Home News Ricoh GR III Announced: 24MP, IBIS, new 28mm f/2.8 lens

Ricoh GR III Announced: 24MP, IBIS, new 28mm f/2.8 lens

A smaller body, bigger sensor and built-in stabilisation offering a four-stop advantage

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The Ricoh GR is one of the best-kept secrets in the world of photography. Those who use it are almost messianic in their devotion. And here on Macfilos we’ve done our bit to popularise the camera. The GR II was indeed a modest upgrade, but the newly announced GR III takes a big step forward.

Ricoh says the GR III is smaller than its predecessor but incorporates a 24MP sensor, IBIS and a newly worked f/2.8 28mm lens

The new body is slightly smaller than that of its two predecessors and, from the photographs, appears to have a deeper grip to aid handling. Sensor density has been upped from 16MP to 24MP, keeping it in line with major competitors, and the 28mm f/2.8 lens has been reworked. It consists of six elements in four groups, with two aspherical elements. Close-focus distance is reduced to 6cm from 10cm. The 2-stop built-in ND filter continues from the old model.

Apart from optical improvements, the lens is better sealed to avoid dust ingress, a recognised problem with the earlier models. The new bigger sensor is equipped with ultrasonic dust reduction. The GR III has an improved autofocus system, including on-sensor phase detection. The 3in, 1.04MP screen now offers touch.

Perhaps the biggest change, though, is the inclusion of 3-axis in-body stabilisation which, Ricoh claim, can offer a four-stop improvement. This is something of a feat in a camera of this size. It is claimed that the stabilisation can even be used to simulate an AA filter when moiré reduction is necessary.

Regular GR users will note the absence of the annoying exposure toggle switch at the top-right of the body. The unpredictable lever on the GR I and GR II was a constant irritant

The rear layout of the camera is slightly less fussy than that of the I and II models, but for me the biggest improvement is the deletion of that awful exposure-compensation toggle at the top right, under where the thumb nudges it out of adjustment. This was undoubtedly my biggest gripe about the GR in the past.

Unfortunately, we can’t have everything. There are ups and downs with the new GR III. Up is the price to £799 in the UK, a level which will make users think twice about upgrading. Down is battery life, from a claimed 320 down to 200 per charge. Nevertheless, the GR III makes a solid case for upgrading, especially for long-term owners of the original model.

We have many GR fans among the readers of Macfilos. What do you think about the GR III? Will you be tempted to upgrade or stick with the GR I or II. Leave a comment and start the discussion.

Hands on with the GR III at Digital Camera World

Hands on with DP Review

Sample images from the GR III

7 COMMENTS

  1. At $900 I have to really think about it, particularly since the Leica Q2 is imminent. But it’ll probably play out like this: I’ll buy the GR III since the GRs have long been my favorite cameras, then I may upgrade to the Q2 in a few months or later this year after hearing about user experiences with it.

    I’m looking forward to the smaller size and the macro capabilities of the GR III. The touch screen is less interesting to me, but I’ll experiment with it. The battery life is disappointing but I’ve always carried a spare anyway. The DNGs on DPR look impressive (they open in Iridient Developer)!

    The Internet will rant about the price for a long time, but those who know the GR will suck it up.

  2. I think it is a great update for people who do not mind no viewfinder. I owned the GR for a year and the general haptics were amazing and the files were gorgeous and had beautiful tonal range suitable for conversion to fine art black & white. However, I could not get happy with no viewfinder. So I sold it at a substantial loss but it did find a worthy new home. I recently purchased the Leica Q-P even though I was fully aware that a Q2 was likely any moment. It is so gorgeous and perfect that I do not feel any need to update – I do not really want or need more than 24 MP for this camera usage – street photography. I have named her Lady Di: she is very refined and elegant and irresistible.

  3. As a GR user I will wait for a while as the price will surely drop within 6 months and ricoh will fix the few quirks (if there are any) that are inherent with the launching of a new product but I think I will upgrade. Compared to my leica x2 I’m aware it lacks that special leica look and microcontrast but one can get something that’s close to it with postprocessing. I don’t mind the lack of a flash as I never use it. I’ve got the ricoh ovf which works perfectly and I’ll be able to use it with the new model. For the macro capabilities I’ll stick to the ricoh grd IV (as I gave my grd III to my son). The macro capabilities on this small sensor camera are really amazing and it focuses down to 1cm. I’ve considered the leica Q but it’s way out of what I can afford at the moment.
    Jean

  4. That dreaded word ‘smaller’, for what is already a small and perfectly proportioned camera! Though I haven’t actually seen the new one, so can’t really comment accurately. I can see no logical reason for making the new model any smaller though.

    My mark 1 GR is still going strong and is one of my favourite cameras ever. The exposure comp. lever never really bothered me too much. I think the loss of the flash is a shame though; it’s good for a bit of fill light now and again.

    I’m just glad they are keeping the GR alive. I really thought the GRII might be the last version made. That alone would be good enough reason to upgrade if and when mine bites the dust.

  5. Well, from what I´ve seen so far, I´ll stay with my GR I. I like the rather unique adaptability of the user interface, and now it seems they have “simplified” and changed the button set in a way that loses too much of this. We´re even regaled with yet another of those inane “direct video” buttons that nowadays pesters most cameras. Possibly, there´s more adaptability left than meets the eye, but it seems rather doubtful.

    The Q or Q2 isn´t really an alternative either for me, and it´s not the cost that stops me. I´m a Leica lover since almost 50 years now, but if I could lug the Q, I could just as well lug my M9 with a 35 Summicron, which is an even better camera in all respects. The GR is for putting in a pocket when I HAVE to leave the M9 at home.

  6. I am looking forward to the GR III . and have already ordered mine !
    Does anyone have a good go-to site where someone has had the GR ii and has some color formula settings for in use camera ?? I seem to remember a user that published his favorite settings stored in camera. He would call them as a pre-set and work in camera in raw format. He was able to produce some excellent prints ?
    Thanks-

    • Could you be thinking of Eric Kim? He has written a lot about the GR and I believe he did publish some preset suggestions.

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