• Price: £460

  • Company: Ricoh

  • Pros: Sturdy enough to withstand life’s knocks; bright lens; speedy image processor; funky spirit level feature to ensure straight horizons.

  • Cons: No great shakes in the design department; fixed lens limits flexibility.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 7 out of 10 We rate this 7 out of 10

The latest austere-looking Ricoh digital model marries a high-quality, 10-megapixel sensor to new processor and high-quality, wide-angle lens.

It’s built similarly to a digital SLR: its shock-resistant magnesium-alloy body with rubber padding enables a firm grip, with a digital SLR-style command dial at its top. Despite its slender dimensions Ricoh has managed – like Canon, Panasonic and Sigma – to include a built-in flash and a hot shoe to attach a flashgun.

There’s little automatic about the Ricoh; it’s a mainly manually operated tool with a retractable 28mm lens suitable for landscapes and group portraits rather than general-purpose zoom, with even exposure getting its own adjustment lever.

There’s no optical viewfinder but the high-res three-inch LCD provides great clarity, at least indoors.

Turn the Ricoh on its side when reviewing images and the display flips through 90 degrees. Where it doesn’t quite match semi-pro digital SLRs, however, is in light sensitivity, which tops out at an entry-level ISO 1600.

Still, image quality impresses, barrel distortion is minimal even at full wide angle, and any pixel fringing is subtle. The GR III is, therefore, a sensible choice for those who care about image quality above all else.