Blast from the past – Ricoh GR Digital III 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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Ricoh patents several lens designs for 1″ sensors – 25/1.8, 35/1.8, 50/2.4 and 70/2.8

Egami, a Japanese blog known for releasing patent specifications of lenses designed and made by all notable manufacturer, reports that Ricoh has patented four prime lenses for the 1” sensor format. 25mm f/1.8, 35mm f/1.8, 50mm f/2.4 and 70mm f/2.8. Supposedly these lenses are meant for industrial cameras (so called machine vision applications), which predominantly use C-mount and CS-mount.

Ricoh-70mm-F2.8-1-inch

Ricoh 70mm f/2.8 design – 7 elements in 5 groups

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