My Precious

Ricoh GR Digital


One day I was on the train headed for work here in Tokyo. I noticed an old man, probably around 80 sitting with this interesting looking camera hanging around his neck. It instantly made me curious and with further inspection I saw it said GR in the lower right corner.

Of course as soon as I got home I Googled "GR" and the search results came up with the Ricoh GR-Digital. I read about it intensively and one week later I found myself handing over my money and walking out of an Akihabara camera shop with a GR in my hands.

This camera has changed me in a very good way. I graduated from a commercial photography school (which I hated and thought ruined my love of photography). In school I found myself photographing watches and perfume bottles, sometimes spending more than an hour setting up the lights. This to say the least was just not for me. I wanted to be outside taking pictures of the things happening around me. Sure most of the teachers were really inspirational and technically adept but it was a "Commercial" school. Because the heavy workload and assignments I became too frustrated to pick up my camera for years. The GR has allowed me to overcome this period of frustration and stress. I now take my little beast with me everywhere I go.

To understand the charm of this camera you have to grasp some of the technical good points and bad points. With it's simple interface and its wonderful, easily accessible aperture and shutter speed dials it's a charm to use. The Ricoh GR lens yields wonderful results time and time again. Many people gripe about the high level of noise at high ISO's but I have learned to embrace this as a wonderful thing. Sure it isn't anything like film grain but it definitely has some wonderful characteristics. Because of the small size of the GR you can be extremely candid and even shoot in really tough situations. I used to walk around with my Voitlander Bessa-R. The Bessa has a definite shutter CLICK. It isn't loud by any means but it definitely is obvious. The GR is absolutely silent.

The GR has helped me overcome my fear of photographing people and allowed me to pursue my love of street or straight or social documentary... whatever you call it photography. In the past I have tried photographing in the streets but I was cursed with the usual beginners problems; shooting from too far away, hesitating and completely missing the shot, etc, etc... The 28mm lens is perfect for shooting here in Tokyo since things are usually pretty close and compact. After much trial and error I feel as though I now have an understanding of this most amazing little tool. When I'm out shooting with it I know that I can achieve exactly what I envision as a final result.

All in all I'm so thankful to that little old feller who I will probably never see again to thank for introducing me to this new and beautiful camera. Sure the GR isn't for everybody, but without it I don't know what I would do. I have already travelled around the world with it, beat it during skateboarding, cycling and braving out the stormiest of weather and surprisingly it keeps going and begging me to be used. I never leave my house without it and I think this love affair will last long into the future. Thank-you my little GR for re-introducing me to the world of photography.

1 response

  • Epin Hervin

    Epin Hervin gave props (28 Jan 2011):

    Japan is the best

Want to leave a comment? Log in or sign up!