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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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