Having owned a Canon DSLR for more than two years now, I have become somewhat aware of some of the limitations of the DSLR format. Even though it is a beautiful piece of equipment with nice results, I often find it a little cumbersome to carry.
Everyday, I find myself lugging a laptop, either my MacBook, Dell or the HP Mini-note 2133, depending on what I need to do for the day. As I am both working and studying, this could mean a whole day out of the home, so that means I have to carry everything that I need for the day from the morning to at least two or three different locations.
While it would definitely be nice to lug around a DSLR with some nice lenses and a flash gun, I sometimes feel that for my day to day photography needs, the DSLR is definitely an overkill. Carrying the whole kit with a laptop and its charger plus everything else that I need makes carrying the camera kit a burden in more sense than one.
With that idea in mind, I began searching for a compact camera that is capable of replacing the DSLR to a certain point, with a good quality sensor and some manual override functions. Since I have always had Canon photographic gear since the days of chemical photography, naturally I thought about getting a Canon G10 (I already own a Canon G6, but it is not in anyway pocket sized).
However,when I went to the camera shop I became interested in the Ricoh range of compact cameras. They looked good and seemed to be solidly constructed. I became interested in the odd-looking viewfinder attachment on the top of the GX200 and when I found out from the sales assistant that it was a tilt-adjustable viewfinder I was seriously smitten, but there was a slight problem.
One of the things that I have found to be quite annoying about cameras in general is the lens caps. The lens cap is the single item that I have to detach from the camera lens in order to take a picture. When I have to take a picture in a hurry, usually I end up not remembering where I have put it. There have also been occassion when the lens cap just fell off the front of the lens and these caps (if you buy the genuine Canon ones) cost about $25 each.
When I found out that you could replace the lens cap on the GX200 with a self-opening ones (it’s a lens cap made up of three leaves which get pushed open by the lens barrel when you switch the camera on), it was a deal nearly done. So I bought the camera with the self-opening lens cap and an extra attachment with an extra wide-angle lens.
After two days of use, I found that the GX200 is a solidly built camera with magnesium alloy body and a soft rubbery grip. It takes pictures in the RAW DNG format (licensed from Adobe?) and 12MP JPEG files. I found the battery to be worryingly small, but its ability to be replaced by two AAA sized batteries to be a stroke of genius (means that you can get emergency batteries from many different places). It is light and slim enough to be carried everyday, but I have found that the focusing is a little hesitant at times, which can slow down your picture-taking speed.
Overall, I have been very happy with this latest addition to my equipment bag.