In preparation for coming out of COVID lockdowns, for better or worse, I decided to finally update my beloved Fujifilm X100T. The X100T has simply become too large of kit for me to take everywhere, and too finicky to connect to my iPad (to transfer images) for it to find regular use around the house. I looked at a lot of options before settling on the Ricoh GR IIIx.
This is a fixed lens, APS-C sensor, at a roughly 40mm full-frame equivalent lens. It’s also tiny. And it is completely amazing.
The details, to save you from looking them up:
- 26.1mm (Approx. 40mm in 35mm equivalent focal length), F2.8～F16
- Approx. 24.24 megapixels
- Sensor-shift shake reduction (SR)(3-axis)
- Moiré reduction using SR unit (Off, Low, High)
- 1/4000 sec. – 30 sec.
- Approx. 109.4(W)×61.9(H)×35.2(D)mm
- Approx. 262g (Included dedicated battery and SD memory card)
For comparison, here it is compared to the X100T on Camera Size:
It comes in at $999, which is about what I paid for it on Amazon. Generally speaking the specs on this blow the X100T out of the water, while being significantly smaller. I can pocket this camera, I can stick in my sling, and I don’t mind carrying it around.
It’s a tiny wonder of a camera, loaded with tech. The trade off is no optical viewfinder, which I thought would be harder to adjust to than it was. All in all, a net upgrade on the specs and significant size and weight reduction.
In Use & Carry
I carried this on my road trip, and then I kept carrying it. When I head out, it goes in the sling. When I head to work, it’s in my bag. I take it everywhere because it adds very minimal bulk and weight to my EDC, while being able to output substantially better quality images than my iPhone 13 mini. That’s not a slight on the iPhone, perhaps it’s more a slight on me.
When heading out with this camera there’s quite a few things I really like about using it, and some which are less great:
- It’s really quiet: there’s minimal autofocus and shutter sounds and all other LEDs and sounds can be completely turned off. I don’t need a camera to be stealth, but I always appreciate a camera which is quiet.
- Battery Life is Ok: A lot of people talk about how the GR III line don’t have great battery life, a similar complaint on the X100T. I never found myself having battery issues, but it’s not amazing battery life. It’s good enough that I don’t worry about it, but not so much that I think about how nice it is. That said, the battery for this is tiny, so carrying an extra is trivial.
- The Mobile App: Ricoh uses an app called “Image Sync” and it’s better than the Fujifilm app by a wide margin. But that bar is so low that I shouldn’t even compare it, I only do for those currently on Fujifilm who know the pain. As far as apps go, this app basically sucks. There’s two main issues I have with it: it only works in portrait on the iPad; and it imports the RAW+JPEG images as separate images.
- USB-C: Image transfer and charging is all done over USB-C and that’s amazing and fantastic and the way it should be. Which means if you don’t want to carry an extra battery, but you carry a battery pack — well you are good to go with a USB-C cable. Transferring images over USB-C to my iPad is quick enough and properly handles the import of RAW+JPEG. This was one of those little features that sold me.
- Stellar looks: I have to say, this looks killer. I upgraded it with the new Bronze ring from Ricoh and man does that look great.
- Fully customizable: there’s so much customization I was completely overwhelmed the first week. But once I gave up worrying about it, I realized that it works just fine with out tweaking every setting. And over time I found some I wanted to change/tweak and the camera never stopped me from being able to do so. Very cool, but don’t worry about it when you first get the camera.
- 40mm is actually great. I was worried what it would be like moving from 35mm to 40mm, but it’s a trivial change and being slightly closer to 50mm is really nice. Overall I think this is a really great focal length, so count me as a fan.
- I really enjoy the film simulations for what they are, but I rarely use them. If I was needing to crank up the quantity of images I could shoot, I would be more than happy running JPEG only on this and adjusting the film simulations on the fly. But when I first got this camera I thought that I would not edit as much on my iPad, relying on the film simulations, but that’s not been the case so far.
In use, and carrying: this camera checks every box for me, and if the mobile app was fixed up, it could be really killer.
Photography Things I am Not Qualified to Review
I suck as a photographer, and the acclaimed photographer I live with is thus far disinterested in the camera. I will instead take the typical white-male-blogger-hack-photographer hat and tell you a few things I like about the photographic aspects of the images this camera produces.
- Autofocus: you have two options on this camera, the first is that it is annoyingly too precise and thus a little risky to use. The other option is that it is a little imprecise, but works about 90% of the time, the other 10% are the times you will find yourself pissed it didn’t work. You can select the zone and size, and get very precise focus, but that makes the camera a little slower to use. Or you can enable some of the ML based AF assistant stuff and it mostly works fine, same with the preset zone/snap focus stuff. But again, you are going to miss stuff here and there.
- Turning on the camera, to first shot is extremely fast. So for those who will carry this, but not have it always ready and on, this is a boon. I love this. I am really paranoid about leaving cameras on, so the speed this camera fires up impresses me.
- The subject isolation is really stellar on this at f/2.8.
- It’s not great for landscape, you’ll want something wider.
- The color reproduction seems spot on to me.
- I have no complaints about the bokeh, but no additional thoughts either.
- Image Stabilization is insane. I don’t have particularly steady hands, and I regularly shoot this at 1/40th without a single issue with blur. I am astounded by this constantly.
- I’ve never taken a photo where I thought “ugh, that’s a lot of noise, not good”. I don’t even know if I have used this at an ISO where there is noise. I don’t know, it’s pretty fucking stellar.
There you go. That’s what I think. I don’t know what the shit I am talking about though.
I love this camera. You should buy it, because of all of the above, but mostly because the image output is outstanding for something this easy to carry. It’s absurd.