Ricoh announces GR IIIx premium compact camera with same 24MP APS-C sensor and new longer lens
posted Thursday, September 9, 2021 at 9:00 AM EDT
Ricoh has announced the Ricoh GR IIIx, a high-end compact all-in-one camera. It is a revised version of 2018's GR III and includes a newly-designed 26.1mm GR lens, which provides a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 40mm on the GR IIIx's 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor. GR enthusiasts looking for a more natural field of view than the GR III camera, which includes a 28mm-equiv. lens, should find the GR IIIx to be a welcome alternative.
The new lens is one of the biggest changes in the GR IIIx, so let's take a closer look at the lens. The newly designed 26.1mm f/2.8 GR lens incorporates a pair of aspherical elements to reduce distortion and suppress chromatic aberration. Further, the lens promises minimal ghosting and flare when shooting a backlit subject. In total, the lens has seven elements across five groups. The GR IIIx includes a 2EV neutral density (ND) filter, like the GR III.
The GR IIIx can focus on subjects as close as 12cm (4.7") in macro mode. For reference, the GR III's shorter lens focuses to 6cm (2.4") in its macro mode. Ricoh promises that the GR IIIx will capture close-up images with a natural perspective and defocused background. The lens has a nine-blade aperture diaphragm.
Behind the new lens is the same image sensor, an APS-C format CMOS image sensor with 24.24 effective megapixels. The sensor eschews an anti-aliasing (AA) filter to deliver high-resolution images. The GR IIIx has the same image processing engine as the GR III and includes the same Ricoh accelerator unit to deliver native high ISO performance that ranges from 100 to 102,400. The GR IIIx records 14-bit RAW files and promises rich gradation. In our time with the original GR III, we enjoyed the camera's imaging performance and expect the GR IIIx to perform similarly well with the same sensor as a new lens.
The GR IIIx features a hybrid autofocus system, which uses both contrast-detect and phase-detect autofocus. Ricoh is adding face and eye-detect AF to the GR IIIx, although this new functionality will be added to the GR III via firmware update. When multiple faces are in the frame, the camera will select the main subject to focus on. The main subject can be changed via the camera's touchscreen. Additional autofocus modes include auto-area AF, zone AF, select AF, pinpoint AF, tracking AF and continuous AF. The camera also includes manual focusing.
To help ensure sharp images, the GR IIIx includes three-axis shake reduction. The Ricoh SR (shake reduction) mechanism promises up to four stops of correction. The SR mechanism can also be used to automatically ensure a level horizon, since it's sensor-shift image stabilization, and can be used to simulate an AA filter in situations where moiré artifacts are problematic, such as when photographing certain finely-detailed repeating patterns.
The GR IIIx features the same compact, lightweight design as the GR III. The cameras' form factors are nearly identical, save for an extra 2mm of depth on the GR IIIx. The GR IIIx is 109.4mm (4.3") wide, 61.9mm (2.4") tall and 35.2mm (1.4") deep (not including protrusions). It weighs 262g (9.2 oz.) with a battery and SD card.
The back of the camera features a 3" LCD with 1.037M dots. The touchscreen is fixed, meaning it doesn't tilt. You can use the LCD to control various camera functions, including autofocus. There's also an Outdoor View setting to adjust the display's brightness in difficult lighting conditions instantly. To the right of the display are various function and navigation buttons, plus a control dial. The top of the GR IIIx is quite simple, featuring a hot shoe, power button, shutter release and mode dial. The mode dial includes M, Tv, Av, P modes and three custom user modes.
The GR IIIx doesn't include a viewfinder, requiring users to rely on the LCD. Ricoh has also developed the GV-3 External Mini Finder exclusively for use with the GR IIIx. The optical viewfinder includes a focus frame indicating an image field equivalent to the new built-in lens. The viewfinder comes with a carrying case. Pricing is not yet available.
The GR IIIx includes an Image Control function. You can use this to capture images with a specific desired look. Users can adjust various parameters, like saturation, hue, key, contrast and graininess. You can save adjusted parameters as a custom setting, too. The GR IIIx also includes in-body RAW image processing. The GR IIIx includes upgraded JPEG adjustment as well, including a new monochrome mode.
To share your photos quickly, the GR IIIx includes Bluetooth and wireless LAN connectivity. You can use the accompanying Image Sync application on your smartphone or tablet to transfer images, remotely adjust camera settings or even release the shutter from a distance. Even when the GR IIIx is turned off, you can still browse the camera's photos on your connected device.
In terms of video, like the GR III, the GR IIIx doesn't include 4K video recording, which remains a somewhat puzzling omission. The camera records Full HD (1920 x 1080) video at up to 60 frames per second in H.264 codec.
Alongside the GR IIIx, Ricoh has designed a new optional GA-2 lens adapter, which works with the GT-2 Tele Conversion Lens to extend the camera's equivalent focal length to approximately 75mm, adding a bit more versatility to the fixed-lens camera. The GR IIIx is also compatible with AF540FGZ II, AF360FGZ II, AF540FGZ, AF360FGZ, AF201FG and AF200FG flash units.
The Ricoh GR IIIx will be available in early October directly from Ricoh and via authorized retailers for a manufacturer's suggested price of $999.95 USD.