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03-30-2022, 09:00 AM - 1 Like   #1
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GRIII reliability issues

I love my GRIII but I've had a few concerns about reliability in the 18 months I've owned it. Firstly I've got a bit of dust on the sensor which isn't a real biggie but nevertheless disappointing for a sealed camera with no option for DIY cleaning.

The second issue is slightly more serious but I think I've found out what it is and its not as bad as I feared. A couple of times the camera has locked up on me.... wouldn't respond to controls and wouldn't turn off. As the lens was extended, this was a worry. I know the second time it happened I had just changed the battery, putting in a 3rd party battery in place of a genuine Ricoh. When it happened, I took the 3rd party battery out and fitted a genuine battery and the problem resolved itself. The lens retracted, the camera switched off and everything worked fine after that. I thought that the 3rd party battery might have been suspect but I've since used it and it was fine.

This week I went to use the camera and it was dead. I was sure it was a full battery but I swapped it out and it was fine. When I got home I went to charge up the empty battery but it wouldn't take a charge.... it was already full. So then I started playing about with the camera/battery. I found that with the camera powered up and the battery door open, if you moved the base of the battery slightly, the camera would lose power momentarily and lock up, just like I experienced before.

I concluded that there is a bit of slop in the battery compartment with the battery fitted and it doesn't take much to upset it. That got me measuring the original and 3rd party batteries for tolerance discrepancies but I could find none,

So I've decided that although the issue isn't a great advert for the build quality, at least I know that there isn't a more serious problem with the electronics which would require a serious repair. I wonder how much an authorised Ricoh sensor clean would cost?

03-30-2022, 09:49 AM   #2
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I've had a similar issue with other Pentax cameras and third party batteries. Like you, it appeared to be an issue with the physical dimensions of the battery - if you wiggled the battery around it might work. I've not had that particular problem with my GR III.

Other batteries from that same company of that same size work fine. Some worked in one camera, but not in another.

I've never had that problem with Pentax branded batteries, but if I did, I'd return it. But when I have had problems with bargain batteries, I've just tossed the battery into the recycle bin.

For the record, I use three different brands of batteries in my GR III - two major camera branded batteries, and one bargain basement brand. For the record, all have worked fine.

While I sometimes buy third party batteries, I understand that buying them involves some risk - they might work, they might not. They might not last long. However, they are always cheap. That doesn't mean I'm happy when I run across a dud, but that goes back to the 'value equation' of buying cheap batteries - I could always pay more and get 'official' batteries that I know will work, or I could save $$ and buy cheapos, realizing that there's a good chance that some of them won't work for this or that reason.

You put your money down and you make your choice.

Last edited by wm_brant; 03-30-2022 at 10:10 AM.
03-30-2022, 10:24 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vendee Quote
Firstly I've got a bit of dust on the sensor which isn't a real biggie but nevertheless disappointing for a sealed camera with no option for DIY cleaning.
Well - isn't that a "biggie" after all?

A camera at that price point which so regularly get sensor dust. Quite rapidly too, 6-18 months seems not at all unnormal due to the amounts of user report. It's, well, "remarkable". If unable to seal the camera properly, Ricoh should use a fixed lens (and redesign it smaller if necessary), the camera would still be pocketable. That Ricoh hasn't been more effective in solving the issue is as incomprehensible as the longevity of the solenoid issue that has been plaguing so many models.

Personally - I won't buy a Ricoh GR before Ricoh solve this issue. Period. DIY sensor cleaning on the Ricoh GR is no simple thing, to say the least. And there are other compacts without this problem, for example the Fuji x100 series (without retracting lens).
03-30-2022, 11:21 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stefan Jr Quote
Well - isn't that a "biggie" after all?

A camera at that price point which so regularly get sensor dust. Quite rapidly too, 6-18 months seems not at all unnormal due to the amounts of user report. It's, well, "remarkable". If unable to seal the camera properly, Ricoh should use a fixed lens (and redesign it smaller if necessary), the camera would still be pocketable. That Ricoh hasn't been more effective in solving the issue is as incomprehensible as the longevity of the solenoid issue that has been plaguing so many models.

Personally - I won't buy a Ricoh GR before Ricoh solve this issue. Period. DIY sensor cleaning on the Ricoh GR is no simple thing, to say the least. And there are other compacts without this problem, for example the Fuji x100 series (without retracting lens).
Sadly, it's not uncommon with a number of larger-sensor, fixed-lens cameras. Have a quick Google around and you'll find Fujifilm (X100 series, including latest X100V), Sony (RX10 and RX100 series, and the uber-expensive full-frame RX1R an RX1R II) and other brands' models also suffer from it, and they're all a nightmare to clean - in each case requiring a trip to the service centre or else a very time-consuming, risky and warranty-ending tear-down at home. Even Leica's Q typ 116 suffers from it, though at that price the company offers a free sensor cleaning service... but it goes to show that even a camera costing GBP £3,500 can suffer from this problem.

If you can provide Ricoh (and FujiFilm... and Sony... and others) with a lens design that gives the necessary angle of view and optical quality without needing to extend from the body of the camera, I'm sure they'd be delighted, as it's been an on-going issue with cameras like these for years, and continues to be a problem. Even a non-moving lens mechanism isn't a 100% guarantee that dust - whether from external or internal sources - won't reach the sensor at some point. It might take weeks, months, years or may never happen - but it's always a possibility... and it's the one reason I haven't invested in a high-end fixed-lens camera, despite the fact that I'd love to own one

I suppose Ricoh could copy Leica and offer a free sensor-cleaning service... but it wouldn't be selling the camera for anything like the same price. It would have to factor in the possibility (probability?) of cleaning jobs...


Last edited by BigMackCam; 03-30-2022 at 10:34 PM.
03-30-2022, 11:46 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Sadly, it's not uncommon with a number of larger-sensor, fixed-lens cameras. Have a quick Google around and you'll find Fujifilm, Sony and other brands' models also suffer from it, and they're all a nightmare to clean - in each case requiring either a trip to the service centre or a very time-consuming, risky and warranty-ending tear-down at home. It seems to be less common on smaller-sensor models, I imagine because there's less surface area and therefore less chance - but it still happens.
I stand my point; fixed lens compacts are less prone to sensor dust. And it would be an better option for the Ricoh GR series, since the sensor dust issue is an ongoing battle for the users. If you can't solve an issue - rethink it.

QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
If you can provide Ricoh (and FujiFilm, Sony and others) with a lens design that provides the necessary angle of view and optical quality without needing to extend from the body of the camera, I'm sure they'd be delighted, as it's been an on-going issue with cameras like these for years...
Ridiculous argument (I don't appreciate that you make it personal). I'm a potential buyer, I provide "money" for a product, it's up to Ricoh to design a product that's up for the task. Of course a fixed lens will extend from the camera body, and there is no doubt in my mind that Ricoh could design a small and reasonable fast pancake that would be up for the task. It's a design "choice" - not a design impossibility.

Last edited by Stefan Jr; 03-30-2022 at 11:59 AM.
03-30-2022, 12:05 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stefan Jr Quote
I stand my point; fixed lens compacts are less prone to sensor dust. And it would be an better option for the Ricoh GR series, since the sensor dust issue is an ongoing battle for the users. If you can't solve an issue - rethink it.
I suspect the manufacturers have been trying to do so for many years. None of them wants product returns, warranty requests and repair / cleaning obligations as a result of this ongoing problem

QuoteOriginally posted by Stefan Jr Quote
Ridiculous argument (I don't appreciate that you make it personal).
I didn't intend to make it personal. I was trying to make a point - i.e. can you suggest a solution, because it has evaded all the fixed-lens camera manufacturers thus far (which suggests there's good reason). My apologies if that came across as personal. Hopefully we can remain cordial in our discussion...

QuoteOriginally posted by Stefan Jr Quote
I'm a potential buyer, I provide "money" for a product, it's up to Ricoh to design a product that's up for the task. Of course a fixed lens will extend from the camera body, and there is no doubt in my mind that Ricoh could design a small and reasonable fast pancake that would be up for the task. It's a design "choice" - not a design impossibility.
See my point above, and in my previous post. This has been an on-going problem for years with multiple manufacturers - not just Ricoh. If it was that easy to solve, they'd have solved it already. Just because we're the ones buying a product with our hard-earned money, and expecting it to be (close to) perfect, doesn't mean it's going to be so (we both know that all too well from experience, I'm sure ).

A "pancake" lens design would - to a large extent - be dictated by the focal length, distance to sensor and optical design / number of elements and spacing required to achieve the image quality desired. I suspect (but I'm only guessing) that it's rather difficult (perhaps, thus far, impossible) to produce such a lens that remains more-or-less flush to the body, as the GR series lenses do when the camera is switched off (to make it a truly pocketable device). Plus, don't forget that it still needs to focus - so the lens can't be absolutely motionless... either the whole assembly or some part of it needs to move for focusing, and the moment you introduce that movement internally and/or externally, you also have movement of air - and the risk of dust migration or ingress.

I'd love for Ricoh to solve this problem. It would be a feather in its cap to say "we have the first high-end compact camera that is immune to sensor dust issues". I'm sure it's one of the design considerations for Ricoh and all the other fixed-lens camera manufacturers...

Last edited by BigMackCam; 03-30-2022 at 10:35 PM.
03-30-2022, 12:18 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
My apologies if that came across as personal. Hopefully we can remain cordial in our discussion...
Apology gladly accepted.


QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
I'd love for Ricoh to solve this problem. It would be a feather in its cap to say "we have the first high-end compact camera that is immune to sensor dust issues". I'm sure it's one of the design considerations for Ricoh and all the other fixed-lens camera manufacturers...
Me too. I been wanting (and been ready to buy) a Ricoh GR for a quite a while now. I love everything I see from this camera, consider it the perfect compact,... ...except the sensor dust. The day Ricoh get better control of the issue - they got my money for sure.

03-30-2022, 12:37 PM   #8
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03-30-2022, 07:11 PM   #9
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Let's make this easy....which fixed lens pocketable camera with full sized sensor has no reported dust issues?
Does the GR series have more dust issues than other brands of similar type cameras, or do more owners just report their problems on the internet more often than other owners of other brands? Is it more prone to dust or because more pocketable then increased chance of dust?
03-30-2022, 11:34 PM   #10
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Compacts with fixed lenses (ex. Fuji x100) generally has less issues with sensor dust than their counterparts with retractive lenses (ex. Ricoh GR, Sony rx-100 and many other have).

And you did not "make it easy". Actually - you asked a whole bunch of questions, enough to branch and keep the discussion alive for pages and pages. That's nothing I want to be part of, so it's over and out for me.
I hope maybe Vendee get answers on his questions instead.

Last edited by Stefan Jr; 03-31-2022 at 12:33 AM.
03-31-2022, 04:02 AM   #11
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A couple of observations, for what they're worth. Ricoh could possibly copy Olympus/OM-S. I been using Oly M43 constantly changing lenses for the last nine months, with the naked sensor exposed each time. I was very nervous at first, but I've yet to see a speck of dust on any image. That's certainly not the case with my KP or K-5II during the same period. Even though the sensors of both camera companies vibrate on power up, it appears to me that Olympus' ultrasonic dust removal may be better than Ricoh/Pentax's for whatever reason. I suspect it has to do with the smaller sensor vibrating at higher frequencies, but I may be wrong. No doubt there are also patent protections for each, which need to be considered.

But it really is a pain having a fixed lens camera with sensor dust. Luckily, I've been using Sony RX100s for about 10 years and yet to see any sensor dust. I suspect it's because I never put the camera in my pocket without being in its camera case. Pockets are dust dumps and recommend that one never put a naked camera in a pocket.
03-31-2022, 06:46 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vendee Quote
I love my GRIII but I've had a few concerns about reliability in the 18 months I've owned it. Firstly I've got a bit of dust on the sensor which isn't a real biggie but nevertheless disappointing for a sealed camera with no option for DIY cleaning.

The second issue is slightly more serious but I think I've found out what it is and its not as bad as I feared. A couple of times the camera has locked up on me.... wouldn't respond to controls and wouldn't turn off. As the lens was extended, this was a worry. I know the second time it happened I had just changed the battery, putting in a 3rd party battery in place of a genuine Ricoh. When it happened, I took the 3rd party battery out and fitted a genuine battery and the problem resolved itself. The lens retracted, the camera switched off and everything worked fine after that. I thought that the 3rd party battery might have been suspect but I've since used it and it was fine.

This week I went to use the camera and it was dead. I was sure it was a full battery but I swapped it out and it was fine. When I got home I went to charge up the empty battery but it wouldn't take a charge.... it was already full. So then I started playing about with the camera/battery. I found that with the camera powered up and the battery door open, if you moved the base of the battery slightly, the camera would lose power momentarily and lock up, just like I experienced before.

I concluded that there is a bit of slop in the battery compartment with the battery fitted and it doesn't take much to upset it. That got me measuring the original and 3rd party batteries for tolerance discrepancies but I could find none,

So I've decided that although the issue isn't a great advert for the build quality, at least I know that there isn't a more serious problem with the electronics which would require a serious repair. I wonder how much an authorised Ricoh sensor clean would cost?
instead of third party,use Olympus Li92B,those are 1:1 with Ricoh DB110 and much cheaper,I bought mine with 17 eur each.Regardig build Q of GR3 ,as i said before,it is unreliable,perriod!
04-09-2022, 05:55 PM - 1 Like   #13
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Nine days later but figured I chime in. Sensor dust on these is, as mentioned, a bugger. I'm assuming you have dust-removal enabled on startup, and/or you've executed the function manually, yes? (I'm pretty sure it's on by default but I can't really remember). I've gotten the one dust issue cleared (on my older GR) with a vacuum cleaner once. Many will be appalled and I'm sure it just redeposited it elsewhere in the body but whatever.

That said, since 2009 I've owned a GR1s and four digitals - GRDIII, GRDIV, GR, and GRIII and that one dust issue is all I've come across. I have always, since the GRDIII, kept mine in one of those cheap microfiber sunglasses pouches, the kind they give away with a drawstring at one end. Makes it easier to get in and out of a pocket (microfiber is smooth) as a bonus. Purely anecdotal, but after well over a decade and 4 cameras without a real issue I'm starting to wonder if this has been the difference.

In terms of batteries, the Li92B option is a good one. Iffy contact interrupting the power to cause a lockup isn't going harm the camera, but it could conceivably lead to an SD card read/write failure. I wouldn't use those (EDIT: the 3rd party batteries. DB110 and Li92b are fine) you have if they seem to cause that issue with any regularity. DB110 types are cheap - or try another 3rd party type. (I've got them all over the place at this point since my only real gripe about the III is the heavy battery usage. I've had a lockup or two, but never like you're describing.)

The only true fault I've had in reliability was sand getting into the assembly of my GRDIII. That was a headache. It was also my fault, but it didn't take much seize the gears and cause a lens error. Wound up being an incredibly expensive and inconvenient lesson. Don't set your GR in sand to take Milky Way exposures on the beach!

Last edited by Eyewanders; 04-13-2022 at 08:27 AM.
04-13-2022, 07:33 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eyewanders Quote

In terms of batteries, the Li92B option is a good one. Iffy contact interrupting the power to cause a lockup isn't going harm the camera, but it could conceivably lead to an SD card read/write failure. I wouldn't use those you have if it does this with any regularity. DB110 types are cheap - try another 3rd party. (I've got them all over the place at this point since my only real gripe about the III is the heavy battery usage. I've had a lockup or two, but never like you're describing.)
Li92B and DB110 are 100% identical, I have been using Li92B for over 2 years without any problems, I really don't understand what differences you are talking about.
04-13-2022, 08:20 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by thegeaba Quote
Li92B and DB110 are 100% identical, I have been using Li92B for over 2 years without any problems, I really don't understand what differences you are talking about.
Yes. I know. That's why I noted they were a good option. I was referring to the differences the OP mentioned between those and 3rd party aftermarket versions.
(Personally I've not had any issues with those or the 3rd party alike.)
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