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Ricoh GR for street photography

The Hornbill Festival in 2017.

I like wide angle prime lenses—35mm on a full frame camera, and 24mm on an APS-C camera. The Ricoh GR has an APS-C sensor, so that’s a larger sensor for a camera this size. The 18mm f/2.8 lens (28mm on a full frame cameras) is in-between that 24mm and 35mm that I so like.

I picked the Ricoh GR over other cameras in its league due to the “snap focus” feature. I set the snap focus distance to 1 meter or 1.5 meter.

The TAv mode lets me set my aperture and shutter speed, and calculates the ISO on its own.
 It’s like enabling auto-ISO in the manual mode.Most of the time, I set my aperture between f/8 and f/11 for street photography. My shutter speed is between 1/200 and 1/500— depending on how fast I’m walking around.
The Ganpati Festival in Mumbai in 2018.

Changing focus points, even on a DSLR camera is cumbersome. In the early 1990s, Canon introduced a camera (EOS 5) with eye-controlled focus. The EOS 5 magically focused where you looked—through the viewfinder, of course! I wish that auto-focus systems had continued along those lines.

Olympus has a feature called “focus peaking” on some of their micro four thirds cameras. You will be able to see outlines around areas that are in focus. This makes manual focusing a piece of cake—easier than pressing buttons or turning dials.

There’s always the option of the focus and recompose method. But on the street, time is of the essence.

You can “snap focus” or “zone focus” on a DSLR or relevant camera if your lens has a distance scale.

The Snap focus coupled with the TAv mode on the Ricoh GR speed things up a little.

I am not trying to suggest that the Ricoh GR is a fast camera. And the burst mode is nothing to write home about. Still, this is a wonderful camera to carry into a crowd. You will be able to click photos that are difficult, or uncomfortable to click with a bigger camera.

The innocuous size of the Ricoh GR lets you get right in the middle of all the action. And the wide angle makes viewers think that they’re part of the action. I end up with photos that would have been difficult to get with a DSLR.

F/8 at 1/250th of a second or faster shutter speeds will often result in higher ISO—even in broad daylight. The noise levels are acceptable till ISO 800. Images with ISO as high as 4,000 are still worthy of publishing in magazines.

I have my exposure compensation down to -0.7 to -1.3 for effect. This also bings down the ISO.
The GH-3 hood and adapter is a must. It lets in 49mm filters. I would have a filthy lens without it. I would like the GV-2 external mini viewfinder too—but why must all these accessories be so expensive!

It takes the original battery, and two generic batteries to get me through a full day.

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