Mike Kobal

June 10, 2013

Fuji X100s, Ricoh GR, Nikon Coolpix A: compared

I have been shooting with the Ricoh GR lately, really like the camera and found it to be a serious competitor for the Fuji X100s – from a street photographer’s point of view. It ain’t pretty-the GR- but the boring point and shoot look can be an advantage, the camera draws little to no attention compared to the X100s. And since the D800E is my current bread&butter camera I included the Coolpix A in this comparison. I hope you will find it useful: A few things I should have mentioned in the video:
1) Low light AF performance: Neither the Ricoh GR nor the Nikon Coolpix A work well in low light, lots of hunting, a frustrating experience.
2) If you shoot raw with the GR- playback is limited to 3x magnification and produces artifacts. Work around: shoot small jpegs+raw.
3) Battery life on the GR is quite good and very good if you turn of the LCD while in snap mode and use the optical viewfinder.
3) I will post the link to the Ricoh wide angle adapter once it becomes available.

You can get the Fuji X100s here at BH and here at Adorama
The WCL-X100 Wide-Angle Conversion here at BH and at Adorama
The Rico GR here at BH and Adorama
the external viewfinder GV-1 here at BH
The Nikon Coolpix A here at BH and here Adorama
The Nikon D800E here at BH and Adorama (great deal)
You can also find great deals searching Ebay for these cameras.

Filed under: Gear Reviews — Tags: — mike.kobal @ 11:16 am


  1. Hi Mike:

    Great video and very succinct. Thank you for posting it! Two questions: what type of thumb grip is on your X100S and do you find this an essential add on?

    Thanks in advance for answering my questions.

    Hank R

    Comment by Hank R — June 10, 2013 @ 2:56 pm

  2. Thank you, Hank. I do like it, I wouldn’t call it essential, it does provide a firmer grip, I use a generic one found on ebay.

    Comment by mike.kobal — June 10, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

  3. Thanks, Mike! As with your reviews, I appreciate your candidness.

    Comment by Hank R — June 11, 2013 @ 1:39 am

  4. Mike which camera has sharpest Lens and Sharpest Image Qaulity between Fuji x100 and Ricoh GR.

    Comment by Jim Seekers — June 11, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

  5. The GR and Coolpix A are equal and sharper then the X100s, the GR wins wide open with the sharpest corners.

    Comment by mike.kobal — June 11, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

  6. Hi Mike, nice review!

    Any tips you can give to a dslr user for using GR with an external VF? I’m considering the GR because its portability but I’m really used to a VF.. so I was wondering how do you shoot without any info showing in the VF? Always zone focus?

    Comment by Andy — June 11, 2013 @ 5:10 pm

  7. Hi Andy, I prefer zone focus – or the large af area, not recommended for critical focus when you need to be spot on, but perfect for land and cityscapes.

    Comment by mike.kobal — June 11, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

  8. Hi Mike:

    If you had to choose just one of these three cameras for shooting street, which one would you select?

    Thanks, Mike!

    Hank R

    Comment by Hank R — June 12, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

  9. the X100s by a hair, the built in viewfinder and 35mm equiv just makes it more versatile

    Comment by mike.kobal — June 12, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

  10. HI Mike – great video

    i assume that there is a setting when you attach the 21mm wide angle so that snap focus DOF zone is adjsted for the focal length. is this correct?

    Comment by Hani — June 13, 2013 @ 11:06 am

  11. Hi Hani, thanks! Correct, you can even assign it to one of the three physical buttons, fn1, fn2 or the effect button if you frequently switch between the 28mm and 21mm
    it adjusts the DOF scale and if you shoot jpegs, you get in camera lens correction. One thing worth mentioning – I found it focused a little faster, with the 21mm attached – not a typo, faster :)

    Comment by mike.kobal — June 13, 2013 @ 11:21 am

  12. thanks for the great review and video comparison Mike.

    questions for you/your readers… anyone know if the GR sync’s above its official/stated 1/400 sec flash sync speed? It is leaf shutter so figure it would go higher.

    Fuji definitely has some mojo going with the x100s, but having used and enjoyed the GR III… I sure like its size and build quality and it definitely delivers in terms of an compact imaging tool.

    Comment by david — June 13, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

  13. Hi David, I am going to properly test it out soon, I have played around with the Quantum at 1/2 Power and could sync it at 1/2000 and 5.6.

    Comment by mike.kobal — June 13, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

  14. Why do u have tape all over the cameras?

    Comment by Matt — June 16, 2013 @ 8:12 am

  15. traditional street photographer tick, HCB started it

    Comment by mike.kobal — June 16, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

  16. Is there a RAW + sJPEG setting on GR? Can’t seem to find that. Thought it only allows RAW + Large JPEG.

    Comment by Ro1 — June 25, 2013 @ 4:19 pm

  17. you are right! only large jpgs w raw – sorry!

    Comment by mike.kobal — June 25, 2013 @ 4:26 pm

  18. Mike,

    Thank you for taking the time to review this cameras! let me ask you this..what about IQ and prints? I mean I like to print a lot..mostly family and travel..and my own personal projects..but I’m really peaky about print IQ. did you have the chance to test prints from this cameras?

    Thank you Mike!

    Comment by Carlos — July 5, 2013 @ 11:36 am

  19. Hi Carlos,
    yes! I really like the print quality from the GR for landscape (A has the same sensor-safe to assume you will get identical results) and large size posters, it is truly incredible how detailed and crisp the prints look – even at 16x20inch!
    The X100s beats it on skin tones, however, I noticed on the Fuji files extreme uprezzing or cropping the files
    doesn’t hold up as well as on the GR because of the swirl-like noise/grain pattern . Only problematic if you need to go huge or crop extreme.

    Comment by mike.kobal — July 5, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

  20. Thanks for informative video review, and autofocus performance demonstration in particular!

    I wonder what Ricoh GR’s depth of field is like… I guess GR is not very good at capturing close-ups with blurry backgrounds?

    Comment by Anton — August 22, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

  21. Actually, it is quite good for a 28mm equiv on a crop sensor, love the lens/sensor combo. I would consider it #1 of all APSC options.

    Comment by mike.kobal — August 22, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

  22. Thanks for quick response. I’m torn between X100S and GR, but the more I think the more I like GR.

    Comment by Anton — August 22, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

  23. If you like FOV of 28mm go for it, mind blowing sharpness. Retro look and 35mm equiv, X100s :)

    Comment by mike.kobal — August 22, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

  24. Hi Mike,
    I love your videos. I search the web for your name just to see your reviews. Between the FujiFilm X100 and X100S, is it worth the extra $350 dollars to get the S over the previous generation? I do not own either of them but the X100 is about $950 and the X100s runs about $1300.

    Comment by Kim — October 11, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

  25. Thanks Kim! Do a search on ebay for the X100s, you might find a deal around $1100, it is absolutely NOT worth buying the X100, go for the X100S. The improvements in overall speed and AF speed will make you smile and you will enjoy taking photos, whereas the X100 will ruin it and leave you totally frustrated.

    Comment by mike.kobal — October 11, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

  26. Hi there,
    I hate to sound retarded but what exactly is STREET photography?

    I realize that wide angle lenses are not good for portraits but a trick is to crop the face of the person and it will look fine (not make you look like a Poodle). This trick will probably not work for professional photographers but for the rest of us it will work.

    Comment by Kim — October 13, 2013 @ 10:33 am

  27. Hi Kim,
    check out the work of Henri Cartier Bresson and Robert Frank, two of the most significant street photographers in the history of photography and you will get the idea :)

    Comment by mike.kobal — October 13, 2013 @ 12:44 pm

  28. Hi Mike,
    Can you compare the Fuji x100s to the Fuji x-Pro1? :)

    Comment by Kim — October 20, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

  29. that’s easy, the X-Pro1 is a bit larger, you can change lenses, Pro1 doesn’t have silent shutter and af is slower, sometimes much slower-depends on lens. Image quality is pretty much the same.

    Comment by mike.kobal — October 20, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

  30. You are the greatest!

    Comment by Kim — October 21, 2013 @ 6:08 pm

  31. Does X-Pro1 have the same classic controls like the x100s? I mean, you can see the aperture, shutter speed, and exposure at a glance, even when the camera is off, without having to go into the menu.

    Comment by Kim — October 22, 2013 @ 10:22 am

  32. Just wanted to reply to your comments about the original x100 – Has a different sensor than the x-trans that many people prefer. Also, even though it is discontinued, Fuji just recently put out a firmware update that DRAMATICALLY improves AF.

    Alas, the x100 I bought from e-bay had the infamous sticky aperture blade problem, so it went right back to the seller.

    Comment by Joel — October 29, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

  33. Hi Mike, which camera would you recommend for traveling. I am doing a round world trip and need something fairly compact and versatile but good quality. Thanks

    Comment by plink — July 1, 2014 @ 3:50 am

  34. take a look at the new Sony RX100III
    my first choice when size counts
    a size up would be the Panasonic GX7
    and the tiny 14-140mm lens
    or the Fuji X-T1 with the kit lens for best low light performance.
    happy travels!

    Comment by mike.kobal — July 1, 2014 @ 6:53 am

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