KAP Cameras

Contemporary KAPpers use cameras ranging from single use film cheapies to Digital SLRs. Use this category to tell us what you use and why or to pose questions on matters photographic.

Ricoh GR - APS-C - fixed 28mm equivalent - intervalometer

edited April 2013 in KAP Cameras
The new Ricoh GR looks interesting:

Big sensor (full APS-C), very good 28mm f2.8 lens, intervalometer, 245g (8.64 oz) with battery and card.
The sensor is 8 times bigger than earlier Ricoh GRD models, but the camera is not much bigger or heavier.
The MY1-3 controls enable you switch immediately to your KAP settings.
The GR has the Pentax Time and Aperture priority mode (TAv) where you can set both shutter speed and aperture and the camera automatically adjust the ISO. This sounds like a useful KAP option.

At f2.8 the corner performance destroys the heavier Nikon Coolpix A (more expensive & no intervalometer):

Spec. comparison with Nikon Coolpix A:

The only potential disadvantage I can see is the lack of anti-aliasing filter. Urban Kappers are going to have a problem with the moire fringing (roof tiles and bricks etc). It might be easy enough to remove in raw processing.

Note: Max shutter speed wide open is 1/2000, as you stop down it increases to 1/4000 at f5.6 and smaller apertures.


  • TAv mode sounds very KAP friendly
  • This sounds better then the Nikon Coolpix A, which is overpriced and has no intervalometer. I will definitely be looking at the Richo more serously.
  • edited July 2013
    Wow this thing looks cool!

    Here's another YouTube review:
  • Looks like it has both analog and digital video outputs:

    "Ports on the Ricoh GR include a combined USB 2.0 High Speed and NTSC / PAL-compatible standard-definition audio/video connector, and a Type-D Micro HDMI high-definition video output. The latter allows output at 1080p, 720p, or 480p resolution, selected automatically or manually. The combined USB / AV port, meanwhile, is also compatible with Ricoh's CA-2 cable release."

    The above quote is from this review that also includes a photo of the outputs:

    It means a proprietary USB cable (also used for charging), but at least you should be able to easily fit a video downlink without the the HDMI conversion misery that occurs with the Sony NEX cameras.
  • I am very happy to report that I now own one of these fine instruments. Mine arrived on Monday 10th June, and I now have 3 KAP flights with the camera happily clicking away in my trusty PPT BEAK rig. All I had to do was drill a new hole in the rig to allow me to attach the camera using the BBCK. Camera is very close in size and weight to my Ricoh GX200 which is a fantastic KAP camera. The GR has all the functionality of the GX200 and then some. Intervalometer times can now be set for 1 sec, 2 sec and then in increments of 5 seconds.

    Battery life is great with everything turned off: all sounds, LCD screen. I have shot upwards of 1000 frames on a single battery, and that is with a 16 MP APS-C sensor shooting at the highest resolution. The reviews Tony posted above are great and I am impressed so far. Camera is still new but I love what I am seeing on my computer screen, much to learn and try, let's go fly some more.
  • edited June 2013
    Sounds good MalMan. Ricoh seem to have some photographers in their team, unlike most of their competition. Little details like being able to turn off the screen and having a good intervalometer really help. Are you talking about hi res jpgs, surely that little battery can't do 1000 raws per charge? I have the older small sensor Ricoh GRD II, so I know how good the interface is.

    Have you tried the Time and Aperture priority mode (TAv), where the camera changes the ISO automatically and shutter speed and aperture are fixed by you. I'm really curious about that, can you set ISO limits?
  • Tony,

    Yes, hi res jpg is what I was shooting. My first KAP camera was a Pentax Optio A20 and I used to shoot 35mm film using a Pentax so I am very familiar with the TAv mode. When the Ricoh GR arrived I setup MY1 in TAv mode with a max of 1600 ISO before even shooting a single picture with the camera. I took it out of the box, popped the battery into the charger, my GX200 charger which charges the DB-60 is compatible with the DB-65 of the GR and set the camera up. Very first shot taken by the camera was on the line under a Dopero, and up she went.

    Yes, you can set limits to the ISO when using TAv mode. It is amazing how much customization you can do with this camera. I have been reading every review I can for the last couple of months and so am fairly familiar with the camera and what it can do. Having used the GX200 for the last couple of years has really helped with the new camera. You can set the ISO limits and then even determine for each ISO setting how much noise correction to automatically dial in. The one feature that I noticed right away that I really like is the way in which the menu settings remember the last thing you set and go straight there. Being able to turn the sound off, the preview off, and the LCD off all dramatically help conserve power.

    In the reviews I read before making the purchase RAW write time lag was a concern but in a recent review from Europe I read that there is virtually no lag time for writing RAW files. I have yet to test that and will do so soon, you want to know the results? Yours on order yet?
  • @MalMan congratulation on your new toy (or toys when the GH3 arrives). Just ensure you use a decent SD memory card (Class-10 UHS-I) from Lexar, Sandisk or other reputable manufactures and you should not have a problem with RAW lag time. The same "Class-10" memory cards from Lexar can even come with 30MB/s, 45/MB/s or 95MB/s rating!

    I also don't believe battery life would be an issue. Assuming you're shooting RAW only (vs. RAW+JPG), you're trading power to write the RAW image to the card vs. CPU processing power to convert it to JPG.

    Post some KAP results!
  • MalMan,
    I’ve been closely following this discussion and would like to thank you and Tony for bringing us all up to speed on this new toy. The reviews discuss the USB port for AV (PAL or NTSC) and also shutter release via the CA-2. Are you able to determine if these two functions (remote shutter and video downlink) are available simultaneously from the USB port and if this would require a special connector like Canon S90? It’s hard to tell from the pictures I’ve seen whether the USB connector is a standard mini (most cameras); or standard micro which is even smaller; or a special connector like the Canon S90 which has several more pins than the standard mini USB.
  • hqasem,
    I am using Scandisk Extreme Class 10 cards in my cameras, but thanks for the note on the Lexar, 95MB/s - Wow!

    I will check your question out and see if I can provide you with an answer.
  • @skysnaps99 The Ricoh GR manual hardly mentions the remote, but this dissection of CA-1 might provide insight?
  • Hussam,

    Here is a shot kaptured last night using the new GR

  • edited June 2013
    Not sure if this helps but...

    For RC use gentWIRE-USB and for autoKAP use clickPAN-USB
    are available for cameras that support both CA-1 and CA-2.

    These products (and any that use the USB as a remote interface) effectively stop use of the USB port for video since getting cables that do "both" is difficult - the hdmi port is still available...

  • MalMan - Nice shot with the new toy - it certainly looks sharp.

    hqasm - thanks for the CA-1 reference, here is another one http://ostro.ced.berkeley.edu/~crisr/discuss/comments.php?DiscussionID=3972 which provides some insight into a similar problem on the Ricoh CX5.

    As far as I can determine the USB port on the Ricoh GR is the 8 pin UC-E6. This connector is used for multiple purposes including battery charging, AV out and shutter control in. To find out if AV and shutter control can be used simultaneously we would need to plug in a cable with all 8 pins connected but so far I haven’t found one on the web. As James points out getting cables to do both is difficult. I have the CA-2 shutter release switch but only 5 of the 8 pins are connected. The plot thickens....................

  • I am very impressed with the camera and now have 11 KAP flights with a total of 2 hours and 21 minutes of KAP time on the strings of 3 different kites. I am not a professional photographer or professional kite flier, I just love to fly and do so almost every day in some form or another.

    I have taken pictures under varying conditions and settings and have posted them to flickr for those who wish to see what the camera can do in the air. I have created a Ricoh GR set for those who want to take a look. Here is the set:


    skysnaps99 I have done some research on your question regarding the USB port but do not have an answer for you, do you want some photographs of the port?
  • MalMan - From the shots you have posted on Flickr I think we're on to a winner with this camera. Your high ISO shots with the shutter wide open suggest that this should be the goto camera for those winter evenings where there's only enough wind for the lightest of rigs. Thanks for taking the time to post your shots - I certainly like what I see.
    Mine's now on order so don't worry about following up on the USB port issues as I'll be able to investigate the video output and shutter control capabilities and post the results soon I hope.
  • Hi Skysnaps99, did you finally get your camera and try any USB connection ?
    GR would be a good kap camera, but usb triggering doen't seem effective: Pentax/Ricoh support in France informed that the Gr has no remote triggering option.
    Surprising ! after the - very - long story of Ricoh remote control tradition.
  • GR would be a good kap camera, but usb triggering doen't seem effective
    If I understand the the above discussion correctly, remote control is not a problem - see June 15 post by James. The problem is combining a video downlink with remote control. This can presumably only be done using the HDMI and an HDMI convertor for video and the USB port for remote triggering. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    I suppose it is also possible to use the built-in intervalometer for triggering and a video downlink via the USB on either an RC rig or an auto-rig. With big memory cards available at lower prices this seems a reasonable option. I do this sometimes with my Sony NEX and a gentLED-AUTO intervalometer and the results are usually the same as when I trigger the camera myself.
  • Michel2e - sadly my camera is still on back-order at B&H so I can’t provide the answers from firsthand experience. Ricoh France may have misinterpreted your question as the GR uses the CA-2 “cable shutter release” which is not officially called a “remote triggering “device.

    As far as I can determine the USB socket on the camera has 8 pins. Some of these are dedicated to the Ricoh CA-2 cable release and others to the Ricoh AV-1 audio/video cable. I have both of these products and can verify that each uses a different set of pins on the USB connector as shown for the Ricoh CX5 in my June 14 posting above.

    Tony – I believe that you are right; the gentWire-USB should be OK for remote triggering. As long as the AV video out operates in “shoot” mode as well as “playback” mode; then it may be possible to use a new 8 pin UC-E6 plug with the CA-2 pins connected to the gentWire and the AV-1 pins connected to the video downlink transmitter. If all goes well this would provide remote shutter control and video downlink simultaneously. Here’s hoping!
  • My Ricoh GR arrived today and I’m happy to report that the gentWire triggers the camera without problems and the live video is available from the USB socket when the camera is in shoot mode. I haven’t tried to do these two actions simultaneously yet as a suitable cable is difficult to find. One possible is the Nikon usb/av cable intended for the Coolpix L3, so I have one of these on order from ebay and I’ll update this discussion when I know more.
  • Congratulations on the arrival, Al, looking forward to your observations and thoughts on the camera. I might be persuaded to move to a video downlink remote trigger setup if is not too complex.
  • edited July 2013
    This looks like a perfect KAP camera!
    Definitely on my wish list.
  • WindWatcher posted a great comparison table in a post and I think it fits in here very well for those that are interested in the GR.

    The GR data is lacking in a few spots, Flash modes, Scene modes, Orientation sensor to name a few. Ricoh has come close to the full frame Sonys in quite a few areas other than the sensor size, which is the biggest on the list after the full frames! The Sony Nex 5 and 7 weights are body only I believe and do not include lens weight.

    Here is the mix with the Ricoh GR thrown in:
  • I have noticed on some of the forums that people are looking all over for replacement or backup batteries for this camera. The Ricoh branded battery is $45. I have some batteries purchased from Adorama that are identical to the DB-65 battery and sell for $3 a piece and FREE shipping if you purchase more than 1. Batteries are the Adorama Flashpoint and I have been using them for years, they are excellent quality and these work well with the GR after a wee little cutting job with an X-Acto blade. The batteries are 3.7V/1250mAh/4.6Wh and last as long or longer than the original DB-60 or the newer DB-65 for the GR. I purchased them originally for my Ricoh GX200 which uses the DB-60 battery. Adorama has them in stock and the price is right. Here is a link to the battery, picture is incorrect, you will receive a 1250mAh. I have many a KAP flight using these batteries.

  • I’ve been waiting patiently (!) for a USB cable which I ordered on ebay, hoping to adapt it for my Ricoh GR, and I'm pleased to say that it arrived a few days ago. I’ve now tested the camera with the gentWire and AV output simultaneously, and it all works like a dream. There’s no messing about with the extra weight of HDMI converters or servo fingers, since all works through a single plug into the USB port, much the same way as the S90.

    During the past few weeks while I waited for the cable to arrive I’ve built a new rig, purpose built for the GR, aiming for the lowest weight possible. It’s a 2.4 Ghz RC rig with 3 servos covering pan, tilt and twist as well as allowing for portrait orientation. The live video is transmitted at 5.8Ghz using a tiny ground plane antenna. The all up weigh of camera and rig is 462 grams and with the Picavet attached it weighs in right on 500 grams.

    GR Pan Tilt and Twist Rig

    GR Pan Tilt and Twist Rig

    GR Pan Tilt and Twist Rig

    It’s winter here now and it’s been raining on and off over the weekends but as soon as the weather improves I’ll be out with the kite to test things out. Hope to post some photos in the coming weeks.
  • That is a really clever bit of engineering! Congratulations!
  • > I’ve now tested the camera with the gentWire and AV output simultaneously, and it all works like a dream.
    Thanks for that info, now I am really interested.
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