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Unique Quality Compact Camera: RICOH GR IIIx HDF Review

We’ve reviewed the Ricoh GR III Street Edition recently, we were blown away with the results of the camera and how much you can personalise the set-up utilising recipes and portability of such a powerful point and shoot camera.

Ricoh recently introduced the Ricoh GR IIIx HDF, let me explain what all this means. The x means that this camera comes with the 26.1mm lens, based on the APS-C sensor this gives you the equivalent to a 40mm lens, where as the non-x version is an 18.3mm equivalent to 28mm, that means the x version is better suited to street photography.

The HDF means that this model includes a built-in Highlight Diffusion Filter (HDF) in place of the ND filter. This gives your photos a unique blend of sharp and soft expressions.

Priced at £1,099.99, the RICOH GR IIIx HDF packs a 24MP APS-C size CMOS sensor and a 40mmF2.8 GR lens, delivering exceptional image quality that fits right in your pocket. But does it live up to the hype? Let’s dive in and explore its features and performance.

Having used the RICOH GR IIIx HDF for 48 hours, I can confidently say that the hype is warranted. The images produced by this compact camera are incredibly sharp, and the built-in HDF allows for a softer, more emotional touch when needed. The ability to quickly switch between sharp and soft modes using the Fn button is a game-changer.

As a travel photographer, the portability and custom image settings of this camera are invaluable. I can capture and share stylized photos straight from the camera, without the need for extensive post-processing. While it is on the pricier side, the quality and convenience it offers make it a worthwhile investment.

Highlight Diffusion Filter (HDF)

Unique Quality Compact Camera

 

The RICOH GR IIIx HDF features a built-in Highlight Diffusion Filter, a standout addition to this digital compact camera. This filter allows photographers to achieve a softer, more emotional and affective expression in their photos, a feature that sets this model apart from its predecessors. The ability to quickly switch between sharp and soft modes using the Fn button adds a layer of versatility that is particularly useful for photographers who need to adapt to varying lighting conditions or artistic requirements.

Quick Switching with Fn Button

Unique Quality Compact Camera

 

One of the most convenient features of the RICOH GR IIIx HDF is the ability to swiftly switch the HDF on and off using the Fn button. This function is clearly marked on the back of the camera, making it easy for users to access and utilize this feature on the go. This quick switching capability is especially beneficial for travel photographers who need to adapt quickly to changing environments and capture the perfect shot without fumbling through complicated menu settings.

Dark Silver Shutter Button

Unique Quality Compact Camera

 

A subtle yet distinctive feature of the RICOH GR IIIx HDF is its dark silver shutter button. This design choice not only differentiates it from regular models but also adds a touch of elegance to the camera’s overall aesthetic. The dark silver finish gives the camera a premium feel, enhancing the user experience by making the act of taking photos even more enjoyable. It’s a small detail, but one that adds to the overall appeal and usability of the camera.

High-Resolution GR Lens

The GR lens on the RICOH GR IIIx HDF is designed for sharp imaging with high resolution and high contrast. Comprising a newly developed optical system with 7 elements in 5 groups, the lens offers a new focal length of 26.1mm, equivalent to approximately 40mm in 35mm format. This high-resolution lens ensures that images are captured with exceptional detail and clarity, making it an excellent choice for photographers who demand precision and quality in their work.

24.2MP APS-C CMOS Sensor

At the heart of the RICOH GR IIIx HDF is a 24.2MP large APS-C format image sensor. This high-resolution sensor works in tandem with the high-resolution lens to deliver stunning detail reproduction and vibrant colours. The APS-C size sensor is known for its ability to capture more light and detail compared to smaller sensors, resulting in superior image quality, especially in low-light conditions. This makes the camera a powerful tool for both professional and amateur photographers.

High-Performance Processor

The RICOH GR IIIx HDF is equipped with a high-performance processor known as the ‘Accelerator Unit.’ This advanced processor reduces noise and enhances resolution and colour reproduction across the entire sensitivity range, allowing for shooting at ISO levels up to 102400. The processor’s capabilities ensure that images are crisp and clear, even in challenging lighting conditions, making it an invaluable feature for photographers who need reliable performance in various shooting environments.

3-Axis, 4-Step Shake Reduction

To combat the adverse effects of camera shake, the RICOH GR IIIx HDF includes a 3-axis, 4-step Shake Reduction (SR) mechanism. This technology minimises the impact of pitch, yaw, and roll movements, providing up to four shutter steps of stabilisation. This feature is particularly useful for handheld shooting, ensuring that images remain sharp and clear even when the camera is not perfectly steady. It’s an essential feature for photographers who often shoot in dynamic or unpredictable settings.

Optical Anti-Aliasing (AA) Filter Simulator

The RICOH GR IIIx HDF also incorporates an Optical Anti-Aliasing (AA) filter simulator. This feature moves the image sensor slightly during exposure to suppress false colors and moiré patterns, which can often ruin an otherwise perfect shot. By simulating the effects of an AA filter, the camera allows photographers to achieve cleaner and more accurate images without sacrificing detail. It’s a valuable addition for those who prioritise image quality and precision.

Touch Panel LCD Monitor

The camera is equipped with a touch panel LCD monitor that enhances user interaction. Users can simply touch and slide to move the AF frame, access the menu, or change magnification during playback by pinching in and out. Additionally, flicking allows for quick navigation through images, and double-tapping centers the image on the screen. This intuitive interface makes the camera more user-friendly and efficient, allowing photographers to focus more on capturing the moment rather than navigating complex menus.

Smartphone Connectivity

With built-in wireless LAN, the RICOH GR IIIx HDF allows seamless connection to a smartphone. Using the exclusive app, photographers can transfer images wirelessly and control the camera remotely. This feature is particularly advantageous for travellers and social media enthusiasts who need to share their photos quickly and effortlessly. The ability to control the camera remotely also opens up new creative possibilities, such as shooting from difficult angles or capturing wildlife without disturbing the scene.

Pros:

  • Built-in Highlight Diffusion Filter for softer image expression
  • High-resolution 24.2MP APS-C sensor
  • Compact and portable design

Cons:

  • Relatively high price
  • Limited number of reviews
  • No guaranteed software updates

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Conclusion

The RICOH GR IIIx HDF stands out as a unique quality compact camera that delivers both exceptional sharpness and the ability to create soft, expressive images. Its user-friendly features, such as the touch panel LCD monitor and smartphone connectivity, add to its appeal.

For photographers seeking a compact yet powerful camera for travel or everyday use, the RICOH GR IIIx HDF is a fantastic choice. It may come with a hefty price tag, but the performance and quality it offers are well worth the investment.

Questions & Answers:

Question: Does the camera support wireless connectivity?

Answer: Yes, the camera supports wireless LAN, allowing you to connect to a smartphone and use an exclusive app for image transfer and remote control.

Question: What is the maximum ISO sensitivity?

Answer: The camera has an expanded ISO maximum of 102400, allowing for high sensitivity in various lighting conditions.

Question: Can the Highlight Diffusion Filter be turned off?

Answer: Yes, the Highlight Diffusion Filter (HDF) can be quickly switched on or off using the Fn button.

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