Ricoh gifts GRD IV with new features


posted Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 11:49 AM EDT

Ricoh's GR Digital IV digital camera. Click here to read our Ricoh GR IV preview!There are two types of firmware update in this world. Some fix bugs in previous releases, bringing welcome relief to those of us who've encountered the problems they solve. That's good news, but the truly great firmware updates put a smile on your face by adding entirely new features. The latter is a rarity, and we think that's something of a shame.  New features added after a camera reaches the market serve as a thank you gift to the early adopters, and that has to be good for brand loyalty.

Japan's Ricoh Co. Ltd. apparently agrees. It's just announced an upcoming firmware update for the GR Digital IV, a model which was first announced a little over six months ago, and the update adds no less than four new features.

The Interval Composite mode in particular is singled out for some love. This interesting mode automatically captures shots at predetermined intervals, and then merges them in-camera to create a single final output image. It's a great feature for creating star trails and the like, and is already fairly unusual in allowing you to save not only the final composite image, but also the individual source images, or ongoing copies of the merged image as each shot is captured. Now, it will also be possible to enable or disable the floating black level adjustment function, which reduces noise at high sensitivies. Additionally, when reviewing photos shot in Interval Composite mode, the detailed playback information will show the time of the first and last shots in the sequence, as well as the total number of frames captured.

The new GR Digital IV firmware will also add a copyright notice function, allowing the EXIF header of images to be tagged with up to 46 alphanumeric characters at capture time. This means that all your images can include the photographer's name, or that of the organization holding copyright to the photos, for example. It's something we've seen on a number of cameras in the past, and now it'll be available to GRD IV shooters, too.

One final new feature is the ability to save the snap focus distance when the shutter is released, to either the Adj. lever or Function button. Previously, one had to enter the camera's menu system to save this information for recall.

In addition to all the new features, the upcoming GRD IV firmware will also increase the auto exposure control speed, according to Ricoh.

The new firmware isn't available quite yet, but look for it to appear on Ricoh's website from February 27th.

Press Release

First GR DIGITAL IV Function-Expansion Firmware Update

Enhanced functions

  1. Adds Function for Including Copyright Notice
    Inputted copyright information is recorded to the image’s Exif data when a picture is taken. Up to 46 alphanumeric characters can be recorded, and the information can then be checked in the detailed file information on the camera’s playback screen.

  2. Improves Auto Exposure Speed
    The speed of auto exposure control has been improved, making selection of the proper exposure smoother.

  3. Adds Function for Saving Snap Focus Distance at Time of Shutter Release to the ADJ lever and Fn button
    The snap focus distance at the time of shutter release can now be saved to the ADJ. lever or the Fn button. The setting can be changed without having to go the menu screen.

  4. Adds Function for Displaying Photo Information for Interval Composite Photos
    For photos taken using the Interval Composite mode, this function enables a display of shooting times from start to finish, as well as the number of composite images in the detailed information displayed on the playback screen.

  5. Adds Floating Black level adjustment function for Interval Composite Mode Shooting
    The "Floating black level adjustment" function can be turned On or Off (default setting is on); if set to On, it can reduce noise at high sensitivities.