Ricoh goes wireless with GR II compact

Ricoh has announced the successor to the GR compact digital camera. The GR II will arrive in mid-July with a price tag of £599.99 and will offer the same APS-C sized image sensor and fixed wide angle lens, along with new wireless functionality making it easier to share photos via social media. The addition of Wi-Fi and NFC allows extra functionality including remote shooting using a smartphone. For more details on the GR II read the official Ricoh Imaging press release below:

Introducing the RICOH GR II

A high-end digital compact camera equipped with a large image sensor – and the first GR-series model with Wi-Fi and NFC functions to support social media sharing from your smartphone

RICOH IMAGING EUROPE S.A.S is pleased to announce the launch of the GR II digital compact camera. This new model combines compact dimensions — perfect for capturing street photography — with high-quality, high-resolution images delivered by a large image sensor, equal in size to those used in PENTAX digital SLR cameras. It also provides a range of smartphone-support functions, including wireless image transfer and remote shooting.

The successor to the GR (launched in May, 2013), the RICOH GR II inherits the brilliant concept of the GR series: a perfect balance between exceptional image quality and outstanding portability. It is also the first GR-series model to feature Wi-Fi and NFC (Near Field Communication) functions for easy pairing with smartphones and other mobile devices. It boasts outstanding basic specifications, including: a high-performance lens, acclaimed as the best in GR history; a large, APS-C-size CMOS image sensor; and the high-performance GR ENGINE V imaging engine. Its imaging power has been further upgraded by reprogramming the white-balance algorithm to improve the precision of AWB (Auto White Balance) control and fine-tuning of the compensation programme to prevent high-sensitivity noise. It has also been designed to accommodate a wider variety of scenes and subjects by adding new creative tools, including six effect modes and a wireless flash discharge function in combination with an external flash unit.

The GR II also provides users with a choice of two applications to support different functions and photographic styles: GR Remote is a new GR II-dedicated application that allows easy setting of various commands from a mobile device screen, just like on the camera’s LCD panel; and Image Sync, incorporated in PENTAX digital SLR models, which makes it easy to transfer images to another device and browse them on a larger screen, or share straight to social media platforms.

Main Features

1. High-quality, high-resolution image delivered by the GR 18.3mm F2.8 lens

The GR II features a compact, high-performance GR lens with a focal length of 28mm (in the 35mm format). This lens incorporates two high-precision aspherical optical elements and a high-refraction, lower-dispersion glass element to minimise distortions and chromatic aberration, while reproducing sharp, high-contrast images even at the edges of the image field. Thanks to its crisp image rendition (even at the maximum aperture of F2.8) and its faithful image reproduction against backlight, users can enjoy the charm of a unifocal lens.

・With its nine-blade iris diaphragm, the lens creates a truthful sense of depth and a natural bokeh (defocusing) effect, while allowing users to capture beautiful light beams at closed-down apertures.

・The incorporation of a ND (Neutral Density) filter, which can be operated manually or automatically, means this lens allows for the use of the open aperture even in bright sunny conditions. This adds a new dimension to photographic creativity in outdoor shooting.

2. Large image sensor and GR ENGINE V, with upgraded AWB control and high-sensitivity noise compensation

・The GR II features a large, APS-C-size CMOS image sensor with approximately 16.2 effective megapixels. Equal in imaging area to the sensor used in PENTAX digital SLR models, this sensor ensures super-high-resolution images.

・By coupling the large image sensor with the high-performance GR ENGINE V imaging engine, the GR II provides a top sensitivity of ISO 25600. By reprogramming the AWB algorithm, it assures more precise white-balance control under artificial lighting such as fluorescent lights, while reducing the colour bleeding of green hues in outdoor shooting. By fine-tuning the compensation programme against high-sensitivity noise, it also improves image quality and enhances resolution and contrast, while minimising annoying noise. As a result, it delivers high-quality images with a real sense of depth and a beautiful bokeh effect.

・The GR II features an image sensor which ensures the best performance of the GR lens. By eliminating an anti-aliasing filter to enhance resolution, it optimises the potential of the lens to deliver sharp, high-quality images even at edges.

3. The first GR-series model to feature Wi-Fi and NFC functions

・The GR II comes equipped with Wi-Fi functions for wireless connection with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It is also compatible with NFC (Near Field Communication) functions for easy pairing with mobile devices.

・The GR II provides two types of applications: GR Remote for easy setting of various commands from a mobile device screen, just like on the camera’s LCD panel; and Image Sync for easy transfer and browsing of recorded images using a mobile device.

・GR Remote has been developed exclusively for the GR II. This browser application supports transfer and browsing of recorded images; remote shooting while checking the scene using the camera’s live-view function; adjustment of aperture, shutter speed and ISO sensitivity, and even display; and adjustment of the camera’s detailed menus on a mobile device screen.
It also provides a function that resets all settings at once. This application enhances the outstanding operability and customisation symbolic of the GR series.

・Also used in PENTAX digital SLR models, Image Sync provides an intuitive interface that simplifies browsing of recorded images on a mobile device screen, transfer of selected images to another device, and uploading of recorded images to SNS websites.

4. High-speed shooting operation to capture great photo opportunities

・The GR II’s high-speed AF system captures a subject in focus in a mere 0.2 seconds,* thanks to the optimisation of its lens drive mechanism and AF algorithm and the high-speed readout of image data obtained by the image sensor. It also provides a very short start-up time lag of approximately one second. These features allow the user to capture once-in-a-lifetime shutter opportunities in sharp, crisp images.

・Thanks to high-speed continuous shooting of approximately four images per second, the GR II is able to capture fast-moving subjects, for example in sports or nature photography. Thanks to its increased buffer memory capacity, it continuously captures as many as 10 images in a single sequence during RAW-format shooting.

・When the GR II is set to playback mode using an extended push on the playback button, users can instantly switch to the shooting mode by pressing the shutter release button half way down.

* Measured in compliance to CIPA standards.

5. Pocket-sized body to enhance operability and portability

・Even though it incorporates a host of Wi-Fi functions, the GR II is the same size as the GR. Its exterior housing is made of lightweight, high-rigidity magnesium alloy, while its grip is shaped for easy, comfortable handling. Overall, the GR II inherits the basic design scheme of the acclaimed GR series.

・The GR II features a control button layout that enables simple one-handed operation. On its side panel, it provides the Wi-Fi + Effect button, which double-functions as a Fn (Function) button. As was the case with the GR, the user can assign the aperture preview function to this button to check the depth of field before shooting.

・The Focus Assist function supports a range of focusing operations. In combination with image magnification and FA/Move Target functions, users can also take advantage of the Focus Assist function in manual-focus operation.

・When users set the C-AF (Continuous AF) mode using the AF function switching lever and the AF button, the GR II continuously keeps focus on a moving subject as long as the AF button is being depressed. Users can also programme the GR II to activate the high-speed continuous shooting function simultaneously.

・The GR II provides the innovative TAv (Shutter and Aperture-priority AE) mode, which is also featured in PENTAX digital SLR cameras. This mode automatically selects the most appropriate sensitivity for a given scene or subject when the user sets the desired aperture and shutter speed.

・During shooting, the GR II’s LCD monitor displays the aperture value, shutter-speed indicator, grid guide, and biaxial electronic level that indicates the camera’s horizontal and vertical inclinations.

・Despite its large-aperture lens, the GR II features a lens barrier mechanism that automatically opens and closes, allowing the user to swiftly react to unexpected photo opportunities.

6. Six effect modes newly added to expand creative opportunities

・The GR II provides a total of 17 effect modes, which allow the user to apply a variety of image processing functions within the camera to create the desired photo results. Including Clarity and Brilliance, six modes have been added to the selection, allowing users to adjust some parameters to the desired level. Users can then set the desired mode simply by pushing the Effect button on the camera’s side panel.

New effect modes

・Clarity: Compensates the subject’s texture and unevenness. The level of tone, clearness, saturation and vignetting is adjustable.

・Brilliance: Compensates the subject’s luster. The level of luster, saturation, contrast, sharpness and vignetting is adjustable.

・Bright: Creates an image with enhanced colours. The level of saturation, contrast, sharpness and vignetting is adjustable.

・Portrait: Creates a colour scheme ideal for the subject’s skin tone. The level of saturation, contrast, sharpness and vignetting is adjustable. The focus mode is set at Face Detection AF.

・Vibrant: Creates elegant, striking colours. The level of saturation, contrast, sharpness and vignetting is adjustable.

・HDR Tone: Creates a painting-like image by emphasising contrast. The level of tone, saturation and vignetting is adjustable.

7. A full range of shooting functions

・The GR II provides an in-camera RAW data development function. After shooting RAW-format images, the user can adjust a variety of parameters within the camera, and output them as JPEG-format image files. The GR II now offers a choice between Normal and Original modes for the peripheral brightness level setting.

・ The GR II also provides an Interval Composite function, which captures a series of night sky images at fixed intervals, then extracts only highly bright areas from each image to composite a single image. The GR II now allows the user to save the image as a RAW-format file, and use it for RAW-data development to create more artistic images. This function comes in handy when users wish to capture a nightscape with traces of the moon and stars in the sky.

・The GR II comes equipped with a wireless flash discharge function. It triggers a compatible accessory flash unit from a distance (designed for PENTAX digital SLR cameras*), and simplifies creative flash settings in a studio setting.

・The GR II now features a CTE (Colour Temperature Enhancement) mode for white-balance control, making it possible to emphasise a predominant colour within the image, such as the red in sunset scenes.

・The GR II’s Dynamic Range Compensation function minimises white-washed highlights and blacked-out shadows by compensating the brightness level pixel by pixel and reducing the boundaries between areas of varying luminance levels. As a result, the GR II delivers rich-gradation images with fine details.

・The GR II also provides an Auto Macro function** that detects the subject’s distance and automatically switches to the Macro shooting mode in close-distance shooting, and a Face Detection AF function*** that captures a beautiful image of the subject’s face with very little effort.

* Compatible accessory flash units are AF540FGZ II, AF360FGZ II, AF540FGZ and AF360FGZ.

** This function is available only when the AF button is used, or when the camera is set in Auto shooting mode.

*** This function is available only when the camera is set in Auto shooting mode and in Portrait effect mode.

8. Full HD movie recording for high-quality, extended movie clips

The GR II captures beautiful Full HD movie clips (1920 x 1080 pixels, 16:9 ratio, 30 frame rate) in H-264 recording format. By teaming this function with the GR lens and the large image sensor, the GR II ensures high-quality movies. During movie recording, users can also adjust exposure compensation and use the AF button to activate the AF operation, much faster than before. Three new effect modes (Bright, Portrait and Vibrant) can also be used in movie shooting.

9. Other features

・Built-in non-directional stereo microphone

・Crop mode* to capture an image at a 35mm or 47mm angle of view (in the 35mm format)

・Chromatic Moiré Correction function

Pixel Mapping function featured for the first time in a GR-Series model

GW-3 Wide Conversion Lens (optional) to expand the angle of view to 21mm ultra-wide angle

・ Digital Camera Utility 5, the latest utility software compatible with the GR II, included

* The size of recorded pixels is fixed at M for the 35mm setting, or at S for the 47mm setting.

For more information, visit the Ricoh Imaging website