Simon Griffee · Design · Photography · Writing · Illustration

What: ricoh

Self-portrait, Saigon, Vietnam, April 2010

Two Good Customer Service Experiences: Leica & Ricoh

  1. Out-of-warranty Leica M8 shutter broke during travels in Thailand. Sent it to Leica, where it was quickly repaired, cleaned, adjusted and sent back to me with a new one-year warranty for a reasonable price. A new protective film for the LCD and a lens cleaning cloth were also in the package. Excellent.
  2. Under-warranty Ricoh GRD III panel peeled off and two buttons stopped working during travels in Thailand and Vietnam. The camera continued to work with less functionality and no way to quickly set snap focus. Sent it to Ricoh where it was completely repaired and refurbished and sent back to me for free. A new protective film for the LCD was already applied to the camera. Excellent.

Why the Ricoh GRD?

Ryan asked me (paraphrased):

bq.. So I too am always looking for the pocketable, digital, as close to rangefinder as possible.

That EP-1 looks nice, as does the new leaked Panasonic. I actually really like the feel and look of the Canon G10. Why the Ricoh over some of the others?

I’m posting my reply here in case it is useful to anyone else:

My criteria for choosing a GRD, based largely on reading about it and handling one for a few minutes once (without the optical viewfinder):

  1. Superior handling and controls compared to other small digis.

  2. Light, small camera. I don’t want to carry heavy things with me, especially when traveling. I was inspired by Alex Majoli, who has done much work with little digital compacts the past years.

  3. Optical viewfinder on the flash hot-shoe. I don’t like framing by looking at a screen. I’m getting a Voigtlander 28mm all-metal finder because it has the 3:2 aspect ratio lines which I prefer over the 4:3 ratio in the Ricoh viewfinders (you can set 3:2 aspect ratio in the camera).

  4. Single lens focal length. I like working with one focal length for an extended period to ‘learn it.’ I find it helps me concentrate on the scene in front of me. I think I would prefer if it were 35mm rather than 28mm, but it’ll do (and there’s an add-on lens to change it to 40mm I think). Been shooting with a 50mm equivalent lens on the Leica almost exclusively for 2 years…personally it’s time to learn a wider view…

  5. Proven support by Ricoh—they issue firmwares and seem to listen to their customers and to what photographers want in a small ‘serious’ compact… Other cool features like square aspect ratio, very high-resolution screen, fast f/1.9 lens (in the new GRD III).

My other choices would be Panasonic LX3 and maybe the new Panasonic or Olympus EP-1… Panasonic LX3 would be my ‘zoom in’ far-away photos camera. The problem with the last two is that they are the first models of a new type of camera, and in my experience (M8 problems) I think it’s best to avoid these! The G10 is a bit too big I think…There are some comparison pictures in the bottom of this page (here’s a rough translated version).

Lastly, the GRD just looks damn cool :-)