Ricoh GRIII Review – I Have Finally Found My Camera

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For literally decades I have wanted to be a camera person. I love taking pictures, I love the whole process, but I could never find exactly what I wanted. WAY back in the day I had the Canon SD400, which was a really good point and shoot for the time, but was really more for snapshots than real photography.

I continued buying cameras sporadically, including some really weird stuff like the Sony QX100, a bizarre camera that was all built into a lens that clipped to your smartphone. It had no screen and connected wirelessly to your phone to use as a viewfinder. Took pretty decent pics though, it was basically RX100 guts.

I also had a bunch of various generations of Sony RX100s, I think a RX100III and then an RX100VII, and I currently have a Sony ZV-1 which is basically an RX100 but with video-centric controls and a good mic. For video, the difference is pretty stark, but for stills, as phone cameras got better, it was harder and harder to justify something like the RX100. Yeah, the photos from it looked better, but not THAT much better, and it was another thing to carry around and charge.

I contemplated getting something larger with an APS-C sensor, but all of those, even the more compact ones, were way bigger than something I felt I was likely to carry around all the time.

I finally stumbled up the Ricoh GRIII. It represents a class of camera I didn’t even know existed. It’s a fixed focal length camera, aka no zoom, and no interchangeable lens, with a point-and-shoot sized body and an APS-C sensor.

This is…exactly what I wanted. Large enough sensor to take noticeably better pictures than a phone or even the 1″ sensor cameras like the RX100, but still small enough that I will actually carry it around with me. It’s the perfect goldilocks zone for cameras for me.

It also has some pretty unique features, namely a “zone focus” mode where you just set the distance you want and everything at the distance is in focus. It’s really nice for low light or street photography, as you don’t have to wait for AF lock.

The photos out of this camera are just amazing to me. Great color, great depth.

The battery life isn’t great if I’m being honest, but I don’t really care. Batteries are cheap and the camera charges pretty quickly via USB Type C. That’s right, it doesn’t have an ancient crappy Micro USB port like some cameras I could mention *cough* RX100 *cough*. The only other complaint I see is people saying they have dust on their sensor. Apparently the camera just isn’t that well sealed against dust. To mitigate this, I have bought a Nisi 49mm Filter Adapter and a Tiffen 49mm UV filter, effectively sealing the lens of the camera. Photo quality seems to be exactly the same and I’m less worried about putting it in my pocket. It makes the camera very slightly bigger, but it still fits easily in the pocket of a hoodie.

The only other protective thing I bought was a glass screen protector. They’ve saved me on GoPros before so I just consider them cheap insurance.

You do have one other decision to make if you want a GRIII, though. The standard model, which is what I got, has a 28mm equivalent lens, making it fairly wide. There is also a GRIIIx, which is the exactly same camera in literally every way except with a 40mm equivalent lens.

I went with the 28mm standard model because it fits my use case better. Most of what I use this camera for it going to be travel and food, and the wider lens shows scenery better and allows pictures of people in tight spots like sitting at tables and in cars.

Even though the 28mm lens is relatively wide, it’s still very sharp, I like the freedom to take pictures in tighter spaces, but if your preference is for the narrower 40mm lens, the GRIIIx has you covered.

I’ve owned the camera for about two weeks so far, and taken probably 500 photos, but I’m definitely still learning it’s ins and outs. I’ll likely post a follow up in a few months after I get to do some real travel with it and take it out to restaurants and stuff, but my initial impressions are all very positive. This is such a weird, niche camera, but if you happen to be in that niche, it’s amazing.