The Ricoh GR III has an ISO range from 100 to 102400. That very broad range is one of several upgrades from the GR II—the previous model, the GR II, had a shorter ISO range that maxed out at ISO 25600. It sure sounds like an impressive upgrade—102400 is the same upper limit that Sony’s flagship models have, for instance.
But while the ISO numbers give you a good sense of the light sensitivity of the sensor, it doesn’t tell you anything about the image quality that comes out on the other end. There can be large variations between cameras. And as you climb further up the ISO ladder, image degradation such as image noise, lower dynamic range, and shifting colors become more and more noticeable.
So, where is the practical limit where the image degrades too much to be useful? There’s no right answer to that—it’s going to vary by photographer preference, scene, and intended use. My threshold might be different if I’m shooting for a magazine editor than if I’m shooting for personal use, for instance. If it comes down to getting the shot or not, I’m willing to live with much more image noise. Ditto if I’m converting to black and white. But for everyday shooting with the GR III, ISO 20000 is probably my practical upper limit. Beyond that, the noise just becomes too intrusive for my tastes. But that’s going to come down to personal preference, and one of the great strengths of the GR III—and the entire GR range, for that matter—is that it’s so flexible to accommodate a wide range of tastes and preferences and shooting styles. For many street shooters to whom the GR III would appeal, for instance, technical image quality is much less a priority than catching an interesting moment or story. And, after all, I’d much rather have those high-end options available than not.
But that’s why I’m posting these examples here: in case anyone wants to get a sense of what images from the GR III look like at particular ISOs.
Unlike some cameras, the Ricoh GR III doesn’t make an explicit distinction between the sensor’s native ISO range and an extended ISO range, and it’s not immediately clear where the threshold is between the sensor hardware’s native sensitivity and where the camera’s built-in processing engine takes over to apply a software-powered boost. But if you shoot in the very high ISOs, you’ll quickly notice that the image quality drops off markedly at the top end, with much more image noise, much less dynamic range, and much less accurate colors.
Ricoh GR III ISO Range Performance Tests / Practical Examples
Here are some practical examples of the performance throughout the ISO range. I’ve previously posted some examples focusing specifically on the high-ISO performance (ISO 6400 and above). You can find that post here.
This is a scene I often use for its smooth tonal gradations, from highlights to shadows and colors that can really show up any ISO problems.
There are some things worth noting when looking at these. Like most cameras, the GR III applies noise reduction to its JPG images. By default, at least—it is possible to turn it off. That noise reduction setting also applies to the JPG thumbnail previews that are embedded within the DNG RAW files, but it doesn’t have any effect on the underlying RAW data.
In taking these shots, I used the RAW+JPG setting with the default noise reduction. I haven’t done any post-processing on these—they’re just as they came directly out of the camera. But the versions you see below were generated directly from the JPG files, so you’re seeing the effect from the camera’s built-in image processor. You can click on each image to open a full-size version for a closer look. You can also use the links in each caption to download the original, untouched JPG and DNG versions. The JPGs are around 1.5MB; the DNGs range from around 30MB to 45MB.
Where to Find Them
You can find the Ricoh GR III at B&H Photo. That’s where I bought mine.
Ricoh GR III Accessories & Replacement Parts
Here are the model numbers of some of the core accessories and replacement parts for the Ricoh GR III.
- Ring Cap: GN-1
The ring cap is the small plastic ring that attaches around the lens. Chances are, it’s fallen off. While you do have to remove it to attach the lens adapter, it’s a poor design that tends to fall off and get lost far too often. I’ve lost a couple of them now.
The camera will work just fine without it. But that will leave some contacts exposed around the lens barrel, which isn’t ideal.
The official replacement part is overpriced. But you can also pick up much less expensive aftermarket versions. They’re also available in different colors, so you can bling up your camera with a personal touch—or make it look like the Street Edition.
The GR III has a USB Type-C connector port. When you get a cable, you can get them with another USB Type-C connector on the other end or a more traditional USB Type-A connector. Which you choose depends entirely on what you’re plugging into. For example, some newer laptops only have USB-C, while most other computers have USB-A.
Battery & Charger
- Battery: DB-110
It’s a rechargeable lithium-ion battery rated at 3.6V 1350mAh 4.9Wh.
There are some other cameras that also use the same battery—notably, some Olympus cameras (the Olympus model number for the same battery is LI-90B). So they’re quite widely available. You can get the official Ricoh version. There are also aftermarket versions that can be much better value but work just as well.
- Charger: BJ-11
You can charge the battery in the camera (using a USB-C cable). There are also external battery chargers available. They’re especially useful if you’re using spare batteries, so you can charge and shoot simultaneously.
- AC Adapter: K-AC166
This is used to power the camera for longer shoots, such as time-lapse, or if you happen to be using the camera for live streaming as a webcam. It connects via the camera’s USB-C port.
Wide-Angle Conversion Lens
Ricoh has produced a wide-angle conversion lens that takes the standard 28mm view down to a 21mm (in 35mm equivalent). While it does add some extra bulk to an otherwise small camera, it works well and adds a more dramatic, wider view. I have an in-depth review of it separately.
Something to be aware of, though, is that you will also need to pick up the lens adapter separately. For reasons I really don’t understand, the wide-angle conversion lens doesn’t come with the adapter, and both are required to make it work. So make sure you pick up one of those at the same time.
Remote Shutter Releases
- Wired Shutter Release: CA-3
This is the official Ricoh remote shutter. It connects to the camera via a USB cable, and it’s a simple shutter release (i.e., there’s no timer or intervalometer).
You can also find aftermarket shutter releases for the GR III.
- Standard External Viewfinder: GV-1
- Mini External Viewfinder: GB-2
The Ricoh GR III doesn’t have a built-in viewfinder. But they make two versions of an external viewfinder that slides into the camera’s hot shoe. It covers both the standard 28mm view as well as the 21mm view if you’re using the wide-angle conversion lens. There’s also a mini viewfinder; that model seems to be hard to find.
The back screen of the GR III is quite exposed, and if you lie the camera on its back, the screen comes in contact with the surface. Even if you’re putting the camera in your pocket, there’s a risk of keys or coins scratching the screen.
There’s no official screen protector, but there are good aftermarket versions. The one I use is this one. It’s essentially a consumable that protects the screen. If you scratch the protector, you can quickly and easily replace it with another from the pack.
- Soft Case: GC-9
You can, of course, use the GR III with just about any camera case or bag. But Ricoh does make a dedicated soft-case that fits snugly around the camera and offers some protection even if you’re toting the camera around in your pocket. I’ve been using one for a couple of years, and it’s held up very well, and it keeps my camera safer from bumps and scratches.
- Neck Strap: GS-3
Again, there’s no particular reason you have to use the official GR neck strap, but there is one. The main part is leather, and it even has a discreet, embossed “GR”.
If you do use a different strap, be aware that the strap loops on the camera are very small and won’t take thicker (i.e., stronger) attachment loops. So you might need to use some D-rings as well.
- Hand Strap: GS-2
There’s even an official “GR” leather hand strap! But, again, aside from the branding, there’s no special reason to use the official strap. If you do use a different one, you might need D-rings if the thread doesn’t go through the camera’s small attachment loops.
The GR III doesn’t have a built-in flash. It supports the Pentax P-TTL flash protocol.Pentax External Flashes: