Blast from the past – Ricoh GR Digital III REVIEW

Ricoh GR Digital III GRDIII review

Introduction

The Ricoh GR Digital III is a seven year old camera. It was introduced in the summer of 2009. This was way before serious compact cameras with 1” sensors – such as Sony RX100 series, Canon G5 X, G7 X (II) and Panasonic TZ100/ZS100 – hit the market. At the time there were only a handful of pocketable serious cameras to choose from. What made the Ricoh GR Digital III stand out for me, were its 28mm equivalent prime lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.9, a for its time speedy operation and auto focus thanks to the GR ENGINE III image processor and the lovely 920,000 dots 3 inch LCD screen, which looks great even by today’s standards.

With a size of 1/1.7” its sensor was considered very large for a compact camera at the time. And, to top it all off, it was one of the few compacts to offer RAW capture, which made all the difference in terms of achievable image quality and post processing headroom.

All of these (and many more) features had their price, of course. The tiny GR Digital III was released with a hefty £529.99 / $699 / €599 price tag. One could buy an entry level DSLR with a kit lens or a double kit for the same amount of money. But still, getting the Ricoh was worth it, if you wanted a serious and very capable carry-anywhere camera. In my opinion it’s worth it to buy a used one even today, so many years after its release. Keep on reading to find out why.

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A few B&W landscapes with the Ricoh GR Digital III

Shot with: Ricoh GR Digital 3I’m not much of a landscape shooter and I think it shows. I feel quite helpless when trying to compose a landscape shot. When shooting portraiture, animals or macro I often get that “click…nailed it!” feeling. Even before viewing the photo on the back screen or on the PC display at home, I know that the shot is good. However, I can’t remember ever getting that feeling when shooting landscapes. It’s more like “click…hmm, is it any good?”
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Macro with the Ricoh GRD3: this is the DIY flash diffuser I’m using

In the last couple of posts (here and here) I’ve mentioned that I’ve been using flash and a do-it-yourself diffuser for taking macro photos with my Ricoh GRD3. It’s a simple diffuser made entirely out of paper, which I’d like to show you now. Please don’t laugh, it works better than it looks. 🙂

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Macro with the Ricoh GRD3: this is how close you can get to the subject

In my reply to Joni in the comments of my last post on the topic of shooting macro with the Ricoh GRD3, I said that the GRD3 has a very special wide angle lens, unlike any other either fixed (as in compact camera) or interchangeable. I now want to show you just how close you can get to your macro subjects with the 6mm f/1.9 (28mm full frame equivalent). What you see below is an image of a microSD card shot at the closest focusing distance. It’s important to note that it was not cropped at all. I just resized it from 10MP to 1920 × 1440 pixels. If anyone wants to see the photo in full resolution, I will upload it to Flickr. Just let me know in the comments. 🙂

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Ricoh GRD3 – Shooting Macro with a Wide Angle Lens

It’s hard for me to fathom, just how much time has passed since I bought the Ricoh GRD3. I purchased it in October 2011 as a small street-photography camera, an addition to my “big guns”. In case you were wondering about the name of the blog: “big guns” for street-photography or big street guns… It just made sense back then, but not so much now. Anyway, I carried the Ricoh everywhere with me, but somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to like the wide angle focal length, since I was so used to shooting with 50mm standard primes with all my other cameras. After a while I stopped carrying the Ricoh with me and a couple of months later I gave up street-photography altogether. Since then the GRD3 has been slumbering, tucked away in a drawer, waiting for me to rediscover it.

Ricoh GR Digital 3 & GV-2 optional viewfinder

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