Ricoh Ricoh GR III

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!
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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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