Ricoh GR Digital III: Faster, better, smarter but not smaller


Following the success of the GRD II, Ricoh has recently introduced a new camera to the GRD product line-up, here’s what they have to say about it:

Taking the GR DIGITAL concepts another step forward, the GR DIGITAL III achieves even greater image quality
  • The new image processing engine GR Engine III is installed. Using newly developed noise reduction technology, it enables highly sophisticated noise processing to be done while maintaining superior resolution, tone characteristics, and saturation.
  • The new high-sensitivity CCD (1/1.7 inch, approx. 10 megapixels) achieves high-sensitivity properties through the use of a new process. The combination of the newly developed GR Lens and GR Engine III significantly increases shooting performance in low-light scenes.
  • Even faster shooting capabilities for capturing fleeting shutter opportunities.
  • Algorithm improvements have reduced focusing time in low-light scenes. With the Pre-AF function, focusing speed is further accelerated by adjusting the focus to match the movement of the subject.
  • The new "full-press snap" function shoots at a preset distance for a one-push full-press of the shutter button.
  • Up to five RAW images can be recorded in consecutive shooting and bracketing.

What they’re saying in plain english is:

  • With the same lens coverage, the camera can see more light with f1.9 (that’s a bit brighter than the old’s f2.4), but depth-of-field (that blurry background effect) won’t be much of a different than its predecessor.
  • With the faster lens, the new camera also has a better *heart/brain* (image sensor/processing hardware & algorithm, so you can shoot in slower shutter speed, shoot with higher ISO sensitivity (up to 1600) and the camera can focus better in the dark with a faster response.
  • With the upgraded brainpower, the camera responds to colors & noise better than the older brother, they claim it can now show color with better saturation & tones, smarter at guessing white balance. (I hope they’re not lying/overstating).
  • Combined, the camera should respond faster with a user-controllable shutter lag, more burst buffer, etc… which also means it’s time for you to shop a faster, bigger, more expensive memory card—some of you might also want to get a faster computer to run the images too.
  • Now that they have done their part into making the good camera even better, it’s okay for them to make you pay a premium for the features so that you can quote the above when your wife/friends ask you.

All in all, the company promises a better camera with even more function to be introduced via firmware upgrades (yay!), but with a suggested list price of $875 (camera only, accessories not included) you could get a decent DSLR with a very good 50mm f1.4 lens—I know it’s bigger, but size don’t lie when it comes to photography)

If you’re interested, here’s some photos I took with the old GR Digital II and posted a good round-up on this new beauty.