The Ricoh GR III is a pretty remarkable little camera. The GR series goes back a long way–back to film days–and it has cult following, particularly for street photography. I’ve had the past few editions and really like it as a pocketable take-anywhere shooter.
One of its less heralded featured is that it has a built-in macro mode. Macro isn’t something you naturally think of when considering a camera built for the street, but I’ve found that it comes in surprisingly handy.
The GR III’s macro mode allows you to take photos that are much closer up than the camera typically focuses—it works in the range from 6cm to 12cm (2.36 to 4.72 inches). Which is a closer focus than some of the GR III’s main competitors.1
And even if it might not appear to be an essential feature, I’ve found it surprising how useful it can be. If you’re using the GR III as a travel camera or shooting street photography, having a macro feature can open up all sorts of extra photographic opportunities. It might be the textures of an ancient door, the tiny artistic details of a doodling graffiti artist, a bug on a flower, shells on a beach, some of the local cuisine, or any number of other tiny subjects that can only be captured up close.
In other words, macro is another feature that adds to the GR III’s impressive versatility.
How to Turn on Macro Mode on the Ricoh GR III
Macro mode on the GR III is easy to use. There are no lenses or adapters to attach or dials to rotate. You simply press the top of the rotary dial on the back of the camera. It has a flower icon on it.
Once you turn it on, you’ll see a flower icon on the left-hand side of the back screen (if you’re using the on-screen display, obviously).2
Alternatively, you can enable Macro mode through the menu system. You can find it under:
Shooting Settings (camera icon) > 4. Macro Mode
How to Turn OFF Macro Mode on the Ricoh GR III
Turning off Macro mode is as simple as pressing the same button. But you do have to turn it off—otherwise, it stays on.
So if you’re shooting macro, then go to shoot a subject further away and can’t get it to focus, it’s usually because the macro mode is still on.
You can also cancel the Macro mode through the menu system. It’s under:
Shooting Settings (camera icon) > 4. Macro Mode
A Few Examples of Macro Photos Taken wth the Ricoh GR III
Here are some examples of macro close-up photos I’ve taken with the Ricoh GR III recently. I’ve tried to include a sampling of different sizes and subjects to give a bit of a sense of what it can do under varying shooting conditions.
Things Worth Knowing
There are distinctive challenges with all macro photography, from camera shadows to trying to establish critical focus (especially when shooting handheld or the subject is moving). While there’s no particular solution to these with the GR III, I do find the tracking focus feature to be useful when shooting close-ups handheld.
If you have the focus set to Snap or Infinity, the Macro mode will override that by activating the Select AF focus mode.
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: