Nikon D1 vs Ricoh GR II
The Nikon D1 and the Ricoh GR II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 1999 and June 2015. The D1 is a DSLR, while the GR II is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 2.6 megapixels, whereas the Ricoh provides 16.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D1 and the Ricoh GR II? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D1 and the Ricoh GR II is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Ricoh GR II is considerably smaller (69 percent) than the Nikon D1. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D1 is splash and dust resistant, while the GR II does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the GR II has a lens built in, whereas the D1 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D1 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
As can be seen in the images above, the D1 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. The power pack in the GR II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Nikon D1||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||..||Y||Jun 1999||5,499|
|2.||Ricoh GR II||4.6 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||8.9 oz||320||n||Jun 2015||699|
|3.||Canon G7 X||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.6 in||10.7 oz||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|4.||Fujifilm X70||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.7 in||12.0 oz||330||n||Jan 2016||799|
|5.||Nikon D4||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.3 oz||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999|
|6.||Nikon D300S||5.8 in||4.5 in||3.2 in||33.1 oz||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799|
|7.||Nikon D3||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||45.9 oz||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999|
|8.||Nikon D300||5.8 in||4.5 in||2.9 in||32.6 oz||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799|
|9.||Nikon D2Xs||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699|
|10.||Nikon D200||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||32.5 oz||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699|
|11.||Nikon D2X||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Sep 2004||4,999|
|12.||Nikon D2H||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||37.7 oz||2900||Y||Jul 2003||3,499|
|13.||Nikon D1H||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||1200||Y||Feb 2001||4,499|
|14.||Nikon D1X||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999|
|15.||Panasonic GM5||3.9 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||7.4 oz||220||n||Sep 2014||749|
|16.||Ricoh GR||4.6 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||290||n||Apr 2013||799|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.2 oz||320||n||May 2014||799|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The GR II was launched at a lower price than the D1, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the GR II offers a higher resolution of 16.1 megapixels, compared with 2.6 MP of the D1. This megapixels advantage translates into a 146 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the GR II has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.79μm versus 11.93μm for the D1). However, it should be noted that the GR II is much more recent (by 16 years) than the D1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GR II has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Ricoh GR II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the GR II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D1 are 10 x 6.6 inches or 25.4 x 16.7 cm for good quality, 8 x 5.2 inches or 20.3 x 13.3 cm for very good quality, and 6.7 x 4.4 inches or 16.9 x 11.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 200-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Ricoh GR II are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
|3.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|5.||Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|7.||Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
|15.||Panasonic GM5||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.1||11.7||721||66|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The GR II indeed provides for movie recording, while the D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the GR II can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D1 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GR II relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GR II can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the GV-1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D1 and Ricoh GR II along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0||1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the D1, but is missing on the GR II is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The Ricoh GR II has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The D1 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the GR II uses SDXC cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D1 and Ricoh GR II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the GR II offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D1 does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D1 (unlike the GR II) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The GR II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Ricoh. In contrast, the D1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D1 was succeeded by the Nikon D1X. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Ricoh websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Nikon D1 better than the Ricoh GR II or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 1999).
Advantages of the Ricoh GR II:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (16.1 vs 2.6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 147%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 120k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D1 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x63mm vs 157x153mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the D1).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 16 years of technical progress since the D1 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GR II is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 9 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D1 and the Ricoh GR II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D1 or the GR II. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Nikon D1||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jun 1999||5,499|
|2.||Ricoh GR II||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699|
|3.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|4.||Fujifilm X70||4.5/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||799|
|5.||Nikon D4||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999|
|6.||Nikon D300S||5/5||+ +||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799|
|7.||Nikon D3||..||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999|
|8.||Nikon D300||..||+ +||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,799|
|9.||Nikon D2Xs||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2006||4,699|
|10.||Nikon D200||..||+ +||+ +||o||..||Nov 2005||1,699|
|11.||Nikon D2X||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2004||4,999|
|12.||Nikon D2H||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jul 2003||3,499|
|13.||Nikon D1H||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2001||4,499|
|14.||Nikon D1X||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2001||5,999|
|15.||Panasonic GM5||3.5/5||+||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||749|
|16.||Ricoh GR||5/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Nikon D1 vs Ricoh GR II
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon D1||Ricoh GR II|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||28mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||June 1999||June 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 5,499||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D1||Ricoh GR II|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||2.6 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||2000 x 1312 pixels||4928 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||11.93 μm||4.79 μm|
|Pixel Density||0.71 MP/cm2||4.35 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||200 - 6,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||80|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1078|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D1||Ricoh GR II|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||96%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||120k dots||1230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D1||Ricoh GR II|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||1.5 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D1||Ricoh GR II|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||Firewire||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon D1||Ricoh GR II|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
157 x 153 x 85 mm
(6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
117 x 63 x 35 mm
(4.6 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||1100 g (38.8 oz)||251 g (8.9 oz)|
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