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Thursday, 18 April 2019


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Sorry, never used one but it would suit me down to the ground. As my Olympus OMD-EM10 is currently giving me trouble this post is giving me ideas about where to look next.

Ned is on doctors orders to not look at screens for a couple of weeks. You're probably not going to hear from him for a bit.

[Oooh, bad timing on my part. Hope he gets well soon. --Mike]

General remark. I don't own the GR III yet.

Using the GR since 2013 and I never looked back. Never really grabbed the DSLR again and I had more than decent gear.

- Great menu and customizability
- Excellent screen
- One handed (right handed) and blind folded operation part of the camera's DNA
- Very Liberating since it strongly encourages experimenting with visual styles
- Extremely quick operation with zone focussing and plenty DOF for getting the shot
- Excellent macro mode and the 28mm has buttery smooth Bokeh
- contrasty DNG files and good jpg engine.
- excellent resolving power of the lens. Never owned anything like that.
- easy to just pick it up

This camera brought me to a wholly new level.

I'll stick to the GRs for as long as possible.
Curious about the GR III comments and how the touch screen improves usability.

For me, the first APS-C version was like officially entering the 21st century... ie- The Future! At last, a QUALITY print camera from the palm of your hand to your shirt pocket.

PS- Yeah, I'm disappointed the III doesn't have a flash (never used mine, but when I do, it'll be a Pulitzer)!

I think TOP allows a little crosstalk with posts...John Krumms comment sums last weeks barrage of phone as camera posts. "It is a real camera in use, fluid and fun, unlike phones".

While my main cameras are all Fujis, I have a GRII and I absolutely love it. When I bought it I was concerned about the lack of a viewfinder since that has been one of my basic requirements in buying any new camera. But the stories of long time users swayed me and I bought one pretty soon after it was announced. After a short get-acquainted period, the GRII became a good and highly reliable friend and that friendship has persisted.

At present, I don't plan on buying a GRIII. I'm sure it's excellent and it will have some improvements over my GRII. But it's a bit expensive right now and my GRII is working fine so I'll hold off on replacing or augmenting it. Also, while image stabilization is appealing, some of the highly touted features of the GRIII are of no use to me (for instance, I loath touchscreens). Maybe at some point in the future, when the price goes down or they begin to hit the used market at good prices.

I got a Fujifilm X70 several years ago that is similar but has a tilty-flippy screen which I think is indispensable (I picked it up used for just under $500). I’ve heard that the lens is better on the GRs but I don’t know any better. I have been very happy with mine and because the lens does not retract , suspect it will last longer. It is quite pocketable (in a coat pocket or cargo pant leg pocket) or can be slipped into a nook in my bag along with my X-T2 and a prime (usually in my case the quirky but delicious 35 f/1.4). I would not be happy with the screen on this guy which limits composition angles if you don’t want to lay on the ground etc..

I've had it for a few weeks now and just got back from using it on a trip to Hawaii. I've previously owned a GR II, though not for very long and I ended up selling it in anticipation of the III.

A few key take-aways:

  • I ran into an issue several days into the trip where the lens cover wouldn't fully open (bottom leaf seemed stuck). I describe this further in the review, but it was the main negative point and one that I'm currently assuming is a defect of this unit rather than a widespread durability issue until proven otherwise
  • Size felt very good to me, and I enjoy the ergonomics now that I've had some time to get used to them
  • IQ is meaningfully improved over the GR II, particularly the dynamic range
  • Battery life is absolutely fine—I had no issues getting at least a day and a half of shooting off one charge
  • My unit has no wobbly dial or lens alignment issues
  • Low light AF is bad, but all other contexts are perfectly fine for my usage
  • Vignetting is indeed very strong. Not always a concern, but for clear sky landscapes it was a pain to correct

Overall, I'm very happy with the camera. It's unique, fun to shoot, effortless to bring with me everywhere, and the results are consistently better than I anticipated. I hope support can sort out my lens cover issue so I can get back to shooting.

For anyone interested, I recently published my own review of the GR III: https://mariusmasalar.me/ricoh-gr-iii-review

Really liked the handling and way you could configure the Ricoh GXR camera, and had one until about two years ago. Used it with three of the APS-C modules. Related to that, have been interested in the GR for many a year, and with version III starting to reach buyers, the price of the II dipped on Amazon UK last week... my version II arrived today! Via the TOP link, of course, and with some other stuff.

The plan is to mainly have it as a small backup when either using a film camera, or a DSLR with a telephoto lens.

I'm still using my GRD IV and I really like it.

I am sure the image quality does not compare with the new GRs, but is is super fast and a joy to use.
The image quality kinda reminds me of 35mm film.

I keep thinking about upgrading and maybe I will, but then I'd have to leave my GRD on the shelf and I just don't know if I can do that!

Because I have the apparently freakish ability to walk, chew bubble-gum and do simple math in my head (28 times 1.5), I always thought that the GR II/III had a 42mm equivelant FF lens. Silly me! I hate it when someone assumes I'm a cretin (slang meaning, not medical). If you want me to buy your product, or read you blog, don't treat me like I'm brain-dead.

Mr. Yips should love the three axis IBIS. The macro setting (2.4-4.7" from lens front) should make for spectacular sniffing dog shots. A first class sensor shaker/cleaner and pop-up flash are always welcome.

Here's a good video about how Daido Moriyama thinks about photography. Artmaking is the Act of Making Copies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxGmcEFtvDA

[The Ricoh GR III, like the GR II, has a fixed 18.3mm ƒ/2.8 lens, which the manufacturer lists in the specs for both as "approx. 28mm equivalent." --Mike]

I was in Tokyo in June of 2007 and fondled the GR-D in a couple of camera shops. It had a lovely solid feel that was very seductive in contrast to the plastic all over most other cameras of that time, and yeah, now. I didn't buy one, but was tempted.

I'll be there again in two weeks and that sequence will probably repeat itself, including the "didn't buy one" part. Prices are about the same from the big stores in the US.

I've owned many iterations in the GR line. One of them even being film. Needless to say I love them. This version has a couple curious omissions that may prevent me from upgrading. The loss of the TaV mode while minor is a bit of a head scratcher for me. In certain situations I like being able to set aperture and shutter speed while having auto ISO make the necessary adjustments. I assume I can use a preset location and do something similar but it used to be stock. Then there's the +/- rocker... it's gone. I used it constantly in aperture priority mode. Admittedly there's a new way to adjust it but I'm getting older and more set in my ways. One thing I don't imagine has changed it it's ability to suck in dust when opening. I've had to disassemble my current GR a couple time to clean the sensor. Last time I removed an eyelash. But this one has a cleaning function so maybe that helps a bit. Anyway, I'm still on the fence about this one. And this comes from a guy who bought GRs after his first experience with the 1/1.8" CCD one. It was an awful image maker compared to other small sensor cameras at the time but the haptics were better than most DSLRs.

How does it compare in final image quality with the Fuji X100 series and the Sigma DP Merrill of equivalent focal length?
We can put up with a lot of things if the final image quality is excellent.
Carrying around 'point and shoot' of high quality makes for fine images as one grows into the gear.

I've owned three of the digital models, the first generation I and III and now the second generation GR II. Last year when going through my late brother-in-law's camera stash I found he had three of the film versions. I've always had a love/hate relationship with the camera, primarily the lack of a viewfinder. Living in a sunny region of the US and trying to compose with the screen can be a real frustration. Maybe I just need to break down and buy the add-on viewfinder. The camera has an amazingly sharp lens and the RAW files seem to be very malleable. I've made some nice, subtle shots of architecture and super gritty, low-light photos walking my dog at 6 in the morning. I noticed that LensRentals has the GR III in stock, I'm sort of tempted to try it out to see how they compare.

The Ricoh GR III, like the GR II, has a fixed 18.3mm ƒ/2.8 lens, which the manufacturer lists in the specs for both as "approx. 28mm equivalent." --Mike

I just find it especially condescending that Ricoh feel that they have to do the math for me. This peevish person hates to be patronized, particularly by peddlers.

[I doubt they meant it just toward you *personally*. --Mike]

I have the first film version, which I bought during a crazed compact-camera accumulation phase, three or so years ago. The top display is gradually failing, and the viewfinder has separation - both common faults in these aging cameras - but the lens is so good and so amazingly sharp from edge to edge, and the ergonomics are so perfect, that it’s the only compact I kept when I recently decided to clear out the shelves of rarely used equipment (and that included cameras like the Olympus XA4).

I understand the retracting lens of the digital version sucks in dust, and that problem hadn’t been fixed by Ricoh(?) If it’s still the case, then they’re being true to their tradition of creating exceptionally great photographic tools with slapdash technical Achilles heels.

I’ve used a GR-I for the past 4 years, clocking some 8000 shots with it. It is I believe an exquisite tool for street and “stream of consciousness” photography, providing extreme image quality (easily mixed with work made with far more expensive equipment) in a package that encourages a much more “free-form” approach to shooting. I have images that I just would not have made with my other gear, either because the camera would have been sitting in a bag, or because the camera would have led me to overthinking my shots. There is enough improvement in this #3 release to make me consider upgrading: low-light situations will surely benefit from both improved ISO range and in-camera stabilization — and low light is precisely where I’ve used the GR the most... A niche camera for sure, but surely a magnificent one.

I agree with Stephen, and always have at least one Ricoh GR. I have had the GX100, the GRD, the GRDIII, the GR, and now use the GRD4. I am torn between getting the GRDII or the GRDIII, but will keep shooting the GRD4 until it too dies and I need a replacement. The smaller sensor GRD series has its advantages, and as I no longer print and basically only view photos on a 2015 MacAir, the GRD4 works great for me.
BTW, my GRD still works, and I do have fun using the different modules. I keep it in our place in the woods on Van Isle, and so only access it in the summers.

I owned the second of the small-sensor GRs: the ergonomics of the thing are lovely (with one exception, see below) but the lens is too wide for me. So I now, still, own a GXR with the 50mm(-eqiuvalent) lens, which is ergonomically the same.

I could imagine buying one of these in a fit of 'using a 28mm lens would be good discipline', the same way I bought my ES-175 (which was good discipline). Except I can't, because it has no EVF. I completely fail to understand how people of my age (50 or older) use cameras without viewfinders: we almost all either need reading glasses or (in my case) distance glasses: either way we can't focus well on both things close to us and at infinity without changing glasses. So how do people use cameras without viewfinders? I guess by holding them at arm's length and peering into the tiny, distant screen we can now just keep in focus? Wouldn't it be cool if there was a device which would project that image so it seemed to be at infinity while we held the camera to our eyes to make these things useable for us?

The GXR has an EVF. You can get auxiliary OVFs for the GR of course (I had one), which makes it only as hard to use as a Barnack Leica, and cost about as much as a cheap one.

I have a Ricoh GR and this update is very welcome:

1) Lens is so sharp that moire could be an issue with GR, GR3 have higher resolution AND AA-filter emulation via shake reduction to combat that.

2) More pixels are really welcome for such sharp lens.

3) Low light performance should be better due to both more modern sensor with dual gain tech and shake reduction system.

4) Wireless might be useful, GR don't have it so I don't have an opinion.

5) Touchscreen is new and could be useful.

6) JPG engine is somewhat weird in GR, RAW processing is your friend.

Problem with 28mm lens is that's exactly what every phone has. And it's hard to beat the phone in terms of everyday availability, even if it beats it in quality.
Also "large APC-C sensor", there's an oxymoron if I ever saw one.

[Why? APS-C is larger than 99% of the camera sensors in the world. --Mike]

Bought the GR II a few years back for a trip to Boston wanting something light and simple. Amazing quality results given the size and weight. GR III tempting because of IBIS but I probably won't bite. Only things I miss really are an EVF and some kind of tele/normal converter. My preferred equiv focal length is 40mm. So I keep my Fuji X-T20 as well, using mainly the underrated 27mm. Funny thing is I always associated Ricoh with office printers and photocopiers. But the lens on this little camera is astonishingly good!

I got the GR III as soon as Amazon had stock in the US, having sold the GR II that I had for about a year to help make room for it. The III is a worthy update. It's got excellent IBIS, an even better lens with better macro capability, a well-implemented touchscreen, 24MP sensor with excellent rendering and a few other more minor tricks up its sleeve. It's tiny, but once you handle the files in your image editor of choice, you understand why it's $900.

There are a few minor issues, some of which are due I think to using a new factory in Vietnam. The wobbly dial thing is a tempest in a teacup, but in some ways the firmware does seem a little premature, along with the hybrid focusing. I'm hoping updates solidify the operation to make it really great.

I have a GR, (the GRII is the same with a few small tweeks), and it is perfect.

And that, of course is the problem for the manufacturers, to improve something which is already as good as it can be.

So they increase the number of pixels, and since it appears to use the same sensor as the K70, include IBIS too. Except that now battery life is halved, the little and sometimes useful little flash has gone, and it apparently vignettes at all apertures. The battery too is different and has a new wideangle converter lens, leaving the old, excellent one, incompatible.

My message is you should have left it alone, the only thing it needed was better AF in certain conditions, but find me a camera that you can't say that about already.

Bottom line is will I buy one, as I must be a prime customer and I use my GR an awful lot - including today, as it happens. Maybe is all I can say at present, but not yet. I might even squirrel a new GRII away in case my existing GR breaks.

Mike you did not mention what is perhaps the biggest change in the GR III: the introduction of IBIS. I love my GR I but have moved on to use just my X-T3. Keeping it "simple" with one system.

I'm a GR owner from a few years now. I got the I shortly before the II was announced and the II seemed to be a very slight refresh that didn't tempt me at all. The GR was purchased through one of your affiliate links and was bundled (comically) with a Ricoh Flash that is generally the size of a Vivitar 283. Completely wrong for use on the camera. But hey, it was 'free'!

The III is a temptation to me for the IBIS, more pixels and presumably better noise characteristics that come from a few generations of sensor improvements. But I don't have $900 to spend on any camera purchases, instead paying for a few double-paned windows just installed, and I really should get a dental implant or two before more camera purchases. But the III is awfully attractive. Maybe by the time I'm ready we'll be on the IV or V.

I'd be interested in seeing a real-world comparison of the GR III vs the Leica Q2 (I think that's the fixed lens one). I suspect for intended use (i.e. handheld-walk around) photography, the Ricoh would acquit itself until prints are made well larger than likely would be made when using this type of camera.


I have been thinking too much about the Ricoh but is the Sony RX100 VA not a better camera.

f1.8 plus zoom plus raw plus stablisation.

I had a Fuji X100S and loved the images from it but I still wanted a bit of zoom even though I PREFER wide to tele.

Taking a few extra steps isn't always enough.

Mike: I don’t think many, if any, folks have yet had the chance to use one of these new Ricoh GR IIIs, as they’re just about to ship.

I was once quite a fan of the Ricoh GR compact camera line. They’ve always been durable (although not weatherproof) and had a remarkably sharp and fast lens. The early notes on the GR III suggest that it’s unmistakably and solidly in the evolutionary lineage of its ancestors.

Ricoh GR III ancestors: (film) the GR1, the GR1s, the GR1v, and the digital GR.

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve used my GR II regularly but it’s a very capable camera, despite its "mommy's p&s" appearance. Its design is truly devoted to making the camera an extension of your eye and hand. Plus the GR has had maintained a design continuity that I don't think any other camera line has even early matched. I fully expect that I could pick up the III and be instantly at-home with it. The addition of the touch screen focus and image stabilizer without adding any significant bulk seems a very keen accomplishment. Plus it looks like the III retains that unique “snap” focus feature that’s made the camera popular for candid “street” work.

Ricoh clearly knows its niche, as the III seems to be just as much a street machine as ever! Wanna see a GR being used by a guy who arguably buoyed the camera’s popularity among street photographers? Take a look at the 2001 Daido Moriyama documentary film Near Equal.

Hi Mike,

Still having a pretty copy of the classic GR1 with its crisp 28/2.8 (surprisingly, equivalent to 28/2.8) and full set of features, I could see the attraction of the GR III except...where is the viewfinder? I have soldiered along with advanced finderless compact digicams (Panny LX, Sigma DP) but find rear-display only to be a significant limitation. Never again. IMHO Ricoh stumbles badly here against competition that includes an EVF with cameras not significantly larger.

I am a Ricoh GXR fan and I like shooting macros. I have just stepped into the GRiii territory to leave my comfort zone. The camera is small, almost the size of a phone. Solid. Ergonomically very good (must be very difficult to engineer properly for such a small camera). Customization options are abound. Has image stabilization. Most importantly, for me, its lens is first class (for the lack of a better word in my vocabulary). I am not a street shooter, in any sense and wide angle has never been easy for me. Still, I do hope that the Griii can help me widen my angle. I only have a single image online with it as yet. (https://www.photo.net/photo/18532775/Street-Scene-With-A-Blue-Arrow)

A great Youtube review by Samuel Streetlife has a lot of photos taken with the GR III. It shows how equipment possibilities may even suggest a style. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSKVDPkYnHg

Marcin hit the nail on the head for me. I have long lusted after the GR as a walk-around camera, but can't ever justify the purchase because a) it's the same focal length as my phone, b) it's less portable than my phone, and c) I hate shooting 28mm (funny how I always forget that last part)

I have the GR and liked it so much that I got the GRII.
It is a camera that grows on you. My only problems are that the retractile lens assembly is prone to break down(Happened to me on the GR) within two years and that some people may find a fixed lens restrictive. I personally found it liberating.
The GRIII seems to be in the same groove but strangely enough Ricoh did away with backward compatibility of the wide angle adapter.

I’ve had the GR3 for several weeks now and am falling in love with it.

I love the small size that makes it easy to carry everywhere and looks like a non-pro camera, thus putting subjects more at ease. The lens is super sharp and renders well. The 28mm focal length is one I am comfortable with, especially since I have been using my iPhone more often in recent years. Macro mode is nice.

AF is generally pretty good but not the best I have experienced. There can definitely be some hunting. Also my front ring keeps falling off. I already lost one which Ricoh replaced. I’m sure I’ll lose another at some point.

Battery life is pretty poor but I just carry a spare. Hasn’t been a big problem for me. I like that I can charge in camera via usb. Makes it easier for travel.

Overall I think it is a great camera that is fun to use and easy to carry.

Are comments on GR way behind, or is it that....there aren't many comments ? From reading here and there, it seemed like the X 100 series and the GR in quality and compact fixed single focal length cameras always had a lot of positive comments, followed by fixed lens zooms with the LX- 100 and RX 100 series. (Not Sure what the "100" designator is supposed to represent.) I thought the GR had a devoted almost cultish following for its unique combination of features....Soooo-Where're y"all at ?!?

My GRII is just a marvelous camera, the latest in a long line of Little Big Cameras I've owned. Remember the Rollei 35? I had one or two of those, and then an Olympus Stylus. To feel like a a pro shooting roll film, I had a Roleiflex, and later a Fuji 645 GSW, the Texas Leica. Each was the best solution I could find to the equation of size and weight or the camera vs. the negatives it created.

Today's GRII, or the I or II, I'm sure, offers all the image quality of my larger cameras. The controls are full and rich, once you've learned them. The accessories are impressive, including an optical VF, a square lens hood, and a 21mm conversion lens that's as sharp as any wideangle I've seen yet. The standard lens is sharp enough and well-matched to the lens that the 35mm and 47mm crops are quite useful.

I reach for the GR whenever I don't want to carry a real camera, but usually I favor a Fuji or Pentax instead. I just miss the viewfinder experience too much, preferably OVF but an EVF is better than rear-screen viewing. If Ricoh made a GR with an EVF and a modest zoom, I'd take a long look. In the meantime, I rely on the GR for fill-flash work, taking the advantage of the fast sych speed made possible by the leaf shutter.

The dust/crud/lint issue traces back to owners taking "pocketability" too liberally.Shoving it unprotected into coat and pants pockets is asking for trouble. Storing them in a Pelican 1020 case(near perfect fit) when not in service greatly reduces the chance of a fouled sensor. Not sure the GR III will bolster cult membership quite the way the GR II did. Stabilization and a bigger sensor are sorta "meh" features for me. Killer for street shooting since many mistake it for just another phone cam. Advice? Scoop a GR II at current mark-downs. Can't get enough of the GR II's b&w output processed thru the Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 plug-in. "New" isn't always improved."

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