Ricoh Announce GR III and GR IIIx HDF Cameras

Ricoh GR III HDF
Ricoh GR III HDF

Ricoh has unveiled updated iterations of its GR III and GR IIIx HDF cameras, introducing the Ricoh GR III HDF and Ricoh GR IIIx HDF models. These new versions feature a novel highlight diffusion filter designed to intentionally soften images by diffusing highlights, resulting in a softer overall image quality.

Despite the inclusion of this new feature, the cameras maintain the same specifications and design as their predecessors, the regular GR III and GR IIIx models. Notably, the highlight diffusion filter is a physical component integrated into the hardware of these new models, suggesting that it won’t be made available via a firmware update for other camera versions.

New Filter in GR III and GR IIIx HDF Cameras

Ricoh has introduced a novel addition to its GR III HDF and GR IIIx HDF cameras: the Highlight Diffusion Filter (HDF). Leveraging the company’s extensive experience in inkjet technology, this filter has been meticulously developed over several years. Ricoh claims that the HDF effectively diffuses highlights, resulting in a more organic, softer appearance, particularly around hard edges.

Ricoh GR III HDF (2)
Ricoh GR III HDF (2)

The objective is clear: to emulate the nostalgic aesthetic of vintage film photography using modern digital point-and-shoot devices. This move acknowledges that the charm of shooting with film and classic lenses extends beyond just the medium itself. Vintage lenses, renowned for their distinctive cinematic appeal, often introduced imperfections that contributed to the unique character of the final image.

Filters such as this aim to reintroduce a semblance of imperfection into contemporary photography. The theory suggests that they can evoke the idiosyncrasies of vintage film aesthetics. However, in practice, there is indeed a discernible distinction. Whether it truly mirrors the ambiance of classic films is subjective and may vary depending on the era and style of cinema one appreciates.

How does it works?

The filter alters the appearance by diffusing highlights, causing them to spread out or “bloom.” This results in a distinctive visual style, though it may not appeal to everyone’s preferences. In the images provided, the standard mode produces a sharper image without the glow, while the one on the right showcases the effect of the filter.

Ricoh GR III HDF 2
Ricoh GR III HDF 2
Ricoh GR III HDF 1
Ricoh GR III HDF 1

The glow effect becomes particularly pronounced when vibrant colors saturate the sensor, potentially affecting the smoothness of the color transition. Even without the filter, the standard mode can exhibit a subtle glow around bright light sources. However, activating the HDF filter amplifies this effect, as demonstrated in the images.

While it might not be compelling enough to justify purchasing an entire camera solely for this feature, those considering the GR III or GR IIIx models may find it worthwhile to explore the HDF version for its unique visual impact.

Ricoh’s GR IIIx Urban Edition camera

Ricoh’s GR IIIx Urban Edition camera, initially introduced as part of a limited-edition kit in March featuring matching accessories, has now transitioned into the regular lineup. The standalone edition of the GR IIIx Urban Edition is set to hit the market for $1,049.95, making it $50 more expensive than the standard Ricoh GR IIIx but $50 cheaper than the previously released limited edition kit.

This version, sans the bundled accessories, retains the distinctive navy-blue ring encircling the lens barrel, symbolizing typical street shooter imagery. The metallic gray finish of the camera body is reminiscent of urban landscapes, achieved through a multi-coat process ensuring a unique appearance and enhanced grip.

The camera incorporates features introduced in the Limited Edition Kit, including Snap Distance Priority mode, Auto Area AF (Center) focus mode, and Enable AF mode shutter-release capability, among others. Additionally, the camera boasts a custom shut-down screen reflecting its urban-oriented concept.

Expected to be available sometime this month, specific release dates have not been disclosed yet. However, once released, it is anticipated to be obtainable through usual retail channels. Given the current stock shortage of the standard model Ricoh GR IIIx, despite the $50 premium, the Urban Edition might become a preferred choice for those seeking prompt availability.

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Ricoh GR IIIx

Since its initial announcement last month, many Ricoh enthusiasts have eagerly awaited the opportunity to pre-order the new Ricoh GR IIIx digital camera, which is now available for approximately $999. Compared to the GR III, it offers a longer focal length, introduces new face and eye-detection autofocus capabilities, enhances in-camera editing, and introduces a variety of new accessories.

Physically, the camera body remains unchanged, retaining its familiar appearance and feel. However, shooting with the GR IIIx provides a slightly narrower field of view compared to the GR III, with the lens offering a 40mm equivalent focal length. Ricoh touts this alteration as providing a fresh perspective ideal for dramatic and inspiring street photography.

GR-IIIx
GR-IIIx

The GR IIIx is equipped with a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor, 3-axis stabilization, and a 26.1mm f/2.8 lens, providing a field of view equivalent to about 40mm on a full-frame sensor. Ricoh claims this lens delivers a closer field of view to human vision, responding to user requests for a “new perspective” over the GR III.

Ricoh emphasizes that the 40mm equivalent focal length offers a more natural perspective with “a more truthful sense of depth” for street photography, without the exaggerated perspective of the 28mm equivalent lens found on the GR III. Additionally, the lens boasts a minimum focusing distance of only 12 centimeters, promising beautifully defocused backgrounds for close-up shots.

The camera’s APS-C CMOS sensor captures 24.2-megapixel images without an anti-aliasing filter, ensuring sharpness. Although sensors without anti-aliasing filters can be prone to moir√©, Ricoh claims the new GR Engine 6 is optimized to mitigate this issue effectively.

Furthermore, the GR IIIx features a new hybrid autofocus system with face and eye detection, a feature also available on the GR III via a recent firmware update. Real-world performance comparisons between the two models with detection features remain to be seen.

Other features of the GR IIIx include 14-Bit RAW, ISO 100-102,400, a maximum leaf shutter speed of 1/4000th of a second, a 3-inch 1.037m-dot touchscreen display, three-axis stabilization, a 0.8-second start-up time, and in-camera raw image editing.

One significant concern with the camera is the apparent lack of weather sealing, which disappoints many users. The GR series’ durability and build quality have been questioned, and it remains uncertain whether Ricoh will address this issue in the future.

Alongside the availability of the GR IIIx, several new accessories are available for pre-order, including the Ricoh GT-2 Tele Conversion lens, Ricoh GV-3 viewfinder, GC-11 soft case, and GN-2 ring cap, each offering unique functionalities to enhance the shooting experience. Pre-orders for all items are currently open, with prices ranging from $24.95 to $996.95. Shipping for all items is expected in December.

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Ricoh GR III and GR IIIx HDF Price and Availability

The new Ricoh GR III HDF and GR IIIx HDF cameras are ready for pre-order. Both offer a built-in highlight diffusion filter for a unique, soft-focus aesthetic reminiscent of film photography. The GR III HDF carries a price tag of $1,069.95, while the GR IIIx HDF comes in slightly higher at $1,149.95. Eager to get yours? Look out for pre-orders at Ricoh’s official website (us.ricoh-imaging.com) and authorized retailers. These creative companions are expected to hit shelves in April, so mark your calendars!

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