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07-07-2020, 02:45 PM - 12 Likes   #1
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Quick Review of GRIII - With Lots of Pics

I have been lusting for this camera ever since handling one in the BIC camera store in Tokyo last year. I finally scored one for a good price over at fredmiranda, and it included 3 OEM batteries

I took it on a roadtrip up the California coast this past weekend. And, to challenge myself, it is the ONLY camera I took.

Pros:

- Even though I only shoot raw, the files definitely have more of a "film like" quality than any other digital camera I have ever used. It does have strong vignetting which may add to that. Of course this is correctable in post, but it is something to be mindful of.
- My friends commented "what kind of pictures do you expect to get out of that?" LOL, they are used to me carrying around a lot of "big cameras", and they were implying that they didn't think I could get high quality pictures with such a compact camera. It is definitely stealth and is a big plus.
- Lens is super sharp, like really sharp. It allows nice cropability.
- 28mm equivalent focal length is very versatile, more so than 35mm.
- Autofocus in lowlight, single, was actually not as bad I thought it would be (with the latest firmware).
- In body SR is definitely a plus.
- The touch screen is really responsive. I use it to focus and release shutter with one touch, and it (mostly) works very well.
- Macro mode lets you get really close and definitely adds versatility (but more in the cons section).

Cons:
- No articulating rear screen. This makes getting those really low level shots (like an inch or 2 above the ground) much more challenging than it ought to be.
- I used this a lot on the beach in midday, and I was basically guessing at my composition. I had the screen on full brightness, but wasn't quite enough.
- No flash. This would be really nice to have due to the leaf shutter so you can sync at really high shutter speed. This comes in handy to get a nice fill flash in the day time, and also the catch light in the eyes.
- Macro mode autofocus is, in a word, bad. This is double true in low light. Also true when you use the touch screen to focus. However, it does improve a little bit when I used the half-shutter press to focus as opposed to the touch screen.


Here are some pics:

- One of the shots where an articulating screen would have really come in handy



- Majestic 9 pound beast (i just now noticed the head peering over the rocks, I totally should have cloned that out)


- Used the built-in ND filter, shot at f16 to try to bring the shutter speed as low as possible and get the swirling water


- Shot into the sun, no ghosting (reminds me of the DA 15mm LTD)


- Beautiful landscapes, horrible harsh lighting



- Harsh lighting


- Used VSCO Afga film simulator


- Sharp, sharp




- Smooth bokeh from a wide angle (have to get really close to your subject)


- Don't worry, the Elephant Seals are not dead...they are just huuuuge and rest a lot! This is one where I used the 50mm in camera crop. As you can see, the lens is sharp enough that you still get a lot of nice detail even after the crop



So, in summary, this is a really hard camera to describe. People that say "oh just use a phone it is the same thing", nope, absolutely not. The resolution and lens on this thing is just way more than you can hope to get from a phone. Same thing with the smooth bokeh (if you get close to your subject).

You really have to know how to work the 28mm equivalent focal length. It is great for non-human close-ups. For humans, it is awesome for environmental portraits.

No camera is perfect. I would 100% sacrifice a bit more camera volume for pop-up flash and an articulating screen. Those two additions would send this camera into the stratosphere.
Having said that, i would only want those additions if it were to remain pocketable. I have had a Fuji X100F, which is the previous model, and it was big enough to discourage me from taking it everywhere. Also, the Fuji interface sucks the fun out of photography (of course that is subjective and only my opinion).

This may sound strange, but here is my summary:
I would not want this to be my only camera. But if I absolutely had to have only one camera, this one would be it.

07-07-2020, 03:05 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by cali92rs Quote
I would not want this to be my only camera. But if I absolutely had to have only one camera, this one would be it.
Awesome read, great photos, and an excellent closing statement. Thanks for the lengthy and informative post

Last edited by BigMackCam; 07-07-2020 at 04:04 PM.
07-07-2020, 03:44 PM   #3
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One of the better "proof is in the pudding" posts I've seen recently. Those photos say a lot more than words could, just the type of post that leads to deeper looks and possible new GRIII owners. Well done sir!!
07-07-2020, 07:01 PM - 1 Like   #4
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You're not helping. I mean you are helping. I had convinced myself I didn't need to have one of these on the short list. Thanks for straightening me out!

I think of the ton of travel I did with my ME Super, and the lens that spent 99% of it's time on the camera was the m 28/2.8. It's a really versatile focal length equivalent. It's easy to overlook it with so many lenses and zooms in the typical kit.

07-07-2020, 07:37 PM   #5
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Definitely a good review. Also, I think you should leave the head in the shot. That was kind of an interesting surprise.
07-07-2020, 10:12 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by cali92rs Quote
(i just now noticed the head peering over the rocks, I totally should have cloned that out
No! Leave it in. It's a great photo.
07-08-2020, 10:56 AM   #7
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Thanks for the review, sounds like it continues all the strong points of the other Ricoh products I've used in the past.

The main reason I've never considered this series was that I assumed they would have poor close-focusing abilities, so I'm intrigued by the macro focusing mode you mention. Would you mind sharing a little more about just how close it can get? I shoot a lot of photos in the magnification range from 1:4 (the DA kit lens gets to about 1:3) and 1:2, less often all the way down to 1:1.

07-08-2020, 10:59 AM   #8
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I have to say I am pretty impressed.
07-08-2020, 11:57 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by er1kksen Quote
Thanks for the review, sounds like it continues all the strong points of the other Ricoh products I've used in the past.

The main reason I've never considered this series was that I assumed they would have poor close-focusing abilities, so I'm intrigued by the macro focusing mode you mention. Would you mind sharing a little more about just how close it can get? I shoot a lot of photos in the magnification range from 1:4 (the DA kit lens gets to about 1:3) and 1:2, less often all the way down to 1:1.

Thank you all for your very kind words, I am very humbled

Regarding Macro mode, it allows you to shoot as close as 6cm and is about 1:3.5, which is pretty close.
Below is a pic I just shot right now as an example:



Note that I shot this at 1/640 and ISO100...I used a manual flash handheld and the GR III one handed. That's the reason I wanted such a high shutter speed, which is not a problem with the leaf shutter
07-08-2020, 12:20 PM   #10
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Great review GRIII is such a beast. I feel super guilty I don't use it more due to not being able to travel these days due to the pandemic..

Question for the smarter folks - whats is resolution of the 35mm/50mm crop in mp? is it around 19mp/13mp or so?

Do you think it's possible to develop a longer telephoto lens adapter for the GRIII? 85 2.8 would be a nice combo, with digital crops to like 105/135? body has IBIS, would be pretty nice for a do-it-all travel companion.
07-08-2020, 12:20 PM   #11
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Thanks! Seems to me that with the III's 24mp sensor, the macro mode can be even more versatile either cropping in post or with the 35/50mm crop modes- I understand they're about 15 and 7.5mp in output, respectively? Something tells me I'll have to try this camera out someday (not least of which your beautiful images in this thread). I really do think Ricoh's modern lenses have a distinctive rendering across the range I've tried and seen samples from, the GXR units being the others.
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