Ricoh GR vs. Nikon Coolpix A Shootout

  By Jordan Drake


It’s been a tricky time scheduling TCSTV shoots this month, as we’re preparing a couple of big pro video camera reviews, but when the Ricoh GR sample showed up, Chris and I figured we’d have to compare it to the latest Nikon compact.  Two birds, one stone.  The compact, large sensor camera market is the fastest growing field out there, so we were excited to see how the two latest entries performed.


For shootouts I always like to have two presenters, so we finangled Chris Tait to come help us.  Unfortunately, Tait is not known for timeliness, so our ‘twilight shoot’, turned into a ‘pitch darkness shoot’.  This made things tough for the Ricoh, as all of Tait’s shots were in very low light, which meant very high ISO situations.  The ISO comparisons showed that both cameras were very comparable in image quality right through the ISO range.


I was lucky on this shoot to have Mark Langridge helping us out, which meant I could have a boom operator.  I really like recording audio with shotgun mics, you get a fair amount of ambient sound, which can be an issue, but you really capture the sound of the environment.  I find that lavalier mics tend to sound a little hollow.  For this shoot, I used a Rode kit, the NTG-2 mic in a Blimp, with the 10 ft boom pole.  As usual, I filmed on the Sony FS700, with the Tamron 24-70 F2.8 VC and Sigma 35mm F1.4.  I was lucky to have a Metabones Speed Booster with me, which helped in the very low light situations we were filming in.


I was quite impressed with the Ricoh GR’s image quality, especially for its size and price.  The poor magnification of RAW images was a pain, but otherwise, its a really well thought out little camera.  The Nikon Coolpix A takes great images, but the price is pretty close to that of my favourite compact, fixed lens camera, the Fuji X100S.  Whichever way you go though,