Ricoh GR III Rolling Review

I will supplement this review over time with imagery and thoughts.

November 7, 2021

I have not shot this camera in a long time, probably 6 months. I have way too many cameras. The camera is wonderful for landscape images with a very sharp lens that does not flare. The focus point was the two people in the distance. In this image the sun was 45 degrees right. I underexposed this image intentionally with an eye to editing. I used the handy exposure compensation sliding button on the top right third of the camera. The image was then modified DXO Version 5 and Color Efex Pro to add some warmth and color saturation (nominal). I shot this in RAW. The multi-function button exposure compensation sliding button is a marvel. Pushed, it reveals many useful of the camera settings for fiddling (color palette for .jpg, etc). The other essential items like ISO and macro are pre-programmed in the control wheel. Once one learns the camera, it is very quick and intuitive to work with.

And then you can walk back from infinity to a few inches from the subject. The touch screen is very handy for shots like this, although I don’t recommend (as I was) wearing polarized sunglasses – the screen is very hard to see in sunlight even without sunglasses. I have taken to leaving the screen on very bright in daylight. The shooting experience from having no viewfinder is a lot like shooting with an iPhone, but of course the image quality is light years better. It would be nice to have a pop up finder as exists on the Sony RX 100 series, or even one that worked from the hot shoe. The lack of a viewfinder impairs utility as a landscape camera since it is hard to get the horizon level. I am sure there is a horizon level setting somewhere in the menu however.

Lloyd’s Beach, Little Compton RI

One can walk back easily from infinity to take an image a few inches from the subject, like this one.

The Circle of Life

Winter 2020

I have shot this collection of bottles in the window at Angelina’s Cafe many times with many different cameras.

**Ongoing Thoughts

+++++ It is a great camera and very fun to use. The image quality is superb from the 28mm (in full frame equivalent) lens. I have owned several versions of the Fuji X100, and the quality from this little camera is completely on par with the Fuji. The Ricoh is the size of a king sized cigarette pack. While it is pocket-able I recommend keeping it in a compact camera case when stored or carried. I have the dedicated GR case that slips onto my belt for easy access. I use the Peak Design hand strap as a perfect and secure carry solution.

++++ Daylight Auto White Balance. The auto white balance on sunny days is a bit too cool for my taste.

++++ Macro. The macro setting works well. One must get quite close to the subject and it can be a bit hard to handhold the camera steady on the chosen focus point.

**Controls

The key controls on the camera are very accessible without having to enter the menu system. Exposure compensation, change of color rendering and similar things are changed in a snap. The LCD is a touch screen that is handy for choosing a focus point.

**Viewfinder

A negative is the screen is difficult to see in bright sunlight. I do have a Voigtlander 28mm finder to combat this, but honestly have only used it a few times.

**Durability

Unfortunately after light use the shutter mechanism on my camera had to be replace. It was just out of warranty and was very promptly repaired by Precision Camera.

The Ricoh repair issue is disappointing. I treated it with care. My Fuji X100 is much more robust. That’s not to say my Fujis have been without fault. Without doubt, the Fuji X100 is a more robustly made. Two brand new versions of my X100’s had motherboard issues requiring replacement shortly after purchase. I sold my last X100 last year since there was too much duplication with my Leica M10. I had motherboard issues with the XT1 and XT2, since sold.

I have read many complaints about dust intrusion into the sensor. I haven’t had this problem, but the concerns warrant using the camera with care in windy conditions where dust or sand are in the air. If you shoot a lot in windy seaside conditions, extreme caution and care is recommended. For inclement weather or dusty conditions the new X100V with protective filter and resulting weather seal is a better but much more expensive option.

**Nisi Filter System and Other Accessories

Nisi Filter System. Nisi now makes an inexpensive dedicated optical glass filter system for the GR iii. Nisi also offers a lens hood that will accept circular 49mm filters. The lens hood defeats the purpose of the Ricoh’s being so compact. With the lens hood and a dedicated 49mm adapter, the Lee Seven Five system can be used with the camera. The Nisi dedicated filter system is much smaller, with a push on filter holder. I review and posted some shots using it in another post. I honestly don’t think I’ll use filters on this camera often. I’ll use other ones for that.

Peak Design. The Peak Design wrist strap is perfect for this camera.

Leather Case. I like the Ricoh leather (?) case. It has a belt loop that is handy and enhances the go anywhere attribute of the camera.

Camera Bag. A camera bag is unnecessary, but when I pack the Ricoh with a film camera I use the Ona small street bag.

External Finder. I own the optical Voigtlander finder equivalent to the GRIII lens but haven’t used it yet. I am not crazy about using only the screen to compose. In bright sunlight the screen is almost invisible. I do wish the camera had a finder such as the one on the Sony X100 models.

**Shooting Genre

The camera works beautifully for landscapes, and also has a good macro feature. I haven’t used it for street photography, but given it is so small and discrete the Ricoh would be very good for that genre.

**Handheld at Slow Shutter Speeds

The in camera stabilization is excellent. I’ll post representative images here, whether they are good or not so good. It’s disconcerting the viewfinder blacks out for shots like this so one doesn’t know when the exposure ended.

F2.8 ISO 1600 1/30th 11/16/2020
F10 1/30th ISO 1600 (slight crop only)
F2.8 1/15th second ISO 100

**Straight From the Camera

I will post straight from the camera images here, with no presets and very minor edits with universal straightening of vertical or lines where needed and crops to remove unwanted clutter. The base image quality from this lens and the camera’s sensor is simply outstanding. I fiddle with fingertip accessible exposure compensation depending on the scene.

F2.8 1/2000th of a second ISO 100
F2.8 1/800th of a second ISO 100
F2.8 1/2000 second ISO 100
F2.8 1/2500 second ISO 100. I used exposure compensation on this one for higher shutter speed and more stark colors.

For the following 4 images, I let the camera do all the work on P. It underexposes more than I would like.

HERE TODAY: This cruising sailboat anchored in Bristol Harbor on Wednesday, and the crew spent our rainy Thanksgiving Day on the boat. I know this because the rowboat was tethered to the stern. F4.5 1/320th ISO 800
GONE TOMORROW. The following morning the cruiser was gone. F5.6 1/800th ISO 800
EMPTY IN THE MORNING
SOLEMNITY IN THE AFTERNOON Auto ISO lost the warm hue in the southerly sky.

Looking south, shot in P with adjustments. The camera’s choice is below. It metered off of the green grass. I increased exposure .6, lifted shadows .5 added whites .25 and dropped the highlights .25 or so. I also added a small amount of warmth.
The camera’s output of this scene in P mode.

**** Around Town: These will be images shot during walks around my beautiful town.

Shot inside of St. Michael’s Church. This Episcopal Church was founded by the original grantees of land in our Town from the King of England. On this image I used perspective correction in Capture One, the base of the window was about 3 – 4 feet from eye level.
My favorite cafe’s exterior is undergoing a painting and all of the external parts are removed and in disarray.

December 26, 2020 Out of Camera .jpgs below. Without a viewfinder it was impossible to see the seascapes on the LCD screen. I recommend a leveling cube on the top of the camera for these situations. I got lucky with straight horizons. The seascapes were directly into the sun and there is no flare. There is some vertical distortion on the shot of the door, taken from about 3 or 4 feet away.

I rarely shoot videos and this one is blotchy but you can get an idea of the sound and how well the stabliization works. This was handheld. I slowed down the framerate by 50% using IMovie, I do not know how to edit videos.

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