Ricoh GR Digital IV Compact Camera Review

The Ricoh GR Digital IV is the latest model from Ricoh and offers a somewhat unique wide angle lens and compact body. Find out how it performs in our review.

| Ricoh GR Digital IV in Compact Cameras

Ricoh GR Digital IV Compact Camera Review: Ricoh GR Digital IV
Ricoh GR Digital IV

The Ricoh GR Digital is now on its fourth version this is the Ricoh GR Digital IV, with few changes made between each model, does this new version offer anything especially exciting or is it more of the same? Or perhaps as the saying goes: "if it aint broke don't fix it!"

Ricoh GR Digital IV Features

The Ricoh GR Digital IV now features a new 1.2 million pixel 3 inch screen, new high speed hybrid auto focus system (borrowed from the Ricoh CX6), anti-shake sensor, a new image processing engine and increase ISO range of ISO80 to ISO3200, the camera is also available in black or white. Interval composite shooting will automatically combine shots taken using the interval timer.

Ricoh GR Digital IV Compact Camera Review: Ricoh GR Digital IV Front On
Ricoh GR Digital IV Front On

Key Features

  • 10 megapixel sensor, 1/1.7 inch primary-color CCD
  • f/1.9 28mm equivalent lens
  • Anti-shake sensor (new feature)
  • 3inch 1.23 million dot screen (new)
  • Bulb Mode (new)
  • ISO80 - 3200 (new)
  • Interval composite shooting (new)
  • HDMI out (new)
  • Eye-Fi card support (new)
  • 390 shot battery life
  • 1cm macro

Ricoh GR Digital IV Handling

Ricoh GR Digital IV Compact Camera Review: Ricoh GR Digital IV Top
Ricoh GR Digital IV Top

Handling - The Ricoh GR Digital IV features a rubberised hand grip that surrounds the front and back of the camera where your hand would hold onto the camera making it easy to hold the camera securely. It sounds so simple when described like that, but it's easy to see how many cameras lack this simple, yet extremely useful feature. The bottom of the camera has rubber feet to keep it from sliding when placed on a table or smooth surface.

Ricoh GR Digital IV Compact Camera Review: Ricoh GR Digital IV Back

Ricoh GR Digital IV Back

Menus - Three menus split into shooting, key custom options, setup, as well as an additional playback options. There are a large number of options with 10 on each page and each section has 3 pages excluding the setup menu with 4 pages of options. The screen is very clear and the options are easy to scroll through and quite logically laid out. Some of the options may be new to some as there are some options not often found on compact cameras, so reference to the manual is recommended. You can customise the function and adjust buttons and can even control whether the power button light is lit up or not!

Ricoh GR Digital IV Compact Camera Review: Ricoh GR Digital IV Bottom
Ricoh GR Digital IV Bottom

Battery - The battery has a CIPA rating of 390 shots. In our testing we were able to take just over 200 shots before the battery went flat. This is half what was expected, however battery life can be extended by switching off the LCD display.

Speed - We tested each camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot to shot time, continuous shooting etc and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.

Ricoh GRD IV
Sony A77
Shutter Response 0.05 <0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
0.45 (0.3 Snap) 0.1
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response N/A 0.15
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.7 0.7
Shot to Shot (without flash) 1.1 0.4
Shot to Shot with Flash 2.2 0.8
Continuous Shooting (JPEG) 1.6fps (~ shots) 7.5fps (14 shots)
12fps* (14 shots)
Continuous Shooting (with Flash) N/A 0.6
Continuous Shooting (RAW) 1.6fps (5 shots) 7.5fps (13 shots)
12fps* (14 shots)

Focus speed was slower than expected considering the speeds acheived when using the Ricoh CX5 and CX6, and the snap speed was also a little slower than expected at 0.3 seconds. Snap focus, when activated, is set to take a photo at a set focus distance, which should reduce the focusing speed to the quickest possible speed.

Ricoh GR Digital IV Performance

Here we've taken a number of sample photos in a variety of situations, including real world as well as studio test photos. Additional sample photos and information can be found in the Equipment Database.

Ricoh GR Digital IV Sample Photos

Sample photos - The wide angle lens isn't particularly suited to portrait shots, however the lens should suit street photography or general use.

Ricoh GR Digital IV Lens test images

Lens Test images - The camera is capable of taking very pleasing photos with good detail and bright saturated colours, although the instant review image or live view shown on the screen isn't as colourful as the playback view of the photo. Macro performance is excellent with the camera able to focus on subject that are extremely close to the camera.

Ricoh GR Digital IV ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - The camera produces very low noise images at ISO80, with some noise visible at ISO100. At ISO200 noise becomes more noticeable, but still quite low. At ISO400 noise becomes much more obvious but detail is still good. At ISO800 noise is visible in colours appearing in darker areas, with a slight loss of detail. At ISO1600 noise increases and detail is lost again, with images having a watercolour look to them when taken in low light conditions. ISO3200 shows the most noise and colour loss and is therefore best avoided.

Ricoh GR Digital IV White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - AWB performs reasonably well under tungsten lighting, although the tungsten preset gives a much more accurate result. Under fluorescent light the AWB performs reasonably well, with the fluorescrent preset giving a slight magenta cast.

Ricoh GR Digital IV Digital filters

Digital Filters - The colour settings can be adjusted with vivid, contrast, sharpness options as well as further hue and vividness options for each colour including orange, green, blue, red and magenta! Selecting high contrast black and white, cross process, positive film and bleach bypass also lets you select how much vignetting to apply to the image from none, weak and strong. The GR Digital IV doesn't feature a built in panoramic feature.

Video is recorded as VGA at 30fps. The camera gives focus options, but does not feature a wind filter or higher resolution.

Value For Money

The Ricoh GR Digital IV is available for around £449, pricing it higher than the excellent but larger Fujifilm X10. Also available in the "serious compacts" section, loosely defined as compact cameras with RAW shooting, are the Canon Powershot S100, Panasonic Lumix LX5, Olympus XZ-1, Nikon Coolpix P7100 amongst others, with all of these available for less money and with optical zoom. Don't forget you'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Ricoh GR Digital IV Verdict

The Ricoh GR Digital was one of the first cameras to put a focus on lens and sensor quality when it was first announced in 2006 and each update has improved on the camera before in some way. Since then, however, every other manufacturer has released a serious compact camera in some form or another as well there being a massive increase in mirrorless / compact system cameras, the majority of them available for around the same price with a choice of a wide angle or zoom lens.

However, for people who enjoy the idea of a fixed focal length lens camera, with a lot of manual controls, this latest version of the camera should please and the fact that Ricoh continue to make this camera, rather than updating a model such as the GX100/GX200 with zoom, goes to show that there are buyers out there for this camera. It would be nice to see the sensor updated to a backlit CMOS sensor, as well as the video mode being updated in the next model, but in the meantime this camera is capable of taking some great shots and would make a good upgrade from an earlier model.

  Ricoh GR Digital IV Compact Camera Review:
  The Ricoh GR Digital IV gives great manual controls in a very compact body.

Ricoh GR Digital IV Pros

Bright f/1.9 Lens
High resolution 3inch screen
Metal body with good handling
Excellent macro mode
Lots of control of the camera
Good battery life

Ricoh GR Digital IV Cons

VGA video mode
High price
Focusing not as quick as expected
Short battery life


Ricoh GR Digital IV Specifications

Max Aperturef/1.9 - f/9
35mm equivalent28mm
Optical Zoom0x
Image Sensor
Pixels10Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)3648
Pixels (H)2736
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size1/7 inch
Sensor Size (width)7.6mm
Sensor Size (height)5.7mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution1.23million
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Snap
  • Infinity
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest180sec
Shutter speeds longest1/2000sec
Bulb modeYes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Manual
  • A
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting1.54fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoNo
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable Battery: DB-65 (3.6V) x1, AAA Dry Alkaline Battery x2, AAA Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery x 2
Battery Life (CIPA rating)390shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data

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