5/28/2019 update. This entire review was done on the default firmware 1.0 that shipped with the camera. I found out after my initial review, that there have been two minor firmware updates. I’ll need to do a follow up article in the following weeks to come with the newest updated firmware.
I’ve been using the Ricoh GR III the majority of this weekend, and have to say, it’s quite a fun little camera.
Today, we stayed local, we went to see an early bird matinee of the new Aladdin (quite a fun family movie), went to Daiso, Ramen, 85 Degrees, and our backyard. I was able to keep the camera in my coat pocket through the stores, restaurants, and even the movie theater (shot one photo before the movie only). I think just from the sheer portability factor, this camera will get a lot of use – despite it’s terrible autofocus. Did I mention the autofocus is terrible? Regarding autofocus, when there is good light, it autofocuses just fine, but a lot of my shots were indoors this weekend.
Previously, I’ve owned and reviewed quite a few competing point and shoot cameras in the past – the Fuji X100 series, the Sony RX1R II, a Leica Typ 113, and a Fuji X70. Here’s how the new GR III stacks up next to those.
Pros of the GR III:
- Less than $1000.
- Image stabilized.
- Decent low light performance.
- Good controls and menu system – including a usable touch screen interface.
- Tiny and portable.
- Bright screen for shooting when it’s sunny outside.
- Image quality.
- USB C Charging.
- Macro mode.
Cons of the GR III:
- Autofocus sucks!
- Worst movie mode – ever! Seriously, the should have just not included it. Go use your iPhone instead.
- I couldn’t find the app on the Apple App Store for the camera – too much junk out there. Wireless? Nah…
- No included battery charger – it’s over $50 on Amazon!!!
- Terrible included hand strap – you could use one from a Wii Remote and it would be better.
- Very difficult to focus in macro mode – the autofocus hunts and hunts, and manual focus is terrible to use.
- Battery life is limited.
- An external optical viewfinder is $250! That’s crazy!
- Continuous autofocus is only on a single point.
- Not weather sealed at all.
- No flip screen.
- Not durable.
Compared to the Fuji X100 series – the Ricoh GR III doesn’t focus as well, but the images are sharper and photos look better with better post processing leeway. I’ve owned the last three generations of the X100 series cameras, and have sold all of them. I think I’ll keep the Ricoh for a while.
Compared to the Leica Typ 113 – The Leica produces good images, but is still overpriced to this day, and doesn’t feel as solid. The Leica felt like it was cheaply made.
Compared to the Fuji X70 – The image quality of the X70’s lens wasn’t as good, the touch screen sucked, and I hated the camera. It was a sluggish piece of junk.
Compared to the Sony RX1R II – That camera is awesome! It’s better in most every other sans touch screen. I really with they would come out with version 3 of that camera. I’ve owned two, both used. The last one wasn’t in great shape, and I sold it to someone that wanted a good deal. That camera has better autofocusing than the Ricoh, a flip screen, an EVF, great image quality, and a great feel in the hand. It is bigger though, and also has terrible battery life, but you could get two or three of the Ricoh GR III cameras with accessories for the price of one Sony RX1R II. While that Sony is a great camera, is it worth the price of three of these?
In conclusion, you’ve been warned about the bad. If you can handle all of that, and are OK working within the GR III’s limitations, it’s a great little camera. Will I keep it long term? That depends, when is that RX1R III coming out? How about a new unannounced high powered Micro 4/3 camera the size of a Panasonic GX95 with a Panasonic 15mm f/1.7 lens? There’s lots of choices out there, but this is indeed a fun little camera, that I’ll keep for at least a little while.
However, despite all of its faults, it’s a fun, tiny, and lightweight camera capable of producing really great results when taking the time to edit the RAW files.
Here’s a couple of accessories I own, use, and recommend to along with the GR III if you end up purchasing one – with Amazon affiliate links (help offset the cost of my gear and this website):