The battle of serious compacts have all along the years been developing. Since the start of this blog in mid-2008, it has evolved to a stage that virtually redefines the market. Those once considered serious compacts for enthusiasts – 1/1.7” sensor in a small body with relatively better optics – are “downgraded” to the lower segment, with enthusiasts chasing after a small body with at least 1” sensor. The niche market previously reigned by the GR is now an open battlefield, which is obviously eaten up by the arrival of Sony’s veraciously marketed A6000. After all, the A6000 is cheap, fast and accepts interchangeable lenses. Why not?
But a classic is not known as a classic for nothing. To users who have known a classic, every new arrival of the family brings with it a homey feeling. It was this feeling and the greatly reduced price that made me reconsider the choice of yet another camera to ply my regular appetite for one. I was considering an A7 something but the price tag had to be justified by putting it to use other than just fun.
After getting myself the GR – which came with the connecter and hood – I bought the 21mm converter and soon after the GV1 viewfinder, partly because I was curious of how it felt to have the full package. For some reason, I managed to get a good bargain for the additional gear.
But the converter adds double the bulk to the camera, defeating the true strength of the GR, namely, an unassuming camera for candid photos. The saving grace of mounting the converter on it is that no one discovers the camera is on even if it is put up close to the subject. The converter gives the most obvious distortion to the image when there are parallel lines in the scene. Otherwise, the distortion is not really discernable.
The viewfinder is bright and clear. The bright lines are easily visible. I have an Oly optical viewfinder attached to my Leica X1. That one compares badly to the GV1.
The GR tends to expose for the shadows, so I have mine tweaked to minus 0.7 EV to expose the picture more correctly. Otherwise, I have the MY3 set to spot focus and spot metering, which also do the same trick of doing “correct” exposure to my liking.
The special colour modes of the GR don’t fail me. Just as the Leica colour gives a unique character to its images, the GR colour adds a special signature to its pictures. One look and you’ll know it is from a GR.
The high ISO capability? ISO 6400 is the top I think. Anything beyond that point is for emergency only, except for black and white images.
So far, the GR performs very well. The images are razor sharp, much sharper than the X1’s lens, if I can compare it that way.