Ricoh GR III SD Card Quick Recommendations
If you just want some quick recommendations, here you go. Any of these will work well in the GR III. These SD cards meet the needs of the GR III’s features, have a strong track record of reliability, are readily available, and they are usually cost-effective.
- SanDisk Extreme V30 UHS-I SD Card
- Lexar Professional 1066x Silver V30 UHS-I SD Card
- Kingston Canvas Go Plus V30 UHS-I SD Card
Any of these makes for a good choice. If you’re after more detail, you can find it below.
Table of Contents
What Type of Memory Card Does the Ricoh GR III Take?
The GR III doesn’t come with a memory card by default. There are some bundles that retailers put together that might include a memory card, but chances are it’s something you’re going to have to pick up separately. Or maybe you want something bigger with larger storage capacity—the cards that are included in bundles are often on the small side and might fill up quickly, especially if you’re on a trip. So which card should you get?
That’s where this post comes in—hopefully, to help you get out shooting sooner and taking full advantage of all the features of your new camera rather than spending your time searching the web and trying to make sense of cryptic technical codes. I’ve been buying and testing numerous SD cards for several years and have put many of the most popular SD cards on the market through their paces. You can find my main SD card tests here.
Ricoh GR III SD Card Compatibility & Requirements
The Ricoh GR III is a compact camera with a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, shoots 14-bit RAW, has a fast ƒ/2.8 lens at 28mm (in 35mm equivalent), built-in image stabilization, and an ISO range of 100 to 102,400. And while its features are tilted heavily towards still images, it also shoots 1080p60 video.
It’s a camera I love shooting with, and it’s usually the one I reach for when I’m not looking to carry a larger DSLR or mirrorless camera around. It just slips in my pocket, is very discreet to shoot with, and has fantastic image quality.
Confusingly, there’s also a Ricoh GR Digital III. It looks almost identical (as do most of the GR-series cameras), also has a 28mm (equivalent) lens, and they’re both digital cameras. But it’s an older camera that was released ten years earlier, in 2009.
The GR III has a single memory card slot–a UHS-I slot that’s compatible with SDXC, SDHC, and SD cards. The GR III also has an internal memory that can be used for saving images, and by the standards of many other cameras, it’s quite a large one–about 2GB. So it’s quite possible to shoot on the GR III without a memory card installed, although you’ll only get limited mileage. Even 2GB will fill up quite quickly, especially if you’re shooting video.
The GR III’s video capabilities aren’t exactly high-end, and it doesn’t have the high-bitrate video encoding that some cameras use. The maximum video bitrate is around 44 Mbps, which is not very high compared to other cameras.  For comparison, the Fujifilm X100V tops out at 200 Mbps, and higher-end cameras are up around 400 Mbps. Even current GoPros have top video bitrates of 120 Mbps.
So the GR III doesn’t need a super-fast SD card. But you still need one that’s fast enough, fully compatible, reliable, and cost-effective to make the most of all the camera’s features.
And there’s no need to splurge for a top-end SD card for the GR III. Because of the way that cameras interface with memory cards, once you have a card that meets the requirements of the camera, you don’t get any extra benefit by inserting a card with high specs and performance that exceeds the camera’s capabilities.  And, naturally, high-performance cards are more expensive. So why pay extra for high performance that your GR III can’t use? By all means, if you already have a fast SD card on hand, you can use it in the GR III, but it won’t get you any extra performance in the camera (it might when downloading the photos and videos to a computer). But if you’re looking to buy a new SD card, you’re better off getting a card with more storage capacity than one that’s faster than the camera needs–at least that way, you get the benefit of extra convenience.
That said, in the recommendations below, I’m factoring in cost-effectiveness as well. And because memory card manufacturers are coming out with newer, faster models all the time, the most cost-effective cards may be faster than your camera needs. But that’s a case where it makes sense to go with the cost-effective option even if its performance exceeds the requirements of the camera.
Ricoh GR III Memory Card Recommendations in Detail
So which SD card should you get for your Ricoh GR III? Here’s the more detailed version.
The GR III’s instruction manual isn’t helpful on the topic of which SD card to get.
So what I’m aiming to do here is provide some practical recommendations on which SD cards to get for the Ricoh GR III so you can spend less time searching online and more time out shooting. I’m not trying to list every SD card that works in the GR III–others will work just fine as well. I’m focusing here on ones that offer a good combination of meeting the requirements of all of the GR III’s features, are readily available at major retailers, are cost-effective, and come from major manufacturers with track records for good-quality cards. I’m also basing this on my own SD speed tests.
So here’s more detailed information on these cards, along with some others. These aren’t the fastest SD cards money can buy. Nor are they the most expensive. But they’ll serve you well in the GR III.
SanDisk Extreme V30 UHS-I
SanDisk's Extreme range are good bets for many cameras, and that's true here too. SanDisk has faster ranges like the Plus and Pro lines, but the Extreme line is both quick enough for most cameras and usually less expensive than those faster lines.
One thing to note with SanDisk cards is that they recycle their model names. So you can find Extreme cards that are older and slower. You'll probably find those older versions work just fine--it really depends how far back you go--but you can tell the latest version because it's labeled with both U3 and V30, both of which are speed ratings specifically related to recording video. These cards are often good value, and you can sometimes find them sold in 2-packs.
Lexar Professional 1066x Silver V30 UHS-I
This card from Lexar, one of the leading makers of memory cards, is a fast, reliable option. It's rated for video recording speed rating of V30. It comes in sizes up to 512GB.
Buy at: Amazon
Kingston Canvas Go Plus V30 UHS-I
- Type: SDXC
- Video Speed Class: V30
- UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-I
- Storage Capacities: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Kingston is another brand that isn't as well known as some of the others, but they've been making reliable memory cards for a very long time. As a brand, they don't tend to focus on the cutting edge speeds but rather on reliable and good-value memory cards.
This particular card (model SDG3 Canvas Go Plus) isn't the fastest in Kingston's range, but it's fast enough to work well in this camera. It's available in sizes from 16GB through 512GB.
Buy at: Amazon
PNY Elite-X V30 UHS-I
- Class 10 U3 V30 speed rating with read speeds up to 100MB/s
- Class 10 U3 V30 rating delivers speed and performance for burst mode HD photography and 4K Ultra HD...
PNY aren't as well known as some of the other brands, but they've been around for quite some time and make reliable, cost-effective memory cards. It comes in sizes from 64GB up to 512GB.
Buy at Amazon
Delkin Devices Advantage V30 UHS-I
- Type: SDXC / SDHC
- Video Speed Class: V30
- UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-I
- Storage Capacities: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Delkin Devices have recently come out with a range of new SD cards of varying speeds and specs. This is one of their mid-range cards that is rated for V30 video recording speeds.
Making Sense of SD Card Specifications
You’ll find a range of different acronyms and codes on SD cards. Here’s a quick overview of which to look for.
SDHC vs. SDXC
Most of the cards you’ll see available now have either SDHC or SDXC printed on them. The Ricoh GR III will work with both SDHC and SDXC cards (and, for that matter, just plain SD cards, but they’re hard to find these days and have impractically small storage capacities).
These aren’t performance categories, as such. An SDXC card isn’t necessarily any faster than an SDHC card, and vice versa. But they’re important for compatibility with the camera and also in terms of storage capacity.
They’re categories assigned by the SD Association, which is the organization that oversees and develops the standards for SD and microSD cards. The difference between those two specifications is in the filesystem they’re formatted with–the SDHC specification uses FAT32 formatting, while the SDXC specification uses exFAT–but when it comes to buying memory cards, the practical difference is that cards 32GB and smaller will be labeled SDHC and cards 64GB and larger will be labeled SDXC.
UHS-I vs UHS-II
The current generations of SD cards also have UHS-I or UHS-II on them (or often just an I or II). This refers to the type of interface that’s used to connect to the cards. It stands for ultra-high-speed bus.
Aside from whatever is printed on the card or packaging, you can tell UHS-I and UHS-II cards apart just by looking at them. UHS-I cards have a single row of contacts on the back. UHS-II cards have a second row of contacts.
UHS-I is the older, simpler bus interface. UHS-II is newer and potentially faster. The catch is that you only get the extra benefit of UHS-II if the device is also UHS-II. But the spec is designed to be backward compatible, so you can use UHS-II cards in UHS-I devices, but you will only get the speed of UHS-I.
The Ricoh GR III doesn’t have a UHS-II interface, so, as a practical matter, there’s no benefit to using UHS-II cards in it (but it’s perfectly fine to do so if you already have a UHS-II card on hand).
Video Speed Classes
The SD Association has come out with various rating systems over the years to help buyers choose a card that’s suitable for use in cameras. Because recording high-resolution video (or, more specifically, high-bitrate video) is often the most demanding operation in terms of a camera and its memory card, it’s known as a video speed class rating system.
Most cards available now have a mix of old and new speed class codes printed on them. And while it’s helpful, it’s still an imperfect system for judging the speed of an SD card.
As a practical matter in the Ricoh GR III, cards that have any of these on them should be fast enough:
V60 and V90 are also fine, but they’re overkill for the GR III.
It’s worth mentioning that there’s a separate rating system that you might also see on some cards. They might have an A1 or A2 on them. You can ignore that when choosing an SD card for a camera. It’s designed for the kinds of operations that gaming devices and smartphones do.
What Size SD Card to Use in the Ricoh GR III?
The GR III is compatible with SDHC and SDXC cards. That means you can use cards from 4GB all the way to the largest cards currently available, which are 512GB and 1TB cards.
There’s really no right answer when it comes to what size, or storage capacity, to get–it’s mostly a matter of convenience so that you don’t keep running out of space. As is probably obvious, you can fit twice as many photos on a 64GB card as on a 32GB card. And with a 128GB card, you can fit four times as many photos as on a 32GB. And so on. And that’s especially handy when you’re traveling; even more so if you’re shooting any video. The most logical sizes for this camera in terms of convenience and price are probably the 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB sizes. But if you want to use a larger or smaller one, say 64GB or even 1TB, go right ahead–they’ll work just fine because of the way that the SDXC spec is designed.
So Why Get a Good Memory Card?
A better memory card is not going to help you take better photos or improve image quality. But it can let you take advantage of all of the camera’s features. A card that’s not fast enough to keep up with the camera can cause issues like locking up, dropped frames, and overheating.
There’s also the issue of reliability. There are plenty of junk memory cards on the market. Not only do they have flaky performance, but they’re also more likely to fail. And that means the risk of losing your photos and videos.
At the same time, you don’t want to pay extra for a high-performance SD card that’s overkill for the camera.
How to Format SD Cards
When you buy a new SD card, you should format it before use and then regularly after that. If you’re formatting a card that you’ve already been using, make sure that you’ve downloaded any photos and videos you want to keep, because formatting deletes everything on the card.
Here’s some information on how to format the memory card.
How to Format SD Cards in the Ricoh GR III
It is best practice to always format memory cards in the camera that you’ll be using them in. That sets the card up with the filesystem, folder hierarchy, and, in some cameras, a database file, so that the card is just how the camera expects. That greatly reduces the risk of unexpected errors and unpleasant surprises.
If you insert a memory card that hasn’t been formatted by the GR III, you’ll get an error message that “Card is not formatted” when you turn the camera on. (It would be even better if it automatically asked you if you want to format it and provided a way to proceed, but it doesn’t. You need to press the Menu button and continue as below.)
If you’re formatting a card that you’ve used before, always be sure you’ve backed up everything you want from the card, because formatting it will wipe everything. (If you’ve formatted accidentally, it still might be possible to recover data from the memory card, but it’s not always guaranteed, and it can incur the expense of buying recovery software; more on that below.)
On the Ricoh GR III, you can find the format function under:
MENU > Setup (the wrench/spanenr icon > Format
You’ll have a choice of formatting the memory card or the internal memory. You’ll then be asked to confirm that you want to delete everything and continue with the format. If you do, select Execute.
As part of the formatting process, the camera assigns the volume label RICOH GR to the memory card. I wish more cameras set the volume label when you format in the camera.
How to Format SD Cards with a Computer
Having said that, it is still possible to format memory cards using a card reader and computer. You get a lot more flexibility that way, but also some extra risk if things aren’t set up just how the camera wants them. It’s also sometimes a good troubleshooting step if you’re having issues with a memory card.
There are some things to watch out for, particularly when it comes to choosing which filesystem to use. So I’ve put together guides on how to format SD cards on Mac and how to use the free SD Card Formatter app for Windows or Mac.
- Like most cameras, the GR III uses variable bitrate encoding for its video files. So while it has a maximum target bitrate to use, the actual bitrate is going to vary a little because of the way that video compression works.
- Depending on your computer and memory card reader setup, you might get some speed benefit when putting a faster memory card into your card reader and downloading images to your computer.
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