back to article Ricoh GR Digital III compact camera

Sometimes, less is more. Take Ricoh’s GR Digital III. It’s a compact camera costing more than £500, but if you’re looking for masses of megapixels, countless scene modes, HD movie recording or even an optical zoom, then forget it. This is the digital camera equivalent of the fixed-gear bicycle; a product for enthusiasts who …

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  1. viet 1
    Boffin

    the GR DIII is certainly OK,

    ...but I wish your tests were a bit more documented. I assume you shot your pictures in jpg, and what they show is a pretty good handling of the NR algorithm by Ricoh's engineers. I'd have liked to see a downloadable raw sample to make up my mind, as cameras of this class won't be set to jpeg most of the time. Further, a raw would have shown the expectable level of noise that's been wiped by the in camera NR process. A general 'softness' in the 100% crops is a tell-tale sign of this.

    Oh, and while I'm at it, stop shooting your door knob for the iso settings. The mostly uniform blue background is a free gift to any self-respecting NR algorithm, as it makes its job much too easy ; better have a pint at your local pub after 8 PM and shoot indoor. Don't forget that tripod to offset the lager parameter though, it would be bad science otherwise.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Long exposures

    It looks like Ricoh have really improved their image quality.

    During those extra 3 minutes after the 180 second exposure the camera will be performing a dark-frame subtraction noise reduction process. Any hot-spots that appear during a long exposure are likely to be replicated even with the shutter closed so the camera uses the dark exposure to work out where they are and remove them.

  3. PHFWALES
    Thumb Down

    No Proper viewfinder????

    All that cash for another camera without a proper viewfinder. Camera shake plus drain on battery. I'll carry a top of the range compact when a proper viewfinder is fitted.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    No thanks

    I'd much rather get one of the nice new Micro Four Thirds cameras than this monstrous-looking thing. The Panasonic Lumix GF1 is basically SLR quality in a nice small camera without the complexity of a viewfinder.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Wait, what?

    *25* shots out of a pair of triple-As? Will they go flat that fast even shorted out?

    Toasty.

    I like the idea, but with this price and without a bigger sensor (not that the Sigmas do very well with theirs) I suspect the E-P1 and Panasonic micro-4/3 cameras are worth the premium. I'm still deciding, based on whether the sensor shift image stabiliser is worth the lack of sharpness on the Oly when used with a Leica adaptor.

    Of course, if the Leica X1 is cheap enough, it'll be more competition - but somehow I doubt it will be. (Likewise I'd rather have an M9 than an E-P1 or GF1, but not as much as I'd rather have three grand's change.)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    equivelant to a fixed gear bicycle?

    Does that mean you have to be a giant douchenozzle to own one?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    I like the principal between a no-frill all quality camera

    But with a sensor size that small, and a price that big - no thanks. At that price I would expect a micro-four-third sensor at the very least.

  8. Alan Firminger

    But what about shutter delay

    The digital camera industry and its commentators are in denial. Compared to film cameras digital cameras are excellent in all respects except the time between final depression of the button and exposure. We want to take pictures of the ball as it is kicked, the child as it smiles and lots of other ephemeral images. This is easy to measure, so please tell us

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Wait, what?

    AC, you're confusing several classes of camera. This Ricoh, as well as the (excellent) Sigmas are compacts that fit your pocket. The micro 4/3 ones won't. The smaller Leica might, but then you will have to sell your last pair of pants to own it, makes no sense. The M9 is a fascinating exercise. Too bad it comes with a Bayer-sensor. If Sigma had anything like Leica's rep (and not those herds of hating, naysaying fudders) they could kick out the same thing with a full frame Foveon *drool*

  10. Antony Shepherd
    Thumb Up

    Nice upgrade

    The great thing about the GR Digital range is that Ricoh give you a hell of a lot of control over the picture taking process, more than most compact cameras do. Sure, it's a small sensor so you get noise at higher ISOs, and it's a wide angle lens so you need to get closer to your subject, but within its minor limitations it's a fine picture-taking machine for the reasonably serious photographer.

    It's compact and pocketable, more pocketable than any micro four thirds camera (I can just about fit an Olympus Pen E-P1 with 17mm pancake lens in my pocket, but it's not comfortable), feels sturdy and well made.

    As far as Alan Firminger's remarks, I think most of the delay with compact cameras comes from autofocus. The GRD can be focused manually - also they have a fixed focus modes, where you can set infinity focus or 'snap shot' focus (a few yards away) reducing shutter lag to practically nothing.

    The only problem I've ever had with my original GRD is the long time it takes to write RAW files. Ricoh have completely fixed that, it seems. If my old GRD gave up the ghost, I'd seriously upgrade.

  11. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Bit like the Sigma DP-1

    Which has to be the World's most frustrating camera. That has a magnificent fixed-length lens and the (relatively) big Foveon sensor; but it's hooked up to what has to be the slowest hardware in creation - taking an age to read an image off the sensor before you can do anything again. I've really enjoyed some of my time with a DP-1, but more often than not I've hated its slow start up and read/write time.

    These cameras are very much for the serious studied and dare I say it - slow - photographer. The Sigma produces wonderful images, but it is not a camera for snapping away with. I dare say this Ricoh is going to feel much the same.

    Certainly they're not impulse purchases.

  12. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Price

    You compare the price of the camera to the EOS 1000D, yet the DSLR won't perform to its best unless you stick a good lens on it. So the DSLR price point is much higher than just the price of a body and a (very average) kit lens.

  13. Antidisestablishmentarianist
    Troll

    Pah - silly

    Who'd pay for something like this when the camera in my phone (which I got for free, natch) is 24 mega pixels. What? The sensor is only a 1/1000th of an inch in size? Pah, everyone knows it's all about the pixels baby.

    Phone cameras rule!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a bad price...

    I can see the market for this.

    As a DSLR owner, there's times when hauling around a hefty camera + lens is a grind, such as gigs, parties, etc. - also, as DSLR owners will be aware, you get noticed when you've got a large camera around your neck, especially if it's got a large lens on it.

    To get the equivalent lens spec, say, on a canon 500d, your looking at about £560 for the body and £300 for a decent 28mm lens, that's £860

    A lot of camera enthusiasts own more than one camera - many camera geeks own a few film cameras too.

    It's a nice bit of kit, but I'd rather opt for Canon PowerShot G10, cheaper and more flexible.

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