I’ve been happily shooting Micro Four-Thirds with my OM-D E-M5 for a while now and sold all my Nikon gear to fund making the switch, but I’ve continued to lust after a mirrorless camera with an APS-C sized sensor (and I really dream of someday getting my hands on the ridiculously-priced full frame Sony RX1R) About a month ago, I decided to sell all my MFT lenses in the 20-45mm range (including my Leica 25mm). I used the money from that sale to fund purchasing the Ricoh GR, which is an absolutely amazingly small camera. I picked mine up from Precision Camera here in Austin, and actually grabbed a Nikon Coolpix A at first, but…
Shot with the Nikon Coolpix A this afternoon. Didn't love it. The focus ring is clicky digital. Exchanging it for Ricoh GR tomorrow
— C.K. Sample III (@cksample) June 23, 2013
The Ricoh GR literally fits in my pocket, has all kinds of nice manual controls that all can be accessed via one hand, and has a nifty little toggle to let you switch between the actual 28mm of the lens and an in-camera crop to 35mm for a slightly tighter shot. I love it. It’s a great little camera that I can carry with me anywhere. You have to like shooting wide though to use it. There’s no zoom. There’s no lens but the built in lens. Wide is all there is and it’s beautiful.
The in-camera JPEGs are great, although I shoot in RAW+JPEG just in case I need to tweak the image a bit. Also, the camera has built in support for my Eye-Fi card, and is actually the first camera I’ve owned that works nicely with the card, provides you with a way of sending a particular image off, shows you when an image is transferring, and let’s you know when a transfer is complete with a little additional icon. It’s great.
The one downside to the GR is that there’s no built in viewfinder, electronic or otherwise, so you’re forced to either use the screen on the back to structure your shots, holding the camera at a distance in front of your face, or you have to just sort of use the force to frame your shots. Because of this, and since I had a little money left over from my lens sales (plus a nice little bit of leftover Father’s Day budget to spend), I decided to order the Ricoh GV-2 External Mini Viewfinder for the GR. However, in the wait for it to arrive, I got used to shooting without a viewfinder, so I sent it back a few days after I received it.
Canon EOS M
Sometime in the midst of all this, it was July 4th weekend, and something odd happened. The Canon EOS M mirrorless APS-C camera with included 22mm lens went on sale all of a sudden for an incredibly low $299. So I grabbed it too. It came in on Friday. It’s another APS-C chipped mirrorless that has no viewfinder, but unlike the Ricoh GR, it actually has removable lenses and via an adapter you can suddenly have pro Canon lenses on it. That’s cool. So I’m shooting with it a bunch and debating selling my OM-D E-M5 and all it’s accoutrements to stock up on Canon glass. However, the camera is odd. It relies much too heavily on its touchscreen display for the vast majority of its controls. It’s definitely heavier than the Ricoh GR, and even with the new firmware it’s not a super-fast focusing camera. But the 22mm lens’s glass is nice and the image quality of these 18MP pics are top notch.