Ricoh GR II Closed Shutter Problem

Ricoh GR II Closed Shutter Problem

Ricoh GR II Closed Shutter Problem

I bought a Ricoh GR II in Dec. 2017 and used it as my main travel camera while backpacking in 2018. After one year and approx. 45.000 photographs (~126 per day) the Closed Shutter Problem appeared. 9000 frames later the camera went dead. I already reported about it briefly. Since it happened a second time to my second Ricoh GR camera, I got curious and investigated if other people experienced it too.

Closed Shutter Problem(s)

The Closed Shutter Problem means that the shutter stays closed after Power On, forcing the photographer to make a dark frame exposure before it opens as it should. However, this is not a long-term fix!

Ricoh GR & GR II closed Shutter after Power On Problem

Ricoh GR & GR II closed Shutter after Power On Problem

Ricoh GR II Closed Shutter Exposures - Michael Kowalczyk Photography

Ricoh GR II Closed Shutter Exposures Overview in Lightroom

Around 9000 photos later the Auto Focus started to malfunction, leading to more and more out of focus photos. I tried to use Manual Focus instead but the whole focus mechanism was not function right anymore. And then it changed very fast to the point that the lens would extend after Power On but either close immediately or stay out, while the camera turned off by itself. In short, my one-year-old GR II became unusable after ~54.000 exposures. It needs to be sent in for repair.

Forum Threads

I searched and found it to be a seldom discussed problem. Only 26 users in seven threads on three different websites report about this issue. The links to the threads are listed below and include Flickr.com, Dpreview.com, and Pentaxforums.com.

Shutter Counts

I reached out and asked each user who reported the problem about their shutter counts. From those who answered, I learned that the GR either developed the Closed Shutter Problem after approx. 11.000 or after approx. 45.000 shutter releases.

The big difference might be explained due to two different lens versions. An older one and a revised one which was used for later GR models and for the GR II.

Due to the relatively small amount of available comparison data, this can not be read as proof of evidence. However, it might give readers an idea about the possible life span of a Ricoh GR & GR II lens module.

Shutter count table below

UserShutter Count when the Closed Shutter Problem started to appear.Link to Post
reeluff5500Dpreview
Martosc6000Flickr
tongkm9000Flickr
guillermo.d11046Flickr
shubh11000Flickr
brintam14757Dpreview
sevresbabylone14900Flickr
rondom15000Dpreview
Sancaka16000Flickr
tessl8d41000Flickr
michaelkowalczyk.eu45000Flickr
Archiver49000Dpreview
shimizu.ad?Flickr
J45PERP?Flickr
Ian?Flickr
Richard?Flickr
minhlangtu?Flickr
chaxdaman?Pentaxforums
Romasato?Pentaxforums
Waltz Yu?Pentaxforums
BeerCan?Pentaxforums
Dave?Pentaxforums
Valentino 67?Dpreview
brintam?Dpreview

Preliminary Conclusion

The problem is not new to me, it happened to two of my GR cameras. I suspect the lens module to have a limited mechanical lifetime by design. With the GR II as my main travel camera, I might have “arrived” at the end of the shutter lifetime much faster than an occasional GR photographer. If my assumption is true then other photographers would experience the same problem around the same shutter counts.

Please share your comments and shutter count if you experienced this problem with your GR or GR II!

How to check the Shutter Count

  • Set Camera Mode Dial to Movie Mode
  • Press the DISP & Play Buttons simultaneously
  • Press right to see Mech Count Screen.

Tips

Configure MY2 to use M or TAv mode. Set a quick exposure time. Shot the first dark frame in this mode. The camera will expose using the set time only. In any other mode, the camera will try to expose for the black shutter resulting in a much longer exposure time.

When planning to buy a used GR or GR II, I strongly recommend checking the mechanical shutter count. Make sure it is low!

« « Older Post - Ricoh GR II vs GR III Comparison | Newer Post - 20190731 Konstanz » »

Comments

  • Pingback: Treat Your Ricoh Right - Howto Avoid & Fix Ricoh GR Problems

  • Hi Michael,

    This also happened to my Ricoh GR II.
    I shot for 4 years on my GR II. It developed the shutter problem you mentioned on year 3 along with a myriad of other problems like a closed lens while camera was one. I had to give it a good love tap to get it to open.
    I shot thousands and thousands of photos with the thing and dropped it many times, so I chalked it up to just being an old and very used camera.

    In December on a layover in China, the camera opened up, froze and died. I could not get it to turn off, close, nothing. It was a brick. I had a 2 week bike packing trip ahead of me through Northern Thailand so I pulled my SD card and left my old friend on a chair in the airport not wanting to carry the extra dead weight.

    I just picked up the Fuji XF10 and although it lacks some functions I seriously miss, I’ve been able to find work arounds.
    Every day I go back and forth about returning the XF10 and getting another GRII. Its been an internal battle. The GRIII does not interest me due to lack of flash. And the higher Mega pixels of the XF10 vs the GRII have proven to be incredibly useful in low light. The XF10 seriously performs at 3200 in color in a way the GR never could.

    The biggest hindrance with the XF10 is the lack of snap focus choices. But I have found a quick way to go in and out of manual focus mode to expand it.

    The GRII felt like an extension of my eye and mind. The XF10 I still grapple with. Although i’ve only had it for 2 days.

    I really love your work so I’m curious to your thoughts on the XF10.
    Assuming you have time for a reply and assuming you have played with it.

    Thanks!

    Topher

    • Hello Topher, thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts about the cameras!

      I can imagine the scene with your GR opening its protective lens cover one last time to watch you leave ;| At the time my 2nd body died of the closed shutter problem I started having less symphatic feelings for Ricoh. I understand that moving camera parts inside a retractive lens modules wear out over time. But for a new GR2 around 500 USD I expect it to function way beyond 50K shots. Time will tell if the new GR3 module is made to last longer. My feeling is that it will be same as it used to be, ship it in for cleaning & repair. For new GR buyers I strongly recommend adding an extended 3-4 year warranty and have peace of malfunction mind.

      Good to hear that the XF10 color noise performs well in ISO 3200. My GRII stayed always limited to 1600 ISO, delivering okay noise quality. The 50% higher megapixels count of the Fuji will definetly improve quality when post-cropping into the details. On the other hand I find digital zoom less desirable than optical, which in our fixed focal case is moving towards the subject physicaly.

      For me the most important camera features are, a small & light body size, customization of controls and the speed of camera operation. When I go on a longer street-photo walk my camera is not always on. I dont have that many spare-batteries. When I notice a scene and want to capture it, the time to power-on, auto focus and screen-blackout-refresh must be as quickly as possible. The GR2 is fairly fast for all three times. From the specs. and from what I have read on user-forums the GR3 even improved. I am curious if the XF10 is head to head with regards to speed with the GR2 or even GR3.

      I like that it has a non retractable lens design. In theory it should be ready to shoot immediatley but what about camera power-on time? (Thinking about it I would love to see a “standby” feature implemented in cameras oriented towards street-photography). However the lens extends out of the body while focusing, I thought it would focus internally like in the X100 series.

      I have to admit I do not use the GRs Snap Focus feature very often. I like to shoot with AF because it ensures the best quality in sharpnes. When changing to the Zone Focus method I AF on a certain distance, switch to MF and increase the f-stop to expand the DoF. I guess this is the same way you are using the XF10 now. Does the front focus ring help you to change distances in a usable way? The manual focus implementaion on the GRs is a pita.

      The lack of flash is sad. I like that the XF10 flash is not hidden by default like on the GR2. You could simply forget that it exists and it would not open by itself when necessary. Maybe its one of the reasons they removed it after all. The small Q20II flash seems to be a fun wireless addition but it totaly destroys the idea of compact.

      Againg thanks for visiting and applause for the high quality cinematography you produce!

  • Nelleke Bouman

    This happened to my Ricoh I the first time after 1,5 months after i bought it. After repairs i used the camera for 2,5 years after wich the same problem occured after about 100.000 shots

    • pR

      What kind of repair it was and how much it cost?

      • pR

        I used mine occasionally for around 18 months after Closed Shutter Problem appeared until today when it came to the last stage of its exiztense called lens not retracting (all is black, it turns on/off and that’s it). That’s with shutter count around 16 000. I searched for new solutions that maybe appeared in the last year, but nothing promising… So as there was nothing to loose I tried to push on/off and shutter buttons while hitting my camera harder and harder into my knee (there was nothing to loose anyway except to brake my knee) and voila… after some time it got back to Closed Shutter Problem which now is more like solution than a problem :D btw, at first it would turn on and show the first thing camera managed to see. It looked like if you’re just pressed „play“ and see last captured photo, but there was no photo captured. But after a few more on and offs it returned to old good Closed Shutter Problem. My expectations are low for it to last, but who knows – right now I’m so excited as for the last few hours I had to think do I need a new camera and which one to get?

  • Rimba

    Also happened to my GRII. It’s a shame that GR is premium p&s compact cam with low durability; and the cost to repairing it, is not worthed at all.

  • viktor lin

    it also happend to my GR last week. shutter about 12600

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