A few more words about the Ricoh GR III

Ricoh GR II - straight from camera - Hi-Contrast B&W

As you may know from my previous post, I didn’t exactly enjoy the GR III, and I ended up sending it back — all this while being enamoured with the GR II and using it for pleasure and for job since many years, as narrated in this other post.

In last months I kept noticing a discrepancy between what seems to be a common experience with the camera and the image of it that is being presented by YouTube influencers.

Ricoh GR II – straight from camera – Hi-Contrast B&W

I am close to many GR users — in person and online — and almost everyone that used the camera lamented the fact that the GR III becomes very warm or even hot after being turned on for few time.

Forums threads present the issue as well, with users often being in my same situation — fans that could not enjoy a camera they longed for — and they could not because of the heating.

Places like eBay are periodically showing offers selling the camera almost new, with few shots, and my speculation is that’s because of the heating issue. It’s unlikely someone buys a niche product as a Ricoh GR not knowing what it is: if they sell it so fast it’s because something in the experience was wrong and unexpected.

Ricoh GR II – straight from camera – Hi-Contrast B&W

It still puzzles me that YouTube influencers keep saying how great the camera is and denying or playing down the heating issue.

So, what is going on? My idea is that Ricoh quality control on the GR III wasn’t consistent — and this is especially problematic with a small camera that has design issues connected to heat dissipation.

As I mentioned in my previous post, no firmware update can fix the heating problem, because the issue lies in design choices, not in software.

Believe me, I am disappointed because of this and I wish at any time I could say: I was wrong! They fixed the camera! I will buy it again right now!

Ricoh GR II – straight from camera – Hi-Contrast B&W

Another thing that is bothering me about the GR III is that some users are willing to justify this situation, proposing to turn off IBIS and to keep the camera off as much as possible, letting it rest between shots, and so on… a camera that costs 800-1000 euros. People can become so much loyal to a brand and live in denial. And beside that, these actions won’t change much: my GR IIIs were heating up after just few minutes browsing the gallery or menus.

I cringe whenever I see a new YouTube influencer video, openly or secretly sponsored, where the host talks of the GR III as a “perfect camera”, “the best compact” and so on, ignoring its issues.

Such a lack of ethics is at the heart of nowadays photography content on YouTube: channels that are existing only for becoming popular, earning with sponsorships and with affiliate links, selling presets and so on. The goal is not honesty, it’s attracting Squarespace as a sponsor.

Ricoh GR II – straight from camera – Hi-Contrast B&W

The Ricoh GR III has some inherent design issues, it won’t get fixed and as lovers of Ricoh GR line (as I truly am) we can only enjoy the previous GR models and hope Ricoh will produce a better GR soon. I don’t see them being very motivated in producing a better camera if people keep praising a product like the GR III.

For years users asked for some degree of weather sealing and a modern sensor, and Ricoh instead of just fixing these two old issues added new ones — like the heating and a confusionary revision of the effects that leaved many users disappointed, me included.

The effects on the GR II are perfect. The Positive Film and Hi-Contrast B&W are working like magic. What’s the point of removing something so easy and perfect and put instead a more complex system, with countless options and, what’s worse, mostly unable of reproducing the filters Ricoh GR fans loved? You may check my other article about the Ricoh GR III for more infor on this topic.

Ricoh GR II – straight from camera – Hi-Contrast B&W

Of course if you are a popular YouTube influencer living in Sweden or Canada you will notice the heating much less, especially if you are willing to ignore it, and even more if Ricoh sent you a pre-production GR III or invited you to a trip event so that you could do your video about how great the GR III is.

This post is an update on the situation concerning the GR III and unless there will be unexpected news it will also be the last one about this topic.

I love the Ricoh GR line and I keep working with it and promoting it (for free, mind you!). I lost the count of how many I helped falling in love with the camera and buying it, over the years!

Ricoh GR II – straight from camera – Hi-Contrast B&W

Popular YouTubers talk about products because they are looking for a personal economic advantage. They want to attract sponsorships, to grow the channel and earn with ads. Dear Ricoh, how can you trust them? They will start praising Sony or Fuji as soon as a better offer will come.

I saw this happening over and over again, with “professional photographers” saying they love to shoot with Olympus, and then they suddenly say they can’t live without Fuji, and then they convert to Sony. I find this quite pathetic. I can’t stand most YouTubers anymore. I will write about this at some point.

I think Ricoh should focus on their real fans, listeing to them, giving them a product that can be used and loved, supporting them in creating and sharing. The GR is a unique camera and deserves a unique attention.

Ricoh GR II – straight from camera – Hi-Contrast B&W

If you want to enjoy this marvellous line of cameras, pick up a GR or a GR II (or even an old GR IV!), buy spare batteries, memory cards, maybe the 21mm adapter, and go out and shoot and have fun.

My idea is that if we keep the GR line popular and at the same time we refuse to accept a camera like the GR III, Ricoh will have incentives for creating a better iteration next time.

I believe the GR can have a future, a bright one, something new smartphones with pseudo AI can’t touch. It all depends on what Ricoh will do next, but we can’t expect them to improve anything if we close our eyes in front of the issues.

I wish Ricoh could forget the GR III and go back to the GR II project, improving it where it is needed: protection against dust, better ISO. Keep the GR II effects, the size, the rendering quality. That’s all. Fans would adore that camera. A GR II without dust issues would sell very good.

Dear Ricoh, everyone can make a mistake, but now we expect a proper follow up to the GR II. You know what you have to do!

6 comments

  1. I have the GRIII I live in England so perhaps the over heating idea will always remain a mystery to me.
    It’s a superb camera, image quality is great and the image stability system is great.

    1. The only explanation I find is a mix of the following:

      – different people have different tolerances for the issue
      – different copies of the GR III show different strength of the issue (bad quality control)
      – the local average temp influences the perpection of the issue

      The issue does exist for a lot of users and it keeps being reported. I am glad you enjoy the camera though!

  2. Hi Andrea,
    You claim that Ricoh quality control has been bad on the GR III, and that it has some (i.e. more than one) design faults. Apart from the heating issue, where else do you find fault with the camera?
    In my opinion, and echoing Pete Gleeson, I consider the GR III to be a superb camera: brilliant image quality, good dynamic range, and a very beneficial IS system.
    Regarding the heating issue, which is your major bone of contention: i have had the GR III for a year now and have never experienced the heating issue, but then I’m only an amateur photographer (albeit a keen one) and I don’t take lots of photos in one continuous session. I might take 10-20 pictures in 2-3 hours, not in 10-20 minutes, which I suspect might be the case with professional photographers (mega-snappers). Naturally, if you embark on long concentrated photo sessions you are much more likely to experience a heating prblem.
    My only issue with the GR III is that (unlike the GR II) there is no film simulation bracketing: otherwise its a great camera.

    1. Hi Peter, my reasoning is that if different models present different intensity of heating, then it depends on quality control. I personally tried 3 different models of GR III and they all had the heating issue though with different levels of severity. Believe me I gave the camera all the chances 🙂 Talking about quality, the heating was the only major fault I found.

      The severe heating I experienced was starting to happen even with low volume shooting — in one model it was happening after just keeping the camera on for some time and casually browsing the menus and gallery, which was not acceptable for such an expensive camera. And I don’t mean “slightly warm”, I mean so hot it becomes not comfortable.

      That being said, I am glad you enjoy the GR III 🙂

  3. Ciao Andrea, sono possessore della GR3 da un anno e non avevo mai avuto una GR prima. Sarà che scatto e poi spengo (più che altro per risparmiare le batterie), che non mi sono mai accorto del riscaldamento. Certo, resistente alle intemperie sarebbe il top. Come una durata più lunga delle batterie.
    Ti dirò che essendo estremamente portabile e che produce file di alta qualità, l’ho sempre con me e così facendo scatto foto che non avrei mai scattato prima, visto che quando porto i figli a scuola o esco a fare spesa, non mi porto la reflex.
    Secondo me è una macchina eccezionale, con qualche miglioria ancora da apportare.

    1. Ciao Fabrizio, sono contento che ti stia godendo la tua GR! Alcune persone non notano o non hanno il problema del surriscaldamento. Io ho testato tre GR III da negozi diversi, con vari firmware, e tutte avevano il problema. Non parlo di un leggero calore, parlo proprio di una macchina tanto calda da risultare spiacevole da tenere in mano. Peccato, speriamo nella prossima GR, ammesso ce ne sia un’altra. Come dici bene, un certo livello di resistenza alle intemperie sarebbe estremamente benvenuto.

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