I bought a new camera: the Ricoh GRIIIx

Since the day I sold my dear Fuji X-E2, two years ago I think, I miss having my own camera. I miss the intimate process of taking a picture: turning on the camera, making sure the settings are right, try another one with a different aperture, and so on. With a phone, it’s so much easier. It’s so easy in fact that we don’t even think about it, and to me, that’s the main issue. It’s kind of the same difference between driving a base-model Renault Clio everyday to work and driving let’s say a Toyota GR-86 on a twisty country road. It’s about living and feeling every second of the action.

It’s been more or less a year since I really wanted a Ricoh GRIIIx. The fact that it’s a truly pocketable device removes a lot of the usual friction one experiences with a proper camera: the pain of carrying it. How many times have I left my house wondering “should I take the camera?” and ended up not taking it because it meant having to bring along an extra bag, or wearing it around my neck for the whole day, and then not knowing where to put it when seated at a café or a restaurant. We had this issue a lot last summer in beautiful southern Massif Central when we only had my wife’s chunky DSLR with us. With a GRIIIx (or GRIII for that matter), this problem disappears.

The fact that you don’t feel like carrying the camera means that you really can have it with you all the time, just like a smartphone. A full APS-C sensor right in your pocket. As I’ve said earlier, I’ve added an extra year or two of life to my iPhone 11 by replacing its battery, so it was not ideal for me to solely rely on my phone for taking photographs on a daily basis. The images are good enough, and pretty good I think for a three-year old phone.

I am a firm believer in the fact that phones will eventually replace compact cameras. Computational photography improves so fast that the demand for dedicated cameras will eventually only come from professionals or truly passionate users. Maybe it is already the case actually, and the latest camera improvements on the latest generation of smartphones are very impressive. But for me, using an older phone, there is still a window of several years during which I can justify using a proper camera.

Looking at the family photos framed around the apartment, it is striking how the ones taken with either my old Fuji X-E2 or my wife’s Canon DSLR look better against the ones taken with our iPhones; not just better but WAY better. Almost all of our truly great pictures were taken with a proper camera.

I want my memories of these moments to be as sharp as possible, and using only a smartphone isn’t enough for me yet — at least this is what I telling myself to justify spending a lot of money on a new camera.

I got the Ricoh at a fair price last week, even before this Black Friday nonsense, go figure. It arrived earlier this week, and so far I’m very pleased with my purchase. Having this great camera in my pocket also gives me a good reason to go out for even more walks, and I truly can’t wait to share the first great pictures I will eventually manage to capture. I already started to set up a parallel blog to share photos, so that I have a place online to display my favourites. More on that soon.