Street Photography Camera Game-Changer: The Ricoh GRD V

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The new Ricoh GRD V (or just the “GR”)

There are a few cameras that make me excited. The Ricoh GR-series are one of them.

Ricoh has an almost cult-like following in Japan (and all around the world) for its compact size and versatile functionality. In-fact, Daido Moriyama (one of Japan’s most famous photographer) uses the GR-series cameras exclusively (he used to shoot black and white film, and now digital GR’s). Frankly, I haven’t met a single street photographer who doesn’t like the camera.

About 3 years ago I tested the prior Ricoh GRD III, and fell in love with the camera. The snap-focus was brilliant (being able to pre-focus and shoot without shutter lag), the 28mm lens, and the ability to slip it in and out of my pocket.

ricoh grd v flash

I am a huge fan of compact cameras, as the smaller your camera for street photography is– the more you will carry it around with you. I personally shoot a lot with my film Contax T3, and recently took my Ricoh GR1v to a trip in Korea to shoot black and white (it gives me the ability to push to ISO 1600, whereas the T3 can’t push).

The Ricoh GRD V has just been announced, and I think it is a game-changer with the ASPC-sized sensor (same sized sensor in small DSLR cameras). It will only cost ~$800 USD, which is loads cheaper than the Sony RX-1 (which I think is an awesome camera but far too expensive at $2800 USD).

Sure it isn’t a full-frame sensor (Ricoh will probably shove a full-frame sensor in the GRD in the next few years) but it is smaller and more compact than the RX-1. Although the RX-1 is compact, it certainly won’t slip into your pocket as easily as a Ricoh.

ricoh grd v back

I am not trying to advocate G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) here, but if you carry around a bulky DSLR and want a smaller option– I would definitely consider the GRD V. I generally find the most important thing in street photography is to always have a camera with you. And generally the smaller the camera you have, the more you will carry it with you, and the more photos you will end up taking.

As all the previous generations of the GR’s have been amazing, I’m sure Ricoh will hit a home run with this camera. Of course I haven’t tried out the camera yet (I might try to get a review unit to test out for you guys) but I think it will be epic. So if you are looking for a smaller option in street photography, keep your eyes posted on this camera. Apparently the camera will be shipping sometime in May.

>> You can pre-order the Ricoh GRD V on B&H Photo Video here

Promo Video For Ricoh GRD V

Further reading on the Ricoh GRD V

What is your thoughts on the new Ricoh GRD V? And for those of you who already shoot with Ricoh GRD’s, how do you like it for street photography?

By ERIC KIM

Artist-Philosopher