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Wednesday, 08 September 2021


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There is a Leica Monochrome camera you could afford, the Huawei P20 Pro with a Mono only camera and Leica lens. I think it also qualifies as a “first mono” at least in the smartphone class. Reviewers said it was the best phone cam at the time it came out (2018) and now available much reduced, though possibly not in the USA due to the ‘war on Huawei’ ;), which may save you from failing to fulfil your pledge for a second time.

Coincidentally, I know this because I was this morning considering buying a used, SIM free one with a cracked screen on eBay for £70 just to try the camera and Android software.

unavoidable, you have to get it

unless it is out of price range compared to their classic GR

and, of course, assuming it is for real....

although at this point in time Ricoh should recognise your voice and give you one


[And Lok Cheung has his own video from the same walkaround with Kai. Their sample images look good though. --Mike]

Small but important detail: Here's hoping that Ricoh designs this new version in such a way that one can put a lens cap on it. I owned an early model, and its retractable electric cap was awful. It had to be stowed very carefully in order to avoid damaging cap and lens.

To each his own, but it seems that the Fuji X-E3 with the new Fuji xf-27mm offers more with approximately the same 40mm FOV. Of course, there is no IBIS and that is a very real concern for you. But you do get a viewfinder and the battery life is quite a bit better. In terms of price, the Fuji kit will probably come in at about <$1000, since there are several X-E3 on the used market. Or, B&H is selling the X-E4 and the xf-27mm for $1049. Good luck with whatever you decide.

“I don’t buy Leicas… because they all cost…”

I wonder if someone has actually figured out the cost of ALL Leica cameras. Adding up the retail prices (for consistency) of each camera (body only, again for consistency) would, I think, be a princely sum indeed. Maybe not too far off from your long string of digits.

Amazon is offering that M10 for only $465/month, interest free, for 18 months. “Almost free!” as the vendors told me on my (pre-pandemic) trips to Mexico.

If I was a well-heeled TOP reader (instead of a retired teacher), I’d buy you an M10, with lens, just to move you off that point. Plus, I think it’d be fun to follow your adventures as you explored the world with your monochrome camera.

Maybe set up a Go Fund Me to get the M10. I’d chip in on that!

I'll buy one too. Had one of the old film ones.

I thought you were dreaming, but I checked the Ricoh home page. And . . . . it is TRUE.

What I think? If this is all true, then you must buy one. And thinking of it, you won't be alone: I'll buy one too. So that will be TC/TL/TY between both of us.

If you buy one you'll become a GRist. Wow!

Btw: I have a Voigtländer 40mm viewfinder lying around. Perfect match for that GR. If you want it, you can have it; please let me know.

I owned the GR (I) and loved the portability, ease of use and image quality but found the focal length and lack of IBIS to be a compromise. I started using the Sony RX100 III instead and while the ease of use and image quality are not as nice, it's even more portable. It fits in the pockets of pants I wear, while the GR doesn't. While I would have been very excited about the GR IIIx a few years ago, the Sony RX100 III might have reduced my appetite for it.

Wouldn’t you be happier with a Fuji X-E4 and 27mm kit (which knocks $200 off the cost of the lens)? Integrated viewfinder, aperture ring, and parts that can be integrated with your other gear after the OCOLOY…

That’s what I’d do.

If you can get an electronic viewfinder, why not a detachable remote viewer (or just link to your phone)? Why not AI? We are at an awkward time (in many ways) for cameras and cars - several basic design elements have begun changing and aren't stable. Over $nn, wait until there's a substantial jump in performance. So far, the only problem with waiting is rising prices, but glug glug, baby.

I know that doesn't help at all.

Cool! Interested.

I’ve been a GR owner for longer than I realized. I have two film models and the GR 2 and GR 3, outfitted with an optical vf, no less. They’re wonderful little cameras, but they do have their own unique user interface and control model unlike any other camera system. I have nothing but praise for their rather remarkable imaging abilities. (GR digital image from 2015: https://www.kentanaka.com/just-a-moment#6 )

In fact it’ll probably be the best camera you’ll never use. Not a “real” camera like that old slr you lived. Way too small for big hands. You’ll use it for a week or two, realize it’s basically outdated by your iPhone, and then put it in a drawer (where mine spends its time).

Be realistic. It’s a thousand dollars. Now what else could you buy TODAY for one thousand dollars?

My love for Ricoh GRs is boundless, only marred by one very annoying feature: batteries that barely last more than three old-style 135 film rolls.
I exaggerate, but not much: it's rare to get to shoot close to 200 frames per charge. I have two spare batteries, so that while one is charging at home I can go out and shoot with no anxiety about having to interrupt my 'flow'.
But heck, a 40mm equiv GR would make a great combo with the 28-eq jewel I so love to use...

Well, no, I don't think you have to buy one.
How is it different from your current cameras with a 27MM lens?
It is not the 'affordable monochrome' you've been pining for, and while I am sure it shoots in Monochrome mode, - so do your current cameras.

Now it sounds like you WANT to buy one, and there is nothing wrong with that. But how is it different from what you already own?
What does it have that will make you want to take pictures more than your current cameras? Why will this one spend less time on the shelf?

If you really feel like the camera answers those questions for you, then by all means buy it. If not, buy what you REALLY want, even if it is more money. Or do a monochrome conversion to a camera you like.

Used original M9 Monochrom and M240 style Monochrom are now in the $2500-$3200 range. Still a big chunk of change, but if you like B&W, there's nothing like them.

I'm growing to love my Fuji X-E4 with the new 27mm (40mm equiv.) lens. Small enough. Not as small as the Ricohs, but the X-E4 has an excellent EVF. I often find myself 'itching' for another GR (I've owned several versions), but the lack of a viewfinder always led me to sell them.

Sounds like a great excuse to consider the latest X100. ;)

$20,396,742,085,730,953,837,592,380,750 huh?

Think how many watches that would buy. ;>)

First, invest in an extra pair of reading glasses- if only the cheap drug store variety- they will be an invaluably necessary "accessory." Second, realize that your viewing screen will be around half the size of your smart phone- with all its other deficiencies. Third, I thought both of the above would make the experience intolerable. Fourth, I've been more than delightfully surprised just how wrong
I was. Fifth, YMMV...

I have been using a Ricoh GRD4 since I bought it new and really like it. It has a small sensor and a jpeg tone called "Positive film effect" that I really like. Also it's super fast to focus.
Somehow I have resisted upgrading to the new GR cameras (I'm cheap too) but this camera...I expect I'll get it.

Was the Kodak 760-M ever commercially available? I saw a review for that in Luminous Landscapes as the first all B&W digital camera that came out in 2001 or 2002. Pete Myers might have been the reviewer if I remember correctly.

Resistance is futile. We are the Borg. You will buy the camera!

Star Trek Day today. It has been 55 years since day 1.

Huawei P20 Pro. Used from ebay. Under $200. Leica engineered. I bought it for the camera.

It's cool, and might just scratch that monochrome itch for you.

Mike, I'm thinking a GRIIIx would compliment your existing camera set better. One could attach this camera to their belt all day and forget it was even there. An APS-C sized image sensor and much more satisfying to shoot with than an iPhone (IMHO).

Checkout the GC-11 Soft Case for the GRIIIx:
(1) http://www.ricoh-imaging.co.jp/english/products/gr-3/accessories/
(2) https://www.ricoh-imaging.eu/eu_en/soft-case-gc-11

(the previous GC-9 case is a better value:
https://www.amazon.com/GC-9-Soft-Ricoh-Digital-Compact/dp/B07NW7X9FM )

You've already received a couple of suggestions of the Fuji X-E4/27mm combination. I'll add another one.

If it comes to a choice between IBIS with no viewfinder or a viewfinder with no IBIS, I vote for the viewfinder with no IBIS. Just up the ISO and/or use a slightly wider aperture and a faster shutter speed. The current Fujifilm cameras handle high ISO settings quite well.

The X-E4/27mm combination may be my second camera but it's the camera I have with me most often. It doesn't fit in my pocket but it does fit in my shoulder bag and, when I want to, I can use the 27mm on my X-Pro3 for when I'm being "serious".

If the universe is forcing anyone to buy a camera, then they must not go against such force. Just sayin'.

As for Leica, I don't know what else to say except that I am quite successful in going against the force of their universe. The way to do it is an antidote in a small dose of "common sense".

This thing seems nice, though 40mm is not my favorite.

Hard to carry around in addition to your phone though. If I were to bother, I'd need a bag, and then I might as well just carry an Olympus with one lens. 🙂

Remarkably, just before reading this post I received an email from Canon, "Photograph the World in Black and White." Subhead, "Shoot and See Your Images in Black and White."


I was briefly interested-- then I saw the back of the camera. You see all those buttons in the lower right where your palm grips the camera? Or at least my mitt does? Guaranteed to accidently press some secret combination of buttons that puts your camera in 320x200 video mode with inverted colors, or change the language settings to Uzbekistanian. Took me two cameras-- the X100T and the GX9-- to learn that expensive lesson.

Mike, what kind of pictures are you planning to take during your OC/OL/OY plan? The GR III is the ultimate street photography camera. If HCB was still alive and taking pictures, he might forsake his beloved Leica for the GR. But, would it meet your needs? If you plan to take a variety of pictures with your OC/OL/OY it might not be the right camera. Your Fuji might be the right camera.

BTW, I think the idea of a monochrome camera is a romantic notion if you are only planning to shoot jpegs with it. With a normal RAW conversion in Lightroom, you get access to the BW Mixer which allows you to manipulate the color channels and therefore tones in the BW image. A powerful tool. You would miss that with a monochrome sensor.

As I've posted here before, the Fuji xf27 is optically perfect.

But what the hell. It's only money. Live a little Mike. Tell you one thing, you sure are gonna miss an EVF aka deal breaker.

"When you work for yourself and survive by your wits"

Is this going to segue into a column about how you only make half a living?

[All I meant was: when you are self-employed, even when things are going well you still worry. --Mike]

Count me in as sold on the GR IIIX. I have the GR III. It's fantastic and I really love viewfinders. However given it's small size it's a compromise I am willing to make. It's really one of those specialty cameras that somehow you can do a lot of things with like the X100 series.

As for the Leica's, I sold a bunch of stuff last year and bought a Q2M because I love B/W. I'm 28-50 person. I only have one lens longer than 50mm. When it's good it's very good. You would be fine with one because you have shot film and know how to use filters. I basically keep a Yellow K2 on it. Is it better than the GFX 50R, no. I would say if you took 10 shots with the idea of them being B/W, 5-6 would look better on the Q2M. For some subjects it is fantastic. However, if I had known Fuji was coming out with the new 50 megapixel GFX camera, I would have waited and bought it. I will admit that at high ISO's the Leica is incredible. I just don't shoot at night that much. Honestly, you can use it up to ISO 25,000. It will just look like Ilford Delta 3200 or maybe more like Neopan 1600 and not pushed either if you are printing at say 12 x 18. Are Leica lenses good, sure. Are they $3000+ better than any of my Fuji lenses, absolutely not. Most new lenses regardless of the manufacturer are incredible compared to older film lenses anyway.

Anyway, great news on the GR IIIx!!! I am super excited about this camera. And for what's worth, I use the GR III way more than the Q2M.

I wouldn't worry, not buying by default is still the normal to do, and the health thing, too.

Gear is all just some plastic object you don't really need, more of a drug in infrequent but large doses.

So don't feel bad, if you end up not buying this one again, especially if you spend some of the money on things like visiting friends.

"I think I'm kinda being...forced to buy one of these . . . What do you think? I think I kinda have to."

One form of wisdom is in knowing when a fantasy was just that, and that the reality is not actually appealing.

". . . and do an OC/OL/OY."

OC/OL/OY has always struck me as like being The Man in the Iron Mask, with only one eye hole, or perhaps a form of torture in one of Dante's circles of Hell.

I was recently wandering through a great botanic garden and old growth redwood groves. I was carrying three cameras, covering 10 to 1120 mm FF eq. That was just about enough.

(This photo this small is a crime.)

Would I be allowed to process the endless supply of Raw files on my computer, while I abstained from photography for a year?

The first 35 mm camera I ever owned (as opposed to "borrowed" from my father, or really borrowed from the camera club) and on which I learned most of my skills such as they are was a Ricoh 500G - a little 40 mm fixed lens, rangefinder. I loved that camera and only left it behind after the rangefinder went out of whack I couldn't afford the repair - that would some 40 years ago and I still regret it. So unless you are passing on the universe's joke, Mike, or there is no hot (or cold) shoe above and in line with the lens for an OVF to be clipped on, I'm going to have to buy a GR IIIx as the best way to say thank you to a corporation (short of writing a latter, I suppose) - even if I will still be in debt for the $20,396,742,085 I paid for my lovely Leica Q2, which I impulse purchased (on sale, I might add) but do not regret - it might have been the Q2M but that cost an additional $10,000,000 and my impulse was rejected by the combined operation and effect of my credit credit limit, future earning capacity, and my advanced technical knowledge of the saturation slider in Lightroom.

Ricoh GRIIIx - should be available at MSRP $999.00 in CONUS.

Ricoh Europe is already listing it at MSRP €999.00 - and from previous experiences somehow these price values are usually mirrored later in US dollars.

One of the best features of the GR range is one called 'snap focus'.
Zone focusing without even looking at a depth of field scale - just memorise what the range is of your selected aperture and learn to judge distance.
Once you get used to this way of street shooting, everything else seems pedestrian. YMMV

LOL - it’s a sign!
Insert Monty Python / Life of Brian reference here :~)

If 40 is your thing, have you not tried the Fuji 27? If you don’t mind sacrificing the aperture ring, there are probably some dirt cheap Mk I available now that there is the Mk II with an aperture ring.

I immediately thought of a Fuji X-E series camera with the second generation 27mm lens. For me, the viewfinder is worth the difference in size. No need to worry that it won't fit in my pocket - my iPhone covers that.

My Fuji preference stems, in part, from my own "if they build it I will buy it" experience. I kept complaining (one of my true talents) that no camera manufacturer offered a digital equivalent of a Nikon FM. Along came the Fuji X-T series and out came my wallet.

I like the camera but do not love it. I question the reference to The Best Street Shooting Camera, wow that’s a bold statement. My humble opinion is that street photography is referenced way too many times. My question is how many “Street Photographs” are actually hanging on amateur photographers walls within their own homes or friends, neighbors, relatives ?
How many of us really live in cities where street photography has people and places worthy of prints in frames on walls ? If we all want a 40mm fixed camera digital camera to have with you al the time, that’s great. I have many photographs of urban areas, cities that are both modern and decaying some with people some without. I would never label myself as a street shooter, or perhaps there is a clear definition of street photography that would help me understand more clearly.

I suspect it will be an outstanding 40mm camera for those who can handle its handling, which is much better than the small size suggests. I got used to it, and especially enjoyed my GRII after installing the bulky looking but light hood. The only thing that might be hard is if you have to use reading glasses. I have trifocals so it doesn't matter. Maybe you can get the kind of bifocals that have no corrections on the upper half (I remember you have surgically corrected eyes but forget if you have the optional "one for close-up" ).

For the people suggesting the Fuji 27mm lens, it's really quite different than a GR. For one thing, if the new 26mm GR lens is like the current 18mm lens, it will be much nicer than the Fuji. Using that GR always gave me the impression of having "instant fine art" at my fingertips, in terms of the overall look of the images, the draw and contrast.

However, I still sold the camera eventually because I started using my Fuji more. Sold it at a good price too. They are popular.

I think this camera looks really interesting and fun. Increasingly, I just want something simple that works and is fun. I have the first x100, which I love, but it's autofocus isn't nearly as reliable as anything that's come since. Also dig the versatility of the 40mm focal length. We can always quibble over what feature a camera does or doesn't have, but on balance this seems like something that would make you want to make pictures....Love the sample pictures Kenneth Tanaka shared via his GRIII.

The various “Snap Focus” settings plus an external OVF cover most of the objections here.

Just to throw another alternative to the 40mm-E focal length, Olympus today announced a 20mm f/1.4 for the MFT cameras. This would give a 40mm lens with even more selective focus potential than the Fuji (about f/2.8 versus f/4 in terms of full frame DOF). It is also weather sealed and suppose to be compact.


If only for Ricoh to stay in the market of making cameras different from the mainstream you should really buy one. Support them!

It will be fun seeing your relationship with the little III X over one year.

I’m confused: a 28mm lens gives “exaggerated perspective” but a 26.1mm lens is “ideal”. Seem about the same to me.

[The "28mm" lens is given as the 35mm-format equivalent; actually it's an 18.3mm lens. The 26.1mm lens is the actual focal length; it's 35mm-format equivalent is 40mm. --Mike]

If you don't need it to be small enough to fit in a pants or shirt pocket, all those bigger setups given here are better options, because they aren't compact cameras

If you do, or like me it's actually part of your shooting style, then imho there is no better option

If they make a 40mm-e GR with a monochrome sensor, I’ll buy one.

I was gifted a GRIII a couple of years ago, and it remains my favorite piece of gear (cameras, bikes, camping, paddling) that I've gotten in the last couple of years. It goes everywhere I go.

It's going to be hard not to buy the GRIIIx, but I'm trying to convince myself to save my money for a Leica M10 Monochrome. But the GRIIIx!!!

I sold of my mirror less gear a few years ago and bought a used GRII off of eBay. It revolutionized my photography and made it fun again. It seems people either “get” the GR and understand it’s appeal or simply don’t get it.
I’ve been waffling on buying a GRIII, I want one and know it’s worth the money but haven’t been sure it offers quite enough above my GRII to make me want to shell out more cash (and I’ll never sell the GRII). But this new GRIIIX has me sold, 40mm or near it is my favourite focal length.

The price of the GR seems to make some people hesitant but it simply has no peer. Where else will you find a cigarette pack sized camera with a decent size sensor AND image stabilization AND a lens that’s plenty sharp across the frame from wide open? You won’t. It’s not a camera for everybody but there’s simply nothing else like it.

At the intersection of Stained Glass and the GRIIIx . . .

Lots of comments about how sharp the lens GR lenses are. How large are people printing/displaying these photos?

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.

15x23" @ 240 dpi vs. GR 17x25"
(Perspective corrected.)

100% sample

Taken with a superZoom, just a tiny bit larger and heavier than the GRIIIx.

Feeling ascetic? set "Lens Position Resume" to "On" and zoom to 40 mm eq. It's 40 mm whenever you turn it on.

Feeling frivolous? Once in a a great while shot that doesn't work @ 40 mm? It's a marvelously capable and flexible photography tool, Panny ZS200, 1" sensor, 24-360 mm eq. lens.

I carry mine in a pouch on my belt. Fits in jacket pockets, too. Oh yeah, IS and decent EVF, too. \;~)>

I owned one of the early GRX models, never really got along with it and it moved out of the stable relatively quickly.

What is of interest to me is the announcement of a 20 f1.4 Zuiko for the m4/3 system! I am sure it will not be cheap, but I expect I will wind up with one on my MD-1 at some point.


My use case for the GRll is highly atypical, probably unique. For years, I've used it on a rotating head to take panorama elements for real estate interiors. The 28mm lens gives a realistic spatial perspective, and the leaf shutter sync at 1/1000th is a godsend for fill-flash in harsh lighting. It's a superb tool for a task it was never intended to do, but that's another story.

Though I really admire the high performance of the lens and the overall efficiency of the GR series, it's never been my choice for general photography. Lacking any kind of viewfinder, it's just a a point-and shoot with excellent controls. And my iPhone makes a better point-and shoot, because it's always there. And easier to see, being both bigger and brighter.

You're about my same advancing age, Mike, and I'm sure you're aware that our aged eyes have trouble focusing up close, at the short distance you need to judge details on a screen. That's why we've enjoyed VFs, both O and E, that have diopters and magnifying optics. I, for one, would be constantly irritated and surely less precise if I couldn't use a viewfinder. You can add an accessory VF as an aiming tool, but it won't help you manage selective focus techniques.

Go ahead and get one, if you want. Better than hemming and hawing all-Hamlet-style, about it. You're obliged to stay knowledgable about current camera choices, and that demands a certain amount of churning the herd, n'est-ce-pas?

You can sell the X-H1 that you never bonded with and have most of the money for the GRiiix. Personally, I would be inclined to hold on to the X-T1 (that I know you like) and the Fuji lenses. Even if you are doing OC/OL/OY, You may want to deviate occasionally and want a telephoto or a portrait lens. That would give you a Point-and-Shoot to supplement a system. Later, you could justify selling off the rest of the Fuji system for a Sony, while keeping the GR (If you like it).
If you don't bond with the GR, you still have a camera system.

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