending the Ricoh GR quite a bit lately, and when you spend some time reading the reviews of this little powerhouse, it's easy to see why.
For starters, it's built like a tank. Don't let the small size fool you — it's a fully magnesium alloy body that is very lightweight but feels as if it could survive a lifetime of abuse. Speaking of size, the sensor sitting inside is a rather large 16 megapixel APS-C sized sensor. That's the same size you'll find in many DSLRs, and it's really pretty incredible to see such a large sensor in a camera body this small. That means great low light performance, excellent image quality, and better depth-of-field control than most other cameras this size.
Sitting in front of that large sensor is a 28mm equivalent f2.8 lens. The 28mm focal length is a favorite of many street photographers that aren't afraid of getting close to their subject, but its excellent all-around utility cannot be overstated. It's wide enough to be a great landscape lens, but not so wide that it makes composition difficult. If you haven't shot with a fixed focal length and are unsure of what you can do to improve your skills as a photographer, then spend some time with a 28mm and learn to make it work. It's an amazing exercise that can really help you grow.
Above all of that great stuff, however, is the image quality. Simply put, the images from the Ricoh GR are absolutely stunning. The sensor lacks an anti-aliasing filter, so the images captured through the fantastic lens are tack-sharp even at the widest apertures. Since the lens was designed specifically for this sensor, it can be optimized to work perfectly at all apertures and focusing distances, so it even does a pretty commendable job of (almost) macro-type shooting. Several of the images in my MacBook 12" Review were taken with the Ricoh GR and I believe the quality speaks for itself.
The GR has become a favorite of street photographers because of its understated appearance, excellent image quality, and incredibly fast operation. If you're not a street photographer, that doesn't mean the GR isn't the camera for you. It's truly a camera for someone who takes their photography seriously and wants a real camera in a surprisingly compact body. If that sounds like you, then you cannot go wrong with the brilliant Ricoh GR.