Ricoh Ricoh GR III

agentlossing

Top Veteran
If there is one negative thing about an everyday carry camera, it's that I have to remember to handle it carefully! My GR took a tumble onto some pavement the other day... thankfully it is fine save for some new adornment in the form of some silver showing through the paint on the side, but the tempered glass screen protector I had on it took a knock that cracked and shattered it. Folks, screen protection is important! That could well have been my LCD. In addition, the thumbs up grip I just added took a couple of small nicks. I have one of the metal lens covers with 'GR' engraved on the front, which fits over the whole lens assembly and is, in my estimation, the best way to keep dust out of the front of the camera (which couldn't be remedied by the dust reduction system since I believe there is a filter between the lens and sensor assembly?). So, with all this additional armor, my GR is actually quite tough. But please, no more spills!
 

agentlossing

Top Veteran
Anyone noticed the camera occasionally refocusing when fully pressing the shutter, after focus confirmation is reached when half-pressing? I have noticed this lately and can't remember the camera doing that previously. I'm afraid there might be something amiss with the contacts under the shutter button. Since I only have a little under a month left of standard warranty (after that my CC gives me an additional year of coverage, but that requires making a claim with Visa), I am considering sending my camera in to have it looked at.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
I have a confession to make: I seem to be quite incapable of making the GR III work for me. It's nothing (much) to do with the camera - it's most definitely me causing this. Simply put, I can't seem to frame with it successfully - I'm obviously bad at pre-visualising the 28mm FoV, but what's worse, I all too often end up with weird perspectives and sub-par framing.

That's a real shame because Ricoh got so many things right with this camera. Its technical prowess is astonishing. Which in turn means that it's my fault if I'm unable to use it in a satisfying manner. What's strange is that this wasn't that much of a problem with the original GR ... Whatever the reason, it's getting quite frustrating.

I'll keep trying, though - in fact, I'll probably do the upcoming "Single in April" with the GR III in order to get to the bottom of this. If I can't make it work after dedicating a whole month of daily shooting to it, I'll most probably move it on (in fact, I've already made concrete plans on what to do if that happens - they don't only involve the GR III).

I won't withhold a major piece of the truth here, though: I've actually found a camera that fits my "fixed-focal EDC" needs a lot better (while at the same time being a lot more versatile): The Fuji X-E3 with the 27mm f/2.8 works as well for me as only one ILC before it (the Olympus E-PM1) before it, and it has the benefit of offering what I seem to appreciate most: a reliable viewfinder (in this case, a sufficiently nice EVF). Plus, combined with other lenses, it doubles as a nice companion camera for my Leicas. Sure, it's no better than the GR III (and it lacks a couple of things, like I.B.I.S.), and neither is the lens, not by a long shot - but it works, and I'm quite pleased by the images. I can't say the same thing for the GR III's results *as a matter of course*, unfortunately. So, it's feasible to replace the GR III by the X-E3 for most of its use cases (except night time use) - and I really don't see why I shouldn't ...

(Just a short word about the Canon G1X III: This camera has its own specific use case - as an all-weather walk-around companion, it's unbeatable; that's why it simply doesn't come into it right here and now; it stays.)

However, nothing beats the pocketability of the GR III - and its technical IQ is truely outstanding. I'd really like to master it - but I'm having serious doubts about my ability to get there this time... Anyhow, I'll persevere for another couple of months. Then I'll decide.

M.
 

agentlossing

Top Veteran
I'll say a word on the dust issue, which never seems to let go of the GR series. It's true that the GR III can still get dust issues, however I think these are all on the lens side of the system, not the sensor. The way I look at the camera's guts is that the dust reduction system probably does a good job with any dust that's made its way into the sensor itself. But if the dust is in the lens assembly, you're not so lucky.

When I got my camera back from servicing for the wobbly rear dial which was jumping the cursor all over the place, I took a snap at infinity at f16 to see if any dust had gotten into things during handling or shipping. I saw, to my dismay, this:

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And the dust reduction function, of course, did nothing. But this looks like it's further from the sensor to me. So I took a hand vacuum to the front of the lens assembly, both with the lens retracted and with the camera powered on and lens extended, to hit the inside of the assembly directly surrounding the lens. After all this, I got this:

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It does appear that some dust or hair or lint particles that can appear in images can be effectively sucked back out of the lens assembly. So if you see some, don't despair! I regularly see grumbling on DPR that I think might be able to be solved this way, but I don't wade into those waters anymore.

By the way, I highly recommend the metal lens cap that can be bought for this model, as it protects the lens assembly against debris as well as from damage.
 

gryphon1911

All-Pro
Feb 6, 2015
Central Ohio, USA
Andrew
Ok, I’ve a question for the Ricoh GRIII owners out there.

I used to own the GRII. absolutely loved it, except I’m a big viewfinder kind of person. I just find that in bright light the rear LCD are not a good fit for me.

I know I could get an optical viewfinder to place on the hot shoe, but I’m curious if the rear LCD on the GRIII is clear and highly usable in direct sunlight?

I know that is probably a very subjective thing and I will need to see it for myself to make a final determination.
 

agentlossing

Top Veteran
The GR III screen is pretty crisp, and it has a gain that can be applied (mine is set to one of the functions available by pressing in the ADJ lever) that makes it super bright. I've never had trouble in sunlight - when I remember to turn it to the +2 brightness setting. It is still a bit reflective, but not bad. Part of this is because the LCD is air-gapless, which amounts to better visibility and viewing angles.
 

ggweci

Veteran
Feb 2, 2013
Toronto, Canada
Craig
The GR III screen is pretty crisp, and it has a gain that can be applied (mine is set to one of the functions available by pressing in the ADJ lever) that makes it super bright. I've never had trouble in sunlight - when I remember to turn it to the +2 brightness setting. It is still a bit reflective, but not bad. Part of this is because the LCD is air-gapless, which amounts to better visibility and viewing angles.
Matches my experience and setup as well. A quick change to +2 brightness means seeing drying the day is fairly easy. Still prefer viewfinder shooting that other cameras offer.
 

agentlossing

Top Veteran
Matches my experience and setup as well. A quick change to +2 brightness means seeing drying the day is fairly easy. Still prefer viewfinder shooting that other cameras offer.
Agreed, if they could manage a tiny viewfinder it would be awesome, but there's literally no room for one. Not even for a pop-up of some kind, camera internals fit into every spare centimeter.
 

gryphon1911

All-Pro
Feb 6, 2015
Central Ohio, USA
Andrew
Thanks all for that information and feebdack. I’d love the X100V, but not now at the price. I do miss the GRII small size and IQ. the GRIII with the upgraded sensor, AF and other enhancements make it compelling. Now, I have to see how it stacks up against the Fuji’s and if I can live with the lack of viewfinder.

I’m getting more and more used to the iPhone 11 shooting via screen, so maybe I can learn to live with the lack of viewfinder.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
FWIW, I'm struggling a bit - mostly due to the lack of a viewfinder. Makes me shoot at silly angles, I get shots I personally can't live with. Nothing to do with the strengths of the camera - it's the best GR iteration, no doubt about that whatsoever. It's me ... :frown:

M.
 

gryphon1911

All-Pro
Feb 6, 2015
Central Ohio, USA
Andrew
FWIW, I'm struggling a bit - mostly due to the lack of a viewfinder. Makes me shoot at silly angles, I get shots I personally can't live with. Nothing to do with the strengths of the camera - it's the best GR iteration, no doubt about that whatsoever. It's me ... :frown:

M.
And that's my biggest concern...that daggone viewfinder. Which leads me back to the Fuji X100 series everytime. Luckily this is a 'nice to have' purchase for me so no rush whatsoever in the decision making process.
 

agentlossing

Top Veteran
FWIW, I'm struggling a bit - mostly due to the lack of a viewfinder. Makes me shoot at silly angles, I get shots I personally can't live with. Nothing to do with the strengths of the camera - it's the best GR iteration, no doubt about that whatsoever. It's me ... :frown:

M.
Hmm, I hadn't thought about LCD only as it relates to angles. Do you find that using a viewfinder up to your eye makes it easier to line up horizons, or do you mean something else? Why do you think that is?

Getting a good shooting angle is really important with a 28mm lens. Incidentally, I got some film photos developed from my Bessa T and 35mm Skopar and I was surprised to find (be reminded, really) that 35mm also has some of that lens angle distortion silliness. I am a lot more used to the 40mm FoV and it smooths out a lot of that wide angle weirdness.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
Hmm, I hadn't thought about LCD only as it relates to angles. Do you find that using a viewfinder up to your eye makes it easier to line up horizons, or do you mean something else? Why do you think that is?

Getting a good shooting angle is really important with a 28mm lens. Incidentally, I got some film photos developed from my Bessa T and 35mm Skopar and I was surprised to find (be reminded, really) that 35mm also has some of that lens angle distortion silliness. I am a lot more used to the 40mm FoV and it smooths out a lot of that wide angle weirdness.
What I consider "cool" shots when squinting at the screen (camera held somewhere in relation to the subject, more or less at arms length) often turn out as rather unnatural or suboptimal - nothing to do with any kind of sensible viewing angles. Maybe put a bit more drastically: The shots look as if they were taken with a smartphone and by someone who doesn't really think about photography when snapping away. That's quite frustrating for me because framing is very important to me - and with the GR III, I seem to forget all about it at times.

The problem isn't that the GR III can't produce great shots because it obviously can. It's that it makes it all too easy not to. But I think that avoiding this kind of careless handling can be learned. And furthermore, people who are used to framing via the LCD won't have that kind of problem; they'll have adapted and make it work perfectly fine. What's more, the issues appear quite inconsistently - because when using the camera "correctly" (i.e. taking some time and effort to provide for a reasonable perspective), things usually work pretty well (at least close enough so that I can salvage the image in post).

Best I can say is: The GR III definitely isn't for everyone, and I'll devote some time to finding out if it is - or isn't - for me. And if it isn't, well - at least I'll have given myself a chance to come to grips with a quirky, but amazingly capable tool. The latter's the reason why I *want* it to work for me, but now am prepared to accept that it doesn't.

M.
 

agentlossing

Top Veteran
In case anyone has lost their lens ring, or wants a spare, or just something with more bling, I just got a JJC manufactured version from Amazon for $14.99 and it's great! Solid aluminum, fits more firmly than the OEM one, and the green color I got looks cool (slightly yellower/more olive than the image on Amazon but no issue). If I were to lose my ring then the metal lens cap wouldn't stay in place anymore, so I figured a spare would be a good idea.

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MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
Only three days into the April 2020 Challenge, and I think I've already a pretty reliable set of clues why I'm not as happy with the GR III as I though I'd be.

N.B. This is *not* to say that the GR III isn't a fantastic camera - on the contrary, it's a compelling "large-sensor" compact, and with its extended feature set (in my book - I didn't use the built-in flash of the GR, ever), it got even smaller, so it's only got better for what it is. It's *the* true premium compact of the digital age - which is not to say that I didn't see ways it could be made better.

With that out of the way, what are my gripes - and again, please note that this is a purely personal approach to the conundrum.

What the camera does well in my book:
  • It's almost a joke to point it out, but it's the most mobile APS-C (or, of course, FF) compact - thus, it's the most mobile camera of this type there is (or ever was in the digital area).
  • It has a great lens with strong close-up abilities *and* performance - so, this is a fantastic "notebook" type camera.
  • It's quick to deploy and use. That's how I like it - again, for a compact, this is best-in-class performance, and it makes it a potentially very quick snapper, but ... (see below)
  • Due to its solid sensor and the new image stabilisation, it's a much, much better low light camera than the GR was - which in turn means it's probably unrivalled in its class as far as this is concerned.
  • It delivers - it's capable of really great IQ in most respects. Again, in that field, it belies its size. For comparison's sake in my collection, it clearly beats the Canon G1X III in that field, in all respects. See below, though ...
What I'm less happy about:
  • It's actually almost too small - while handling is as decent as ever, it can be a fuss to set things quickly if multiple changes are needed. It's not too bad thanks to the impressive layout - but definitely less fluid than with other cameras. That said, if I only have to change the aperture, it's really quick.
  • In spite of its really impressive screen, framing in bright light is not pleasant at all; I've had a really marginal keeper rates and had to shoot lots of series (which didn't help in all cases) to get useable shots. I'm not used to that - I'm patient when framing, but my aging eyes don't like the fact that I have to rely on the screen; the small OVF I own doesn't help enough, either (which should be obvious - it's really not much more than a crutch).
  • While DR overall is impressive, highlight handling is not (in terms of transitions, it's worse than the already somewhat flawed one I see from my Leica Ms), and whatever metering mode I use, I more often than not have to use EV compensation, and not to any small degree. The hightlight-weighted spot metering allows for avoiding blown-out highlights, but is too heavy handed and crushes shadows in a way that sometimes can't be compensated for in post as well as I'd like.
  • While the touchscreen has already shown itself to be an asset in many situations, I find its touch-and-shoot interface to be too coarse for quick and accurate handling; I often find it difficult to hit the right focus field at the first attempt. Again, more images shot, less images to keep. And sometimes, infuriating if I miss a shot because of it.
  • The next point may actually be manageable, but I haven't yet found out how: The camera keeps settings when switched off. I'd like this to be optional - from my Panasonic cameras (and, to a large extend, Olympus and Nikon bodies, too), I'm used to a reliable custom setup that's there whenever I switch on the camera. Not so with the GR - focus point, exposure settings (including EV compensation), everything's retained, and that means that if I don't reset everything myself, I'll end up with unsuitable setups more often than not. So, at the moment, I need to fiddle around with the camera after each shot - that's a nuisance. It's possible that this happens only in Custom modes - but that's what I want to be able to use.
Why I'm becoming more and more convinced that the GR III isn't a camera I'd use as an EDC:
  • Not condusive to careful framing at least in bright light for people with less-than-perfect eyesight at close quarters. This may change once I get a prescription for that condition, which will unavoidably happen sooner or later, but at the moment, I'm doing reasonably well without one and won't seek one for the sake of a single device (I wear glasses for my short-sightedness - not for the opposite so far).
  • Not condusive for fluid *and* precise shooting - it's either one or the other in my experience. This may be a great street cam - because you can set it up *not* to care about many things (including AF). But if you care (and I do), it's not really a quick shooter.
  • Not conducive to careless quick snapping in Custom mode - if I'm not the one causing that. I'd love to find out that this is the case.
  • There's the G1X III. Yes, it can't compete with the pure IQ of the GR III, and it's bigger. But it sports an EVF, a zoom, a "safe state" start-up I have complete confidence in, it's weather-sealed enough to withstand light rain, its touchscreen and AF setups are more reliable, it does have a built-in flash (that I've actually used already) and still better controls (not by a lot, though).
So, what will I do. I honestly don't know because in spite of whatever issues I have with the GR III, it does put out fantastic images (if I get things right) and makes for a stupendous *second* camera in most cases - most notably, alongside a Leica M. While I'll admit that I usually add a zoom when carrying a second camera alongside an M, the swiftness with which the GR III can be used for close-ups and wide-angle shots (wider than my usual 35mm and 50mm lenses on the M) is impressive and pleasant. But the way I'm trying to use it at the moment - as a main or only shooter - doesn't work for me.

Please, take all this with a grain of salt. I'm only one guy, and I have my own preferences. YMMV - big time.

I'll persevere throughout this month; however, I'll supplement the GR III with other cameras from now on. And I'll decide after the Challenge (and the current situation has cleared up) if I'll keep it for good.

M.
 
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Apr 18, 2014
Boston Burbs
David
@MoonMind, I guess my only question would be, how does the GRIII compare to the GR you use to have?

You're comment about the default settings and saving the last used vs custom settings rings with me too. It's one of the reasons I consolidated, with two Oly bodies I have less "what are my current settings and how do I reset them?" I must be getting old, but I already have progressive glasses.
 
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MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
@MoonMind, I guess my only question would be, how does the GRIII compare to the GR you use to have?
You know, that's the really strange part, but it's crystal clear that the GR III beats the GR in all respects. But ...

Well, it's not the first time I experience this. I was a big fan of the original E-M10. I have a harder time to bond with the - much, much better! - E-M5 III; it's not such a fundamental case as with the GR III, though, because I "get" the E-M5 III, and I forget about my niggles in use (except for the power switch - nostalgia can be a very stupid thing sometimes; remapping it doesn't work for me, either). And since I can use some of my favourite lenses and the camera performs so well and predictably, I can easily put up with the things I'm not exactly happy with.

The GR was, at its core, a much more unforgiving camera than the GR III, but simple in a good sense. Once you had it set up, you could just use it and forget about fiddling with it - it was possible, but the camera didn't invite you to. Moving the focus point (e.g.) was so fiddly I never did. With the GR III, moving the focus point and adjusting EV correction is easy - but it makes getting the camera back into a known state a chore. And it does encourage you to attempt to get things right in camera, so you have two effects exacerbating each other. The experience is not too bad overall, but things get a lot more busy. Add the framing issues I have, and I'm not feeling exactly confident when shooting. btw. I still don't get why I never had these troubles with framing with the GR, but I have to check things really thoroughly with the GR III - and it still doesn't work out often enough for my taste.

To make all that a bit more transparent: I shoot very few images usually, process around 20% to 30% of the ones I take, publish maybe 80% to 90% of those. Now, with the GR III, I took 40 shots with the GR III yesterday, and I found I could process 5 ... I guess most people would shrug that off. but I'm feeling as if I can't shoot accurately enough, as if there was too much trial and error involved.

To further illustrate this: I had the M8 with me yesterday - with its congenial partner, the Voigtländer 28mm f/2. Result: Not even one shot taken twice (with the GR, III more than a third were doubles, and some shots, three attempts), came home with 7 shots, could have processed 4, but since it was the sidecar camera in this case, I did "only" 2. That's what the Leica M cameras do for me: They all but double my hit rate ...

With the GR, I shot even less than with the Leicas - but ususally processed two thirds of the images. And I can't seem to "reduce" the GR III to just being a GR with better tech under the hood. It's a different camera in use, and I can't seem to get comfortable with it. That's just a fact, not a tragedy, because it obviously works, it just doesn't fit my way of photography. It's what it is, a superb visual notebook, but I'd be more at home with a solid typewriter, to exhaust the analogy ...

Oh, and the E-M5 III is completely unaffected by this phenomenon. A shot, a hit. If I do my stuff right, the camera delivers. Only the fact that it makes shooting quickly so easy leads to me shooting a tad more and having more images to review and discard. It's never the *process* that's the problem. My keeper/pp rate is about as expected. It's not different enough to make me wish I had the E-M10 back (or never bought the E-M5 III). The E-M5 III is one fine performer.

Ironically, so is the GR III. For people that *aren't* shooting like me, though.

M.

P.S. I found another irritating fact yesterday: If you want to be able to reset the focus point with the OK button, you have to set the D-pad to focus point operation; however, that's redundant because you can use the touchscreen for that. Yet, set up like this, you don't have an obvious way of accessing macro mode ... I could use the Fn button for that, but I use it for AEL to make things a bit speedier when light is difficult ... Yes, I know, there are miriads of ways to make the camera work better than I do, but why can't I customise the very few things I'd really need? And why the heck doesn't it reset the focus point on switch-on?
 
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rayvonn

Hall of Famer
Jan 19, 2015
You know, that's the really strange part, but it's crystal clear that the GR III beats the GR in all respects. But ...

Well, it's not the first time I experience this. I was a big fan of the original E-M10. I have a harder time to bond with the - much, much better! - E-M5 III; it's not such a fundamental case as with the GR III, though, because I "get" the E-M5 III, and I forget about my niggles in use (except for the power switch - nostalgia can be a very stupid thing sometimes; remapping it doesn't work for me, either). And since I can use some of my favourite lenses and the camera performs so well and predictably, I can easily put up with the things I'm not exactly happy with.

The GR was, at its core, a much more unforgiving camera than the GR III, but simple in a good sense. Once you had it set up, you could just use it and forget about fiddling with it - it was possible, but the camera didn't invite you to. Moving the focus point (e.g.) was so fiddly I never did. With the GR III, moving the focus point and adjusting EV correction is easy - but it makes getting the camera back into a known state a chore. And it does encourage you to attempt to get things right in camera, so you have two effects exacerbating each other. The experience is not too bad overall, but things get a lot more busy. Add the framing issues I have, and I'm not feeling exactly confident when shooting. btw. I still don't get why I never had these troubles with framing with the GR, but I have to check things really thoroughly with the GR III - and it still doesn't work out often enough for my taste.

To make all that a bit more transparent: I shoot very few images usually, process around 20% to 30% of the ones I take, publish maybe 80% to 90% of those. Now, with the GR III, I took 40 shots with the GR III yesterday, and I found I could process 5 ... I guess most people would shrug that off. but I'm feeling as if I can't shoot accurately enough, as if there was too much trial and error involved.

To further illustrate this: I had the M8 with me yesterday - with its congenial partner, the Voigtländer 28mm f/2. Result: Not even one shot taken twice (with the GR, III more than a third were doubles, and some shots, three attempts), came home with 7 shots, could have processed 4, but since it was the sidecar camera in this case, I did "only" 2. That's what the Leica M cameras do for me: They all but double my hit rate ...

With the GR, I shot even less than with the Leicas - but ususally processed two thirds of the images. And I can't seem to "reduce" the GR III to just being a GR with better tech under the hood. It's a different camera in use, and I can't seem to get comfortable with it. That's just a fact, not a tragedy, because it obviously works, it just doesn't fit my way of photography. It's what it is, a superb visual notebook, but I'd be more at home with a solid typewriter, to exhaust the analogy ...

Oh, and the E-M5 III is completely unaffected by this phenomenon. A shot, a hit. If I do my stuff right, the camera delivers. Only the fact that it makes shooting quickly so easy leads to me shooting a tad more and having more images to review and discard. It's never the *process* that's the problem. My keeper/pp rate is about as expected. It's not different enough to make me wish I had the E-M10 back (or never bought the E-M5 III). The E-M5 III is one fine performer.

Ironically, so is the GR III. For people that *aren't* shooting like me, though.

M.

P.S. I found another irritating fact yesterday: If you want to be able to reset the focus point with the OK button, you have to set the D-pad to focus point operation; however, that's redundant because you can use the touchscreen for that. Yet, set up like this, you don't have an obvious way of accessing macro mode ... I could use the Fn button for that, but I use it for AEL to make things a bit speedier when light is difficult ... Yes, I know, there are miriads of ways to make the camera work better than I do, but why can't I customise the very few things I'd really need? And why the heck doesn't it reset the focus point on switch-on?
Also, the macro mode is awful. Not a big deal for me, I have a macro lens. But anyway, I think what I had to understand is that for those of us used to the previous model, basically all images on the III have to be PP'd from raw.
 
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agentlossing

Top Veteran
Also, the macro mode is awful. Not a big deal for me, I have a macro lens. But anyway, I think what I had to understand is that for those of us used to the previous model, basically all images on the III have to be PP'd from raw.
Surprised to read this about the macro. I use it fairly often and am always happy with it. Now, there is a significant no-man's-land between macro and regular focus, but if you find you're far enough away that macro mode doesn't want to focus, it usually works to put it back to regular focusing and use the close end of normal focus to take the shot.

Once I learned this little quirk I got much faster with macro shots by having my finger ready to switch between modes as I frame and focus the shot.
 

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