Ricoh GRD III Review – Part 7

This part will briefly compare the RD1s with the 28mm GR L-mount lens with the GRDs.
It was planned to be published before Christmas but got delayed. I got the chance to try out the new Ricoh GXR with 50mm lens so put this review on hold for a bit in order to have enough time to try the GXR and see if it could be included in this review for comparison.
After having tried the GXR for a while now and only have the 50mm APS lens module, I felt it did not make sense to include it here and it would have taken too much time to go out and reshoot all pictures for comparison. There will be a review of the GXR coming up.

Lets move on now and see how the cameras and lenses compare. This comparison is more out of curiosity and is not meant to determine which camera is better since the GRDs are completely different from the RD1s.

Part 7 – Image Comparison GRDs & RD1

As before, all cameras have been set to A-mode at f4.5, EV -0.3, b&w or standard color image parameters with NR off (GRD II and III). The JPGs are unprocessed and this test will be based only on the JPGs.
The pictures have all been taken without a tripod.

Let’s start with the first picture taken at ISO 400 in b&w.



It comes as no surprise that the RD1s has the highest dynamic range and the lowest noise. The GRD III comes closest to the RD1s though and has a quite similar look. You can see the noise reduction artifacts showing in both the GRD II and GRD III images, the GRD I shows all the noise where the RD1s does not have any noise to speak of.

Now it’s time to see how the cameras perform in this situation at ISO 1600.



There is no question here that none of the GRDs come anywhere close to the performance of the RD1s, this was however to be expected. As we know from the previous tests, the GRD I is the only GRD here which manages to capture and retain some details in JPG mode at this ISO.

Unsurprisingly so far the RD1s is in a different league, let’s see how the cameras perform in color and at lower ISO.

The next picture is taken at ISO 200.


This picture shows that at a low ISO the GRDs are also quite capable and show a good dynamic range. The RD1s shows here clearly the trade-offs associated with digital rangefinders where the lens is too close to the sensor, there is visible vignetting.

The last picture is the same scene at ISO 800 to see if there is a difference.


No difference here and the same story as before.

When I decided to test the RD1s against the GRDs, I was not sure what to expect and was more interested in the lens characteristics. This test has turned out not to prove too much but more to confirm what was expected. Since the RD1s and the GRDs are completely different cameras and in different classes there will not really be a competition between them.

Continue to the conclusion…

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2 responses to “Ricoh GRD III Review – Part 7

  1. Just to know, if the RD1 gives better pictures on all your samples, why do you usually use the GRD?

  2. Hi,

    Although the RD1s gives better image quality than the GRDs it weights over three times more, is much larger, has no AF, can’t take macro pictures and the shutter is very loud. The shallow DOF of the APS sensor when using fast apertures is another hindrance for me in most instances and I prefer the large DOF offered by smaller sensors.
    Also the RD1s is not my camera and was only borrowed to tak the comparison pictures.

    All this aside, the size and weight alone means I would always carry a GRD with me where the RD1 or similar sized camera would only come along on weekends.

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