Today, Ricoh has announced the Ricoh GR Digital III. The GRD III follows the very successfull Ricoh GRD I, released in 2005, and the Ricoh GRD II, released in 2007. Before that Ricoh had the film GR1 series, the GR21 and even released their GR lenses in a limited edition made for Leica L-mount.
The Ricoh GRD III continued the tradition of compact, well designed cameras with a high quality GR 28mm lens. Where it is different from it’s predecessors is that the lens is now a whole stop faster than the first GR1 lens, which was a f2.8 lens the new GRD III lens is a newly designed f1.9 lens!
This is very good news and shows that Ricoh have been listening to the requests from users to incorporate a faster lens. There are currently no compact cameras out there with lenses faster than f2.0 and there were only a few Olympus cameras available with f1.8 lenses but these were bigger and started at 35mm.
The other new features are a slightly bigger 1/1.7″ sensor, new improved and userdefined Snap AF mode, a great 3″ LCD screen with 920,000 pixels and VGA resolution, faster 5fps continous RAW shooting, S-mode, 3 improved ‘My Setting’ modes, improved AF speed, the ability to costomize the hue and saturation of each color (orange, green, blue, red and magenta), a DR mode (JPG only), closer macro focusing at 1cm and the new Multi-Pattern Auto WB.
Ricoh has also been listening to concerns and did not increase the number of pixels on the sensor and kept it at 10 MP although they had the choice between 10MP and 17MP. Instead they have been working to improve the noise performance and increase the sensitivity. The sensor is completely new and offers the added advantage of cell quality and pixel pitch compared to the older CCD sensors.
Together wth the fast f1.9 lens it will make the GRD III one of the best compact cameras for low light shooting.
To accomodate the new lens and bigger sensor, the body had to be slightly redesigned and is now slightly bigger and heavier. The lens protrudes more now and the flash hotshoe is slightly raised. The camera feels and looks more like the GR21 and now as much as the GR1 film cameras.
Because of the bigger lens there will be new accessories released for the GRD III, the old lens hood and adapter lenses do not work on the GRD III. Ricoh will release a new (GW-2) 21mm adapter lens and also a new external flash (GF-1) after the launch.
Find below the main GRD III features:
– new 28mm f1.9 GR lens
– 10mp 1/1.7″ CCD sensor with improved sensibility at high ISO
– ISO 64-1600
– 3″ 920,000 pixel LCD with VGA resolution and high viweing angle
– new GR Engine III
– PASM-modes, now with S-priority mode added
– 5fps RAW shooting
– 3 My Settings
– new full-press Snap function and customizable Snap focus distance
– Multi-Pattern AWB
– DR double shot mode (JPG only)
– added a 2nd Fn button
– Customizable front and back wheel (shutter speed/aperture)
– New GW-2 21mm wide conversion lens
– New GF-1 external flash
– 188g (vs. 168g from the GRD I and GRD II)
There will be a full review available soon.