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Ricoh announces the GR Digital IV



The ultimate camera for street photography now offers enhanced quick shooting capability and superior image quality with a new Hybrid AF system and GR ENGINE IV

September 15, 2011: Ricoh today announced the development and release of the highly anticipated GR DIGITAL IV digital camera, the successor model to the GR DIGITAL III. Key enhancements include increased quick shooting capability, superior image quality and a range of new shooting modes to amplify creative expression.

The GR DIGITAL III (released in August 2009) was a compact digital camera offering a 28mm/F1.9 GR Lens, the GR ENGINE III, and a high-sensitivity CCD that continued the evolution of the concepts originally introduced in the first GR DIGITAL model (released in October 2005). In the two years since its release, it has been enthusiastically received by a broad range of customers including professional and amateur photographers.

The new GR DIGITAL IV, featuring a new image engine and a refined optical filter, exceeds the GR DIGITAL III and achieves the highest level of image quality in the history of the GR series. It continues to offer that irresistible combination sort by photographers worldwide – the superior performance and manual control of an SLR, in the discreet, lightweight body of a compact.

Importantly Ricoh has made significant advances in the quick shooting capability of the GR DIGITAL through the introduction of a Hybrid AF System which assists the camera in achieving an AF focusing time as short as 0.2 seconds – almost twice as quick as the previous GR DIGITAL III.

To further ensure the capture of fleeting shutter opportunities, Ricoh has added a high speed, high accuracy snapshot function. With just a single press of the shutter-release button, the GR DIGITAL IV expertly captures the scene by performing the metering with only the external AF sensor.

Another addition to the GR DIGITAL IV is a new Image-sensor Shift Image Stabilisation function. This sees the camera achieve a stabilisation effect equivalent to a shutter speed increase of up to 3.2 stops* which, when combined with the fast F1.9 GR lens, further increases the camera's ability to capture dark scenes. Further, the inclusion of a Dynamic Range Compensation shooting function makes it possible to shoot subjects in backlit or high-contrast scenes in the way the eye sees them, while the return of Ricoh’s acclaimed Multi-Pattern Auto White Balance setting helps ensure professional results in even the most challenging lighting conditions.

To heighten the creative results that a photographer may achieve with the GR DIGITAL IV a number of other new shooting functions have been introduced. Among them, an Interval Composite mode that is able to capture distinctive landscape pictures that show the trail of light left by stars and a Multiple Exposure mode which makes it possible to shoot up to five overlapping shots and record them in one single image. Finally, Positive Film and Bleach Bypass have been added to the creative shooting mode selection which already includes High Contrast B&W and Cross Process.

The GR DIGITAL IV’s Auto Bracket function has been also been significantly enhanced. In addition to the conventional Exposure and White Balance, Contrast Bracket Setting and Dynamic Range Compensation bracketing have been newly added, as well as an Image Setting Bracket option which enables the capture of a sequence of three shots with two different image settings.

The operability of the GR DIGITAL Series has always been held in high acclaim and fans of this camera will find the menu is as intuitive as ever. While the look and feel of the camera remains mostly the same, the GR DIGITAL IV sports a new 3-inch, 1.23 million-dot VGA LCD monitor for heightened outdoor visibility as well as refined electronic level that can detect inclination in the tilt direction, as well as the conventional horizontal direction.

The new Ricoh GR DIGITAL IV will be available in leading camera retailers from mid October 2011. RRP AU$799.In addition to the black model, Ricoh will release a collector’s edition white model – see separate media release for further information.

For customer enquiries contact Ricoh’s Australian distributor, Tasco on 02 9938 3244 or visit www.ricohcameras.com.au

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MEDIA NOTE: View the image gallery at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/writeaway/sets/72157627549880731/

- Key features of the GR DIGITAL IV -

1. Improved AF speed and accuracy due to the introduction of the Hybrid AF system

- The camera comes newly equipped with Ricoh's independently developed external AF sensor, which has a maximum of 190 AF points. Through the Hybrid AF System, which is used in parallel with the conventional CCD contrast AF, Ricoh has realised an AF focusing time as short as 0.2 seconds, as much as half that of the GR DIGITAL III.

- Also, algorithm refinements have led to improvements in the AF speed for macro shots that are taken using only the CCD contrast AF method for a maximum reduction of half the time of the previous model.

- In shooting with a single press of the shutter-release button, the high focusing accuracy required for snapshot shooting has been added to the camera's Quick Shooting capabilities by performing the metering with only the external AF sensor. The metering information from the external AF sensor can be displayed on the LCD monitor.

2. Even higher image quality achieved

- Through refinements to the optical filter and optimisation of the image processing from, the GR DIGITAL III, the SFR* characteristics have been improved.

*Spatial Frequency Response (SFR): One of the indicators of a digital camera's resolution characteristics, including everything from the optical system to the image processing.

- With the new image processing engine, the GR ENGINE IV, colour reproduction enhancement and colour noise reductions are achieved in high-sensitivity photography.

- Ricoh's signature 28mm/F1.9 GR lens demonstrates its high resolution while suppressing chromatic aberration and distortion. The approximately 10 million-pixel, 1/1.7-inch CCD shows off its high-sensitivity characteristics. These are the elements through which the GR DIGITAL IV achieves the highest image quality in GR history.

3. Comes with the first image-sensor shift image stabilisation function in the GR DIGITAL series

- With the image-sensor shift image stabilisation function, the GR DIGITAL IV achieves a stabilisation effect equivalent to a shutter speed increase of a maximum of 3.2 stops*, which combined with the fast F1.9 GR lens further increases the camera's ability to capture dark scenes.

*Measured using RICOH measurement methods.

4. Introduction of a new, high-brightness LCD monitor and the addition of an automatic brightness adjustment function

- Through the introduction of the new 3-inch, approximately 1.23 million-dot VGA LCD monitor, which adds white pixels to the RGB ones, the GR DIGITAL IV secures a maximum brightness of approximately 1.7 times that of the GR DIGITAL III, improving its visibility when outdoors.

- A function in which the camera automatically adjusts the luminance to match the brightness of the subject has been added, which minimises decreases in visibility due to changes in the shooting environment.

5. Shooting functions that heighten the photographer's expressive ability and enhanced scene modes

- Comes with dynamic range compensation to minimise the effects of blown highlights in bright areas and crushed blacks in dark ones. For backlit or high-contrast scenes where exposure compensation alone is not enough, compensation is performed for each area, enabling the photographer to take pictures at a brightness that closely matches how the subject looked.

- The Auto Bracket function has been enhanced. In addition to the conventional Exposure and White Balance, Contrast Bracket Setting and Dynamic Range Compensation bracketing have been newly added, of which any two can be selected for addition to the image settings to record a sequence of three shots with Image Setting Bracket.

- Comes with an Interval Composite mode that will replace and combine only the high-brightness pixel data in images of the night sky taken at fixed intervals. This makes it possible to shoot distinctive landscape pictures that show the light trails of stars.

- Positive Film and Bleach Bypass, which lowers saturation and increases contrast, have been added to the image settings. Along with settings like the existing High Contrast B&W and Cross Process, these can be used in each of the shooting modes (Auto/P/A/S/M).

- Multiple exposure shooting, which makes it possible to shoot up to five overlapping shots, and bulb exposure functions have also been included.

6. Already high operability heightened even further

- Included since the GR DIGITAL II, the electronic level function has been enhanced. Now it can detect inclination in not only the horizontal direction, but also the tilt direction.

- The function combinations that can be used with the Fn1/Fn2 buttons have been expanded to four settings that can be registered with the Fn Button Pair Setting. Because the user can switch between functions registered in the Fn Button Pair Setting without going into the menu screens, they serve as an easy shortcut, making it possible to change functions in an instant to match the scene being shot.

- The My Settings function, which enables the user to register their preferred camera settings, have been expanded to 12 types. Better still, because the settings can be registered on an SD card, users can share their favourite settings amongst themselves.

- Eye-Fi card compatible. Images taken can be wirelessly transferred to a computer or uploaded to a photo-sharing site.

7. An even broader range of expandability with new options

- A genuine leather hand strap for excellent portability and handling and a metal lens cap that works with the lock function of the power button will be available as new options.

8. Implementation of function expansions through firmware

- The provision of function-expansion firmware, which has been highly praised from the GR DIGITAL to the GR DIGITAL III models, will continue with the GR DIGITAL IV. By updating the firmware, the camera can always use the latest functions.

Ends.