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Ricoh GR III Review

Read our full review of the new Ricoh GR III, the compact camera with a 24mp APS-C CMOS sensor, and a wide-angle 28mm equivalent lens.

| Ricoh GR III in Compact Cameras

Ricoh GR III Review: RIcoh GR III (16) (Large)


Quick Verdict

The Ricoh GR III isn't going to be for everyone, but for those that do want a compact camera, with high image quality, the Ricoh GR III delivers the goods. The camera is responsive, and delivers excelent detail in images, thanks to the 28mm equivalent lens. Macro focus has been improved and the user interface is easy to use, with the 3inch touch-screen adding to the experience. The fixed focal length may feel limiting to some, and if you're looking for high quality video, then you're best off looking elsewhere.

+ Pros

  • Compact APS-C camera
  • Shake reduction sensor
  • Excellent lens quality
  • Snap focus gives instant photos
  • Tough build quality
  • Improved macro performance

- Cons

  • Doesn't offer 4K video recording
  • Poor video quality (and options)
  • Doesn't offer tilting screen
  • Fixed focal length is not for everyone
  • Short battery life



Ricoh GR III Review: RIcoh GR III (12) (Large)

Ricoh has officially announced the Ricoh GR III, after showing a prototype camera at Photokina 2018. The GR III is the smallest Ricoh GR camera to be released with an APS-C CMOS sensor. The GR III features a new 24mp APS-C CMOS sensor, with sensor-shift image stabilisation and a number of other updates, including a 3inch touch-screen, phase detection auto-focus, and USB-C connection.


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The GR III will be available for £799 / €899, and will be available from the middle of March.

Ricoh GR III Features

Ricoh GR III Review: RIcoh GR III (1) (Large)

The Ricoh GR series is designed to be portable, with a quick response. In order to give a quick response when shooting the camera offers snap shooting, letting you shoot rapidly without having to wait for focus.

The Ricoh GR III offers a new 24mp APS-C CMOS sensor, with phase-detection auto focus. The camera has built in sensor-based shake reduction, meaning the sensor can move to counter image shake, Ricoh say this gives up to 4 stops of image stabilisation. Thanks to this, Ricoh have been able to add Dust Reduction to the camera, to help remove any dust from the sensor, if dust does end up in the camera. Hopefully it won't be an issue, and if it is, then this should help remedy the problem.  

Ricoh has also introduced an anti-aliasing filter simulation mode, as the sensor does not feature a built in anti-aliasing filter. If you're concerned about moire in images, then you can use the AA filter simulation to reduce the likelihood of moire.

There's a new processing engine for improved image quality, and quicker image processing.

Ricoh has a reputation for delivering firmware updates that not only fix bugs or errors, but also add additional features. One of the first firmware updates to be released for the GR III will be an option to add “graininess” to your photos.

However, the GR III has a fixed lens, with no optical zoom, instead the lens is an 18.3mm f/2.8 prime lens, equivalent to 28mm in 35mm terms, which has been redeveloped to be smaller, whilst delivering sharper results, a quicker switch-on time, as well as improved macro performance, with a new 6cm – 12cm macro focus mode.


Ricoh GR III Review: RIcoh GR III (13) (Large)

Ricoh say the camera is “Neither versatile, not for excitement, but to move ones heart…”

There’s a purity in the Ricoh GR series, in that they’ve followed the original film cameras, and always offered a 28mm equivalent prime lens. This design has allowed the cameras to remain compact, making them extremely compact, and pocketable. Over time a Ricoh GR fan base has grown, and Ricoh call these people “GR-ist” fans.

The Ricoh GR III isn't an "ordinary camera" and Ricoh say the “GR remains unfinished and keeps evolving" - They've even outlined 5 principles for GR cameras, and we've paraphrased them here:

  • Do not compete with numbers
  • Do not install function because of fad
  • We do not design only to draw attention
  • We do not change models easily
  • Always make something new

It has been 4 years since the Ricoh GR II, and there have been a number of updates made, so we thought it would be a good idea to list the main updates introduced with the GR III, compared to the GR II:

New to the Ricoh GR III:

  • Reduced start-up time 0.8 seconds (New, improved)
  • Similar in size to GR digital IV (which has 1/1.7inch sensor)
  • 24mp APS-C CMOS sensor (New)
  • Sensor image stabilisation (3-axis, pitch, yaw, roll), 4 stops
  • Dust Removal II – Ultrasonic cleaning function
  • Anti-aliasing filter simulator to eliminate moire (2 settings)
  • New 28mm f/2.8 aperture, 9 blade diaphragm for bokeh
  • 6 optical elements, in 4 groups (reduced in size), clearest, sharpest images in GR series history
  • New GR Engine 6 image processor (for improved processing speed, and IQ improvements, for more detail), improves AF performance
  • AdobeDNG raw shooting (14-bit)
  • Maximum ISO102400
  • 6cm macro capability (macro range to 12cm)
  • 3inch touch-screen, 1million pixels, air-gapless –
  • Touch-screen to set focus point, menu selection, image magnification, with outdoor view setting
  • Hybrid AF phase detection and contrast detection – for improved focus speeds, whilst maintaining accuracy.
  • 8 types of focus mode including continuous AF, touch-AF, plus face detection
  • 10 image filters, and within this you can adjust hue contrast, sharpness, and apply an HDR effect.
  • 2GB memory built-in (in case you forget your memory card)
  • USB Type-C
  • No built-in flash


Ricoh GR III Review: RIcoh GR III (11) (Large)

The GR III also features in camera raw development. Interval shooting, 10 minute increments up to 24 hours. Multi-exposure (for multiple images, up to 2000).

35mm equivalent, and 50mm equivalent crop modes are available, at a reduced resolution of 15mp, or 7mp respectively.

GR III no longer features a built-in flash, and this has allowed the camera to be the smallest APS-C camera yet. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are built-in, and Ricoh are launching an updated Ricoh ImageSync App in April. 

The camera has a tough Magnesium alloy frame, however, the camera is not weather-sealed, so if the weather does turn against you then we’d recommend you put the camera in your pocket.


Ricoh GR III Review: GR III Visuals (6) 001

There are a range of accessories available, including a new GW-4 21mm wide-angle convertor (a new adapter was needed to work with the new lens), external viewfinder(s), flash


Key Features

  • 24mp APS-C CMOS sensor, AA filter simulation (option), 14bit output
  • 18.3mm f/2.8 lens giving 28mm equivalent (in 35mm terms)
  • 9 blade diaphragm for enhanced bokeh
  • Sensor image stabilisation (3-axis, pitch, yaw, roll), 4 stops
  • 3inch touch-screen, 1m pixels
  • Hybrid / Contrast and Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF)
  • ISO up to ISO102400
  • FullHD Video, 60/30fps
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 (for ImageSync app)
  • USB C connection
  • Built-in ND filter
  • 6-12cm macro focus mode
  • Dual-axis electronic level
  • 2GB built-in (can record 140+ JPEG images)


Ricoh GR III Handling

Ricoh GR III Review: RIcoh GR III (9) (Large)

The Ricoh GR III is compact, and easily pocketable. There are rubber grips at the front and back of the camera giving the main grip plenty of texture. The rest of the camera is finished in a textured black paint, giving a good level of grip, and a more solid feeling.

The mode dial is locked until you press the release button next to it, and then you can turn the dial. There are three custom modes, U1, U2, U3, as well as Manual, Tv, Av, and P modes. The ADJ (adjust) selector is customisable, and can be used for exposure compensation to quickly adjust the exposure. Pressing the ADJ selector in will give you a number of options on screen. The Fn (function) button can be customised, and used for back-focus and manual focus. There's no quick way to switch between photo and video modes, unless you customise the Fn button and set it up as a switch between the two modes.

The touch screen is quick to use, and can be used within the menu system as well. The menus have a clean design, and a clear layout. There’s also a new outdoor view setting to make it easier to see the screen when out in bright sunny conditions. If you’re shooting into or towards the sun, then this is most welcome.

There are numerous different focus modes and options, with a total of 8 different modes, this includes Auto-area AF, Select AF, Pinpoint AF, Tracking AF, Continuous AF, Manual focus, Snap focus, and Infinite focus. There's also face detection focus, an AF assist light, focus peaking, and you can set the snap focus distance. You can use the touch-screen to set the focus point, and can select a wide-area of the screen, but not right in to the corners of the frame.

Ricoh GR III Review: RIcoh GR III (3) (Large)

The compact size, and the rapid focus when using the camera gives confidence when shooting street photography. The camera is small and unlikely to intimidate anyone, and due to the small size it’s quite likely to go unnoticed by those around you. The camera also benefits from an almost completely silent shutter, which again makes the camera a discreet camera to shoot with.

The layout of controls follows the design of previous cameras, and with a number of labelled options, it doesn’t take too long to work out how to quickly change settings. If you do find you’re going in to the menus to change settings, such as the crop factor, then you can customise a number of different buttons. Alternatively you can put your most regularly used settings in the MyMenu area.

Shooting with the GR III, the view on the rear screen shows a photo with low levels of saturation, on standard settings, and we switched to Vivid colour settings to improve the saturation and contrast in images.

Ricoh GR III Review: RIcoh GR III (8) (Large)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 200 shots according to Ricoh / CIPA test results, which is very low. Therefore a spare battery or two is definitely recommended. Luckily the camera can be charged through the USB Type C connection, which means you can use a portable charger if needed. 


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22 Feb 2019 1:57AM

Quote:Ricoh have been able to add Dust Reduction to the camera, to help remove any dust from the sensor, however, this hopefully shouldn't be an issue, as the camera doesn't let you change lenses.
Have you completely missed the dust problem with compact "pocketable" cameras like the Sony RX100 and Canon G5X/G7XG9X? The lens extends from the body every time you turn it on, and this sucks air and dust into the body of the camera. And of course the lint from your pocket gets on the camera, and the groves around the lens tubes collect This dust. This is worse than dust problems with interchangeable lens cameras because 1) ILCs do not create a vacuum even when having the lens changed (I just point mine down). 2) you cannot blow out any dust in these extending compacts. Dust goes in; dust mostly forever stays in.

Or is this just me? I wanted a pocketable camera last year. After buying (and returning) a used Canon that explicitly claimed it had no dust and finding lots of dust anyway (thanks blue sky), I decided that I'd need to need to carry such a camera in a dust-blocking bag to make it truly pocketable. This is apparently a design problem that can't be fixed (sort of a HEPA filter around the lens tube). I ended up ordering an Olympus E-PL8 and carrying it with a pancake lens.
joshwa Plus
12 927 1 United Kingdom
28 Feb 2019 1:10PM
We've updated this article.
banehawi Plus
19 2.9k 4354 Canada
16 Mar 2019 5:51PM
The King of street photography strikes another home run.

Have used a GR 1 and GR2 for a combination of 7+ years, no dust.
21 Mar 2019 9:52AM
I received mine yesterday and have been struggling...The touch screen I turned off straight away. The mistakingly-touched overrides any benefit it has, and the UI of the GR series is so intuitive anyway, it's fast enough without the screen.
The ADJ direct ISO option has gone! Arrgh. This was an amazing feature Brough in as firmware update to the GRD3 about 10 years ago (ish) and has been on every GR/d since.
Fn2 button has gone.
Flash isn't a big deal but nice to have...can do without.
Start up is noticeably faster.
Focus hunts in anything but the best light, in which case it's lightning fast.

Hopefully firmware will reinstate these missing features. Right now, the GRii is the better camera.

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