Since its initial announcement last month, many Ricoh fans have been waiting to be able to get their pre-orders in for the new Ricoh GR IIIx digital camera. Well, now, they can and it’ll cost you around $999. Over the GR III it sees a longer focal length, new face and eye-detection AF, improved in-camera editing and a bunch of new accessories.
The body of the camera hasn’t changed at all, and it still looks and feels largely the same, except when you shoot with it, you’ll have a slightly narrower field of view, going from the 28mm equivalent on the GR III to a 40mm equivalent on the GR IIIx – which is said to deliver “a new, innovative perspective perfect for dramatic, inspiring street photography”.
The Ricoh GR IIIx features a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor, 3-axis stabilisation, a 26.1mm f/2.8 lens which offers a field of view equivalent to about 40mm on a full-frame sensor which the company says provides a closer field of view to that of human vision and was developed in response to user requests that add a “new perspective” over the GR III.
The 40mm equivalent focal length, Ricoh says, offers a more natural perspective with “a more truthful sense of depth” for street photography, without the exaggerated perspective of the 28mm equivalent lens found on the GR III. It has a minimum focusing distance of only 12 centimetres, although when you’d ever get that close to a subject for street photography, I’ve no idea. But, when you are focused on something that close, Ricoh says that it offers a “beautifully defocused background”. Well, with an APS-C sized sensor and an f/2.8 lens, I would hope so.
And that APS-C CMOS sensor captures 24.2-megapixel images and contains no anti-aliasing filter, which should offer the sharpness we’ve come to expect from the Ricoh GR III. Of course, sensors without anti-aliasing filters can sometimes be prone to moiré when presented with certain patterns – something that seems to have been a problem on some GR cameras in the past. But the new GR Engine 6 is said to be optimised for this sensor, so hopefully, it can handle that and prevent it from showing in your images.
It comes with a new hybrid autofocus system that features face and eye detection. This face and eye detection functionality, however, has now also been added to the GR III in a recent firmware update. How the performance will compare between the GR III and GR IIIx with the detection features in the real world remains to be seen.
But, you also get 14-Bit RAW, ISO 100-102,400, a max leaf shutter speed of 1/4000th of a second, a 3″ 1.037m-dot touchscreen display, three-axis stabilisation, a 0.8-second start-up time and in-camera raw image editing.
The one big issue with the camera and probably the biggest disappointment with it that many seem to have is that there doesn’t really seem to be much in the way of weather sealing. Apparently, Ricoh thinks street photography’s only good on dry days with your camera packed in cotton wool. The GR series isn’t really known for its durability and build quality, so maybe this is something that Ricoh will eventually address, maybe, one day. But not today.
Along with the availability of the GR IIIx, there are a few new accessories also available to pre-order. There’s a Ricoh GT-2 Tele Conversion lens that bumps your focal length up to a 75mm equivalent – very handy for more “street portrait” style shooting. Although, oddly, despite this lens only being available for the GR IIIx, you also need to buy the Ricoh GA-2 adapter (a separate item, with a separate cost) in order to actually mount it.
There’s also the new Ricoh GV-3 viewfinder, designed for the Ricoh GR IIIx that slots into the camera’s hotshoe. It covers the full 40mm equivalent field of view frame and features 1:1 aspect ratio marks, for when you to want to go all Instagram on the street with a larger sensor than the one in your smartphone.
There’s also a new GC-11 soft case that fits the camera, but none of the extra stuff mentioned above and a GN-2 ring cap available in bronze, dark grey or black (doesn’t it already come with a black one built-in?), to make your GR IIIx look a little more… exciting?
All of the items are available to pre-order now. The GR IIIx is $996.95, the GT-2 Tele Conversion lens is $269.95 (of course you need to spend another $49.95 on the GA-2 adapter to actually be able to use it), the GV-3 External Viewfinder is $249.95, the GC-11 case is $44.95 and the weird little GN-2 ring cap is $24.95. Shipping on all items is expected in December.
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