Conclusion

What we like What we don't
  • Shirt-pocketable body
  • Excellent 28mm equiv., F2.8 lens
  • Good Raw image quality and DR (up to modern standards)
  • Excellent close focus capability
  • Responsive touchscreen
  • Logical control layout
  • Fast autofocus in good light (much improved over GR / GR II)
  • Great selection of picture styles, including B/W presets
  • 'Std' JPEGs don't look great
  • Autofocus still struggles in poor light / low contrast
  • Battery life is very limited
  • Screen reflections are an issue in sunny conditions
  • No EVF option, and the optical viewfinder is a (pricey) extra
  • Connectivity options still unfinished
  • Clunky (optional) lens hood
  • Video quality is bad (and no 4K)

The GR III was always going to be a tricky release for Ricoh to pull off. The GR II was so well-loved that a rushed or poorly thought-out successor might have seriously upset a core of loyal users that Ricoh can ill-afford to lose. At the same time, another iterative update was also out of the question. The GR II's 2013-vintage (if not 2010-vintage) 16MP sensor was looking seriously out of date by the time the GR III's development was announced last year.

Fans of the GR / GR II have learned to work around its middling autofocus performance and unremarkable battery life, but while Ricoh's customer base has demonstrated more zen-like patience than most in recent years, nobody's patience is infinite.

On the whole, I think Ricoh did a great job with the GR III. It's familiar enough that GR / GR II users should be able to get to grips with it pretty quickly, while also being a better and more competitive camera in several important respects.

Coaxing blurry backgrounds out of a 28mm F4 equivalent lens isn't easy, but it can be done if you get up close. Fortunately, the GR III's lens is impressive in the extreme closeup range. This shot was taken wide open, focused on the flowers in the middle foreground - about a foot away from the camera.
Processed in Adobe Camera Raw | ISO 100 | 1/2000 sec | F2.8
Photo by Barney Britton

A vocal portion of our audience here on DPReview will scream until their last breath that the GR III is too expensive. Honestly though, a sensor and lens pairing of this quality, in a body which offers mechanical image stabilization and remains shirt-pocketable was never going to be cheap. Speaking as a fan of the GR II, I'm personally just grateful that Ricoh made a Mark III at all.

So should you buy one? You know what I'm going to say: It depends. If you're a keen video shooter, clearly you should look elsewhere. If you're a fan of flash then the answer is probably also no - unless you're prepared to make the GR III a hell of a lot less pocketable by adding an external flashgun.

I'm personally just grateful that Ricoh made a Mark III at all.

Luckily though, you have options. The GR II is still a great camera, and it should still be available for a little while, if you look around. The Fujifilm XF10 is also worth considering. It's an annoyingly unresponsive camera in many shooting situations, but for snap focus shooting on the street, it's fine.

If, like me, you loved the GR / GR II but longed for a more modern sensor, better autofocus and simpler handling, the GR III is a no-brainer, if you have the cash. Just make sure to budget a little extra for a spare battery or two.


What we think


Carey Rose
Reviews Editor
I really like small cameras with big sensors, and the GR III has a lot to offer with a super-sharp lens and fantastic ergonomics for such a compact body. Battery life is a bummer, so I'd carry a spare, and I really hoped Ricoh would work out the dull JPEGs by now. But honestly, I'm most excited about the shake-reduction system - not for the image stabilization, but for keeping distracting dust specks off that fantastic new sensor.

Scoring

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category. Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.

Ricoh GR III
Category: Enthusiast Large Sensor Compact Camera
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Optics
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value
PoorExcellent
Conclusion
The Ricoh GR III updates the GR series in some really important ways, bringing a modern high-resolution sensor and hybrid autofocus system to the lineup for the first time. Controls have been simplified, and a new touch-sensitive rear screen makes autofocus positioning and image navigation much faster. Image quality is excellent, although JPEG shooters might find that the 'Std' profile delivers rather dull results. The lack of a flash, and unimpressive battery performance are the only major black marks against this pocketable camera.
Good for
Street shooting and casual photography, or travel photography where a small and light camera, with a medium-wide lens is very useful.
Not so good for
Any work that requires long shooting sessions, long focal lengths, or low light shooting, where the GR III's autofocus system can struggle.
81%
Overall score

Sample gallery

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