Ricoh GR II Review

The Ricoh GR II is a street-photographers’ favorite that is rarely reviewed or even mentioned. After hearing raves about the GR and new GR II from fellow street photographers, Doug decided it was time to check it out for himself. In this episode, we turn the tables and Gordon interviews Doug about his experience.

The GR II is in a unique class of cameras: those with APS-C (fairly large) sensors with non-interchangeable 28mm (full-frame equivalent) lenses in a pocketable form factor. In fact, only the Fujifilm X70 (recently reviewed on All About the Gear) comes close.

Doug specifically compares the GR II to the X70, the smaller-sensor Sony RX100 IV, and the ubiquitous smartphone.

The good: a superbly sharp lens, good high-ISO performance, highly configurable controls, good autofocus and pocketable. But then there’s the lack of an EVF, touch or tiltable LCD and awkward manual focus. Still, it’s good enough that Doug decided to buy one and now uses the Ricoh GR II as a second camera alongside his Leica Q.

[Note: The online price of the Ricoh GR II was US$619.95 at the time this episode was recorded but has since increased.]

To support All About the Gear, buy the Ricoh GR II at


  1. Thanks for sharing! Great review, but I’m still having my love with the Sony RX100M3, it gives me great photos and many times as a photo journalist I’ve been able to use it for my stories, of course must of my work is with the Sony 7RM2. I’ll be buying the Ricoh GR II, and then I’l send you my findings.

  2. I remember a while back, Doug mentioning on AATG that he was unable to get a review copy of the GR from Ricoh. The other day, I was thinking of offering to lend Doug, my Ricoh GR II to review (I’m not kidding). Glad that I didn’t have to be without the GR for a couple of months. I’ve been using various versions of the Digital GR’s for the past 10 years and my experience is that they are terrific pocketable street and documentary camera, only hampered by lackluster marketing by Ricoh (outside of Japan). However in Japan, Ricoh is very well marketed and you see them everywhere. Thanks for reviewing the venerable GR. You are not the only person to have tested it against the Fuji X70 and discovered that the GR lens is actually superior. Sometimes when traveling with my Sony A7R, I leave home the Sony 28mm f/2 FE prime lens and carry the GR 2 as a substitute for the wide focal length and then I leave a 50mm or 85mm prime on the Sony body. The GR is THAT GOOD!

  3. Me too, I had the last GR and picked up the GRII when they came out. I’m glad Doug got one to review and found it to be a keeper. If you can live with a fixed lens 28mm view, there is no better camera in my opinion. In fact, I bet when he compares the raw files to his Leica Q, he’ll find there is not that much better IQ. I shoot street with the GRII and have not found any other camera that works as well. I did have a bit of GAS there for a while as well but it’s settled down now for the most part. Nice review guys, thanks for doing these.

  4. Hi Doug

    PASM dial is the most rapid access quicklink designed for modern electronic cameras. I can’t think of getting faster access to all those modes any other way which is why its here to stay.
    For me electronic readout with a forefinger and thumbdial is one of the fastest way of dialing in 2, 3 or even 4 parameters without even taking my eye off the screen or viewfinder if the camera had one.

    Using a manual dials like in the Fuji setup i have to take my eye off the subject to physically change the ISO or the Shutter speed. WIth electronic controls I could do all Tv, Av, ISO and eV and still concentrate on my subject provided the camera had enough wheel dials incorporated into it.
    It’s no mental barrier front dials is always the default control to whatever mode you are on i.e Tv
    is speed control and A then it becomes the default aperture control.

    Also your comment re: the inability to manually select the aperture or speed when in Auto mode in the GR.I beg to differ- there is always Program shift which will allow you to shift and overide both aperture and speed either way if you so wish and still get a good if not perfect exposure.
    The P mode is much more versatile than AUTO mode. You don’t have to go dial in Tv or A mode to select those parameters and P mode will attempt to get you the fastest shutter speed at the expense of wider aperture.
    Its just about getting around how you normally interact with the camera – a matter of preference
    at the end of the day. Fuji is all about retro orthodox manual film camera controls.GR has many preset buttons that will allow you to customize the camera to the nth degree to your liking.
    The LCD screen to me is a godsend it is the EVF for me even before EVF was invented and WYSIWYG much superior to the live view of any SLR’s. Only downside is in bright light conditions LCD is a limitation. Especially for spectacle wearers with astigmatism I much prefer an LCD screen rather than squinting thru any tiny porthole eyepiece ( irrespective of whether its EVF or OVF). Again its a matter of very subjective user interaction with the camera.

    Thanks for a great impartial review otherwise