By Gavin Stoker | on January 31, 2010
Price When Reviewed: £460
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.
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.