Ricoh GR III - initial impressions

I’ve got a new camera: Ricoh GR III. I got it when it first became available in early April and since then I’ve shot about 2500 frames with it.

I haven’t explored it enough to offer any kind of conclusive review. Heck, I’ve mostly shot in P mode with JPEG output with default settings! Still, I want to share my initial impressions and some pictures I’ve taken with the camera.

A bit of background: GR III is a fixed lens compact camera with a fast, 28 mm-equivalent lens. It’s a successor to GR II, which has cult following in the street photography circles.

Good. The build quality and the form factor is great. The pictures are very sharp and the colors are nice (but maybe not as nice as Fujifilm’s). It fits well into a pocket. The touch screen is great for choosing a focus point. It can be charged over USB-C. The exposure compensation joystick is quick to use.

Not so good. The battery life is so-so – get an extra battery! I get maybe one day worth of travel photography out of one charge. The P mode skews too much toward wide-open aperture for my taste. Manual focus is cumbersome (but there’s the snap focus mode).

Autofocus is usually fast but it has problems with low-contrast scenes. There’s a firmware update that promises to improve the performance. I’m deferring my judgement until I’ve installed the update.

I’m carrying the camera with Peak Design’s Leash sling strap. To get the anchor cords through the attachment holes in the camera body, you have to place them just right and use enough force and a piece of string (you need to do this only once). Leash is light and easy to adjust and slides well over my clothes, so I’m pretty happy with the setup.

In summary, Ricoh GR III is a great pocketable choice for travel and everyday camera if you’re okay with the battery life – and if the idea of fixed 28 mm-equivalent lens makes sense to you in the first place.

All photos in the post have been shot with Ricoh GR III.


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