Giovanni Savino

It gets late early out there.

Pushing absurdly High ISO on the new Ricoh GR camera

This is not exactly a number crunching, pixel-peeping technical review of the new Ricoh GR camera.

You’ll be able to find many accurate and scientifically inclined ones on the Web.

This is the first one in a series of subjective “field notes” about what I am able to achieve with this new pocket-sized camera while in my everyday pursue of new images.

I mainly use Ricoh GR cameras to shoot candidly in the streets, and my shooting style often involves a shutter speed of 320th/sec, a pre-focused lens setting and a variable aperture, from fully open to f9 (with older Ricoh models- lowest ISO 64) or up to f11/16 with this new model (lowest ISO 100).

Why do I  use such a high shutter speed? Because, I take most of my street shots without stopping, as I keep walking, hence 320th/sec is the lowest shutter speed I can use to avoid motion blur.

Obviously, I don’t  always have the need to use sky-high ISO in my photographs, but I’ll admit that low light capabilities in a camera are a very welcome feature indeed and, while I was able to create a large number of interesting images with previous Ricoh GR cameras I owned (and loved), I was never able to successfully push those cameras beyond ISO 500.

Last night I decided to go on a “High ISO binge” around New York City, and I was very impressed with the results.

I always shoot RAW files with all my digital cameras, so what I am posting here are just plain conversions to JPG via Lightroom/ Photoshop.

In my opinion, the new Ricoh GR is a true winner. Without the shadow of a doubt this camera has won a permanent spot in my bag, shedding weight and positively contributing to my work, both outdoors and in the studio, as I am able to sync up its leaf shutter lens up to 1/500th/sec with the Elinchrom Quadra strobes I often use.

Anyway, I am going to let the images speak for themselves, reminding, one more time, that last night was an unusual  “High ISO binge” for me, and I could have actually shot some of these images using a lower ISO and shutter speed –if I had to.

I just wanted to push the upper limits of the new sensor and lens on the new GR camera and I was truly impressed by the “usability” of the resulting images as well as the “quality of noise”, inherent at such high ISO settings.

Note: the posted images are resized for web in Photoshop, so slight image degradation due to the resizing process is unavoidable.



Sixteen Hundred ISO f2.8, shutter 1/320th


Two Thousand ISO f2.8, shutter 1/250th


Thirty Two Hundred ISO  f2.8, shutter 1/200th


Four Thousand ISO  f2.8, shutter 1/320th


Ten Thousand ISO f8, shutter 1/320th


Twenty Thousand ISO f2.8, shutter 1/320th


Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred ISO f2,8  shutter 1 /320th

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Pushing absurdly High ISO on the new Ricoh GR camera