Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1997/11/22

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Subject: User Report GR-1
From: Thomas Pastorello <>
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 1997 19:36:21 -0500 (EST)

   I'd like to express my thanks for the helpful and insightful advice
given to me by Peter Su, Li-Hsin Tseng and his friend Chi-Huang Chen
relative to my request for tips on exceptional compact cameras.
   Based on their comments, I purchased and tested a Ricoh GR-1.
In a word, it is, in fact, exceptional.   The high definition GR 28mm f2.8
lens is outstanding. At all aperatures, including f2.8 under low available
light, it is sharp, contrasty and provides pronounced color saturation. It
is very stable hand-held, showing no blur in my 4x6 prints at shutter
speed 1/8 -- even when shot from the hip (important for my surreptitiously
taken pictures).  I fear raising the issue of bokeh, but as I am among
the perceptually challenged few who actually see it as real, I must add
that the len's bokeh compares quite favorably to leica-M lenses.
   It does an exceptional job handling flare relative to sun directly
in the lens and even at extreme 11:00 O'clock angle.  The only reflections
are thin rays from the sun with rainbow hues.  There is no discernable
lost of contrast and the sun burst rays look pretty.  In regard to flare,
the GR28mm f2.8 actually outperforms the Leica-M 24mm f2.8!
   The body is thin.  It easily fits into a shirt pocket with not enough
weight to drag down the pocket unattractively. The camera body is light
but strong (Magnesium Alloy) and has the coloration and feel of an old
Leica screwmount camera (silver and leather-ette on its hand-grip).
Aperatures can be set manually for AE.  Dials control flash and exposure
compensation and the viewfinder is bright and clear.  (However, eye-glass
users will have to scan the periphery of the viewfinder.  Autofocus is
passive and handles objects behind glass with precise focusing.
Hyperfocal and fixed focus can be set electronically.  The pre-flash is
like that of Olympus' and, therefore, is of long enough duration to truly
reduce red-eye significantly. It is programed to give a fine balance of
flash and ambient light.  It even compensates nicely for extreme 
backlighting.  Finally, it is flat field and reproduces paintings with
sharpness , contrast and even illumination from corner to corner.
  Is it perfect?  I wish the film advance motor were quieter or allowed
for manual advance.  In fact, I wish the whole camera were mechanical.
Are you reading Ricoh, or Contax or Leica? Never-the-less, the Ricoh GR-1
meets my needs for a pocketable camera to a greater degree than the
Contax-T2, the Leica Minilux or the Minoxes.
   This is an unsolicted user report from a non-expert.  Keep in mind,
therfore, that it may not be worth the pixels it's written with.  Never-
the-less, I strongly  
believe, the Taiwanese production crew should take great pride in the
exceptional product they have crafted and produced.  Again, my thanks to
the gentlemen noted in the first sentence above.
                                Tom Pastorello