Ricoh has released the GR Digital III premium compact camera with a fast f1.9 28mm equivalent prime lens. Successor to the GR Digital II, it uses a new 10MP sensor with larger pixel pitch than its predecessor. It continues the Ricoh tradition of high resolution screens, becoming one of the first compact to offer a 920,000 dots VGA panel. A new imaging engine, in combination with the more sensitive sensor promises to improve high ISO performance. It also gains faster AF and a 'full-press snap' mode that jumps to a preset focus distance for fast street shooting. It can also shoot a burst of up to 5 RAW files in continuous or bracketing mode.

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Press Release:

Ricoh announces the GR DIGITAL III

Tokyo, Japan, July 27, 2009Ricoh Co., Ltd. (president and CEO: Shiro Kondo) today announced the release of the GR DIGITAL III camera. A Successor model to the GR DIGITAL II, The GR Digital III achieves a whole new level of image quality.

The GR DIGITAL II (November 2007) achieved superb image quality by packing superior resolution, low noise, and low colour aberration performance into a thin, compact body. In the 20 months since its release, the GR Digital II it has been very popular with a wide range of customers, especially professional photographers and experienced amateurs.

The new GR DIGITAL III takes the GR line's traditional high image quality to an even higher level with a new image processing engine, a new CCD, and the newly developed 28 mm/F1.9 GR Lens. Performance has also been enhanced in areas such as quick shooting, operability, and power of expression.

In order to fully respond to the needs of our customers for the GR DIGITAL III, Ricoh will continue to offer the customization services (fine tuning of shutter release button sensitivity, AE/AWB, etc.) that we have provided since the introduction of the GR DIGITAL.

The new GR Digital III will be available at £529.99 inc from the middle of August.

Main features of the GR DIGITAL III

Newly developed large-aperture lens

  • The adoption of the new F1.9, f-6.0 mm (equivalent to 28 mm for 35 mm film cameras) lens for the GR DIGITAL III takes compact-body cameras into a new realm of images. This lens makes it possible to shoot with a faster shutter speed than could be used on previous models, or to shoot with the same shutter speed but at a lower setting for ISO sensitivity.
  • Despite the large F1.9 aperture, the new lens achieves a resolution level equivalent to that of the F2.4 GR Lens.
  • The use of a newly developed lens drive system has made it possible to achieve greater image quality in macro photography.

Taking the GR DIGITAL concepts another step forward, the GR DIGITAL III achieves even greater image quality.

  • The new image processing engine GR Engine III is installed. Using newly developed noise reduction technology, it enables highly sophisticated noise processing to be done while maintaining superior resolution, tone characteristics, and saturation.
  • The new high-sensitivity CCD (1/1.7 inch, approx. 10 megapixels) achieves high-sensitivity properties through the use of a new process. The combination of the newly developed GR Lens and GR Engine III significantly increases shooting performance in low-light scenes.
  • Even faster shooting capabilities for capturing fleeting shutter opportunities.
  • Algorithm improvements have reduced focusing time in low-light scenes. With the Pre-AF function, focusing speed is further accelerated by adjusting the focus to match the movement of the subject.
  • The new "full-press snap" function shoots at a preset distance for a one-push full-press of the shutter button.
  • Up to five RAW images can be recorded in consecutive shooting* and bracketing.

Enhanced expression capabilities make good use of GR Lens performance.

  • Shutter speed priority AE is now available in addition to aperture priority AE.
  • A more extensive range of image settings enables the photographer to control hue and saturation. This makes it easy to create images with a wide variety of coloration.
  • When photographing subjects with mixed color temperatures, the multi-pattern auto white balance function makes it possible to achieve optimum colour reproduction.

Large, high-visibility 3.0-inch VGA LCD monitor.

  • The 3.0-inch, 920,000-dot VGA LCD monitor provides high resolution, a wide viewing angle, excellent colour reproduction, good visibility outdoors, and a surface that resists soiling. The sRGB comparison for colour reproduction range is 100%.
  • The micro-thumbnail display function displays 81 thumbnail images on a single screen.

Operability further enhanced.

  • The My Settings on the mode dial have been expanded to three sets. The number of Fn (function) buttons on the back of the camera body has been expanded to two.
  • A function has been added for assigning names to My Settings sets and storing and retrieving them. A maximum of six sets can be defined and stored. 

Expandability further enhanced with addition of new options.

  • The 21 mm wide conversion lens GW-2 and hood and adapter GH-2 will be sold. 
  • The available soft cases are the GC-3 for the body only and the GC-4 quick-shooting case type compatible with the GV-2 viewfinder.
  • There are also plans to introduce the GF-1 external flash, which can handle TTL flash using auxiliary flash, in the autumn of 2009.

Function to be expanded using firmware.

  • Even after the GR DIGITAL III is introduced, we will continue to add new functions through the release of new firmware. By updating their firmware, GR DIGITAL III owners can continue to utilize the latest functions.

List of GR DIGITAL II options

  • Hood and adapter - GH-2 **
  • Wide conversion lens*** - GW-2**
  • External TTL flash - GF-1****
  • External viewfinder - GV-1
  • External mini viewfinder - GV-2
  • Cable switch - CA-1
  • Soft case - GC-3 **
  • Soft case (GV-2 compatible) - GC-4 *
  • Neck strap (GR DIGITAL logo) - GS-1
  • Neck strap (Ricoh logo) - ST-2
  • AC adapter - AC-4c
  • Rechargeable battery - DB-65**
  • Battery charger - BJ-6

GR DIGITAL/GR DIGITAL II options GH-1, GW-1, GT-1, GC-1, and GC-2 cannot be used.

*When noise reduction is OFF. When it is Weak or Strong, the maximum is four images.
**Newly introduced option.
*** Hood and adapter GH-2 is required when using wide conversion lens GW-2.
**** This option is to go on sale in autumn 2009.

Ricoh GR III specifications

Ricoh GR Digital III
Sensor

• 1/1.7" Type CCD
• 10.40 million total pixels
• 10.00 million effective pixels

Image sizes • 3648 x 2736
• 3648 x 2432
• 2736 x 2736
• 3264 x 2448
• 2592 x 1944
• 2048 x 1536
• 1280 x 960
• 640 x 480
Movie clips • 640 x 480 @ 15/30 fps
• 320 x 240 @ 15/30 fps
File formats • JPEG (Exif v2.21, DPOF)
• RAW (DNG)
• AVI (Open DML Motion JPEG)
Lens • 28mm (35mm equiv)
• f=6.0mm
• F1.9 - F9
• 8 elements in 6 groups (aspheric lens: 2 elements and 2 surfaces)
Conversion lenses Yes
Digital zoom up to 4x (up to 5.7x @ 640 x 480)
Focus • Auto focus
• Manual focus
• Snap
• Infinity
AF area modes • Multi-point AF
• Spot AF
AF lock Yes
AF assist lamp Yes
Closest focus distance • Standard AF: 30 cm
• Macro: 1 cm
Metering • 256-point multi-segment
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• High ISO Auto
• ISO 64
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
AE lock Yes
Exposure compensation +/- 2EV in 1/3 stop increments
Exposure Bracketing +/- 1/3, 1/5 EV
Shutter speed 1-1/2000 sec
Modes

• Auto
• Program AE (with exposure shift)
• Aperture Priority AE
• Manual

Scene modes

• Skew correct
• Text
• Movie
• My Settings

White balance • Auto
• Multi-Pattern Auto
• Outdoors
• Cloudy
• Incandescent
• Fluorescent
• Manual
• Detail
WB bracketing Yes
Self timer 2 or 10sec
Flash • Auto, Flash On, Flash Off, Slow Sync, Red-eye reduction, Manual
• +/- 2EV in 1/3 stop increments
• Range (Internal, Auto ISO): 20cm - 3.0m
• Hotshoe for external flash unit
Viewfinder Optional hotshoe-mounted viewfinder
LCD monitor • 3.0-inch transparent LCD
• 920,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
• AV out (PAL / NTSC switchable)
Storage • SD / SDHC memory card
• 88 MB internal storage
Power • Li-Ion battery pack DB65
• Optional AC adapter AC-4c
Weight (no batt) 188g (5.9 oz)
Dimensions 109 x 59 x 26 mm (4.2 x 2.3 x 1.0 in)