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Ricoh GRIII Hands-On: Compact Street-Shooting Camera

While budget compact cameras are being replaced by smartphones, there still exists a market for premium compact cameras whose larger sensors and abilities make them far more useful. Ricoh's new GR III falls into that category.

An update to the niche but crowd-pleasing GR II, the GR III features a higher-resolution 24.2-MP APS-C CMOS sensor, an 18.3mm f/2.8 lens, and an optional accessory lens that allows you to take wide-angle shots. The Ricoh GR III will be available in March for $899. We had a chance to try out a prototype; here are our initial impressions.

Measuring 4.3 x 2.4 x 1.3 inches, the GR III should be slim enough to fit in a pocket, but you'll definitely know it's there. It's a touch larger than the Sony RX100 V (4 x 2.3 x 1.6 inches), but not by much. 

The camera has 3-axis motion stabilization, good for four stops, phase and contrast-detection autofocus, and an ISO range from 100-102400. It can record video up to a resolution of 1080p/60 fps. It's too bad that it can't record in 4K. 

However, there are some features — or lack thereof — that may give some photographers pause. The GR III l has a 3-inch touchscreen (a first for this line), but it does not tilt or articulate; that will make it more difficult to compose shots from low or high angles. Also, the camera has a fixed lens, so you'll have to get closer to subjects than you would with, say, Sony's RX100 line. 

But you can get close — just 6 cm away — and get some pretty good macro shots, such as this packet of Cholula hot sauce.

The reds in this shot of a poinsettia were also particularly vibrant. 

As somewhat to be expected on a compact camera, the GRIII's controls are on the small side. On the rear is a thumb rocker for adjusting the exposure, and a small scroll wheel just in front of the shutter button can be used to change shutter speed and aperture. I would have preferred if the latter was just a bit more pronounced. 

We'll reserve our final judgment until we can try out all of the Ricoh GR III's features, but it looks to be a capable pocket shooter that will appeal to fans of the brand.

Mike Prospero

Michael A. Prospero is the deputy editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing the home, smart home, drones, and fitness/wearables categories, as well as all buying guides and other evergreen content. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine or some other cooking gadget.