Remembering the Ricoh GR1

Not many words today, just remembering a great camera that I owned for a very short time in December 2016.161206 - Ricoh GR1 - Ilford HP5+ (23)

The Ricoh GR1

I had been warned that they were notoriously unreliable (thanks Hamish). I imagined they were somewhat finicky, but I never thought it would quit on me after just 5 rolls of film.

I threw all warnings to the wind and bought one, reputedly serviced some time earlier. When it arrived it was love at first sight.161206 - Ricoh GR1 - Ilford HP5+ (33)

This camera was small, it was light, it was absolutely charming to handle and above all it did what I wanted. It made gorgeous photos. 5 rolls total….

I really thought I had found something to replace my trusted XA2. Something with autofocus and an equally gorgeous lens.

A camera to carry in my pocket, in it’s stylish (faux) leather wallet.

But it was not to be.161206 - Ricoh GR1 - Ilford HP5+ (35)

One day, just handling it before putting a new roll of HP5 into it, it refused to start up! Nothing I tried worked. I took out the battery and reinserted it and it started…. I shut it down, try to start it… same stuff. Only way to start it was by taking out the battery and reinserting it.

Now I thought it was just a fluke, but a good camera repair man told me it was probably the first signs of the electronics buying the ticket.161220 - Ricoh GR1 - Ilford HP5+ (12)

That was a blow! I was determined to like this camera… well I loved it a lot. But it let me down.

A repair was virtually impossible, the needed parts, if available, would have cost much too much. With no guarantee they did not fail too in the near future.161206 - Ricoh GR1 - Ilford HP5+ (31)

So all that remains now are those 5 rolls of HP5. Photos I made with a truly great camera! But a camera that is fatally flawed.161220 - Ricoh GR1 - Ilford HP5+ (15)

I would like to get one again. Or one of it’s cheaper cousins…. but I am afraid to. Afraid to get another camera I’d love and which would disappoint me.161206 - Ricoh GR1 - Ilford HP5+ - (33)

So I stay with my Olympus XA2…..

Thanks for reading!

6 thoughts on “Remembering the Ricoh GR1

Add yours

  1. Hi Frank,

    So sorry to hear that your dealings with a Ricoh only lasted 5 rolls of film…
    Recently I brought one of its cousins the Ricoh Caplio gx100… Although a digital camera and not film,I seemed to “drop on” as it’s new old stock… so I am hoping that it lasts longer than your stint did with a Ricoh…☺☺
    One thing I would say is that just because you had a bad one doesn’t mean they are all bad… anything that is manufactured involving the hands of humans is always game for a failure…cars,phones, and such like are prone….mind you I cannot say such a thing about my beloved Volvo v70…. it’s just hit 530,000km…. maybe it’s the Leica of the car world… dependable but at times dull…
    Give another Ricoh a go Frank…. it is Christmas after all…. Thanks for your blog.. and Merry Christmas to you and yours…
    BR Lynd

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot and a merry one for you too!

      Sure a Volvo is unbreakable. They are filed out of a solid block of steel!

      As for another Ricoh…. we’ll see. Heard much good about the Caplio… but yes, it’s aaaarrrrghhh digital…..


  2. Beautiful blacks and whites!
    I have a friend who also lost his Ricoh after a few rolls of film…
    Good Ricohs in prime shooting condition are getting rarer and rarer so it is a gift to be able to shoot a few rolls alone!
    Hope you have better luck next time!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Have you tried and olympus mju II? Auto exposure, autoflash (ugh! -although you can switch it off), autofocus and spot metering. Granted it is dx only but then aren’t most AF point and shoots? Never owned a ricoh or leica as both have proved to be beyond my means. c’est la vie! But my olympus cameras keep on going! 8-)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wanted to try one but they are expensive too and my experience with the GR1 made me turn away from those electronic thingamajics.

      Had a Contax Tvs too at the same time as the Ricoh but I sold it as I didn’t trust it any more. That was another great camera though. And feeling tough as hell!


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