Ricoh GR III – The Legend Continues
– Reviewed by AL LEE
Image: Editor AL Lee at Bentong, Malaysia.
28th August 2019, Singapore-Malaysia – The Ricoh GR is not new to many especially those who are into street photography. Known as the legendary Japanese-made camera for street snapshots, the GR III returns with a lot of improved features which GR Fans are truly happy about. As an user of GR series cameras since the GR-D, I was thrilled when the GR III was delivered to me for review and coincidentally I had a trip planned. So I decided to bring the GR III with me for the trip.
On the outside, the layout & design are very similar to the previous versions except that now, the GR III comes with touch screen, a USB 3.0 (C-cable) charging port and everything else looks pretty much like any other GR series camera. The real deal is inside the camera though.
Before I proceed further, and as usual, I would like to disclaim that all our reviews are designed for layman or for photographers of any level, if you ended up here looking for an in-depth technical review, you may wish to visit other sites. Over here, we are more interested in the camera’s performance, on-site handling and end result. If you are cool – read on.
The GR III now has a 24 megapixel APS-C Sensor (the previous GR II is 16mp), but with the same 18.3mm fixed mount lens (about 28mm on 35mm format) that features a bright F2.8 aperture. The lens are arranged into 6 elements in 4 groups which is pretty usual. It has an improved 3-axis in-body SR stabilization system that works seamlessly with the On-sensor phase detection Autofocus engine that makes GR III a joy to use.
Let’s check out the images – all images below are cropped, adjusted for exposure & added watermarks. Everything else was pretty much as it is – direct from the camera.
As someone who had used previous versions of GR, my expectations are somewhat more demanding since I already know what Ricoh is capable of and what they are made for. Thus making this review even harder to write as I want to be sure.
Something that I found out while using the camera, the phase detection AF is out of this world – why? At one point of time where the mist in the mountain was so dense with visibility reduced to just a few metres – every other persons in my group were finding it hard to use their autofocus on their cameras – the GR III was Autofocusing like any other day and with accuracy & speed. I was giggling.
As expected, the amount of details captured with the GR III met my expectations and I was pleased with the image quality, the colors rendered and sharpness of it all. The minimal editing required for GR III images saves me lots of time.
Handling wise – it is one of the smallest compact on the market and in fact whenever I travel with a GR, I kept the camera in my pocket rather than lugging around with a camera bag. In my view, if the camera is for street snapshots, it should be small, un-noticeable and in stealth mode 95% of the time. The GR fits perfectly into that category.
A little trick that most GR users always use – set to Macro Mode while maintaining the aperture at F2.8, you get rather interesting images (like the image above). The built-in macro mode is not the best among the compact cameras, but if you learn how to use it to your advantage, it is actually very fun and capable.
The GR III performed well both outdoor as well as indoor. Nothing was compromised. At higher ISO settings, I noticed the noise reduction had improved a lot and as it is, the high ISO images are no longer as noisy as compared to the past models. This is great news for GR Fans. My indoor shots are mostly shot on ISO 3200 to ISO 6400 which you can view the rest of the images on my Facebook. So far, I had not had a chance to shoot at 12,800 ISO cos there is no need to. 🙂
In conclusion, the new GR III carries on the reason why Ricoh GR exist in the first place – for that stealthy street photo that that can be captured within milli-seconds, the small & light package that fits anywhere, the quick autofocus (much faster than GR II), the higher megapixel now allows GR users to reach another (higher) level (of use). Apart from being a highly competent street camera, it is also an excellent Travel Camera. I used only the GR III for the whole trip & the camera achieved all that I required from this trip.
If you are (still) new to Ricoh GR Series Cameras but wish to try it out – you are welcome to visit the Pentax-Ricoh Showroom (Singapore) for a hands-on session. For the rest of you, buy your NEW Ricoh GR III here!