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10-18-2020, 02:01 AM   #1
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Anyone opinions on GR v GR iii image quality?

Anyone opinions on GR i v GR iii image quality? It's easy enough to make direct specification comparisons, but the more nuanced info about the comparable image quality is harder.

I own a GR i. Have done since release. Great camera. However, where I do struggle with it is in post production - there's less scope to recover data than I'm used to with the K3/K1. Yes I know the sensor size, pixel pitch etc is different, but there's more to it with the K-1's newer sensor.

So does the 14-bit, GR iii with its newer sensor, but with denser pixels, offer any significant improvement in the RAW files for post production?

Many thanks ...

10-18-2020, 07:07 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
Anyone opinions on GR i v GR iii image quality? It's easy enough to make direct specification comparisons, but the more nuanced info about the comparable image quality is harder.

I own a GR i. Have done since release. Great camera. However, where I do struggle with it is in post production - there's less scope to recover data than I'm used to with the K3/K1. Yes I know the sensor size, pixel pitch etc is different, but there's more to it with the K-1's newer sensor.

So does the 14-bit, GR iii with its newer sensor, but with denser pixels, offer any significant improvement in the RAW files for post production?

Many thanks ...
I‘d suggest looking for some GR-III raw files at the internet and download them to see if they meet your expectations in post processing them by yourself.
10-18-2020, 10:27 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by acoufap Quote
I‘d suggest looking for some GR-III raw files at the internet and download them to see if they meet your expectations in post processing them by yourself.
Thank you, useful idea. I've just tried a few samples, but I didn't find any that convinced me one way or the other. Maybe the iii is a little better, but they're not my shots so careful assessment is tricky.

An area of post that seems to add more noise than expected into GR i shots are when I increase the shadow values. Maybe I've been spoilt with the K1 (and K3), or maybe it's because the old GR is 12-bit...?

Maybe, somebody who's moved from the earlier GR to the newer iii saw noticeable improvements in possible post processing ...
10-18-2020, 10:41 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
Thank you, useful idea. I've just tried a few samples, but I didn't find any that convinced me one way or the other. Maybe the iii is a little better, but they're not my shots so careful assessment is tricky.

An area of post that seems to add more noise than expected into GR i shots are when I increase the shadow values. Maybe I've been spoilt with the K1 (and K3), or maybe it's because the old GR is 12-bit...?

Maybe, somebody who's moved from the earlier GR to the newer iii saw noticeable improvements in possible post processing ...
I think 14 vs. 12 bit sensor make a difference in shadows and highlights but I cannot prove. There also may occur different results with different raw converters ...

I don't own a GR-III but a KP and I can say image quality is very good - I use the Capture One Pro raw converter that is said to be leading in raw conversion.

10-18-2020, 04:19 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Samuel L Streetlife has a good comparison.

10-18-2020, 04:30 PM - 1 Like   #6
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I had a GRII and now have a GRIII. Imo GRIII had much nicer raws overall. Noise creeps in at higher iso than with the GRII, dynamic range feels larger too. Plus more megapixels. But both are very capable, it's just GRIII has a newer sensor.

Last edited by awscreo; 10-19-2020 at 06:39 AM.
10-18-2020, 04:36 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I have a GR II, Barry, and I think the sensor is the same as the GR, it's older than the golden 16Mp sensor in the K-5, IIRC, and doesn't handle noise particularly well.

You're getting a 50 percent increase in the number of pixels with the III, it's got the noise reduction chip, and perhaps more importantly - do you ever shoot handheld? - you're getting Pentax IBIS.
10-18-2020, 07:45 PM - 2 Likes   #8
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I find the 14-bit DNGs way better, a real selling point for the camera and one of the reasons why I got the GR III. Where you really get a benefit is in shadows, highlights to a lesser degree but still better than the previous one.

Also, don't underestimate the highlight weighted metering. It's a feature that should be in every camera. Lets you easily keep the highlights within dynamic range and then do what you want with shadows afterwards. Though one of the standout aspects of Ricoh's processing in my estimation is the richness of the shadows, the way they gently roll off into deep shade but still have discernable details - if you like that look, the GR III gives it to you in spades.

10-18-2020, 08:43 PM - 1 Like   #9
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What the others said, plus:
The dynamic range is greatly improved in the shadows compared to the GR/II. The high ISOs are cleaner especially between 1600 and 3200. Although I find the internet reports about the high ISO performance a bit too enthusiastic. I find the Fuji sensors, for example, have better high ISO performance. The real advantage compared to the GR/II is the stabilizer.
A lot better - compared to the GR/II - is how colors are rendered with high ISOs over ISO1600. I found the older GR RAWs hard to correct color-wise with ISOs over 800 and I switched a lot to B/W. That is a lot better now.

A real advantage for me is how the new lens and sensor render landscapes. I found that the GR/II had a bit of a "clinical" look at infinity while it was spectacular at close and mid range distances. I found the GR/II lens sharper at mid distances. The new lens is a lot better at infinity. The better sensor resolution helps with this impression as well.

I bit of a downfall on the GRIII is the rather high vignetting in the RAWs with the new lens, which can lead to higher noise in the corners when corrected. I'd rather add vignette if I want than take it out.

But overall, yes, I think there is significant improvement in the RAW files in post. The GR/II was a fantastic street shooter, the GRIII is a much more flexible camera now.

Hope that helps!
10-19-2020, 12:54 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by officiousbystander Quote
Many thanks for that link. It makes any decision sooooo much clearer It reinforced many of the attributes of the original GR, but it's the RAW files that I'm especially interested. A problem I'd have if I bought the GR iii, is what to do with the GR i. This video hinted at an option.

---------- Post added 10-19-20 at 08:55 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by awscreo Quote
I had a GRII and now have a GRIII. Imo GRIII had much nicer raws overall. Noise creeps in at higher iso than with the GRII, dynamic range feels larger too. Plus more pegapixels. But both are very capable, it's just GRIII has a newer sensor.
Your comment, albeit subjective, is along the lines of what I was expecting to hear. Thank you.

---------- Post added 10-19-20 at 08:58 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
I have a GR II, Barry, and I think the sensor is the same as the GR, it's older than the golden 16Mp sensor in the K-5, IIRC, and doesn't handle noise particularly well.

You're getting a 50 percent increase in the number of pixels with the III, it's got the noise reduction chip, and perhaps more importantly - do you ever shoot handheld? - you're getting Pentax IBIS.
Yes, the hand held feature would be useful. I often use my GR i on a carbon monopod, to obtain a little slower speeds, so IBIS would be helpful. I suspected the sensor was old, but not older than the K5. The noise does come into play with landscapes, especially. Gritty street images are no problem, obviously ... Thanks.

---------- Post added 10-19-20 at 09:00 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by AgentL Quote
I find the 14-bit DNGs way better, a real selling point for the camera and one of the reasons why I got the GR III. Where you really get a benefit is in shadows, highlights to a lesser degree but still better than the previous one.

Also, don't underestimate the highlight weighted metering. It's a feature that should be in every camera. Lets you easily keep the highlights within dynamic range and then do what you want with shadows afterwards. Though one of the standout aspects of Ricoh's processing in my estimation is the richness of the shadows, the way they gently roll off into deep shade but still have discernable details - if you like that look, the GR III gives it to you in spades.
That helps with my 14-bit thoughts. Thanks.

The new metering mode does appeal too.

---------- Post added 10-19-20 at 09:02 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by gbl Quote
What the others said, plus:
The dynamic range is greatly improved in the shadows compared to the GR/II. The high ISOs are cleaner especially between 1600 and 3200. Although I find the internet reports about the high ISO performance a bit too enthusiastic. I find the Fuji sensors, for example, have better high ISO performance. The real advantage compared to the GR/II is the stabilizer.
A lot better - compared to the GR/II - is how colors are rendered with high ISOs over ISO1600. I found the older GR RAWs hard to correct color-wise with ISOs over 800 and I switched a lot to B/W. That is a lot better now.

A real advantage for me is how the new lens and sensor render landscapes. I found that the GR/II had a bit of a "clinical" look at infinity while it was spectacular at close and mid range distances. I found the GR/II lens sharper at mid distances. The new lens is a lot better at infinity. The better sensor resolution helps with this impression as well.

I bit of a downfall on the GRIII is the rather high vignetting in the RAWs with the new lens, which can lead to higher noise in the corners when corrected. I'd rather add vignette if I want than take it out.

But overall, yes, I think there is significant improvement in the RAW files in post. The GR/II was a fantastic street shooter, the GRIII is a much more flexible camera now.

Hope that helps!
That help. Thanks. The all round aspect/ flexibility is where I'm beginning to appreciate the GR iii's benefits.
10-19-2020, 09:32 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by gbl Quote
Although I find the internet reports about the high ISO performance a bit too enthusiastic. I find the Fuji sensors, for example, have better high ISO performance. The real advantage compared to the GR/II is the stabilizer.
This may come down to taste. The GR III leans into grain at high ISO values, albeit a gentle and pleasing grain. I would guess that the designers worked to make sure that details did not look smeared or blurry, while keeping the GR recipe of "gritty but sharp" to preserve the bite of the lens.
10-21-2020, 10:55 AM   #12
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It occurred to me to run a comparative test using the GRi and a K-3 with the HD 21mm Limited. It rather proved what I expected, but then it made my think how much better the GRiii might be than the GRi.

Simply:

#The K-3/21mm is less sharp. No surprises there as the GRi is astonishingly sharp.
#The GRi is noticeably noisier, noticeable from the base ISO up.
#The out of camera RAWs were very different in colour. The colour temp and tint in ACR markedly different.

The second two points make the GR a less pleasing image to start with. When I started to try and bring the images to match in RAW and/or to change them independently to create a more pleasing image, the lack of post latitude in the GRi's RAW files became more apparent.

Clearly the two cameras are different beasts, but it made me wonder whether a heavier K-3/21mm on a wrist strap, would actually by a solution for a light walkabout/unobtrusive camera. Using in LV probably helps it look less like a DSLR amongst people. Then in the landscapes, it would be more flexible than the GR, but obviously heavier.

Maybe the K3 14-bit sensor is close to the GRiii's, therefore this actually is a useful test of how the GRiii would perform in post.

Just thinking ...
10-21-2020, 01:05 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
It occurred to me to run a comparative test using the GRi and a K-3 with the HD 21mm Limited. It rather proved what I expected, but then it made my think how much better the GRiii might be than the GRi.

Simply:

#The K-3/21mm is less sharp. No surprises there as the GRi is astonishingly sharp.
#The GRi is noticeably noisier, noticeable from the base ISO up.
#The out of camera RAWs were very different in colour. The colour temp and tint in ACR markedly different.

The second two points make the GR a less pleasing image to start with. When I started to try and bring the images to match in RAW and/or to change them independently to create a more pleasing image, the lack of post latitude in the GRi's RAW files became more apparent.

Clearly the two cameras are different beasts, but it made me wonder whether a heavier K-3/21mm on a wrist strap, would actually by a solution for a light walkabout/unobtrusive camera. Using in LV probably helps it look less like a DSLR amongst people. Then in the landscapes, it would be more flexible than the GR, but obviously heavier.

Maybe the K3 14-bit sensor is close to the GRiii's, therefore this actually is a useful test of how the GRiii would perform in post.

Just thinking ...
I think GRIII runs a newer sensor that's also powering KP. I compared the raws from GRIII to Sony 6300 raws, and GRIII raws look better to me personally. Not as good as my K1 raws, but it's a different beast altogether.
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