Compacts have their work cut out in today’s smartphone era, but premium models like the new Ricoh GR III still have their advantages. Michael Topham reviews the latest member in the GR-series
Ricoh GR III: Viewfinder and screen
If, like me, you’re used to a camera with a viewfinder, it can feel a bit odd returning to a camera that doesn’t have one. I lost count of the times I instinctively raised the GR III to my eye, only to lower it and compose using the 3in, 1037k-dot rear screen.
In recent years we’ve witnessed some interesting EVF innovations, including pop-up EVF’s on Sony’s RX100-series compacts, but sadly there’s no such novelty here. There is the option to buy the Ricoh GV-1 (£149) or GV-2 (£199) optical viewfinders that clip on via the hot shoe, although neither are as good or as accurate as today’s superb EVFs that display 100% coverage, lots of useful information around the frame and offer a clear way of reviewing images in high contrast conditions. Another drawback of adding an optical viewfinder to the GR III is that it makes the camera more difficult to squeeze into your pocket.
A fixed screen features at the rear, which helps keep the body as slim and slender as possible. Interestingly, the 1037k-dot resolution offers no improvement over its predecessor’s 1,230k-dot display, however it now supports touch functionality and responds well to very light touches. It can be used to navigate the main menu, reposition the focus point and scroll/zoom through images in playback mode just like you would on a smartphone.
I found myself switching it off when working with an optical EVF though as it’s very easy to move the AF point if your nose accidentally comes in contact. The GR III’s body isn’t weather sealed, but that didn’t stop me trying the touchscreen after a few raindrops had landed on it. If the screen does get wet you’ll notice it becomes less responsive and can lead to incorrect menu navigation.