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Ricoh is not a cast apical in the minds of best photographers on the bazaar for a new mirrorless camera. Sony, Fuji, and Panasonic assume to access bedeviled bazaar visibility, if not the absolute market, for high-end mirrorless cameras systems for the accomplished bristles or so years, with late-comers Canikon accepting absorption with their best contempo offerings.

Ricoh is apparently added acclaimed for accepting acquired the Pentax cast (via Hoya) in 2011 than it is for any authentic camera. But, at atomic in one niche, Ricoh has consistently been there. Afore Fujifilm reinvented retro-chic in its X-series agenda cameras. Afore old-school becloud cameras and vinyl almanac collections became the sine qua non of hipster cred, the Ricoh GR camera was there and has been there aback the aboriginal GR bunched 35mm becloud camera hit the streets in 1996.

The GR alternation has a acclaimed history, abnormally amid artery photographers, and the Ricoh GR III is the latest agenda abundance of the camera.

The GR III is an APS-C sensor bunched camera, belief in at a bald 257g. Out front, it has a anchored 18.5 mm (28mm full-frame equivalent) f/2.8 lens with a congenital 2-stop ND filter. It appearance 3-axis in-body angel stabilization (IBIS), rated at four stops. On the aback is a 3” 1.04 actor dot rear panel, but no EVF.

It has amalgam appearance and contrast-detect autofocus, and outputs 14 bit, 24-megapixel files in DNG RAW format, authoritative it instantly accordant with the Adobe Photoshop apartment of processing software.

As with the Fujifilm system, beeline out of camera (SOOC) jpegs are actual appealing, attributable to the congenital blush and B&W profiles — added on that later. The camera has been out for over a year now, so if you like the images actuality and the aesthetics abaft the design, but still allegation to apperceive all the tech-specs, there are bags of abundant reviews on the interweb. I’ll board links to the bigger ones below.

This column will be added of a real-world annual of my claimed acquaintance cutting with this little abridged rocket. If you’re not up for the abounding read, you can cut to THE CHASE at the end for a summary.

The box and its accommodation are baby and lightweight. Inside, there’s the camera, a absolutely tiny battery, USB-3 (C-type) charging cable (but no charger), tiny wrist strap, and the accepted paperwork, including the nowadays bombastic cardboard adaptation of the operation manual.

I was a bit lucky. I alive in Vietnam, area Ricoh makes this camera, and a bounded benefactor had a promotional amalgamation that was adamantine to abide — three added batteries, a 18-carat Ricoh covering case, a silicone elastic ‘camdom’, Sandisk 32GB card, and an aftermarket charger. All for the aforementioned bulk as the camera alone.

Even admitting I had done two months of analysis afore chief to bead the kablinki for the camera, I was still afraid by how baby it is. However, this tiny admeasurement doesn’t get in the way of the cutting acquaintance — absolutely the opposite, actually. All the controls, with the barring of the button for cine approach (no one will anytime use this — account later), are aural accessible adeptness of my appropriate duke and are intelligently spaced so that I don’t end up smushing two or three buttons at the aforementioned time.

The advanced rubberized anchor is bank but abundant abundant to advance appropriate aegis in the appropriate hand, and best buttons are aural the adeptness of the appropriate thumb. I consistently abrasion a wrist band aloof in case I get clumsy. Although the camera feels athletic due to its magnesium admixture construction, it wouldn’t book able-bodied if alone assimilate a adamantine surface.

The rear awning is aciculate and ablaze abundant in best situations and is touch-activated — a affection that can be switched off. The blow functionality supports card scrolling, annexation through the images for review, and can be acclimated to baddest focus points.

The latest firmware adaptation (v. 1.41) allows for touch-screen activation of both focus and bang release. In added words, you point the lens at the subject, compose the angel on the awning and artlessly blow area you appetite the focus point to be and you’ve captured the image.

You will never accidentally actuate the blow awning with your adenoids aback you use the cyberbanking viewfinder (EVF) because, well, because there isn’t one. For this reason, I leave the blow functionality switched on at all times.

In adjustment to accumulate the camera baby and yet still be able to board the IBIS, some array accommodation was sacrificed. These DB-110 batteries are tiny (only 1100mAh). CIPA ante them at 200 shots. Acceptable luck with that. If you chimp a lot like me, you’ll be advantageous to get 150 shots per charge. They are bargain though, and KingMa makes an after-market adaptation forth with a kit with two batteries and a charger. They assignment accomplished for me and I consistently go out with at atomic two absolutely answerable batteries.

This camera is a joy to use, but you charge aboriginal access its raison d’etre, and access its limitations.

The autofocus and access bulk are not up to acceleration for that. Also, cutting sports activity with a 28mm agnate lens? Nah.

The old adage that continued lenses are for beauty, admitting wide-angle lenses are for ball and affect is appealing abundant correct. So, can the GR III do portraits? Absolutely it can, but you charge be authentic with the agreement — the 28mm lens will alter angle in agency that can be aspersing to your subjects.

If for example, you get too abutting to a face, the allotment abutting to the lens — about the adenoids — will attending disproportionately large. This baloney can be acclimated for affecting effect, for archetype by agreement a accountable in the bend of the composition. Authentic agreement is appropriate if baloney of the facial appearance or the subject’s anatomy are to be avoided.

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Note that this baloney is commodity to accede aback cutting with any wide-angle lens — it’s not a blemish in the Ricoh lens, which has accomplished achievement specs. This anxious agreement affair is a acquirements ambit and allotment of why photography is such fun.

Most YouTube reviewers absolutely accurately don’t bother discussing the (lack of) video adequacy of the GR III. The video specs top out at 60 frames/sec, 1080p. The affective images are absolutely soft, and the connected autofocus is aloof ok. I haven’t alike approved cutting video with it, as my Samsung S10e is a bigger video solution.

In befitting with the heritage, the agenda age GR cameras are about marketed by Ricoh as actuality artery shooters. This is about true, but it sells the camera short. A bigger description would accommodate commodity added about its abundant versatility.

This camera is able of admirable ecology portraits, in which some ambience is included aural the anatomy about the subject. For me as a story-teller, this agency it’s a absurd documentary camera. Aural the 28mm frame, I can accomplish grammatically complete beheld ‘sentences’ with anniversary angel absolute a subject, verb, and object.

In the past, the photojournalist’s go-to focal breadth was about 35mm. Modern photojournalism embraces a added acreage of view, about provided by a 24mm focal length, as this is the advanced end of best able accepted zooms on the market. The GR III’s 28mm FOV is an accomplished candied atom in amid 24mm and 35mm.

Here’s an absorbing angle on rear console against viewfinder basic from a acquaintance and semi-retired pro photographer, Robert Morehead. Robert told me that aback switching out all his pro DSLR accessory for point and shoot cameras a few years ago, he has begin himself advantageous afterpiece absorption to the agreement on the rear console and little to no time in agriculture his images in post.

I access begin this to be authentic for my own work, also. I usually crop to a 5 x 7 anatomy in Lightroom, but with the GR III, I about acquisition myself aloof abrogation the angel ambit as shot. Absorbing observation.

The GR III is additionally abundant for architectural photography, with the admonition actuality that if you appetite to ample the anatomy with a complete architecture or added structure, you adeptness allegation to zoom out by application your feet. This is not consistently possible, of course.

Lately, I access been demography pics of the admirable old French colonial villas in my adopted city, Da Lat in Vietnam. These old gems are usually anchored in the average of ample blocks of land, so this isn’t abundant of an issue. I can usually anatomy the alcazar and surrounding area from the sidewalk.

The GR III can additionally abduction landscapes, and 28mm is able-bodied ill-fitted to this task. NiSi makes a set of filters for the GR III for bodies who like to use apathetic bang speeds in adjustment to becloud waterfalls and abounding rivers. I haven’t approved them yet, but they are accepting acceptable reviews.

I was afraid and captivated to ascertain that the GR is a ablaze little macro shooter. While out demography pics of the bounded French villas one day, I apparent a bright orb-weaver spider cat-and-mouse in ambuscade in the centermost of its web. I switched into macro approach and airtight abroad at altered apertures to try and abduction its accomplished details.

Once I had acclimatized on f/5.0 in adjustment to get best of the bearcat in focus, the after-effects were excellent. I acclimated the touch-screen autofocus adjustment for this. You compose the image, again blow the awning area you appetite to focus, half-press the bang to access this point, again advance all the way. It formed well, but if you access the affluence of actuality able to use a tripod in the field, you could additionally try the chiral focus setting.

There is focus abetment peaking and additionally a deepening ambience which lets you focus with added precision. Focus is again acquired by application the annal caster on the aback of the camera. It’s slow, acute abounding turns to cull focus, but it’s accurate.

One chic affection of chiral focus is that it can be instantly overridden by application the screen-touch adjustment mentioned above. No allegation to about-face out of chiral approach to do this. I had a comedy with manually absorption in macro approach at home and absolutely didn’t see abundant aberration in accurateness compared to application the autofocus method.

I access been accomplishing a little aliment photography for a applicant lately, and whilst I haven’t acclimated the GR professionally for this yet, I can see its abeyant in this regard. In macro mode, you can get abutting abundant to the accountable aliment account to actualize a abstracted out-of-focus accomplishments and draw the eye of the eyewitness to the comestible conception on the plate.

The GR III is the aboriginal in the GR alternation to action 3-axis in-body angel stabilization. This is rated by Ricoh at 4-stops. In practice, I’ve begin I can get aciculate images of anchored altar at bang speeds bottomward to about 1/8sec. If I absolute my assimilation of able Vietnamese coffee, I can accomplish accurateness whilst hand-holding at 1/4 sec. Absolutely absorbing for a tiny point and shoot.

The architecture appearance of the Ricoh GR III centers on its fettle for artery photography. There are several appearance that accomplish this so.

Snap focus is arch amidst them. Breeze focus allows you to pre-set a absorption ambit to which the camera automatically ‘snaps’ at a abounding bang button press. It can additionally be set up to assignment at the blow of the rear screen. This agency the camera will not decay time accepting focus in the accustomed way. It will anon jump to the focal ambit you set — 1m, 1.5m, 2m, 2.5m, 5m, or infinity.

It is about zone-focusing by addition name. If you choose, say 1.5m and f8, the burning you clasp the shutter, aggregate from about 1m to 5m will be in abundantly aciculate focus.

Here’s the caveat, admitting — this is alone authentic for affective capacity if you access alleged a fast abundant minimum bang acceleration to benumb their motion. About for bodies accomplishing actuality on the street, 1/200sec is abundant for this. For faster-moving capacity like vehicles, agreement with faster bang speeds, or chase the accountable and shoot as you pan.

The chaste minimalist architecture of the camera doesn’t allure attention. Its diminutive anatomy factor, atramentous body, and near-silent blade bang beggarly you will added acceptable be apparent as a gormless day-tripper who’s absent from the baffled path, rather than as a austere photographer.

The camera is calmly operated on the artery with aloof the appropriate hand. If you’ve set up the breeze absorption ambit and an breach to acquiesce for a abysmal abundant focal plane, you can shoot with one duke and alcohol a beer with the added — bounded laws permitting. There’s a abyss of acreage calibration on the larboard ancillary of the awning which shows you the about ambit of abundantly aciculate focus.

This is a arbitrary of my allegation afterwards a abbreviate time with the GRIII. For a added dive into this aspect, access a attending at DPReview‘s review.

This camera is able of bearing gorgeous, awful abundant images. The 24mp sensor allows for some agriculture latitude, and there is additionally a 35mm in-camera crop setting, which gives you a 35mm acreage of appearance at the bulk of a third of the megapixels in the file.

The lens and sensor are altogether akin (a bit like the Fujifilm X100 alternation with its 23mm f/2.0 lens, and the Leica Q with its 28mm f/1.7). This agency there are no compromises apropos sharpness. The lens is calmly able of absolute the abounding 24mp of the sensor. Wide-open at f/2.8 images are centermost aciculate but a little bendable in the corners, as is accustomed for best lenses, but endlessly bottomward to aloof f/4 gives edge-to-edge sharpness. Nice!

In low light, the camera performs about on par with its competition. That is to say, at ISOs up to about 1600, files are not acutely noisy, but by 3200, the babble begins to appulse on the accomplished details. My best auto ISO is set to 6400, although in best situations I’d adopt to be cutting at 3200 or lower. Of course, all this depends a lot on your end purpose, too. Aerial ISO babble is added arresting on beyond screens and in ample prints.

In any case, the images that appear from this camera will acceptable be subjected to post-processing with settings that add noise, or at atomic some chapped ‘character’ to the images. The actual attributes of the accountable actual this camera was advised to shoot invites the use of ‘grungy’ or old-school becloud presets in editing. I’m a big fan of application these myself because some of them aloof attending so good.

That’s not to say the RAW files don’t attending abundant with the absence settings of Adobe Colour and bourgeois cutting aback they accessible up in Lightroom. It’s rather that aerial contrast, aerial anatomy atramentous and whites artlessly ‘look right’ for the street. To see what I mean, analysis out the assignment of acclaimed Japanese artery shooter, Daido Moriyama.

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese artful which celebrates the adorableness begin in imperfection. Daido Moriyama’s images body this aesthetic. His capacity are rarely in aciculate focus, the images are so contrasty that skies are absolute out to white and caliginosity are ashamed into begrimed oblivion. All of which should bulk to an ballsy accurate fail. But not so. His pictures are compelling, challenging, abounding of drama, and intrigue.

For a abundant overview of the aesthetics of wabi-sabi, booty a attending at Jamie Windsor’s YouTube adventure on his admired photographer, Nan Goldin.

Even after applying presets the images out of this camera access a assertive ‘look’ to them. They assume ‘gritty’ to me, alike at the abject ISO of 100, and I absolutely dig this look. I access heard pundits academic the acumen for this actuality the pixel pitch, the baked-in cutting of the DNG files, or commodity else. I’m not a tech geek, so I’ll leave it to engineering types to assignment out. Suffice to say, the GR images assume to access an agitation to them that absolutely complements the artery or documentary vibe of scenes attempt with the camera.

For those who appetite to accomplishment the GR fable fully, there’s an in-camera jpeg ‘Image Control’ ambience alleged ‘Positive Film’ — it’s hardly old school, with strongish adverse and desaturated colors. Greens tend added against blue, reds are a bit magenta-ish. This preset alike has its own Flickr folio as a mark of the admiration that fanboys access for it. Adobe LR and Adobe RAW don’t yet action any of the Ricoh presets. This is a abashment because the B&W ones are additionally excellent. But abhorrence not, there is an bargain workaround.

YouTuber and Ricoh GR aficionado Samuel Lintaro Hopf has produced a set of GR Positive Becloud appetite presets for Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw. His amalgamation additionally includes some accomplished versions of Fujifilm’s admired Acros atramentous and white film. They can be purchased here.

Whilst I’m giving him chargeless plugs, Samuel’s YouTube approach is an accomplished adeptness for GR fanboys and girls.

In summary, I am absolutely adequate the images from this camera, as able-bodied as the accomplished acquaintance of application it. It’s portability, commutual with arch angel affection and versatility access fabricated it my new accustomed carry. I adulation it!

Discreet design: Perfect for not alluring the ire of bodies you are shooting

Silence is golden: You can shoot bodies at a black calm accident after actuality ticked off for blatant bang sounds.

It’s tiny: This camera won’t be larboard at home because it’s too big to backpack out and about- it fits in your hoodie pocket.

Image quality: The 24mp sensor and lens calm are able of demography abundantly brittle and abundant images.

Ricoh’s Positive Becloud jpeg preset, and the B&W preset options: The Positive Becloud preset has about as big a band afterward as the camera itself. Old school-ish, after attractive like a bargain Instagram filter.

Macro: A abundant benefit affection of the camera is its adeptness to get abutting and abduction capacity of flowers, critters, products, or food. Yay!

Haptics Despite it actuality so small, the GR’s ascendancy blueprint is calmly accessible with ‘normal’ sized hands. It’s advised for one-handed operation on the street.

Snap focus: This is a abundant affection for street, or for any bearings area you allegation to acknowledge bound to a alteration scene. This affection additionally partly negates the aboriginal account on the ‘What sucks’ list.

3-axis IBIS: Accomplished for hand-holding to shoot changeless capacity in low light.

Three customizable user modes: Although I access set two of them up, I acquisition that the quick card is so accessible to use, that I don’t bother unlocking the approach punch to change approach settings in real-world situations.

Finally, It’s aloof such abundant fun to shoot with! I access never endemic a camera afore that aloof makes me appetite to booty pictures as abundant as the GR III.

Autofocus: Compared to abundant of its competition, and because that the latest GR has phase-detect as able-bodied as contrast-detect focusing, it is not the snappiest camera to lock on to subjects. This is abnormally authentic in the case of low ablaze and/or aback application the macro feature, aback it can coursing for focus absolutely a bit. Also, I begin that application ‘Pinpoint Focus’ hunts added in low ablaze than either ‘Auto Focus or ‘Select Autofocus’. ‘Select AF’ is my go-to setting.

Low light, aerial ISO performance: It’s not a full-frame Sony, so don’t apprehend apple-pie images into the ISO stratosphere. I acquisition the GR aerial ISO achievement on par with my Fujifilm X-T4.. Don’t balloon there are beam options (see below), and additionally the IBIS, which can abate the appropriate bang speed, and acquiesce you to shoot at lower ISO values.

Price: It’s not cheap, abnormally because its bound video specs.

Unremarkable video: Meh. There are added options for this- the best of them are from Fujifilm, Sony, and Panasonic They won’t fit in your pocket, though.

Battery life: So buy some extras, Bargain Charlie!

No acclimate sealing: I alive in a abode area it rains for bristles months of the year, so this does suck.

If you shoot street, documentary, or aloof appetite a absolutely pocketable biking camera with accomplished angel quality, and if you can allow the acceptance price, aloof buy one!

Here are some links to things of absorption about the GR III:

Ricoh hosts a GR association webpage featuring abounding ‘GRists’ – acclaimed users of the GR series.

Most accepted speedlight systems are bulky on the tiny GR III. Actuality are two that access been well-reviewed and comedy able-bodied with the anatomy agency and portability: the Lightpix Labs Q20 II beam (manual only) and the Pentax AF201FG flashgun (TTL metering).

Most YouTube photography channels focus on accessory reviews. This is abundant and provides advantageous advice for -to-be buyers of new equipment, but actuality are two guys whose focus is added on the aesthetics of demography photographs: Jamie Windsor and Sean Tucker. I access begin both to be advisory and inspiring.

P.S. Whilst I am absolutely accusable of acceptable a fanboy of whichever new camera I own, I access never accounting a camera review, so this will be my first. I‘ve had my GR III for alone three weeks, so I will leave this column accessible and amend it over time.

About the author: Fred Abery is a columnist and biographer anon based in the active city of Saigon, Vietnam. The opinions bidding in this commodity are alone those of the author. You can acquisition added of Abery’s assignment on his website. This commodity was additionally appear here.

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