Treat Your Ricoh Right – Howto Avoid & Fix Ricoh GR Problems

Treat Your Ricoh Right - How To Avoid and Fix Ricoh GR Problems

Treat Your Ricoh Right – How To Avoid and Fix Ricoh GR Problems

The Ricoh GR and GR II is a beautifully engineered digital photo camera with excellent optical quality in a small package. It is the smallest and lightest camera with APS-C sized sensor and fixed prime lens!

I bought my GR second hand in 2013. Next to the ten other cameras the Ricoh became my most used camera until today. In total I made 71.005 photographs with the GR. That is 52% of all my 135.117 photos since 2013.

Although it is highly praised and recommended among many popular street photographers, technical problems can develop over time. With a high price tag around $500 the GR & GR II is not a cheap camera. With proper precautions and care those common problems can be avoided and fixed if necessary.

Four Common Ricoh GR Problems & Howto Avoid/Fix them

(Updated Sept. 2018, added 4th “rubber grip peel off” problem)

Since the Ricoh GR and GR II are same build models all mentioned problems and fixes are applicable to both.

Let´s start with the issue that affects the photographic process the most:

  1. Closed Shutter after Power On

    • Ricoh GR Problems - Closed Shutter after Power On

      Ricoh GR Problems – Closed Shutter after Power On

    • What is the problem?
      • After power on the shutter of the camera is still closed and the display is black.
      • The shutter will “unlock” , either after making one “dark frame” exposure or by pressing & holding the shutter button while turning the camera on.
    • How does it affect the photographic process?
      • The start up/ready to shoot time is increased from 0,8 to 4 seconds.
      • The ability to make captures spontaneously is significantly decreased.
    • Why does it happen?
      • Most likely moisture caused the shutter to become sticky
    • How can it be avoided?
    • How can it be fixed?
    • Where is more information about this issue?
  2. Sticky Shutter Button (left and right side)

    • Ricoh GR Problems - Shutter Button stuck in the lower right corner

      Ricoh GR Problems – Shutter Button stuck in the lower right corner

    • What is the problem?
      • After pressing the shutter button it gets stuck in the left or right corner
      • Pressing the button again in its center helps to release it from the locked position
    • How does it affect the photographic process?
      • The ability to trigger the shutter and make captures spontaneously is inhibited.
    • Why does it happen?
      • Fingertip grease and dust tend to accumulate under the button, making it less responsive
      • “The shape invites a rocker-like motion, thus the possible stickiness.”
    • How can it be avoided?
      • Use gloves :) just kidding, I am not sure if this can be avoided at all.
    • How can it be fixed?
      • Undocumented for the GR, but a possible cleaning method would be to turn the camera upside down and inject a small amount of electrical contact cleaner under the button.
      • Contact and send the camera to an authorized Ricoh camera repair service in your region.
    • Where is more information about this issue?
  3. Dust on Sensor

    • Ricoh GR Problems - Dust on Sensor

      Ricoh GR Problems – Dust on Sensor

    • What is the problem?
      • The GR is NOT weather sealed. Small dust and other particles will get inside and on the sensor over time.
      • To check for dust, set the aperture to f/16 and make a photo of a uniform, evenly lit scene (ex. blue sky)
    • How does it affect the photographic process?
      • The pictures will look dirty
    • Why does it happen?
      • The camera is stored unprotected in a place with dust/small particles (ex. jeans pocket)
      • The camera is left on during a photo walk
      • The camera is used during windy conditions
    • How can it be avoided?
      • Always store the Ricoh GR in a dedicated, lockable camera bag!
      • Turn the camera off between shots (the startup, lens extrusion time is only 0,8 seconds!)
      • Try not to shoot directly against strong winds or towards an outdoor driving direction.
      • Buy and mount the GH-3 Hood & Adapter + a 49mm clear filter to seal off the lens.
        • Watch the GH-3 Adapter & Hood unpacking & mounting video
    • How can it be fixed?
      • DYI – Clean the sensor on your own
        • Read “the easy way of cleaning the sensor” using a dust spray on hackcorrelation.blogspot.de
        • Read the illustrated full Ricoh GR disassembly and sensor cleaning method on jamiecollison.com
        • Watch the full disassembly and sensor cleaning video
      • Contact and send the camera to an authorized Ricoh camera repair service in your region.
      • Leave it as it is. Consider shooting with wider apertures and remove/mask out dust in post-production.
    • Where is more information about this issue?
  4. Rubber Grip Peels Off

    Ricoh-GR-II-Rubber-Grip-Peel-Off-Problem

    Rubber Grip starts to peels off.

    • What is the problem?
      • With daily use, the glue below the rubber becomes less sticky. The front rubber grip starts to stretch, moves and finally peel off at the top. The same happens with the back rubber.
    • How does it affect the photographic process?
      • Touching the grip does not feel stiff and secure anymore. The overhanging rubber becomes annoying.
    • Why does it happen?
      • The photographer’s fingers are touching and pressing against the rubber grip. This heats up the rubber below. Over time the glue becomes less sticky and allows the rubber to stretch outside the rims.
    • How can it be avoided?
      • I think the problem can only be avoided by not holding the camera for extended periods of time.
    • How can it be fixed?
      • Cut away the overstretched and excessive rubber parts. The remaining rubber should fit nicely inside the body rim again. Remove the old, yellow looking glue. Use superglue to attach to remaining rubber the body. Be very careful not to spill the glue over the body or controls. It is very reactive and fast drying!
    • Where is more information about the issue?

The End of Ricoh GR Problems (so far)

Please contribute if you experience other problems / solutions and post your comments below.

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Comments

  • Very good article . A must read for Ricoh GR users. On the how to avoid dust issues , I would add an important comment :
    Try to use the Ricoh hood as much as possible. It think it helps A LOT

    • Thank You Harold for the feedback, I added your important suggestion regarding the GH3 Hood & Adapter!

  • John Colquhoun

    Hi, Hoping you can help.
    I have a ricoh GRiii which is taking very odd pictures. Blurry and to bright even when held still. When zoom in can see horizontal lines.
    Have tried in different settings and updated firmware.Is the sensor gone. HELP

  • Rob

    I haven’t got the lens hood and I’m reluctant to do so. There have been plenty of reports of others using the hood from day one and still getting dust on the sensor. Apparently the lens is very well sealed from the sensor. Dust most likely gets in from other places. The rocker switch being one.

    • Hello Rob, thanks for your thoughts on this. Could you share a link to the report from others? It did not occur to me that the rocker could be a point of dust entry. For sure finger-dirt/skin is accumulating there over time. With my first GR the rocker became less responsive after 3 years or so. I am traveling through South America with my GR II & always on GH-3 Lens Adapter for 7+ months now. Besides sealing the lens against wind and dust the adapter + 49mm clear filter helps a lot to keep the lens dry. I shoot during light rain occasionally and can confirm that the hood gives me the confidence to do so. Additionally, it allows me to mount the wide-angle lens or my polarizing filter.

  • hello, i have a problem flash the flash strobe, i can se the lightning but no flash… How i can fix it ? i want to find the spare part

    • Hi Anthony, I am not sure what to do. Sounds like a hardware problem. Consider sending it to a repair shop or look for spare parts on Ebay?

  • Pingback: Ricoh GR II vs GR III Comparison » Michael Kowalczyk Photography

  • defdefred

    The best digital camera ever ;-)
    Such a shame that the GR is not weather sealed.
    This is the must important issue for street photo in the winter.

    • I agree with you Fred. I damaged my first GR while shooting in rain some years ago. The shutter became sticky and I had to shoot one dark frame before it would open again after power-on. Soon after purchasing the GR II I invested in the GH-3 lens adapter and a clear filter. It was a good, protective decision. Since nine months of continuous travel and daily shooting in various conditions, I never experienced any moisture/dust issues.

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