Why the GR IIIx Is My Favorite Everyday Point-&-Shoot Camera

An up-and-coming camera brand that everyone has their eye on. Read more on why the GR IIIx is my new favorite go-to for everyday captures and behind-the-scenes work.

Why the GR IIIx Is My Favorite Everyday Point-&-Shoot Camera
8 Moment
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A few months ago, I returned home from a film shoot and discovered I hadn't captured any behind-the-scenes shots. It was one of my most significant commercial projects, yet I didn't have visual documentation of the set. This wasn't an isolated incident — whether reconnecting with old friends, attending weddings, or going on family trips, I found myself without photos to reminisce about these moments. While I usually have my phone, I tend not to use it during work or family time. Although I own a professional camera, lugging around the Sony A7 isn't always practical. It dawned on me that I needed something compact, lightweight, and enjoyable to use. Enter the Ricoh GR IIIx.

Moment Ricoh 15286 GR II Ix Digital Camera thumbnail

Ricoh

GR IIIx Digital Camera

Looking for a small yet powerful compact camera? The GR IIIx goes way beyond its category with fully-fledged manual and creative features in a compact package

Buy for $1,046.95

To Know:

The Ricoh GR3x and its sibling, the Ricoh GR III are pocketable cameras with a 24.2 megapixel APS-C sized sensor. The GR IIIx rocks a 26.1mm f2.8 lens, equivalent to a 40mm lens on a full-frame camera. It has IBIS, an in-built ND, and critical features, making it a unique everyday carry camera.

What We Love:

Lots Packed In a Tiny Body

The GR IIIx can easily slip into a pocket or a bag, so it's super easy to always have it on you, but you don't have to give up the large APS-C sized sensor or sacrifice on lens quality like on some point shoots.

Easy To Use

Between its snap focus option, highlight-weighted exposure, and easy-to-reach dials to control exposure, the camera quickly gets the great-looking picture you've got in your head.

Film Simulation and Recipes

Much like the Fuji X-series cameras, you can dial in a look-in camera to create stunning JPEGs straight out of the camera.

The Details:

Brand: Ricoh

Camera Type: Mirrorless Camera

Best For: Everyday photography and street photography in a tiny body that can easily slip into a pocket or bag.

Simplicity Is The Goal

The Ricoh GR IIIx makes shooting incredibly easy. It has all the shooting modes you'd expect - aperture priority, shutter priority, manual shooting, and a competent program mode. For exposure metering, you've got all the usual suspects, too: multi-, center- and spot- are good at getting a fast and accurate read, but my favorite is the much less commonly found highlight-weighted metering. This exposes the image to stop the highlights from clipping. I'm not a fan of blown-out highlights in my photos, so this suits how I like to shoot. There's a flicky lever on the back of the camera right by where your thumb rests to adjust your EV compensation, so it's super quick and easy to dial in the exposure you want.

It has a hybrid autofocus system using both phase detection and contrast detection, which is fast in good light, although it does fall slightly in low-light situations. To help with this, the camera does have an AF assist light, but don't expect top-of-the-shelf performance when it gets a bit dim —I've found it to be good enough, though.

The camera has eight focus modes, including continuous autofocus and a reliable face-detection feature. Despite the small size, you can also manually focus, but with no focus wheel on the lens, you have to use the incredibly fiddly thumbwheel on the back, which isn't ideal. The GR IIIx does have focus peaking to help, but I still find it an awkward way of shooting.

The camera has a focus mode called Snap focus, where the camera focuses on a pre-set focus distance when you fully press the shutter. It's brilliant for street photography because it eliminates any focussing lag — it reminds me a lot of shooting with zone focussing on a fully manual camera. More often than not, I use the very accurate touch AF using the backscreen.

These are basic features, but the Ricoh GR IIIx gets them right. It transforms shooting into a seamless and enjoyable experience, precisely meeting my expectations for a camera: it steps back, allowing me to concentrate on capturing the images I desire. Moreover, it simplifies passing the camera to someone else, as you can reasonably expect them to achieve good results. During a recent commercial shoot, I handed the camera to my producer to capture a few shots of me at work. Despite him never having used the camera before, the results turned out well.

Tiny Body, Big Features

One of the biggest draws of the camera is its pocketable size without having to comprise what's in the body. For years, I've used an Olympus Mju II, a camera that's shockingly similar in size and shoots 35mm film. I loved having such a large format camera in my pocket, but the cost of film meant I was using it less and less. Nevertheless, I still wanted something I could carry in my purse without compromising the sensor size.

Packaging an APS-C sensor into the camera makes it easy to get photos with great depth. Additionally, the camrea has a 3-axis 'Shake Reduction' that Ricoh claims will deliver up to 4 steps of shutter speed. This makes shooting at lower shutter speeds easier than you usually might. Likewise, with the camera being so quick to work and for something to catch everyday movements, it becomes beneficial for firing quick shots without worrying as much about camera shake. It might not rival industry-leading IBIS in some cameras, but it is a nice feature.

There's also an in-built 2-stop ND filter, which can be used with the Shake Reduction to get some slow shutter speed shots without extra filters. The combo of these two means you can get some handheld semi-long exposure shots if you have a steady enough hand — something I had fun playing with at a waterfall on a hike the other day.

It's possible to use external filters on the GR IIIx, but not straight out of the box. You can attach the GA-2 Lens Adapter, which allows for 49mm filters. The 40mm equivalent lens is sharp with minimal distortion or chromatic aberration and opens up to f/2.8, and there's an optional tele-conversion lens, which takes it to an equivalent of a 75mm focal length. Of course, adding these on will not easily slip into your pocket, but it's nice to have the versatility.

What We Rate:

Skill Level

Just getting started Understands manual settings Shoots regularly Professional

Photo Quality

Passable Pretty Good Really Good Best Out There

Auto Focus

Always hunting It Works It Works Quickly Quick and Locked In

Low Light

Very noisy. Average Clean Crisp And Clean

Battery Life

Sucks Not bad Good Really Good

Rugged Ability

Leave it in the studio Daily Carry Traveler Mountain Goat

Build Quality

Cheap What You’d Expect Solid Top Of The Line

Size

Fits In Pocket One Hand Two Hands Big Boy

Weight

Ultralight Light Average Hefty Boy

Pictures That Punch Above Their Weight

Of course, none of this matters if it doesn't have good image quality.

Thankfully, its small size isn't reflected in the files from the GR IIIx. You can shoot JPEGs or 14-bit RAW photos, and with JPEGs, there is an option to use one of 12 Image Control profiles — not a million miles away from Fuji's now famous film simulations. There are four black-and-white modes and creative modes like a bleach bypass effect, but by far the most popular are the Positive and Negative film profiles. I don't use these modes because I like to edit my photos from a neutral look after shooting, but if you want a great image straight out of the camera, the film emulations in the Ricoh look fabulous. Also similar to the Fuji series, you can dial in custom recipes for the picture profiles, loads of which can easily be found online. If you're coming from the Fuji X series, it's not something you'll have to give up.

I find the lens sharp and have no issues shooting with it wide open. Is it the most incredible lens you could ever find in a fixed-lens camera? No. Is it great for an everyday camera? Absolutely. It won't have the tack-sharp feel of a Leica Q2 nor the wider aperture of the Fuji X100VI. Still, when you're shooting with the camera and looking at your photos, you're not going to be thinking about what it could have been like on a different camera; you'll be looking at the image in front of you, and for one have always been delighted with how my pictures come out.

The Fujifilm-Shaped Elephant in the Room

As I alluded to above, it's fair to say that this isn't the only fixed-lens camera that's captured photographers by storm lately.

The Fuji X100V and X100VI is a trendy camera, and for good reason. It's a joy to shoot with, produces phenomenal images, and looks the part! Plus, it has some great features that the Ricoh doesn't have, like 4k video and its excellent hybrid viewfinder. So why did I pick up a Ricoh GR IIIx over that? It's simple, really — this camera suited me more. I love the Fuji series, and I ran a Fuji X100T into the ground from using it so much a few years ago. But I wanted something I could always have on me. Something that I could pull out and grab a shot in a heartbeat and that I could easily hand off to a friend in a social moment. For me, the Ricoh GR IIIx ticked all those boxes and many more with very few compromises.

If you're in the market for an X100V or a X100VI and suffer from limited stock, it's worth giving the GR IIIx a proper look.

It's Not All Sunshine. Let's Chat Weather Sealing.

Like with any camera, it could be better.

The biggest flaw that the camera has is its lack of any form of weather sealing. Water can get in fast if you're using the camera in the rain, but the more significant issue is dust. This is a real shame for a camera that is designed to slip into a pocket or a bag. If you use the GA-2 adapter, a UV filter, and a lens cap, you'll go a long way to protect your camera, but you shouldn't need to take so many steps. I know a few people who won't take it out without a weatherproof pouch to store it in to avoid any possible lint or pocket dust risk. This has never been an issue for me in the few months I've used the camera, and I've not been babysitting it. I carry it out of a case in my pocket and haven't had any issues to date. If you do get dust in the sensor, there is a dust removal feature in the menu designed to clean it out with ultrasonic vibrations, but as I have yet to get in for myself, I can't speak to how effective it is.

Summary

I've been shooting a lot with the Ricoh for the last few months, and I love it. It's a brilliant camera for everyday use. I've taken it hiking, to family events, on-set — it's easy to always have on me! Having an APS-C-sized sensor allows for some beautiful images, and the small body means I don't have to sacrifice when it comes to weight and space. I bought the camera to have on me first and foremost on film shoots, but it's quickly found its way into my hands every day since I bought it. The packed features and the pleasure of using make this a straightforward camera to recommend.

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