The Ricoh GR III: An Overlooked but Highly Competent Compact Camera

The Ricoh GR series has a long history stretching back to the film era, when they were known for their high quality (particularly for a point and shoot) 28mm lens. Ricoh has continued that tradition of quality as the series has moved into the digital era, and the third iteration looks to be quite a great option for those looking for a quality pocketable camera. This great video takes a look at the Ricoh GR III.

Coming to you from Kaiman Wong, this awesome video review takes a look at the Ricoh GR III. When you think of high quality, compact APS-C cameras meant to be taken everywhere, you likely think of the Fuji X100F. And while that's absolutely an excellent option, Ricoh's camera offers some impressive specs at a cheaper price than Fuji. The third generation features a 50 percent bump in resolution, an updated lens design, improved autofocus, and the introduction of a shake reduction system that has been optimized for the 28mm (equivalent) f/2.8 lens. If you're looking for a camera you can take anywhere that'll offer significant image quality improvements over a phone camera, it's an intriguing option. Check out the video above for Wong's thoughts. 

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michaeljin's picture

No weather sealing means no-go for me as a street camera. I think that's literally the only problem I have with it. Everything else seems great for the purpose.

Which "street" camera is weather sealed?

michaeljin's picture

Leica q2, Fuji xpro 2 for smaller cameras. Or any weather sealed SLR OR MILC with a weather sealed lens. Their in Olympus, Nikon, Canon, etc.

Unless you only plan to do street photography on clear days, weather sealing seems important to me given that street photography, by its definition, largely happens outdoors.

Then again, you're talking to someone who has done street photography with a D850 with a grip attached. I think the "discreet" thing is largely psychological (a bit like having a black camera as opposed to chrome). When you lift a camera to your face, people realize whether it's big or small.

Rob Davis's picture

All cameras are weather resistant to a certain extent. Weather sealing is just an extra layer of protection of which the difference can really only be seen when subjected to repeated and sustained exposure to the elements.

Weather sealing hasn’t been a problem for all of the Leica Street photographers, or Fuji X100 ones for that matter, or Vivian Maier’s Rolleiflex.

Pockets are weather sealed and the Ricoh is designed to fit in one. It’s also designed to be used outdoors, so I’m sure while it’s not to the level of a body that can survive months in a rainforest, it should be fine for city weather.

michaeljin's picture

"All cameras are weather resistant to a certain extent."
This is true. The question is to what extent and whether you want to risk it given the fact that your warranty is not going to cover water damage.

"Weather sealing hasn’t been a problem for all of the Leica Street photographers, or Fuji X100 ones for that matter, or Vivian Maier’s Rolleiflex."
Vivian Maier's Rolleiflex is a silly example. That isn't an electronic device. Neither is the Leica M2, M3, or many other Leica cameras that are popular street photography cameras. I've seen my friend's Fuji X100 fail in heavy rain (in the city) while my D810 at the time was completely fine. Yes, there are precautions that you can take and you can adapt your behavior to protect your camera. For me, I never carry an umbrella because I don't want to be screwing around with one while holding my camera so I'm far more sensitive to the issue than someone who might not mind carrying an umbrella or running under some sort of cover to find a different shot if it's pouring rain. I'd rather not have to think about it at all.

"Pockets are weather sealed"
Unless you're specifically wearing a waterproof jacket, this is not necessarily true, either. Also, a camera inside your pocket is a camera that's in storage rather than being used. You might as well say that a hermetically sealed bag that you carry around is weather sealed.


But you're right. All cameras are weather resistant to a certain extent. I don't know how resistant this camera is, but if a company is not even willing to say that it's weather sealed, it's an automatic deal breaker for me for any camera that I intend to use outdoors. This is because most companies will overstate the effectiveness of their weather sealing in the first place so if they're not even willing to TRY to sell weather sealing as a feature, it's a complete crap shoot as to what you're dealing with and I'm not about gambling with my money like that. I'll let others do it for me and if it's a dark horse that happens to be really good in this regard even though the company hasn't advertised it, I might buy one because it looks like a good camera.

Sylvain Duford's picture

Here's a $4 solution:
OP/TECH USA 9001022 Rainsleeve - Small, 2 Pack (Clear)

michaeljin's picture

You'd have to remember to carry it around at all times and I'm not sure how well a design like that would actually work with a compact camera anyway. Besides, how is that any different from using a shopping bag? You'd pay $4 for this?

Krzysztof Kurzaj's picture

I took freedom to look over your published photos (mostly website) and I believe there is only one photo taken on a foggy day. I did not see any other scenes that would challenge your equipment in terms of weather sealing. Of course I don't want to jump into conclusions as you may have an unpublished body of work that would indicate you do shot in challenging weather conditions. However this is my point - you need to answer yourself honestly how much you need a certain feature in your equipment whenever it's a weather sealing or something else. Some photogs may astually NEED them. Others may just WANT them.

I would not mind at all if my Ricoh GR had a weather sealing which would probably solve the real issue which is sensor dusting. But lack of weather sealing never stopped me from using my camera regardlwss of the weather. And yes, I did use it more than ocasionally in light rain.

michaeljin's picture

Thanks for taking a look at my website! Not many people do. LOL! I do have quite a few photos that I take on rainy days that I have not published.

Realistically speaking, I don't purposely go out in the rain to shoot. My rainy day photos happen to be days where I am already out and it rains. Until fairly recently, I have not been able to purposely go out to shoot as I had job obligations so most of my personal work has been taken in transit to some place or another.

I am definitely not someone who NEEDS weather sealing the same way a photographer regularly documenting monsoon season somewhere might. It is a strong enough preference for it to be a deal breaker for me not because I'm purposely taking my camera out in challenging conditions. It is a strong preference because I do not want any conditions at all to limit my ability to shoot in what time I have for personal work nor do I want anything to limit by ability to capture an image that I want. I also want strong weather sealing because I can't spend hundreds of dollars on a disposable camera like some other photographers can and pretty much the universal thing about warranty for electronics is that water damage is not covered.

We all manage risk differently. Rob Davis is absolutely correct that in mist or light rain, your average camera is unlikely to fail. Hell, even if heavy rain, you can get away with it by taking some precautions such as bagging it or shooting from some sort of cover (including an umbrella that I'm too stubborn to carry). This is just my own preference and my own risk assessment knowing my own behavior with a camera and the way I shoot. I'd just rather not have to worry about it at all.

Of course, if given a choice between shelling out my money on this or the Leica Q2, I'm going to buy this because I don't have that kind of money. I just wish there was a weather sealed version of this even if it was a little bit more expensive. Right now I'm shooting with the Z7, but we don't have any really compact lenses. Sony users have the Rokinon 35mm f/2.8 and the Zony 35mm f/2.8, but they have to deal with the weather sealing issue, too (moreso with the Rokinon than the Zony).

Darren Loveland's picture

Not sure I can get behind this for the price point. I've been using a Fujifilm X-E2 with a 27mm pancake when I'm on the go lately and I've absolutely loved it. That tandem used can be picked up for half the price of the Ricoh.

Not so highly competent, actually. The autofocus is still way too slow for street. Snap focus doesn’t always “focus” either. And no weather seal. Feels more like a generation behind the times to me.

marc gabor's picture

NO FLASH?! I don't understand what the camera companies are thinking when they remove the flash from their point and shoot cameras. They clearly don't understand what people use these cameras for. The on camera flash look is the hallmark of the great P&S film cameras (yashica T4, olympus MJU, contax t2, etc..) This is a camera that's supposed to be a digital alternative to those 35mm cameras. I'm sure the GR III is great and an improvement over previous iterations but no flash means I can't seriously consider buying this camera