Ricoh has announced a new compact camera to sit within its premium GR series, the GR DIGITAL IV succeeds the GR Digital III with enhanced Quick Shooting capability and image quality.

The new GR Digital IV features a new image engine along with a refined optical filter, which Ricoh promises is the highest image quality in the history of the GR series.

AF speed and accuracy has been improved with the introduction of a new Hybrid AF system. The camera is equipped with Ricoh's independently developed external AF sensor which has a maximum of 190 AF points.

Thanks to the new system, Ricoh claims that the AF focusing time is now as short as 0.2 seconds, half that of the GR Digital III. Algorithm refinements have also been made to improve AF speed for macro shots.

As with the GR Digital III, the IV is capable of shooting raw images in the DNG format along with standard JPEGs.

Image processor

A new image processing engine, the GR Engine IV, promises to enhance colour reproduction and colour noise reduction when taking high-sensitivity photographs.

The 28mm (equivalent) f/1.9 fixed length GR lens is accompanied by a 10 million pixel 1/1.7-inch CCD sensor which has been designed to reduce chromatic aberration and distortion.

Ricoh gr digital iv

A first for the GR Digital Series, the IV features image-sensor shift image stabilisation function, which is equivalent to a shutter speed increase of up to 3.2 stops.

On the rear of the camera is a new high-brightness 3 inch 1.23million dot VGA LCD monitor which is now equipped with automatic brightness function and is approximately 1.7 times brighter than the GR Digital III.

Shooting functions include dynamic range compensation to minimise the effects of blown highlights and dense shadows. Auto Bracket has been enhanced, in addition to the conventional exposure and white balance, Contrast Bracket Setting and Dynamic Range Compensation have been newly added.

Interval Composite mode replaces and combines high brightness pixels in images of the night sky taken at fixed intervals. According to Ricoh this makes it possible to shoot "distinctive landscape pictures that show the trails of light left by the stars."

Creative effects

New film effect modes include Positive Film and Bleach Bypass and join existing High Contrast black and white and Cross Process modes, each of which can be used in Auto and P/A/S/M modes. Multiple exposure shooting and bulb exposure functions have also been included.

The electronic level function has been improved to have the ability to detect not only the horizontal direction, but also the tilt direction as well.

The Ricoh GR Digital IV UK price is £499.99 RRP and will be available from mid- October in black or limited edition white.