Thunder likes both cheap and expensive cameras. Are expensive cameras really that much better? is a question you ask when you use one and I've noticed only a very slight difference.
Unquestionably expensive ones are good. However knowing a cheap one well is also fun. "Does a camera like this really take photos"?? For example. if you go into a convenience store and they are selling a throwaway camera and also a camera with film that is not a throwaway type for exactly the same price. You can't expect them to take wonderful photos like an expensive camera, but I am interested in what kind of pictures they take. At the end of the day, the difficult phenomenum of which camera to take an interest in is however beautifully we take photos, we know that it is limited in the photos it takes. Definitely it feels great when you take good photos. This is true, but the point is really you have to get to know a good camera and lens' ins and outs.

Thunder has only very recently started thinking that a good lens is really very good. However getting a ragged looking picture using an old camera with an old lens is really quite fun too. At the end of the day, photographs are images from inside the photographer's head which 'borrows' actual scenery. 'Borrowing' your sister's soft skin etc and using a camera and film, these kind of images can be brought to life. If the image is clear and the background gives off a good feeling, you will probably be disappointed with the too perfect image, it will be a hazy phantasm. Having a good camera doesn't mean you can take everything well.

Ricoh is probably Japan's no. 1 maker of cheap cameras. About the time Thunder was born, Ricoh had put out a low priced double-reflexed 'Ricoh Flex' which took pretty good photos. This camera name became well-known. From what I hear, there was a story that loads of people queued up in front of Ginza's SanAi building to buy this camera. The next Ricoh product which made the news was the 'Thank you Pal' which was a low priced single reflex camera from the well-known Ricoh XR500. The AF had still to be introduced at this time.

Since the first Ricoh Flex hit, Ricoh has been advancing with every model of its low priced camera line. So now they have started staggering on the road of top quality cameras. The Ricoh GR-1, from the concept of the very thin Ricoh R1, this has quietly been gaining in popularity. The full metal body, being equipped with a very good quality lens, an exposure correcting system which most veterens like, and having a strobe changeover switch means it's not only a camera good for amateurs, but it's a compact camera for camera maniacs who really understand cameras. The design really as a 35 mm, is not much different from the thin Ricoh RIS. In this aspect, it hasn't a 'freshness' about it, but, the easiness of using such a portable and convenient camera for every day ocassions is actual proof in itself.

When Thunder went overseas to get material, I took a green Ricoh R1 to take souvenir photos and really because of it being so light and thin, while walking around, I could hardly tell which pocket I had put it in. For people who say for important photos like these, you should use a single reflex to take these, well, I was very grateful of this camera's size and that it wasn't a nusiance to carry around at all.

The body is made of magnesium alloy and unlike the Contax T2 and the Minolta TC1's titanium finish, it has a half mat-coat finish so to a degree it doesn't give off a feeling of a top quality machine. It is very light, so when comparing it with the flash looking TC-1, while saying it doesn't give the appearance of a top quality camera, it amply fulfills the requirements needed of an everyday portable camera. As a Ricoh, it is a top-class camera and it's been designed placing the importance on practicality. Funtionally, the AE programme and the exposure control and preferential AE are both possible. The camera maniacs probably don't like the programme AE too much, but basically apart from it being a compact camera, if there aren't any times where you become engrossed in something and want to take a perfect photo, there will be many times where you will want to take photos carefreely.

Since there is a strong sense of thinking all you need to do with a compact camera is just press the button, it is quite easy to forget to set the exposure control. This is where the Minolta TC-1 makes an entrance. The minolta too, has an AE programme for a pocket mode, but not taking this in to account, it's quite a nusiance of a camera. I think it is really good to have an Ae programme.

The manual ones are not attached with an exposure mode so to countermeasure this, it is fitted with a plus minus 2 EV exposure correcting dial. This dial is quite big, so it makes it easy operating it. It isn't an inconvenient system where you have to hold down the button and also for the reason that it has a very easy to use dial means that camera maniacs would be completely satisfied. Functionally the good points are not only the strobe mode which can be changed by pressing a button, but with the slide switch, the following 3 modes can be chosen: automatic flash, lumination stop and lumination emphasis.

With a slide switch, usually if you put it on suspended lumination, the strobe will not function for favourite times. With main stream compact cameras, even if you put it on suspended lumination, every time you turn on the main switch, the automatic lumination mode is reset so you have to keep on resetting it. This is very important for the camera maniacs who always turn off their cameras. With the emphasised lumination mode, both slow syncro and of course the daylight syncro is possible. Also there is a time mode for night photography so long time exposure is possible. When choosing the exposure control AE, if you put it on long time exposure using the time mode, perfect night scene photography can be achieved. Camera maniacs will like this point as well!!

In addition, one of the functions is the mechanism which you choose to have either the date printed or not. For some people, they like the date on the photo, but for camera maniacs, they hate this!! So it's a good thing and not having a function to take panorama shots is another step away from the very amateur cameras. With the Ricoh R1, it had the wide conversion function which changed into 24 mm only when using the panorama function which was really fascinating, but this has gone now and instead we have a way improved lens. The lens is a 28 mm F2.8.As a Ricoh, being a rival of the Leica L Merit lens, you could day it stands out as being a rather sharp lens. The biggest camera maniac, Thunder himself tested out a camera which is equal to trial product so the internal reflex check was not completely ready but this countermeasure is in progress. Regarding the sharpness of the focus, I think the results they gave were pretty good. The compact camera adopts the 7 print exposure, so there is a little bit of haziness. The shortest distance away from the subject is 35 cm so it's possible to get quite close to the subject.

The finder has the same lighting system as the Ricoh R1 "Bright Film" so its very easy to see. As well as having the distance expression and the fast point expression of the 3 point Marche AF, it also has the shutter speed expression so putting it together with the preferential exposure AE, you can really be enthusiastic about taking photos. The trial tests were carried out for CAPA (October Edition) and we were able to get good AF precision and sharp focus. The 28 mm F2.8 lens with the 7 print component, the retrofocus type lens which has been used is a big bonus. Out of the 7 prints, 2 faces are changed. To a certain degree there is good depth of field. If you expose it up to exposure F.8, you don't have to worry. When thinking about this, this is quite a problem with the Nikon 28 Ti, and also with the Minolta TC-1 which is quite similar. Close photography using a wide-angled lens proved to be quite good too. Of course, when comparing it to 85 mm class lenses, there's not as much soft focus but, you can really say it's made well. Like the independant release of the Konika Hekisa lens with the Leica mount, this lens would be great if it had the Leica mount,.. well that's what I think.. Looking overall, there isn't a sense of the Ricoh GR-1 being really top quality. Especially with the issue of its finish. But because recently there are many with metallic finishes, it is safe to say they are still researching the best finish. As Thunder's pick, the Ricoh R1 Black/Green one is great! It's different from the metallic gold plated ones. I think they should really think a little more about the coating. However the body size and the metal make it a very solid camera. For people that know a lot about cameras, the clear-cut functions, the operational size and the easiness of using it, make it a very attractive camera. Its a camera that probably Mr Shootoku and Mr Araaki (2 hyper artists) would use. According to Thunder's information organisation, Mr Araaki has a 3rd edition Minolta TC-1. Personally speaking, Thunder thinks the compact cameras that have become popular are the Minolta TC-1, the Konika Hexer and the 3rd type Ricoh R1. Also, I use a Canon ixy to take memorabilia photos. There are people in the world that think you can take any picture with a compact camera using only sense. Thunder is a person who disagrees with this so, I use the camera having first set the aim.

The reason why I have an ixy to take memorabilia photos is because the strobe photos with the new system are overwhelmingly better. Thunder only uses the strobe compartments in the cameras of the past and the direct strobes for memorabilia photos and the direct strobes for souvenir photos and party snaps. At that time, the newest systems were only exclusive to souvenir photos. Before I got the ixy, the Ricoh R1 was the machine I used for my souvenir photos. There weren't many types of the R1 model. It looks as if the GR-1 will have the same ways of utilization as the TC-1 when it is released.

I use the Minolta TC-1 as a sub camera when taking scenery and snap shots. There isn't a compact camera that has a telefoto lens(for the reason it wouldn't be practical). But there is a method of using the TC-1 as a single reflex telefoto and a wide-angled lens. When travelling or wanting minimum camera luggage, taking a wide-angled compact camera is probably a good idea. In the case of taking scenery, exposure preferential AE plus exposure control whatever it's a wide-angled lens, so even with the AE program, it can take it pretty well. The Ricoh GR-1 is a camera which is well worth waiting for. My recommendations for a cheaper compact camera is a camera called a Kyocera T Proof. With the Tessa lens (35 mm lens) is better than the Tessa 45 mm F2.8 which was released for the Contax. It has a lifestyle waterproof function and a low-angled simple finder. It's a camera for the camera maniac!

Other new information is that the Kyocera will release an exciting new product. Notice it still has the APS movements. The top quality compact camera is a 35 mm but generally, it looks as if all compact cameras will shift to APS> Taking the initiative, Fuji's ad for it's superslim (APS) throwaway camera has made us take an interest. Apart from the simultaneous print the APS holds an important meaning, but it's not good for walking around with when going out or taking memorabilia shots. The Canon one singled reflex APS has a high reputation but it looks like a toy!! In October, the new release of the Canon F5 is planned, and with the Canon APS single reflex , the Kyocera new release and the Ricoh GR-1 etc, there will be loads of new releases from now until the end of the year which I'll want....what shall I do??!!