Comparing and discussing technical & buttons changes between the GR2 and new Ricoh GR3 Camera Model
Ricoh GR II vs GR III Front View

Post updated Jan.22.2019 (official GR III release date)

The Ricoh GR II successor model GR III was released on January 22nd 2019.

As longtime Ricoh GR II fan and user, I was curious how the technical specifications and new control buttons layout of the new GR III compares to the older GR II model. My comparison is based on publicly available text and image information and includes only new and changed aspects.

Ricoh GR II vs GR III Comparison Highlights

The Ricoh GR III presents itself as an overall improved predecessor. Lets stay optimistic and hope that known and common Ricoh GR problems were adressed accordingly!

Below I highlight and comment the most important changes between both cameras.

+ Positive Improvements

  • ~0,5 sec. faster start up time (from 1.3 to 0.8 sec.)
  • 4 cm closer minimum focus range (from 10 to 6 cm)
  • 50% higher resolution sensor (from 16 to 24 MP)
  • 16% higher bit-depth when shooting RAW .dng (from 12 to 14 bit)
  • 2 stops higher max. ISO (from 25600 to 102.400)
  • 4-stops saving Shake Reduction System
  • Built-in Dust Removal System
  • Preciser Phase & Contrast detection Auto Focus System
  • Touch-Screen focus & other functions
  • Bluetooth Image Transfer
  • New Highlight-weighted Metering Mode
  • No AA-filter

On the positive side future GR III shooters can expect higher image quality through more resolution and bit-depth, faster focus times, closer focus distances, longer shake-free exposures, fewer dust problems and the possibility to control the camera using the new Touchscreen. Still to be revealed is whether the sensor will deliver less image noise in high-ISO settings.

= Neutral Changes

  • Smaller Camera Body
  • Removal of dedicated TAv Shooting and Movie Recording Modes
  • Introduction of an Adjustment Wheel around the Four-Way Button Controller
  • New GA-1 lens adapter hood with electronic contacts = Introduction of a new adapter lens (21mm)

No better or worse but dependent on each photographer habits are the smaller body design and the introduction of an Adjustment Wheel around the Four-Way Button Controller. The removal of the dedicated TAv and Movie shooting mode might cause disapproval. Since TAv is basically Manual mode with Auto-Hi ISO it will most likely be still available to use.

– Negative Changes

  • Removal of In-Camera Flash
    • Fewer exposure possibilities in low, back light and any other creative situations. Additional flash makes the whole package bulky and speaks against the minimalist GR-philosophy.
  • Removal of 3 physical camera controls buttons
    • AF-S/AF-C Switch
    • Exposure Compensation Buttons
    • Fn2 Button
  • 37 % lower battery life(from 320 to 200 shots according to CIPA)

The body reduction and control interface redesign introduced a couple of sacrifices with regards to basic functions and the much-loved customizable direct controls. First of all the built-in Pop-Up Flash is gone. No more spontaneous in-your-face closeup flash street-photography, bring your own flash! Three direct physical controls have been removed, the dedicated Exposure Compensation Buttons, the AEL/AFL/C-AF Switch and the Fn2 Button. The new battery allows  37% less shots per charge.

Ricoh GR II vs. GR III – Detailed Comparisons

Table data sources: Ricoh GR II Manual & Ricoh GR III Specifications

What changed and what remained the same between the old and new Ricoh GR Camera bodies? Below I compare the changes in physical control buttons, the body and battery, the lens and sensor and the camera functions.

Physical Control Buttons Changes

Ricoh GR II vs GR III Camera Buttons Comparison
  • The first thing to notice when comparing the back camera button layout of the GR II and GR III Model is the removal of the dedicated + and – Exposure Compensation Buttons. On the GR III the Exposure Compensation seems now to be the default function of top ADJ.-Rocker-Button. On the GR II this ADJ. rocker was used to directly change Shutter Speed (when in TAv & M mode) or ISO (when in P, Tv & Av mode)
  • Assuming that the front wheel will be set to control the Aperture. The future GR III shooter will have the choice between the ADJ.-Rocker and the new Adjustment Wheel to make direct Exposure Compensation, ISO or Shutter Speed adjustments.
  • Going further down we notice that the big back AEL/AFL-Button is now marked as customizable Fn-Button.
  • The AEL/AFL/C-AF-Switch was removed.
  • The Touchscreen will also provide Touch Auto Focus functionality.
  • The Four-way-Button-Controller is now surrounded by an Adjustment Wheel.  As discussed above it might be configurable to either adjust ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture or Exposure Compensation values, depending on the chosen shooting mode.
  • The Fn1-Button is now marked as a dedicated ISO-Button.
  • Since the In-Camera Flash was removed the user customizable Flash-Button was replaced with a button to activate the Self-Timer and Continuous Drive.
  • The Fn2-Button was replaced with a dedicated Menu-Button. It seems unlikely that it will be user-customizable because once changed one would not be able to enter the Menu again.
  • The DISP. -Button remains the same.
  • The Effect-Button on the left camera side was relocated to a higher location and functions now as a dedicated Movie/Wifi-Button.
GR IIGR III
Mode Dial (Green, P, Av, Tv, TAv, Movie, Usr1, Usr2, Usr3)Mode Dial (P, Av, Tv, Usr1, Usr2, Usr3)
ADJ. ISO/Shutter Time Rocker ADJ. Exposure Compensation/? Rocker
Exposure Compensation Buttons-
Single/Continuous-AF Switch -
Back Button-AF/AF/AE-LockFn Button (Custom)
-Touch Screen (Custom?)
-Adjustment Wheel (Custom?)
Macro ButtonMacro Button
FN1 Button (Custom)ISO Button (Custom?)
WB ButtonWB Button
Flash Button (Custom)Continuous Drive/ Self-Timer Button (Custom?)
Menu OK ButtonOK Button
Fn2 Button (Custom)Menu Button
Disp. ButtonDisp. Button
Effect Button (Custom)Movie Rec./Wifi Button (Custom?)

Body and Battery Changes

Ricoh GR II VS GR III Camera Back Comparison

The old GR wins the comparison

//Ricoh GR IIRicoh GR III
DimensionsApprox. 117 (W) x 63 (H) x 35(D) mmApprox. 109 (W) × 62 (H) × 33 (D)mm
Body Volume257,9 mm3224,8 mm3
WeightApprox. 251g incl. battery & memory cardApprox. 257g incl. battery & memory card
Build in Flashyes-
Touch Screen-yes
Screen Ratio4:33:2
Screen Resolution3.0 inch 1228K dots3.0 inch approx. 1037K dots
Physical Controls2016 (incl. Touch Screen)
Exposure ModesP - Program , Av - Aperture, Tv - Time, TAv - Time & Aperture, M - ManualP - Program, Av - Aperture, Tv - Time, M - Manual
Included Memory:54.0 MBApprox. 2GB
Wireless CommunicationWiFi , NFCWiFi, Bluetooth v4.2
Wired CommunicationUSB-2 micro HDMIUSB- C (Data Transfer: MTP Video output: DisplayPort )
Battery Life (CIPA)320 shots200 shots
Battery TypeDB-65, 1250mAh, 4.5WhDB-110, 1350mAh, 4.9Wh

Lens & Sensor Changes

Ricoh GR II vs GR III Comparison Top Lens View
//Ricoh GR IIRicoh GR III
Lens Start Up Timeapprox. 1.3 sec.approx. 0.8 sec.
Lens Elements7 elements in 5 groups (2 aspherical lens elements)6 elements in 4 groups (2 aspherical lens elements)
Min. Focus Range10 cm6 cm
Image Stabilization-Sensor-shift shake reduction (SR)(3-axis)
Dust Removal-Image sensor cleaning using ultrasonic vibrations \DR II\
Auto Focus TypeContrast DetectionHybrid AF (Image plane phase-matching and Contrast detection)
Effective Pixels16 (4928 x 3264px)24 (6000 x 4000px)
Bit Depth12bit RAW (DNG)14bit RAW (DNG)
Max. ISO Sensitivity25600102400
Extension LensesYes (using GH-3 Lens Adapter)Yes (using GA-1 Lens Adapter)

Camera Function Changes

//Ricoh GR IIRicoh GR III
AF ModesMulti, Spot, Pinpoint, Tracking, Manual, Snap, InfiniteAuto-area, Zone, Select, Pinpoint, Tracking, Continous, Manual, Snap, Infinity
Metering ModesMulti-segment, Center-weighted, SpotMulti-segment, Center-weighted, Spot, Highlight-weighted
Shutter Speed1/4000 sec. to 300 sec. Bulb, Time1/4000 sec. to 30 sec.Timed Exposure 10 sec. - 1200 sec.. Bulb Time
Exposure Compensation+/- 4EV+/- 5EV
Self-Timer2 sec., Custom, OFF2 sec.,10 sec., OFF
Image Crop35mm, 47mm, OFF35mm, 50mm, OFF

Comparison Summary

All in all, camera usability does not seem to be changed for the worse. Important control buttons remain available using the new wheel and touch controls. The only real negative impact is the removal of the In-Body Flash and the considerably lower amount of shots per battery.

Once again the GR III stays on top of the list for Compact Cameras with a Fixed Prime Lens.

Open Wish List

If I had a wish to improve the Ricoh GR III usability I would like to see the following:

  • Possibility to switch shooting modes using a user customizable Fn-button instead of turning the Mode-dial. I often switch between Av and TAv (now M-mode?) when making photographs in public and would love to change modes faster.
  • Possibility to assign and change customizable values by swiping my thumb up/down on the nearby Touchscreen.
  • Possibility to choose a faster Shutter Speed then 1/250 as “Change Shutter Speed” value when using Av-mode with ISO Auto-Hi.
  • Improvement of the Electronic Level Indicator to show the level indication when shooting straight down or up. Olympus cameras provide this useful feature.
  • Improvement of the Camera Menu by adding small icons. On my GR II find myself searching up/down for items all too often.
  • A 40mm or 50mm Telephoto Lens Adapter!

What would You like to see implemented trough a Firmware upgrade on the GR III? Add your comments below!