The Missing Upgrade in the Ricoh GR IIIx

Two years since the Ricoh GR III was announced, we’re getting a successor, sort of. Today, the Ricoh GR IIIx is being announced. And for the most part, it’s the Ricoh GR III. But there are a few upgrades. The big one is a lens switch to a 40mm field of view equivalency. That honestly seems very cool and super exciting. Admittedly, I had some qualms about the original. And I still stick to my issues with it. Hopefully, Ricoh is addressing these issues. But one big one isn’t even mentioned at all in the press release.

Ricoh GR IIIx Tech Specs

  • 40mm f2.8 equivalent lens
  • Macro focusing of 12cm
  • 24.24MP APS-C sensor with no anti-aliasing filter
  • GR ENGINE 6 imaging engine
  • 14-Bit RAW
  • ISO 100-102,400
  • Dual Phase-detection and contrast-detection. Hopefully this is truly fixed. It was a big issue with the previous one. Lots of street photographers told me that I should use the camera in zone focusing. But I genuinely feel that a modern camera shouldn’t be limited to just having to use that. There are times when I’d want to use it for capturing candids at a party or something.
  • Face detection
  • Three-axis image stabilization
  • Touchscreen
  • 0.8 second start up time
  • 3-inch touchscreen with 1,037,000 dots
  • In-Camera RAW editing. Hopefully we can do this with the Positive film color look. That’s probably one of my favorite things about the Ricoh GR III and its predecessors.
  • 1/4,000th shutter speed with a leaf shutter
  • $999.95

I’m very excited about a 40mm lens. But this surely could’ve been a faster lens. Ricoh says they created this camera based off current customer demands. So essentially, they’re pulling a Nikon and catering to their customers. That’s sad because the industry desperately needs more good compact cameras.

Where Is the Weather Sealing?

Here’s my biggest issue with the Ricoh GR IIIX. Why is there no weather sealing still? Pretty much every modern camera and modern compact camera of substance has weather sealing. I’ve known that previous Ricoh GR cameras had issues with durability and build quality. If you’re shooting street photography, then something is also obviously going to happen to your camera. So you need durability. Why hasn’t Ricoh done it? It’s probably the most perplexing thing about the Ricoh GR IIIX. I’ve known owners of previous versions of the camera who’ve had build quality issues. Then they’d go buy a new one used or try to get it repaired, and it would end up costing them a lot of money. 

Everything else about the Ricoh GR IIIX sounds really cool, though. A 40mm lens? Yes! We need more of that. Hopefully, the autofocus is actually usable too. Ideally, it would also track subjects as they move in and out of the frame. The best mirrorless cameras can do that these days–so too can many premium compact cameras. Plus, in-camera RAW editing sounds like a joy. I know some folks would’ve wanted a real electronic viewfinder. I can’t disagree with that, though I can live with an LCD screen for shooting. 

I’m looking forward to reviewing the Ricoh GR IIIX. But any camera that doesn’t have weather sealing in 2021 is already a big turn-off for me. We live in a world where the climate changes quickly, and shooting photos in the rain is fun and beautiful. More than that, cameras are a part of a passionate photographer’s life. The ideal companion camera is a small and can be shot anywhere. We’ll see how the Ricoh GR IIIX fairs, but I surely won’t be bringing it out into the rain.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.