Ricoh GR III HDF and GR IIIx HDF come with dreamy diffusion filters

Mar 28, 2024

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Ricoh GR III HDF and GR IIIx HDF come with dreamy diffusion filters

Mar 28, 2024

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Ricoh GR III HDF and GR IIIx HDF

Ricoh has announced new versions of its GR III and GR IIIx cameras. The Ricoh GR III HDF (buy here) and Ricoh GR IIIx HDF (buy here) add a new highlight diffusion filter. These intentionally soften your image by diffusing the highlights and creating an overall softer image.

The cameras appear to be identical to the regular GR III (buy here) and GR IIIx (buy here) models. And it appears to be an actual hardware filter. So, this time, it’s not something that’ll be coming to other models in a firmware update.

YouTube video

Ricoh GR III HDF/GR IIIx HDF – A new filter!

Ricoh says that the new Highlight Diffusion Filter (HDF) is the result of the company’s advanced inkjet technology. Developed over many years, they say that the new filter diffuses highlight areas and creates a more organic, blurry feel to hard edges.

The goal, of course, is to help simulate that old-school film look on a digital point-and-shoot. After all, shooting with film and old lenses is about a lot more than just a change of medium. Older lenses, ones that produce the movie looks we love, were imperfect.

Ricoh GR III HDF and GR IIIx HDF

Filters like this help to add back some of that imperfection in the modern day. At least, that’s the theory. In reality, there is definitely a noticeable difference. Whether or not it resembles film and movies of old is another matter. I suppose it depends what kinds of old movies you watch.

What does the filter look like?

The filter essentially diffuses the highlights, causing them to bloom out. It is a very definitive visual style, although it won’t be for everyone. Here’s a quick example in standard mode and with the HDF filter enabled.

Can you tell which is which? Obviously, the sharper one without the glow is the standard mode, and the one on the right has the filter in place. The glow is definitely very obvious and when you have colours that saturate the sensor, the roll-off isn’t quite as pleasing as it could be.

Even the standard mode often achieves a bit of a glow right bright light sources. Enabling the HDF filter really exaggerates the look, as you can see below.

I can’t see myself wanting to buy an entire camera just to get this look, but if you’ve been thinking about the GR III or GR IIIx anyway, this one might be worth checking out.

Price and Availability

The Ricoh GR III HDF will be available to pre-order soon for $1,069.95. The Ricoh GR IIIx HDF will also available to pre-order soon for $1,149.95. Units begin shipping in April. We’ll update this post when links become available.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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