RICOH GR III
$1,299, available end of this month
The original Ricoh GR was released in 2013 with an APS-C image sensor. At that time, not many fixed-lens compact cameras came with such a big image sensor. With its size and 28mm wide-angle fixed lens, it quickly garnered a big following, especially with street photographers, who like its discreetness and superior image quality.
Its third iteration, the GR III, features a 24-megapixel APS-C image sensor, an upgrade from the 16-megapixel sensor found in its predecessors. However, it retains the series' famed 28mm f/2.8 prime lens, but with a different optical system that is said to increase image quality.
It has a faster phase-detection autofocusing (AF) scheme that works alongside contrast AF. An in-body image-stabilisation system prevents camera shake.
From the outside, it looks exactly the same as its predecessors. It features the same magnesium alloy body with a matte black colour and textured finish. The rubberised grip continues to be a joy to hold, even though it is still too small for all my fingers to wrap around it.
The GR III is a tad smaller than its predecessors. As a result, it loses the pop-up flash found in the previous GRs. The top right mode dial is also smaller, with no space to fit the video recording mode selector.
Instead, the video recording mode selector has been moved to the button on the left side of the camera, which also works as a Wi-Fi button if you press and hold it. There is also a new rear dial wheel that doubles up as a four-way directional pad.
Plus, the 3-inch display is now a touchscreen. During my brief hands-on session, the touchscreen felt really responsive, especially when I tapped on it to focus on a subject.
The new AF system feels much faster than before. Getting a focus lock on subjects inside the well-lit exhibition halls was almost instantaneous.
While I cannot vouch for the image quality till I test the camera, I have a feeling the GR III might yet be the street photographer's favourite camera again.