Ricoh GR III to be exhibited at Photokina 2018

Ricoh Imaging has confirmed that it will be exhibiting its GR III model at this year’s Photokina event in Cologne.

The company had already confirmed that it would be working on a follow-up to 2015’s GR II model earlier in the year, although no other details were confirmed at the time. Today’s announcement still holds a few things back and stresses that the model is still under development, although it does reveal key specs for the new release (which, the company points out, are still subject to change).

The GR III ushers in a fresh 24.24MP APS-C sensor, which is a significant step up in pixel count on the 16.2MP sensor inside the GR II. This is paired with a new processing engine and a newly designed lens, the trio “designed to further upgrade image quality, strengthen many of the functions and improve the user interface.”

While the new lens maintains the same 18.3mm focal length and f/2.8 maximum aperture as before, a revised optical design sees six elements arranged over four groups (including two aspherical elements), in contrast to the seven-element, five group design common to GR II and the original GR. Taking the size of the APS-C sensor into account, this provides the user with a focal length equivalent to around 28mm in 35mm terms.

Three-axis image stabilization

Another significant change from the GR II is the presence of a three-axis sensor-based Shake Reduction system, while a hybrid phase- and contrast-detect AF setup upgrades the GR II’s sometimes-tardy contrast-detect AF system, and puts it more in line with recent models from other manufacturers that employ a similar principle.

Disappointingly, it appears that the GR III will only record Full HD videos rather than anything in 4K quality, although this will at least be offered to 60p. The LCD screen on the model also appears to have a lower resolution than the GR II’s, at 1.03million dots against the previous camera’s 1.23million dots.

Other features include an AA Filter Simulator, a DR II Dust Removal system, a built-in ND filter and post-capture Raw processing. Somewhat strangely, the spec sheet also reveals the camera will have 2GB of internal memory, although it’s still set to be compatible with SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards, with support for the UHS I specification. 

A USB Type C port is also found around the side of the camera, while a hot shoe is designed into the top plate. While it appears as though the model will be marginally smaller than the GR II overall, at 251g with a battery and memory card, it’s set to weigh roughly the same.

The GR line began life in the analogue era, and the series has traditionally appealed to street and documentary photographers, thanks to its small size and understated design. The GR III will become the third digital model in the series to incorporate an APS-C sensor, and Ricoh Imaging expects the model will be ready for launch early next year.

Photokina officially opens its doors tomorrow (Wednesday), and many rumoured cameras and lenses are expected to be announced at the show. 

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