Review: Part I: ISO comparison: Ricoh GR vs Nikon Coolpix A vs Fuji X100s

Review: Part I: ISO comparison: Ricoh GR vs Nikon Coolpix A vs Fuji X100s

Ricoh GR 1/2000, f4, ISO 6400 ooc jpeg at default settings

First update on the rolling review, ooc jpegs, at default settings. Shot from a tripod in daylight on a cloudy day at f2.8 until I ran out of shutter speeds. I noticed the raw files from the Coolpix A and Ricoh GR appeared to be identical in color reproduction (latest dng converter-I will post them soon). As for the jpeg engine, my personal preference: 1) Fuji, 2) Nikon and 3) Ricoh. The ooc jpegs from the GR lack punch compared to the other two, however, I believe this was an intentional move by Ricoh ….

to appeal to professionals. Afaic, the differences are negligible. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Lets start with the Ricoh GR at ISO 25600, image below

Ricoh GR at ISO 12800, image below

Ricoh GR at ISO 3200, image below

Ricoh GR at ISO 1600, image below

Ricoh GR at ISO 800, image below

Ricoh GR at ISO 400, image below

Ricoh GR at ISO 200, image below

Ricoh GR at ISO 100, image below

Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 12800, image below

Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 6400, image below

Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 3200, image below

Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 1600, image below

Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 800, image below

Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 400, image below

Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 200, image below

Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 100, image below

Fuji X100s with WA converter at 2.8, at ISO 6400, image below

Fuji X100s with WA converter at 2.8, at ISO 3200, image below

Fuji X100s with WA converter at 2.8, at ISO 1600, image below

Fuji X100s with WA converter at 2.8, at ISO 800, image below

Fuji X100s with WA converter at 2.8, at ISO 400, image below

Fuji X100s with WA converter at 2.8, at ISO 200, image below

there you have it. Click on the image to get to the original, full size file for pixel peeping :)
Equipment used:
Fuji X100s with Wide angle attachment
Ricoh GR
and the Nikon Coolpix A.

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28 thoughts on “Review: Part I: ISO comparison: Ricoh GR vs Nikon Coolpix A vs Fuji X100s

  1. mike.kobal Post author

    Hi Steve! My clear #1 pick would be the RX100-you can get it at a great deal here at Adorama (it is a brand new camera, I just picked up an open box deal, overstock and I think that is the only way to advertise it legally). The reason I am suggesting it: fast af speed in good light, enough mp for scenic shots, a very nice high quality Zeiss zoom, which I think is really important when shooting kids and excellent video-in a super compact body. The only drawback? Not as good in low light as the Fuji X100s, which is my #2 suggestion. Great af speed, great low light, no zoom, terrible video. Both cameras produce outstanding results in full automatic mode, you only have to press the shutter, that’s it and if you ever get curious you can explore and have all the options down to fully manual shooting. Hope this helps, happy holidays.

  2. Steve


    I like as automated as possible so I want the camera that will give me best automated settings. I am looking at the Ricoh GR, Sony RX100, Canon S100, Nikon A, and Fuji X100S. I am shooting pictures of my kids and scenic places. What camera would best suit me? Complexity turns me off

  3. Matt

    I think the X100S has better image quality than the GR I also think the X100S is more accurate for colours, but the only problem is the price! Might see if I can get a cheaper one off ebay. Some people complain that the X100S is too big to be classed as a compact camera, so I’m gonna go to my local shop and actually handle it and see what I think.

  4. mike.kobal Post author

    sure, they would all be adequate, I would go for the X100s then because of the 35mm equiv-with a little cropping you would be able to get descent shots for web use. Cropping in from a 28mm lens could still work, just puts you that much farther away from the action to begin with. You can’t really go wrong with any of them, they will all deliver incredible files. The RX100 the most versatile, the X100s and GR for superior image quality and the snap-mode on the GR might come in handy for decisive moment shots shooting your team-there is practically no shutter lag.

  5. Matt

    Hi Mike, cheers for the recommendation! Much appreciated. When I was mentioning the American Football I meant taking photos of the team I play for, so I’d be on the sideline, obviously a lot closer than sat somewhere in the stands at a pro game. Would the X100S, A and GR still not be adequate enough at that type of range? Even if the images were cropped? Or would they lose too much detail? The flag football season is drawing to a close here in the UK anyway so I would probably be taking more street style shots, off to Amsterdam at the end of the month, would be good to have a decent camera by then.

  6. mike.kobal Post author

    Hi Matt, the only one worth taking to a sporting event would be the RX100 or RX100m2, you really need a little bit of reach and the long end of the zoom-100mm equiv – will get you a lot closer then a 28mm or 35mm. I love the X trans sensor for people photography, great skin tones and great color fidelity at high ISO setting. The Coolpix A and GR produce more or less identical files, extremely sharp, an advantage for landscapes and things, the A with superior jpeg’s – the colors can be a bit off from the GR straight out of the camera (shooting raw the GR has the edge), the GR also shines as a street camera (closely followed by the X100s) and as a super wide for landscapes because of the fantastic 21mm equiv attachment. Sounds like the RX100 or RX100mk2 would be best for your needs and you get kick ass video too. Hope this helps!

  7. Matt

    Hi Mike,I’ve been reading up about the Fuji X100S, Nikon Coolpix A, Ricoh GR and the Sony RX100 II, I really do not know what one to go for! As for what type of shots I like to take, I like a bit of everything street photography, macro shots, landscapes and sporting events. I really do love the detail in the Fuji photos, but I’ve seen people say the Fuji is better for taking photos of people but the Nikon is better for landscapes and taking pictures of ‘things’ (which is what I will predominantly be doing) and I’m not sure where the Ricoh GR fits in to all of this! Obviously you said above that the Sony RX100 II is better for macro shooting. Saying there is no zoom on the fixed lenses, what are they like for taking shots of sporting events like American football? I’ve got myself into a right situation here and I’d be very grateful if you could guide me in the right direction, I am very indecisive which doesn’t help one bit. Thanks in advance!

  8. mike.kobal Post author

    The camera is not out yet, it will have an improved sensor over the RX100, I loved mine, never had any issues with softness, here is a link to some shots from my Paris trip,
    the reason I suggested it because you are mostly interested in close up photography, this is the sector where small sensor cameras shine and you will need something longer then 28mm.

  9. Jenny

    Thank you Mike for your soonest respone. I really appreciate it :)
    Are there more sample images of the Sony RX100M2 on your blog?
    I find the image on the sony rx100 often very soft…

  10. mike.kobal Post author

    HiJenny, neither, both have a 28mm equivalent lens, not the best choice for close ups, take a look at the new Sony rx100m2, great for macro and close ups, a zoom and very good low light performance, check my latest blog post for links

  11. Jenny

    Hi Mike,
    I am a beginner in photography and I love to shoot in auto mode. I love shooting indoors foods and Origami model pictures. I am torn between the Ricoh GR and Nikon Coolpix A. Which camera do you suggest me to buy?

  12. Stan

    I already went with the x100s(following my heart) but was wondering if I made the wrong decision and should switch to the A(not a big fan of nikon, shooting canon slr’s since the eos1000f came out).

  13. mike.kobal Post author

    I noticed that also and I think it has to do with the bokeh characteristics of the Fuji lens and the x trans sensor rendering. When you look at at out of focus areas of the Nikon, they appear much harsher -which I am not a fan of- I would say the combination of all the above sure make the Nikon appear sharper-and I pointed that in my first look at the Coolpix A – I love the X trans sensor for its characteristics and also the A sensor, tough call, I would say go with the A if you prefer the way it renders dedail

  14. Stan

    Yes but this seems to happen also if I look at iso200 pics, the leafes and pink flowers are sharper in the A pics ..

  15. mike.kobal Post author

    the reason the A shots are more in focus at higher ISO’s is because the shutter speed tops out at 1/2000 and I had to close down the aperture, now we get more depth of field, the Fuji has a max shutter speed of 1/4000 and high ISO in raw only goes to 6400 and I could keep it at 2.8, of course you can achieve the same results with the Fuji.
    I did mention that everything was shot at 2.8 until I ran out of shutter speed, I should have been clearer.

  16. Stan

    I was wondering if I would get much better results IQ wise(not planning on pixel peep or print posters)with the A..
    Also why are the A pics more in focus? Is this achievable with the fuji also?
    Thank you for your answers.

  17. mike.kobal Post author

    the X100s of course, built in EVF and OHVF, real, manual controls, overall, a lot more versatile, the A is sharper though, not just in this experiment, but measurably sharper, then again, you have to pixel peep to actually see it :)
    ps and in low light the colors are much better from the fuji

  18. Stan

    Wich one would you choose between the A and the x100s?The nikon seams more sharp but is it just in this particular experiment or in general?
    Thank you.

  19. Ian B

    Thanks for the shots Mike. The Nikon is looking pretty sweet. I love my fuji’s but I do get annoyed by the much reported issue of over rating their ISO settings. Does it appear that the Ricoh is doing the same? i.e. the exposure on the Nikon is a full EV lower than the other two cameras if you assumed that the ISO settings were equivalent (which they clearly aren’t).

  20. stonebat

    Did you turn off noise reduction on GR?

    Definitely GR’s standard color setting is lacking some punch. I prefer custom color setting with increasing vividness/contrast parameters by one. Also increasing exposure setting to +0.3EV made OOC jpg better in some cases.

  21. Doma

    The most interesting 3 compacts in the world atm, excepting the RX1.

    At ISO 6400 did the Fuji overexposed a little or I am just imagining..helpful comparison and great effort, appreciated.

  22. mike.kobal Post author

    Hey Goran, I should have mentioned it in the post, since the Nikon’s maximum shutter speed tops out at 1/2000 I had to close the aperture at higher ISO values – the reason for the “sharp” look. The A’s ooc jpegs are very nice, definitely punchier then from the GR. Both lenses are fantastic, slight edge to the GR for better extreme corner sharpness.

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