Home News Is it worth upgrading to the Ricoh GR III?

Is it worth upgrading to the Ricoh GR III?

2314
8
The new GRIII is not as long as its two predecessors but retains the bland, poijt-and-shoot inoffensiveness that has become a trademark for Ricoh and a boon to street photographers (Image Sean Read)

No secret that Macfilos and its readers love the Ricoh GR. This ultra-compact 28mm fixed-lens APS-C camera wins because it is capable of superb professional results while hiding behind the blandest, the most unthreatening of exteriors.

We’ve now seen three iterations of the APS-C GR since the initial launch in April 2013. I’ve owned the original for ages and, while it has never been a primary camera (as it has, for instance, served for our colleague Jean Perenet in Normandy), it has always been a good standby. It’s so compact and light that I often take it along as a second camera because you don’t need to give it a thought.

The new GRIII is not as long as its two predecessors but retains the bland, poijt-and-shoot inoffensiveness that has become a trademark for Ricoh and a boon to street photographers (Image Sean Read)
The new GRIII is not as long as its two predecessors but retains the bland, poijt-and-shoot inoffensiveness that has become a trademark for Ricoh and a boon to street photographers (Image Sean Read)

I sat out the arrival of the GR II in 2015 because, as DPReview stated, it was a very minor upgrade. This isn’t so with the III which was announced last year and started to become available three months ago.

The GRIII is smaller, features three-axis optical image stabilisation, a higher-resolution 24MP sensor, better ISO performance, a sensor dust reduction system and a hybrid phase/contrast-detection focus system.

ND filter

The unusual built-in ND filter continues, as does the well-liked snap-to-focus adjustable zone-focus system. Minimum focus distance has been reduced to 60mm from 100mm. And anyone who read yesterday’s article on in-camera charging will be pleased to see that the GR III features USB-C charging. They might be less chuffed to find the flash disappearing in order to achieve a smaller body, weighing just 256g.

Simplified control layout and larger screen (with touch functions) sets the GR III apart. The previous rocker compensation dial (in the same postition as the play button on the GRIII) has disappeared. Instead, the ADJ wheel is used to alter exposure compensation. The flash has gone in the interests of screen size and length
Simplified control layout and larger screen (with touch functions) sets the GR III apart. The previous rocker compensation dial (in the same postition as the play button on the GRIII) has disappeared. Instead, the ADJ wheel is used to alter exposure compensation. The flash has gone in the interests of screen size and length (Image Sean Read)

If you are a GR fan and the above has whetted your appetite, you really should read Sean Read’s extensive and in-depth review of the new camera. Sean is a well-respected beta tester, a good friend of our contributor Jono Slack, and a long-standing Ricoh GR fan. So his views carry a lot of weight.

Sean’s review is very even-handed and he highlights the few shortcomings with the new camera while acknowledging the advances and improvements.

If you own the GR or GRII you owe it to yourself to visit Reid Reviews, even though you have to pay an annual fee of $39.95. The site is a treasure trove of information on Leica, Ricoh, Sony, Fuji, Hasselblad, Voigtländer and others. I, for one, find Sean’s views and the depth of his knowledge invaluable.

Related Articles

Macfilos articles on the Ricoh GR

8 COMMENTS

  1. To upgrade or not to upgrade?

    This a question that gave me much food for thought. I’ve often asked myself if upgrading was worthwhile. I eventually voted against it and bought a GRii as prices were going down and down.

    The gr iii seemed alluring with its new sensor, new lens, new battery and a touch screen. I haven’t read Sean’s review but in the end I prefered the old model, plenty of pixels to print your images big enough (24 by 36 inches), the same battery as the original gr (since grd 3), same lens hood., sun shade and 21mm converter.

    Entering the new system would mean buying all these accesories as they are different size. If I were new to ricoh I would certainly have bought it with a couple of spare batteries.

    However I think the sytem needs to mature . I still use the grd 4 and my grd 3 has gone to my son and they produce great results as well (some more article to come on Macfilos about the grd4). here is one of Ming Thein’s article on the grd 3 https://blog.mingthein.com/2012/07/30/inspirations-from-older-cameras-the-ricoh-gr-digital-iii/
    as the French would say “c’est dans les vieux tonneaux qu’on fait les meilleurs vins

    • Hi Jean,

      I love the images you get out of your GR, and look forward to seeing what comes next from your other Ricoh’s.

      I have just read Ming’s review with interest. When I bought my beloved Leica X, Ming suggested that I buy the GRii as he thought it was a better option. However in the linked article he states he didnt get along with it. Made me think I am grateful for getting my X when I did and sticking with it, rather than follow the advice at the time.

      Dave

      • Hi Dave,
        The leica x series is just wonderful. I’ll take mine for my next trip as my main camera and the grd4 as a back up. The GR is a wonderful camera when I’m travelling far away places like Asia. As an everyday camera I always pick up either the grd4 or the X2, depending on the mood.
        Jean

  2. To upgrade or not to upgrade?

    This is question I’ve given much thought but eventaually voted against as I upgraded the gr with a gr2 a couple of weeks ago.

    If you are new to ricoh buying the gr 3 makes sense. Although i haven’t read Reid reviews the gr 3 is alluring with its 24 mp sensor, stabilization, new lens and tochscreen. But if you already own a gr with lens hood, sun shade, a couple of spare batteries and the wide angle converter buying the gr 3 would mean buying all these accesories as the former ones can’t be used on the new gr iteration. If you sometimes use the flash, the gr 3 doesn’t have one either and bettery life doesn’t seem on par with the original gr.

    I’ve had ricoh grd1, grd3 &4 gr1 and now gr2. The grd1 doesn’twork anymore, the grd3 has gone to my son but I’ve still got the grd4, gr 1&2 all of which use the same batteries (some more articles to come on the grd 3&4 on Macfilos). Pricewise the gr2 is a bargain nowadays as well. You can print 24 by 36 inches without problems with the gr1 or 2. These are all the reasons that led me not to upgrade and as the French would say: “c’est dans les vieux tonneaux qu’on fait les meilleures bouteilles” (approaching meaning It’s in old wine casks that you make the best of wines)

  3. I had been hesitating on buying Ricoh but reading all the articles here made my decision much easier, so I did Gr2! Read reviews on GR3 and all really came down to battery, the 3 lost about 100 photos that you can get with the 2. While I am sure Mr Reid opinion is valid, what persuaded me most was Mr. Fagan’s remark onJean Perenet photo on sweepers, if I can make a photo half as good I will be happy.

  4. PS still gimping around from an operation so really have Camera only half set up, but I can tell by October my birthday I will surprise myself with another, this little sucker is fun!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.