Ricoh GR III Camera Review

Bokeh

Bokeh is a Japanese term which refers to the quality, look and texture of the background blur. It does not relate to the depth of field but to the areas in the image that are beyond the range that is expected to be in focus.

A smoother bokeh is generally perceived as being of a higher quality. Bokeh is influenced by the lens design, with a significant role being played by the aperture. Its shape will influence the look of the bokeh, especially around highlights and light sources.

Wide lenses are rarely sought for to create impressive subject isolation, since the depth of field quickly becomes deep. Thanks to its fast F2.8 aperture, 9 aperture blades and close focusing capabilities, the GR III can in theory offer good subject isolation despite its 18.3mm (28mm full frame equivalent) focal length.

Bokeh Test

In order to evaluate the characteristics of the background blur, we took pictures at varying apertures, using these test parameters:

  • Tripod
  • 2s Timer
  • Focal Length: 28mm
  • Camera Mode: P mode
  • Shutter Speed: Set relative to aperture
  • ISO: 100
  • Distance to subject: 0.5 meters
F2.8
F4
F5.6
F8
F11
F16

For the most part, the out of focus blur of the GR III is adequate. It is certainly not the best we have seen, but the textures are smooth enough at wider apertures. With an actual 18.3mm lens, subject isolation is hard to accomplish once the aperture closes.

Highlights show a distracting "donut" shape at medium apertures (from F5.6 to F11). It is more obvious at F8, as can be seen in the following crop.

The size of the light highlights will determine how easy it is to spot these patterns, but they are certainly a letdown.

More examples can be found in our Samples Gallery.

Verdict

Bokeh from the GR III is adequate, with good subject isolation and creamy textures wide open. Closing down the aperture shows the limitations of wide angle lenses in general, and of this particular lens specifically.

The only true drawback is the presence of onion ring-shaped halos on out of focus highlights, something to be aware, and wary, of.


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