Olympus E-1 vs Ricoh GR
The Olympus E-1 and the Ricoh GR are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2003 and April 2013. The E-1 is a DSLR, while the GR is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-1) and an APS-C (GR) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 4.9 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.
|Olympus E-1||Ricoh GR|
|Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Four Thirds lenses||28mm f/2.8|
|4.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 100-800 (100-3200)||ISO 100-25600|
|Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|1.8" LCD, 134k dots||3.0" LCD, 1230k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||4 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|750 shots per battery charge||290 shots per battery charge|
|141 x 104 x 81 mm, 738 g||117 x 61 x 35 mm, 245 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus E-1 and the Ricoh GR? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Olympus E-1 and the Ricoh GR are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. 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 is considerably smaller (51 percent) than the Olympus E-1. It is worth mentioning in this context that the E-1 is splash and dust resistant, while the GR does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the GR has a lens built in, whereas the E-1 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 E-1 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the E-1 gets 750 shots out of its BLM-1 battery, while the GR can take 290 images on a single charge of its DB65 power pack. The power pack in the GR can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Olympus E-1»||141 mm||104 mm||81 mm||738 g||750||Y||Jun 2003||1,699||Olympus E-1|
|Ricoh GR«||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799||Ricoh GR|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 7D« »||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699||Canon 7D|
|Leica Digilux 3« »||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499||Leica Digilux 3|
|Nikon D500« »||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D610« »||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D7000« »||132 mm||105 mm||77 mm||780 g||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499||Nikon D7000|
|Olympus E-5« »||142 mm||117 mm||75 mm||873 g||750||Y||Sep 2010||1,699||Olympus E-5|
|Olympus E-3« »||142 mm||116 mm||75 mm||876 g||750||Y||Oct 2007||1,699||Olympus E-3|
|Olympus E-330« »||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-300« »||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799||Olympus E-300|
|Panasonic GM5« »||99 mm||60 mm||36 mm||211 g||220||n||Sep 2014||749||Panasonic GM5|
|Panasonic GM1« »||99 mm||55 mm||30 mm||204 g||230||n||Oct 2013||749||Panasonic GM1|
|Ricoh GR II« »||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||n||Jun 2015||699||Ricoh GR II|
|Sony RX100 III« »||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX100 II« »||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749||Sony RX100 II|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The GR was launched at a lower price than the E-1, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-1 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Ricoh GR an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the GR is 64 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the E-1 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the GR offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 16.1MP, the GR offers a higher resolution than the E-1 (4.9MP), but the GR has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.79μm versus 6.78μm for the E-1). Yet, the GR is a much more recent model (by 9 years and 9 months) than the E-1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GR has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Ricoh GR implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the GR for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inch or 62.6 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inch or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inch or 41.7 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-1 are 12.8 x 9.6 inch or 32.5 x 24.4 cm for good quality, 10.2 x 7.7 inch or 26 x 19.5 cm for very good quality, and 8.5 x 6.4 inch or 21.7 x 16.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus E-1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Ricoh GR are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Olympus E-1||Four Thirds||4.9||2560||1920||none||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-1|
|Ricoh GR||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.5||972||78||Ricoh GR|
|Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 7D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.0||11.7||854||66||Canon 7D|
|Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..||Leica Digilux 3|
|Nikon D500||APS-C||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||24.0||14.0||1324||83||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D7000||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||10800/24p||23.5||13.9||1167||80||Nikon D7000|
|Olympus E-5||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.6||10.5||519||56||Olympus E-5|
|Olympus E-3||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.6||10.5||571||56||Olympus E-3|
|Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-300|
|Panasonic GM5||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.1||11.7||721||66||Panasonic GM5|
|Panasonic GM1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||22.3||11.7||660||66||Panasonic GM1|
|Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80||Ricoh GR II|
|Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67||Sony RX100 II|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The GR indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-1 does not. The highest resolution format that the GR can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the E-1 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GR relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GR can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the GV-1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-1 and Ricoh GR along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Olympus E-1||optical||Y||1.8||134||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n||Olympus E-1|
|Ricoh GR||optional||n||3.0||1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Ricoh GR|
|Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n||Canon 7D|
|Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5||207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Leica Digilux 3|
|Nikon D500||optical||Y||3.2||2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||n||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D610||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D7000||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D7000|
|Olympus E-5||optical||Y||3.0||920||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-5|
|Olympus E-3||optical||Y||2.5||230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-3|
|Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5||215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8||134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Olympus E-300|
|Panasonic GM5||1166||n||3.0||921||fixed||Y||1/500s||5.8||n||n||Panasonic GM5|
|Panasonic GM1||none||n||3.0||1036||fixed||Y||1/500s||5.0||Y||n||Panasonic GM1|
|Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0||1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Ricoh GR II|
|Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 II|
One feature that is present on the E-1, but is missing on the GR 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 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 E-1 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the GR uses SDXC cards. The E-1 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the GR only has one slot.
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 Olympus E-1 and Ricoh GR and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Olympus E-1||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-1|
|Ricoh GR||Y||mono||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Ricoh GR|
|Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 7D||Y||mono||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 7D|
|Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica Digilux 3|
|Nikon D500||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D610||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D7000||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D7000|
|Olympus E-5||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-5|
|Olympus E-3||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-3|
|Olympus E-330||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-300||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-300|
|Panasonic GM5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic GM5|
|Panasonic GM1||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic GM1|
|Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Ricoh GR II|
|Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 II|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Olympus E-1 (unlike the GR) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the E-1 and the GR have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-1 was replaced by the Olympus E-3, while the GR was followed by the Ricoh GR II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Ricoh websites.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-1 or the Ricoh GR – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-1:
- 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.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 290) on a single battery charge.
- 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.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2003).
Advantages of the Ricoh GR:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (16.1 vs 4.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 85%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 134k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3 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 E-1 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x61mm vs 141x104mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the E-1).
- 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.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 9 years and 9 months of technical progress since the E-1 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GR is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 9 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 Olympus E-1 and the Ricoh GR 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-1 and the GR in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 2000D vs Ricoh GR III
- Canon SX50 vs Ricoh GR
- Fujifilm X-T1 vs Ricoh GR
- Fujifilm X100 vs Ricoh GR II
- Leica M8 vs Ricoh GR
- Nikon D40X vs Ricoh GR III
- Nikon D800E vs Olympus E-1
- Panasonic TZ95 vs Ricoh GR II
- Ricoh GR II vs Sony A7R II
- Ricoh GR II vs Sony RX10 III
- Ricoh GR III vs Sony RX1R II
- Ricoh GR vs Ricoh WG-6
Specifications: Olympus E-1 vs Ricoh GR
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||Olympus E-1||Ricoh GR|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||28mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||June 2003||April 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 1699||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-1||Ricoh GR|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||4.9 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||2560 x 1920 pixels||4928 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.78 μm||4.79 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.19 MP/cm2||4.35 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-800 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-3200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||78|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||972|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-1||Ricoh GR|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||134k dots||1230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-1||Ricoh GR|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 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 or XD cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-1||Ricoh GR|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-1||Ricoh GR|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||290 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
141 x 104 x 81 mm
(5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
117 x 61 x 35 mm
(4.6 x 2.4 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||738 g (26.0 oz)||245 g (8.6 oz)|
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