I have had the Ricoh GR III for about a year now and it's a much different camera in the long term than when you just got it… so here is my long-term review as a street photographer.
The Ricoh GRII was my longtime companion and served me well. I only ever wished for 1 thing and the GRIII has it. I won't tell you what it is yet, but later in this review.
The Ricoh GR II became very intuitive quickly and that is key to any shooter/camera relationship. When the GRIII was released, I ordered instantly. However for a long time I didn't bond with the GRIII like I did with the GRII. I think I was at a point of visible detachment. I was longing for my GRII camera but it was already gone. So I had to force myself to get on with the new camera.
So, I decided to not use anything else for a month. It worked and I started to bond naturally and started to get the love going just like I did my previous GR camera.
Now it’s almost a year passing and the GRIII is an amazing friend. He has earned the name Andre’ (for Andre Kertesz) and the first Ricoh of mine to have that name. The GRIII has acclimated to me and I to it.
The lens is improved not just for sharpness but also the all important contrast. It focuses very snappy and in Snap Mode, a cinch.On macro, it’s amazing…the camera focuses very close, closer than many cameras on macro. It shocks me constantly. I don’t see any optical corrections that Ricoh didn’t fix before release.
The lens coupled with the 24mp sensor, a very amazing little camera.
What about my one wish from the GRII?
Ahhhh now the secret I was holding back. I have essential tremor. That means that at times, my hands shake and I can’t get a sharp image below 1/250 sec. Maybe that’s ok outdoor and in snap mode but under normal conditions where light changes and f stops change, I’m in trouble.
One day, Andre’ the RicohGRIII said “I can do magic and you’ll be as a young shooter again”. My ears popped up and I listened. In the menu, you’ll see a setting for Stabilizer. Set it to always on.
I thought:”This can’t be THAT easy!”. I was indoors and turned Andre’ and set the aperture to 2.8 and shutter speed to 1/60. I thought that would be enough to tax any camera in the history of cameras. 1/60 sec in low light … c’mon the shake would be there, right?
So I pointed the camera to my guitars on the wall and made an exposure I looked at the screen and just GASP. The shot was sharp like I never could have wished for. So I decided, ok Andre’ the Ricoh GRIII, let’s do this, man for man. I’m cocky now and I know I’ll get the GRIII to surrender to me. I know it… every camera does. I made exposures down to 1/20 sec and low and behold, all sharp.
This speaks volumes about the sensor, the lens and the stabilizer. The combination is nothing short of a gift. Can you imagine, 1/20sec, f2.8 ISO 6400 and its sharp.
Here’s a tip. The most important characteristic of a lens is not sharpness but contrast. You make photos in low light with a sharp lens and low contrast, poof.
The GRIII is a natural development in the Ricoh GR line. The GRI and GRII are very fine cameras. That being said, The sensor and stabilizer of the GRIII make it a gigantic leap forward. The size, stabilizer, lens improvement and sensor are enough to make this your next purchase if you have tremors.
But it's not all roses. There is one feature that irks me. It’s an engineering thing and because they are not photographers, they are probably not really aware of this. On the GRII you had the rockers on the upper right. You rock up/down and change the EV settings. It can be turned off and that saves the camera.
On the Ricoh GRIII the EV is set on the control wheel on the lower back. It’s very easy to change EV settings and not be fully aware you did. You can set the wheel to do EV or Focus point but it needs to have a turn off setting. I never use EV and want it off.
Ok, I have been using Ricoh cameras since VietNam in 1970. I learned something about the GR’s back then before they were born. The GRI, GRII, GRIII and even the GRDigital 4 are camera killers. They all play nice with my other cameras, but when it's time, they have a way of dominating the Eye, Heart and Mind of the photographer that it's hard to put down and other cameras end up being forgotten for a long time.