The Ricoh GRD-II was announced this November and is due out in stores just before December. The GRD2 looks pretty much exactly like the GRD and sports every new feature a GR fanatic could want. The Raw write time has been reduced to a few seconds, higher ISO images will sport less noise and a 40 mm add-on lens will be available as well as a new smaller external viewfinder.
The coolest thing about the GRD2 is that most of this new technology will be available to and compatible with the existing GRD model. The 21 mm lens from the GRD works on the GRD2, and the new 40 mm lens works with the GRD. Ricoh isn't just releasing a marketing hyped camera to replace your year old-one like most camera makers generally do. Once again Ricoh is actually adding value to an existing product through a new firmware upgrade and accessories. This pretty much cements my economic commitment to Ricoh for compact cameras, with the new 40 mm lens there's far less reason to look at a Canon G9 for a compact portrait camera.
The only missing feature in the GRD2 is shake reduction. An anti-shake function is built into the Ricoh GX100 and R-Series cameras, so many were GR disciples were expecting it to be in the GRD2 as well. To be honest this isn't a huge thing for me. I shoot with a Minolta 7D, the first anti-shake DSLR, but with my GRD I often shoot at low speeds approaching 1/10 of a second with minimal blur. The fact is that with a short focal length lens, anti-shake isn't such a big deal. Does it help? Yes, but so does a camera strap wrapped around your shoulder, and that doesn't increase manufacturing costs of the final product.
I see the minor upgrades of the GRD2 as an affirmation of Ricoh's place as one of the best digital camera makers. Aside from more resolution, anti-shake, better raw write time, and a mild-telephoto lens, there was nothing to improve upon with the GRD2. Much like the Canon G9 is pretty much the same as the G7, but with the Raw format and a better LCD screen.
Yes dear digital imaging children it's true, in certain circles the digital camera technology revolution is starting to plateau, technology is maturing, and one doesn't have to worry about their camera being obsolete in a year.
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