Ricoh GR IIIx – Review 2022

The Ricoh GR series dates back to the days of one-hour picture show labs and has attracted a strong group of fans along the way. The latest edition, the GR IIIx ($999.95), swaps the wide-angle lens for ane that’s a bit more standard (a 40mm equivalent), merely keeps everything else the aforementioned as the GR III, which remains on sale for $899.95. The new view is enticing though, and unique amidst the few competing cameras still on the market, most of which cover a wider bending. Plus, the slim design may win over photographers searching for a pocket camera that’s non a smartphone.

A True Compact

The GR IIIx is one of the smallest serious cameras bachelor—it’south truly pocketable. Measuring just ii.4 by four.3 past 1.4 inches (HWD), y’all can slip it into the side pocket of your jeans or detect a identify for information technology in a small handbag. The camera matches an APS-C image sensor (that’southward impressively the aforementioned size equally the i in many interchangeable lens cameras) with a 40mm-equivalent (26mm F2.viii) prime lens.

The IIIx is a fiddling heavier than you lot might await from its dimensions, but is yet easy enough to acquit at nine.2 ounces. The weight comes from the internals—the lens (seven-elements and five groups) and three-axis IBIS system, in item. Yous won’t find much weight-saving plastic on the torso, either—the exterior is magnesium blend and the handgrip uses a leatherette material.

We received the standard IIIx for review. It comes in a unimposing blackness finish and ships with a bones cloth wrist strap and a blackness band that covers the accessory bayonet mount around the lens. If you prefer a flashier look, the GR IIIx Urban Edition is available for $1,099.95—it sports a metallic grayness finish, includes a leather mitt strap, and comes with a blue accent ring.

Ricoh GR IIIx, profile view

If y’all prefer a different strap, exist conscientious before settling on a third-party choice—the strap lugs nestle into the top plate and are besides small to handle the anchor loops of the Peak Design behave gear I favor. Ricoh sells longer accessory straps if y’all prefer to hang the photographic camera around your cervix or sling over your shoulder, too. Once again, you may take a hard time with third-political party options considering of the tiny holes for threading the loops. Official Ricoh straps are an option—the leather wrist strap (bundled with the Urban Edition) is available for $26.95, and you can get a like leather neck strap for $39.95.

Ricoh GR IIIx, rear controls

The GR IIIx skips a built-in viewfinder—digital GRs have always relied on external optical finders. We didn’t receive the Ricoh GV-3 external optical finder for this camera to endeavor; it’s a $249.95 addition. The finder slips into the hot shoe and includes 40mm frame lines to match the GR IIIx for both total aspect iii:ii capture and cropped one:1 square photography.

The lack of an integrated flash is a little more jarring, as the GR II and earlier models included one. The high-ISO operation here is potent and the IBIS organisation manages to cut abroad mistiness for ane/4-second exposures, just I’ve found a little fill flash to be very handy with this type of photographic camera. The Fujifilm X100V has a flash and viewfinder but isn’t as pocketable equally the GR IIIx, in office considering its wider 35mm F2 lens doesn’t retract into the body. That said, you lot practise go a tilting rear display and weather protection. In any case, the X100V is more than expensive at $1,400 and is very hard to observe at retail at press fourth dimension.

Ricoh GR IIIx sample image, suburban street

f/8, 1/500-second, ISO 200

Sensor dust has proven to be a long-term concern for digital GRs, as their lenses pull in some dust when they extend and retract. I’ve been lucky with my GR Two and don’t come across dust spots in pictures, just information technology’s enough of a business organisation for GR buyers that third parties have stepped in to make protective dust caps for cameras in the lineup, an accessory you can’t become from Ricoh. The GR III and IIIx add anti-dust systems to the mix, leveraging the sensor stabilization system to milk shake dust away. How well does information technology work? I tin can’t say—dust is a long-term issue and nosotros’re reviewing the GR IIIx over a relatively short menses.

Signature GR Handling

Ricoh trimmed the GR Two body down to create the GR III series. We missed reviewing the GR Iii, so the IIIx is the offset fourth dimension I’ve had a chance to employ this body fashion at length. The grip feels merely as skilful as the GR II, with a similar, gentle sloping curve, but it’due south just a picayune chip
shut to the lens here—my fingertips brush up against information technology when I hold the photographic camera normally. It’s a minor complaint and one that merely GR fanatics may notice.

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Ricoh GR IIIx, top view

The slimmed controls are more axiomatic on the rear. The vertical +/- exposure rocker from the GR II is gone, though its functionality isn’t. Instead, the Adj. rocker at the acme does double duty—bump information technology left or right to dial in EV compensation or push it in to dive into a menu to quickly suit any one of up to five customizable bins—I found the default set up (Image Control, Focus, Metering, File Format, Screen Brightness) mostly useful, only since I e’er use Raw+JPG when reviewing gear, I swapped File Format out in favor of Snap Focus Distance.

Snap Focus is a long-running GR characteristic—it’s a way to bypass the autofocus system to get a shot with admittedly no delay. For normal photography, you one-half-press the shutter to appoint focus and push information technology in all the way to make an exposure, just like whatever other photographic camera. If you merely push button the shutter downwardly all the style, even so, the GR IIIx sets its focus to a preset point, skipping the slight focus delay. The distance is adjustable, and then you can melody the feature to your style. You can also turn it off if information technology’due south not something you use.

Ricoh GR IIIx, top controls

The shutter itself is easy to detect past touch—its oval shape stands out and it rests but under your index finger. The front control dial sits just ahead and the On/Off button is backside. The Mode dial is at the right border—there’s no danger of turning it inadvertently, though; you need to concord down a button-push button release to plough it.

The aforementioned Adj. rocker is upwards top on the rear and the Play button is nearby to the right. Elsewhere on the back are Display, Fn, and Menu buttons, besides equally a control wheel with Self-Timer/Drive, White Residuum, ISO, Macro, and OK buttons of its own. The buttons are easy to observe by bear upon, and while they’re certainly tightly grouped, they don’t feel cramped.

Ricoh GR IIIx, rear view

And then there’southward the display—it’s not just your viewfinder, it’s a control surface. Touch input is a overnice add-on, one that makes the autofocus arrangement all the more useful. I left the photographic camera set up to wide focus, confident that adjusting the area of interest was just a thing of tapping on the screen to set a focus signal. All menus are navigable by touch, and you tin can use the screen to swipe through images and compression-zoom during playback.

The screen itself is a respectable size, 3 inches across diagonally, with a very sharp, 1.04-million-dot resolution. Viewing angles are adept too, but I did have to pump brightness upwardly all the style to meet the screen in sunny conditions, which cuts into the camera’s already so-then bombardment life.

Power and Connectivity

The 200-shot CIPA rating is a little curt for photographers seeking all-solar day battery life—information technology’due south well shy of the 320 exposures the GR 2 gets under the same weather condition. Your mileage may vary, just I noticed a couple of bars missing on the battery indicator later on my first couple outings and hundred frames with the camera, in line with estimates. I recommend conveying a spare for weekend trips. Boosted DB-110 batteries go for $39.95. You also have the option of charging on the go via USB-C. It’southward a welcome change from the GR 2’s nonstandard USB charging port.

Ricoh GR IIIx sample image, old rusty tractor

f/two.8, 1/ane,600-second, ISO 100

The GR IIIx has 2GB of internal memory, plenty to concur well-nigh 40 Raw images or 140 JPGs. It’s handy if y’all forget your memory card, but well-nigh should purchase a proficient UHS-I SDXC carte du jour to concord more photos.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless radios are on board. The GR IIIx connects to Ricoh Epitome Sync, a free app for Android and iOS. Setup is straightforward, only not fully automatic—y’all need to enter an identification code from the camera’south screen in your phone, and then ostend with a pin that also appears on the GR’s display.

Ricoh GR IIIx sample image, icy monochrome landscape

f/five.6, i/2,500-second, ISO 200

The electric current version of the app works quite well. The interface is streamlined, with a gallery view for quick Raw DNG and JPG transfers to your phone, and a alive feed for remote control. The feed is prone to a scrap of lag and freezes for a 2d when y’all tap on your phone’s screen to trigger autofocus, but is handy for setting up group shots and other staged images.

Autofocus and Imaging

The GR IIIx doesn’t light the world on burn with an advanced subject detection autofocus system, but that would exist overkill for this type of camera. Instead, information technology includes a capable hybrid phase and dissimilarity detection autofocus, with a broad spread as well as confront and middle detection for people.

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I kept the focus ready to the broad-surface area mode for my fourth dimension with the camera. The touch screen makes this mode more useful—you tin can tap on the screen to select an area of interest without diving into a menu to swap settings. Two smaller initial areas of involvement are available—single area and pinpoint—or you lot tin can switch to a manual focus manner in which you use the rear dial to adjust the lens. Full-time Snap Focus is an option too, which includes an infinity setting for far-off subjects.

Ricoh GR IIIx sample image, gate with bird sculpture

f/2.viii, 1/1,250-second, ISO 100

Bailiwick tracking and continuous autofocus are available besides, just the GR isn’t built for this type of activity. Its lens moves in and out to focus, and while information technology does so quickly to lock into place and snap a unmarried shot, it has to play grab-upward for targets moving quickly toward and abroad from the lens. Continuous drive capture is available for short bursts of action; the GR IIIx snaps shots at 5fps and tin keep that footstep for about 10 Raw or 15 JPGs.

A 40mm Compact

The GR IIIx’due south lens sets it autonomously from the GR Two and GR 3, both of which use a 28mm-equivalent prime number, the same view as older analog models. Here, Ricoh went with a tighter view, matching a full-frame 40mm. The focal length is a personal favorite, and ane that’s a chip underserved in the interchangeable lens world. Its view is closer to standard angle than broad, and the departure between information technology and 35mm prime number alternatives like the Fujifilm X100V is palpable.

Ricoh GR IIIx sample image, metal bird sculpture

f/2.8, i/1,600-second, ISO 200

The lens is tack abrupt likewise, getting first-class results out of the 24MP APS-C paradigm sensor at its widest f/two.8 aperture and outstanding marks from f/4-f/16. The GR IIIx focuses downwards to vii.9 inches in its standard range and 4.7 inches in macro focus mode, good for around 1:3.eight reproduction at the nearest focus distance.

The GR IIIx is more capable of blurred-groundwork shots than the regular GR III, a benefit of its tighter lens, which means you lot have room to play with depth of field. The bokeh is more often than not pleasing—distant backgrounds blend into null. You lot however meet some shapes and detail in backdrops at more than moderate distances, still, and if you want as much bokeh as possible in a meaty, the Fujifilm X100V and its 35mm F2 is your best bet at a reasonable price. Full-frame systems are another choice, but yous pay a lot more than—$3,300 for the Sony RX1R II and its 35mm F2 or $5,695 for the Leica Q2 and its 28mm F1.7 lens.

Ricoh GR IIIx sample image, dog

f/2.eight, 1/40-2d, ISO 200

The GR IIIx supports a conversion lens, the GT-two, if yous prefer a narrower angle with a bit more pinch. The lens is a pricey add-on—it costs $269.95 and requires a split up $49.95 adapter to piece of work. The GT-2 narrows the angle past fashion of a 1.5x optical extension and some additional in-camera cropping for an constructive 75mm bending. We didn’t take the opportunity to try it out.

Stabilized APS-C Sensor

The GR IIIx’southward lens is a marvel, merely it doesn’t make photos all on its own. The 24MP sensor that backs it is a very proficient performer in its own right, even though it’southward not the newest design—there’south no BSI or stacked tech here. Even so, the capable APS-C CMOS imager covers an ISO 100-102400 sensitivity range and benefits from 3-axis stabilization.

The GR IIIx snaps Raw images in the Adobe standard DNG format. I looked at its output in Lightroom Classic and paradigm quality is correct in line with what we look from cameras that use like 24MP sensors. Photos show strong detail and very fine grain through ISO 800. Grain gets a trivial more noticeable through ISO 12800, but detail remains first-class and the colour is still strong.

Ricoh GR IIIx sample image, landscape with sunstar

f/sixteen, one/500-second, ISO 200

The noise pattern is rougher at ISO 25600, cutting into resolution, but colors remain accurate. Grain is rough and ugly at ISO 51200 and 102400; colors stammer here, too. The menu lets you set a custom automobile ISO range so y’all can limit the top setting if y’all want to avert noisy photos.

You still need to use a brisk shutter speed to freeze moving subjects, only the IBIS system helps to go on the ISO down in dim low-cal for posed portraits and withal subjects—I consistently got mistiness-gratuitous shots at 1/iv-second. Yous can also employ information technology for longer handheld exposures, as well—the GR IIIx sports an in-lens ND filter to cut three stops of light when you desire to create the motion blur event in brilliant conditions.

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The GR IIIx snaps photos in JPG format, too. At its default settings, the output differs a bit from Raw—racket reduction cuts abroad more grain and softens detail for high-ISO shots. The defaults are just that, though. The GR IIIx’south imaging engine leaves plenty of room for fine-tuning, so you can adjust the amount of racket reduction to taste or bandy to 1 of the preprogrammed picture modes. In bill of fare order, they are Standard, Bright, Black and White, Soft Monotone, Hard Monotone, Loftier Contrast B&W, Positive Pic, Bleach Bypass, Retro, HDR, and Cross Processing. You lot likewise get ii blank slates—Custom 1 and Custom 2.

Ricoh GR IIIx sample image, distant landscape viewed through tunnel

f/5.6, 1/320-2nd, ISO 200

The various artistic modes are good tools for photographers who prefer to get ready-to-share photos out of the photographic camera, especially considering you tin can further tune each ane to taste. If yous’re looking for some inspiration, bank check out the Ricoh Recipes smartphone app (available for Android and iOS)—it includes many named profiles, forth with the settings you need to dial into the GR IIIx to get them. I tried a couple of its suggested settings and actually liked the results. Retro Print and Xpro Teal are amid my favorites.

The camera tin record video, but isn’t ideal for videographers. It’south fine for quick clips at 1080p (24, 30, or 60fps) and uses the same color options every bit for stills. At that place’due south no way to connect an external mic, however, and although the IBIS does a decent chore of smoothing out handheld footage, it’s very easy to jostle the pocket-size, light camera. You’re much meliorate off using your smartphone for video—4K video has been standard on flagship models for a couple of years now.

Erstwhile Favorite, New Lens

Nosotros’ve always seen cameras in the Ricoh GR series as niche options. The GRIIIx is the blazon of camera many photograph geeks swoon over, merely will leave normal people scratching their heads. That’s OK—not everyone has to go the GR, but those who fall for the series tend to fall hard.

Ricoh GR IIIx sample image, reed on icy ground

f/eight, i/eighty-second, ISO 100

I count myself among them—I raved over the original APS-C sensor GR in a 2013 review, and still interruption out my GR II from time to time. I missed reviewing the GR III when information technology launched, but felt by and large at dwelling with the GR IIIx. The smaller frame feels a fiddling cramped—I however prefer the wider GR II body style. The in-body wink is gone from this generation, besides—whether that’due south a problem depends on your needs.

The bigger change is the lens: The GR Three keeps the series-standard 28mm angle, but the GR IIIx swaps in one with a narrower 40mm view. It’s a change that may bring the GR serial to more photographers’ attending—focal length tin be a peculiar preference afterwards all. If your center trends toward atypical subjects and subject isolation, it’s a good fit. Fans of broad-angle views are better with models that stick to 28mm.

Ricoh GR IIIx, front angle view

Is information technology for you? Photographers after a camera that tin can go anywhere, fit into a pocket, and evangelize interchangeable-lens quality photos should take a wait. On the other hand, many creators are probable to reach for a smartphone to fill this office. In the GR and GR II’s heyday, smartphone cameras weren’t most equally practiced as they are today. Now, when you lot reach for the GR IIIx (or GR Iii), information technology’southward a selection you brand for ergonomics or peradventure to amend feed your creative spirit. If you’re looking for a camera that fits in your pocket and doesn’t have a spider web browser, this might be the all-time option for yous.

It’south not the but one of its blazon, however. The same 28mm GR Three is ane to consider if you prefer a wider lens, and is nevertheless on sale for $899.95. We as well beloved the Fujifilm X100V—its 35mm F2 lens isn’t besides far off in angle, and adds a stunning hybrid viewfinder, a tilt screen, and weather protection. Simply it’s hard to find right at present, at to the lowest degree in the United states of america, unless you’re willing to pay more its already lofty $i,399.95 request price.