Home Reviews Ricoh GRIII reviewed and 10 reasons to keep the GRII

Ricoh GRIII reviewed and 10 reasons to keep the GRII

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Street photographer and sometime philosopher, Eric Kim, has a penchant for small, simple cameras. For some years his favourite has been the Ricoh GR and I’ve followed his adventures with the camera through his blog.

Ricoh GR: The perfect camera for lazy days when your pocket is your only camera bag (Image Mike Evans)

The GR is a camera that has also enjoyed much coverage on Macfilos, especially since Jean Perenet started sharing his south-east Asian travel adventures. With its large APS-C sensor, 28mm lens, Q-style crop settings (Ricoh did it first) and compact dimensions, this camera is so unobtrusive that it looks like a cheap point-and-shoot (remember them?), a useful attribute for stealthy street work. It’s totally unthreatening, ideal for travel and fits easily into a trouser pocket.

The new GRIII (Image Eric Kim)

On the shelf

There is still a mark one GR on the shelf at Macfilos. I go back to it from time to time and always love getting reacquainted, particularly when I want something light that may or may not be used during the day. It’s the idea; “camera in your pocket”. The more versatile Sony RX100 Mk VI has rather taken over that role in the past six months, but the Ricoh still has its place if you are happy to swap lens versatility for a bigger sensor.

Image Eric Kim

Eric’s rather battered GRII, the second iteration which is physically identical to my camera, has been around the world, probably several times. I can’t think of anyone other than Eric who has had so much experience of the GR in such varied conditions.

Now he has had the chance to try out the new GRIII. Despite retaining the same unthreatening matte black image as the previous models, the GRIII has improve menus, a powerhouse 24MP APS-C sensor and in-body stabilisation. It’s a big update and also brings a smaller body (as you can see from Eric’s picture) below:

Erics worse-for-wear GRII compared with the ultra-clean (but smaller) body of the new Mk.III. Eric finds the new camera more fiddly. I welcome the absence of the old exposure rocker switch
Erics worse-for-wear GRII compared with the ultra-clean (but smaller) body of the new Mk.III. Eric finds the new camera more fiddly. I welcome the absence of the old exposure rocker switch

Controls

It has a cleaner overall design and, to my mind, is a worthwhile upgrade from the GR or GRII. I particularly welcome the absence of the exposure compensation rocker switch at the far top-left edge of the original models. I continue to find this annoying because it is constantly nudged by my thumb. If I were in the market, the GRIII would now be my choice, despite the added cost.

Image Mike Evans

Eric isn’t so sure. While he acknowledges the improvements, he finds his GRII, with its slightly large body, more handleable. As he explains in his review, the GRIII feels too small. If you already own the GR or GRII, Eric’s conclusions make interesting reading. He should at least encourage you to try out the Mark III before you give up your old Ricoh. You could be happier keeping your old camera.

Read Eric’s review of the GRIII here. You should also check out his 10 Reasons Why The RICOH GR II is a Perfect Camera

News Update: Ricoh is recalling some GRIII cameras following complaints of excess play in the four-way control pad

Related Articles

Jean Perenet’s adventures with the Ricoh GR

Macfilos on the Ricoh GR

11 COMMENTS

  1. I disagree with Eric’s “..90% of the time when you shoot any scene with a flash, the photo looks better”.

    I disagree with the basic idea ..just scroll up here above the Comments to at that photo of the two Ricohs ..! See what I mean?

    He says, in “10 Reasons..” “(I think sharpness is overrated)” but then says “..I think one of the greatest things about the RICOH GR II sensor is that it lacks an anti-aliasing filter — which means the photos are far sharper”.

    Well, which is it, Eric? ..Sharper is better, or sharpness is overrated? ..sorry; I don’t think even Eric knows what he means!

  2. Now that GRII is a camera that looks like its been round the world at least three times over. Thats when you know someone has had value for money out of their kit. If only so many others did this.

  3. I’ve been using the GR ii for more than 3 years now, and I must admit I’m delighted with the results. When I first bought it, I thought it was a toy camera, but soon I found myself leaving all my other cameras at home. Nowadays, I even run my blog with the GR ii, and I think portability is the key factor for me. Sure, there are limitations: you can’ shoot everything with the Ricoh, especially in low light situations. However, the fact that the camera is lightweight makes it an ideal companion for my journeys.
    Despite the dust issue that appeared this year (for a long time, I didn’t have any issues with that), I still don’t consider upgrading to the GR iii or another camera. I think that the Ricoh is sharp when the light is good and I prefer not to use the flash.

    • I agree with your assessment. However, my GR (first-generation) refused to switch on after the warranty period had expired. My local camera shop sent it to a repairer for assessment and they came back to say there was nothing wrong. Sure enough, it switched on and worked. However, after a few weeks the same thing happened. It’s now completely dead. I checked on the internet and it seems that this is a frequently reported problem, something to do with a flimsy connection to the on/off button. In view of the residual value of the camera I don’t think it’s worth getting it repaired. And, for the same reason, I have not bought a GRIII as a replacement. This is disappointing, but I have lost my confidence.

    • The GR II was the camera that got me back into photography in a major way 3 years ago. I upgraded to the GR III when it came out but it didn’t spark the same kind of joy, despite technically being a superior camera. Perhaps it suffered by comparison to other cameras I’d used or owned along the way, specifically the Sony RX100 Va (more or less a direct competitor) and the Nikon Z6 (obviously larger and a different type of camera, but one that produced truly wonderful images under all conditions from highly malleable RAW files).

      • I forgot to mention that my replacement for the GR was the Sony RX100 VI and I couldn’t be more happy with it. True, it has a smaller sensor, but for those occasions I do use it (usually when I don’t want to carry anything bigger) it has surprised me with the results. I could run the blog on the RX100 but then I’d have nothing much to talk about…

        • I haven’t found a replacement to the GR II yet. I’d never buy the III which seems being more atone with specs than being a usable camera. If you go to Andrea Bianco blog https://andreabianco.eu/blog/tag/ricoh-gr-ii/ the GR3 does have drawbacks. If 28mm is someone’s regular field of view a look and a try at the Fuji XF10 might be worthwhile.

    • It is the Black Country Museum near Walsall (coincidentally very near where Billingham bags are made). It is a full-size early 20th century village and quite fascinating. Some of the houses and shops are inhabited by actors. For instance, there is a car showroom where you can go in and chat with an actor salesman about your new Morris.

      The pub in the background was used as a set for the recent Laurel & Hardy movie. But they transposed it to Newcastle-on-Tyne and had one of the city’s famous viaducts above the roof.

  4. Looks very well done. In Singapore there’s a Chinatown museum that has recreated the living conditions of the migrant labourers in the old days. The X Vario struggled to capture it in the low light.

    • As you see, the Black Country Museum is in the open, so no light problems except inside some of the premises. I suspect it was actually a living village at one time and just incorporated into the museum. But I’m not sure on that. In any event, it is well worth a visit.

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