The Ricoh GR III, successor to the Ricoh GR II, has officially been launched. AP takes a closer look at the latest fixed-lens compact with an APS-C image sensor
After announcing the development of a new model in its GR-series of high-end compacts at Photokina 2018, Ricoh has officially released its successor to the Ricoh GR II in the form of the Ricoh GR III. The Ricoh GR III arrives three years after the Ricoh GR II was announced in 2015 and presents more of a significant upgrade than the Ricoh GR II was to the Ricoh GR from 2013.
Like its predecessor, the Ricoh GR III features a fixed lens that’s equivalent to 28mm in the 35mm format with a maximum aperture of f/2.8, however it now has slimmer design and a different optical construction that’s said to deliver the clearest, sharpest images in GR-series history. The optical construction is made up of six elements in four groups, with a nine-blade diaphragm. Directly behind this newly developed lens, the Ricoh GR III is equipped with a 24.2-million-pixel APS-C size CMOS sensor that’s an improvement on the 16-million-pixel sensor found inside the Ricoh GR II.
As well as employing a new lens and sensor, the Ricoh GR III features the company’s newly developed GR ENGINE 6 image engine to improve performance and response. Not only has this helped speed up its start-up time (rated at 0.8secs), it has enabled 14-bit Raw output from the sensor. Keeping on the subject of sensor and processor, the Ricoh GR III provides a top sensitivity of ISO 102,400.
Rather than solely relying on contrast-detect AF, the Ricoh GR III uses a hybrid AF system that combines phase detection and contrast detection. This combination is said to deliver a faster, more responsive autofocus operation in all of its eight different focus modes.
Elsewhere, the Ricoh GR III’s shake reduction (SR) mechanism is refined and its three-axis mechanism is designed to minimise camera shake caused by pitch, yaw and roll by up to four shutter steps. As we’ve seen on Pentax cameras in the past, the Ricoh GR III also inherits an AA filter simulator, which is designed to provide the same level of moiré reduction as an optical AA filter.
The Ricoh GR series of compacts have a good reputation for being small, compact and functional. The Ricoh GR III takes this to the next level, being slightly smaller than its predecessor and almost equal in size to the older GR Digital IV from 2011, which used a smaller 1/1.7-inch image sensor.
The body is constructed from rigid magnesium alloy to give it a strong, solid feel in the hand and it’s the first ever GR-series model to feature touchscreen operation. With no built-in viewfinder (clip-on optical viewfinder is available), the Ricoh GR III’s 3in, 1,037,000-dot screen is heavily relied on for general operation and composition, supporting AF point positioning, navigation of the main menu and review using swipe gestures in playback mode.
The air-gapless construction of the screen, in which special resin is placed between the LCD touch-screen monitor and a protective cover made of reinforced glass, is intended to effectively reduce the reflection and dispersion of light for improved visibility during outdoor shooting in high contrast conditions.
Other features of note include the ability to focus within 6cm of a subject using macro mode, the option to shoot movies in Full HD resolution at up to 60p in the H.264 recording format and connectivity to mobile devices via Wi-fi and Bluetooth. A USB Type C interface is located at the corner of the body, which can be used to top up the battery on the go and it also has 2GB of built-in storage should you accidentally leave home without an SD card and not want to get caught out.
Availability of the new Ricoh GR III is expected in March and the camera will cost £799.99 at launch. A full range of accessories, including a wide-angle conversion lens (GW-4) that expands the angle of view to 21mm will also be made available.
RICOH GR III
LONDON, 22 February 2019 -RICOH COMPANY, LTD. and RICOH IMAGING COMPANY, LTD. are pleased to announce the launch of the RICOH GR III. This high-end digital compact camera harmonizes high quality, high-resolution images with intuitive, responsive snapshot capabilities in its compact, lightweight body — making it an excellent choice for enthusiast and professional photographers alike.
Further enhancing the GR-series concept of optimizing image quality, snapshot capabilities and portability, this latest GR-series model is equipped with a complete range of newly designed main components, including a lens, image sensor and imaging engine. Despite a body smaller than its predecessor, it incorporates a large APS-C-size CMOS image sensor with approximately 24.24 effective megapixels to produce high-resolution images, while its short start-up time of approximately 0.8 seconds delivers quick, responsive shooting. It also provides an assortment of new features, such as a high-speed hybrid AF system, an originally developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, and touch-screen operation for intuitive control, providing improved operation and functionality. Following its launch, the GR III will benefit from future upgrades via firmware updates to enhance its functions and overall performance.
The GR III also features dual wireless communication and a USB Type-CTM connector for improved interface with smartphones. Packed with the state-of-the-art functions needed to meet the demands today’s photographers, the GR III becomes the premier model in the GR series.
Ricoh GR III Black RRP: £799.99 Available: March 2019
1. Newly designed, high-resolution GR lens
The GR III incorporates a newly developed GR LENS; 18.3mm F2.8, which harmonizes exceptional imaging performance with a slim design. Its super-slim optics consist of six optical elements in four groups, while retaining the 28mm angle of view (in the 35mm format) and the large F2.8 maximum aperture of its predecessor. The optimal positioning of a high-refraction, low-dispersion glass element and a glass-moulded element allows it to deliver the clearest, sharpest images in GR-series history, while reducing distortion and chromatic aberration to a minimum. It also minimizes the generation of flare and ghost images when shooting in backlit situations. To deliver high-contrast, high-resolution images of a variety of subjects and in varying photographic conditions, it also comes equipped with a macro shooting capability at a minimum focusing distance of six centimetres, and incorporates an ND (Neutral Density) filter to open up the aperture by two stops. Its nine-blade diaphragm creates a natural bokeh (defocus) effect and a truthful sense of depth at open aperture, while capturing beautiful light beams at closed-down apertures.
2. High-quality, high-resolution images
The GR III incorporates a large APS-C-size CMOS image sensor with an anti-aliasing (AA) filter-free design to enhance image resolving power, and a newly developed GR ENGINE 6 imaging engine. Thanks to its approximately 24.24 effective megapixels, this image sensor guarantees super-high-resolution images that are rich in gradations. It is also compatible with multi-tone 14-bit RAW image recording. The camera also features the accelerator unit, designed to optimize image data delivered by the image sensor, and provides a top sensitivity of ISO 102400 for super-high-sensitivity photography.
3. Hybrid AF system for high-speed autofocus operation
The GR III features a hybrid AF system combining a contrast-type AF mechanism with superior focusing precision and a phase-detection-type AF mechanism guaranteeing high- speed focusing operation. Both mechanisms ensure that it delivers a faster, more responsive autofocus operation.
4. Originally developed SR mechanism
- Three-axis, four-step shake reduction: Thanks to the originally developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, the GR III effectively compensates for camera shake at the time of shutter release. Its three-axis mechanism minimizes adverse effects of camera shake caused by pitch, yaw and roll by as much as four shutter steps.
- Originally developed AA Filter Simulator: By applying microscopic vibrations with sub-pixel precision to the image sensor unit during exposure, the camera’s AA (anti- aliasing) Filter Simulator* provides the same level of moiré reduction as an optical AA filter. This innovative simulator allows the user not only to switch the AA filter
effect on and off, but also to select the effect to the level best suited for a given subject.
* This function is available at shutter speeds slower than 1/1000 second
5. Compact, functional body design
Even with the incorporation of the large APS-C-size image sensor, the GR III is extremely compact and functional. It is almost equal in size to the GR DIGITAL IV (which is equipped with a smaller 1/1.7-inch image sensor), providing the outstanding portability in keeping with the GR-series concept of the camera as a pocketable imaging tool or a handy picture- taking tool. It provides such user-friendly features as a short start-up time of approximately 0.8 seconds, the control dial conveniently positioned next to the four-way controller, and effortless touch-screen operation, to enhance operability and allow the user to react to once-in-a-lifetime shutter opportunities. Its exterior frame is made of highly rigid magnesium alloy for improved durability.
6. High-definition LCD monitor with intuitive touch-screen operation
The GR III features a 3.0-inch high-definition LCD monitor with approximately 1,037,000 dots. Introduced for the first time in GR-series history, its touch-screen operation provides intuitive control of various camera functions, such as AF frame shift, menu selection and image magnification and advance during playback. It also features an air gapless construction, in which special resin placed between the LCD touch-screen monitor and a protective cover made of reinforced glass, effectively reduce the reflection and dispersion of light for improved visibility during outdoor shooting. Its Outdoor View Setting allows instant adjustment of the monitor’s brightness to the desired level for greater visibility in challenging lighting conditions.
7. Image Control function to produce desired visual effects
The GR III’s new Image Control function provides a new type of ‘finishing touch’ control that integrates effect modes into conventional image setting operation. Using 10 basic Image Control modes, the user can easily adjust various parameters, such as saturation, hue, key, contrast and graininess,* to the desired level, and create a ‘finishing touch’ of their choice. A set of adjusted parameters can be added as a custom setting to the Image Control function.
* This parameter will be available via a firmware update
8. Bluetooth® and wireless LAN dual communication
The GR III provides wireless LAN functions for easy pairing with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. By installing the dedicated Image Sync application* on a mobile device, the user can display a Live-View image on the device’s monitor, release the shutter and send various commands from the device. The wireless LAN connection also makes it easy to upload captured images onto SNS sites. The camera also provides seamless Bluetooth® connection to facilitate camera operation.
Thanks to the Bluetooth® connection, just by selecting the application’s shooting mode, the camera can be activated and establish wireless LAN connection even though it is in the Sleep Mode. The location data obtained by the smartphone can be recorded onto captured images by connecting with the Image Sync app,
* An application update is required
9. Other features
- Full HD movie recording (1920 x 1080 pixels, 60 frame rate) in the H.264 recording format
- Crop mode to capture an image at 35mm (15M) or 50mm (7M) angle of view (in the 35mm format)
- Customization of functions assignable to ADJ and Fn buttons
- In-camera RAW Development, providing parameter adjustment of RAW-formatimages and output of JPEG-format image data
- Colour Moiré Correction function to reduce the effect of moiré in playback
- Interval Composite mode, effective in capturing a landscape with traces of themoon and stars
- Electronic Level to check the camera’s inclination
- GW-4 Wide Conversion Lens (optional) to expand the angle of view to 21mm ultra-wide angle
- Compatibility with accessory flash units** Compatible accessory flash units are AF540FGZ II, AF360FGZ II, AF540FGZ, AF360FGZ and AF201FGOptional AccessoriesGW-4 Wide Conversion LensDesigned for exclusive use with the RICOH GR III, this wide-angle conversion lens is mounted on the camera using the GA-1 Lens Adapter, and expands the angle of view to 21mm ultra-wide angle. When mounted, the camera automatically optimizes its SR function to cover the 21mm angle of view.GN-1 (DG) Ring CapWhen replaced with the standard ring cap, this dark-gray-coloured ring cap upgrades the camera’s appearance with its stylish metallic finish.GK-1 Metallic Hotshoe CoverThis metallic hotshoe cover features the dark-gray colour and the metallic finish identical to those of the GN-1 (DG) Ring Cap.
GC-9 Soft Case
This durable, genuine-leather camera case provides solid protection for the camera. It features a belt loop on the back and a magnetic lock on the upper cover so the camera can be easily removed for snapshot photography.
GC-10 Soft Case
This high-grade, genuine-leather camera case protects the camera when its being carried in a bag, or folded when not in use.
The optional accessories listed above launch simultaneously with the RICOH GR III.