This is a title that hooks and that will make me multiply by 10 my number of views on this article! Rest assured, loyal readers, it will not rise very high given the confidentiality in which my Blog is … There is no point in the time spent writing all these articles. I use it a lot to keep track of my evolution as a street photographer. For 5 years now, my style has evolved a lot. What hasn’t changed much though, is the camera I use to document the streets here and elsewhere. After getting started with the Fuji XE2 | 18mm f2, I quickly switched to the Ricoh GRD4. Even though in the meantime I have also used the Ricoh GR, I can say that it is mainly the Ricoh GRD4 that I have used for more than 5 years.
Using the same camera for so many years allowed me to focus only on what I was doing on the street without any possible distractions. A fixed focal length camera with its strengths and weaknesses. I got to know this camera by heart and it has become an extension of my eye. For so many years technology has evolved a lot, but I’ve never been the type of guy who wants the latest camera with more and more MP, or other new things that the manufacturers want to sell us. I have always favored ergonomics and handling over the raw specifics of the camera. The Ricoh GR3 is on paper a monster in a very small black box, but I don’t like this camera … It doesn’t feel good in my hands because it lacks balance and it overheats a lot. Result of the races, it hangs out in a closet and I prefer to take pictures with the Ricoh GRD4 which is 10 years old and has just 10 MP instead of the 24 MP of the GR3. The only camera that managed to make me forget the GRD4 was its big brother, the GR. Even though I lost depth of field when switching to the APS-C sensor, the GR was very pleasant to use as the camera was much more responsive than the GRD4.
You must be telling yourself that I’m just a Ricoh fanboy, but that’s not true. I like the Ricohs because the GR experience is really what suits me. Recently, I wanted to take pictures again with my old Fuji xE2. Surely a kind of nostalgia because I had remux some old photos, taken at the time with this camera, to make a slideshow. I found myself in the streets of Saint-Denis with my Fuji XE2, but the magic was no longer there … For so many years, I had become accustomed to having a very small camera in my hands. Suddenly, finding myself with such a big and heavy camera in my hands was not pleasant. I developed a certain gesture in the street with my Ricoh GRD4, techniques that allow me to shoot blind. Concretely, in the street very often, either people do not realize that I took their picture, or my gestures instill doubt. These techniques are very useful on Reunion Island because there are many different ethnic groups who do not necessarily like to be photographed.
I found for sale on le Boncoin, a second hand Fuji XF10. By negotiating with the seller, I bought it for 250 €. I had inquired about the camera on the internet and the tests were far from conclusive … I will not give you a test of this camera, but these are the recurring flaws that I could read in various articles or YouTube videos . Very bad AF, camera lagging, touch screen lagging. Nothing very engaging, but nothing crippling for me. The AF and the touchscreen, I really don’t care … Fuji copied Ricoh by offering Snapshot Mode on this camera. Basically it’s like Ricoh’s Snap Mode. The camera is automatically set to f8 with focus at 2m, allowing you to get everything in focus from 1m to 25m. I was only using Zone Focusing on my Fuji XE2, but it’s nice to see that Fuji implemented this mode directly in the XF10. However, unlike Ricoh, this mode cannot be used at the same time as AF. This is not a problem because in the street, I do not need the AF and anyway the XF10 AF is lame. Where Fuji does better than Ricoh is in the management of ISOs. Fuji has an AutoISO mode which allows you to set a maximum value not to be exceeded. on the XF10 it’s 6400 max. If you want to go over it, you have to do it manually. Personally, I would have liked that the AutoISO could use 12800 because in B&W, the 12800 is clearly usable. My settings are pretty basic for the street. Snapshot Mode (f8 at 2m) and AutoISO (max 6400 and minimum speed 1 / 500s). If there is not enough light, the speed is automatically degraded. So you still have to take a look at the settings when the light changes so as not to end up with a speed to low.
Fuji also drew heavily on Ricoh with a similar camera size. On the other hand, the Fuji is a little heavier, you can feel it. Unlike the GR, the buttons are less well placed and you can’t do everything with one hand. When switching on the Fuji XF10, the lens only comes out a few mm where the GR deployed nearly 3 cms of lens. This is why the Ricoh GR was subject to dust on the sensor. I have only had the Fuji for 1 week, but it is obvious that I will not have this kind of problem with the XF10. Many people have compared the Ricoh GR3 and the XF10. These two cameras are not comparable and are not also in the same niche. The XF10 is still displayed 500 € new! For this price, you cannot ask for the same as a camera sold for 900 €! But as I already told you, I don’t like the GR3 and the XF10 has what it takes to do Street Photography and frankly at 250 €, there is no photo finish. I had to buy a new SD card because the one I had only recorded at 90 Mb and my camera was lagging while recording the files. Since then, I put a 170 Mb card and no more slowdowns on my XF10. I disconnected the AF, the touch screen and I have a very reactive camera with a massive autonomy.
IQ level, it’s Fuji! Really great. The management of ISOs is really very good. I shoot in RAW because I’m old-school but considering the quality of the Fuji jpegs I’m sure I wouldn’t do better, but I like spending some time developing my RAWs. We immediately feel the 24 MP in the pictures. We are on another generation of sensor compared to the 16MP of the GR and even more of the 10MP of the GRD4.
I was planning on spending more time on the streets before sharing my thoughts on this camera with you, but the news here decided otherwise. My little guy Ronan saw his class close yesterday because of a child who has a family member who has been infected with COVID. I find myself stuck at home doing home schooling for 1 week … Note the weather has been awfull for several days and it rains very often. So I was only able to do 3 small sessions in the streets of Saint-Denis with my Fuji XF10. I was afraid of the weight of the camera, but it is bearable. I just find that the XF10 has more protruding angles than the GR/GRD4, which makes it a little less comfortable. As for the photos, the Snapshot Mode is terrible and I rediscover the pleasure I had in using the Zone Focusing method with the Fuji XE2. I only focus on one thing, taking pictures. Everything is fluid. In terms of ergonomics, the shutter button placed right next to the power button, it’s not that great. It happened to me to take a picture and turn off the camera in the process … The lens ring is assigned by default to ISO. It happened to me to move without purpose this ring and not to be in Auto ISO anymore. The best is not to assign anything to this ring in the settings.
So GR killer or not? It depends on what is important to you. If it’s the touchscreen, the optical stabilizer, the Full Press Snap of the GR, the weight, the ergonomics, the AF … well no. The GR/GR3 does all of this better, but we are not at the same price! Personally, for what I consider useful on the street, the ergonomics of the XF10 could have been better, a few tens of grams less would be great, but for the rest, this device is fantastic to use on the street. I really enjoyed the few times I went out this week. the XF10 does not overheat, has a very good autonomy and it only cost me 250 €! Shall I go to Fuji then? I don’t know, what is certain is that I will spend a long time with the XF10.
All the photographs were made with the Fuji XF10