It’s a great day for Ricoh fans. We can finally announce that the GR III is available for preorder. This upgraded APS-C model has been a long time coming and brings a plethora of improvements while maintaining the features and design that make the GR series what it is. Besides the launch of what is sure to be an exceptional pocket camera, Ricoh is offering an upgraded WG-6 Tough Camera and, more interestingly, the G900, an industrialized version of its rugged camera.
Street photographers have always loved the GR series. So, how do you evolve a camera in a meaningful way without taking away what makes it great? Ricoh knows how, apparently, because the GR III manages to offer improvements practically across the board, and keeps the same form factor for which it has been loved. The biggest upgrade comes in the optics. The camera has been around for a while, so with a new 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor comes a tweaked 28mm equivalent f/2.8 lens. This works in tandem with the GR Engine 6 processor to create high-res 14-bit DNG or JPEG images with outstanding tonality, natural colors, and fine detail. You can also enjoy crop modes that will give you 35mm and 50mm equivalent perspectives at 15MP and 7MP, respectively.
Shockingly, the GR III squeezed in a 3-axis Shake Reduction System that is not only useful for shooting at slower shutter speeds or when working handheld, but can also be used for moiré reduction and dust removal. It also works well for video, which is possible at up to Full HD at 60 fps. Another upgraded aspect of the GR III is a Hybrid AF System for faster focusing. This works well with the speedy 0.8 second start-up time for quickly acquiring your subjects.
We can’t talk about the GR III without discussing its design. For longtime fans—it looks very similar, meaning its compact size is still here, even with all the added functionality. The updated lens even allowed the camera to be 1.5mm thinner than its predecessors. Beyond this, the camera now has a 3.0" 1.037m-dot LCD touchscreen for intuitive control and the rear controls have been redesigned for better ergonomics. There is a larger thumb grip for comfort; the ADJ lever, FN button, and Touch AF options can be programmed; and the dials are all easily accessible. Additionally, the GR III has built-in Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi and a USB Type-C port supports file transfers and charging. Hopefully, this upgrade is everything you hoped it would be.
The WG-6 is another pocket-sized camera. It serves as Ricoh’s rugged compact camera with a design that will survive harsh working conditions. Extending the range of its predecessor, the WG-6 has 28-140mm (35mm equivalent) optical zoom while sporting a larger, 20MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor for high-resolution image capture. It can shoot 4K video at 30 fps, is optimized for capturing underwater colors, and features an Electronic Gimbal for smooth recording. Ring lighting is possible via six variable brightness LEDs surrounding the lens, benefitting macro and close portrait images. Waterproof to 20m, shockproof to 2.1m, freeze-proof to -10°C, and crushproof to 100 kgf, it is designed to perform well nearly anywhere.
Operability is streamlined and enhanced for users wearing gloves via the addition of a customizable ADJ button and raised contours on the four-way controller. The WG-6 was designed with industrial uses in mind, since its chemical resistance allows ethanol, sodium hypochlorite, and chloride dioxide disinfection. Photographers needing GPS information with image capture will note that the WG-6 corresponds to the satellite navigation augmentation system and an allocated GPS button the four-way controller. A separately available silicon jacket and soft carrying case offer additional protection, if needed.
Last on the list is the G900. This is effectively a specialized take on the WG-6 for construction, engineering, and disaster-relief applications. All the imaging functions are the same as the previously described WG-6, but it is 26% more compact than its predecessor and offers various chemical resistances. It does include a wide neck strap with two-point, cross-shoulder suspension for easy use and carry while on a worksite. Also, it has 6.5GB of internal memory.
What makes the G900 a better choice for workers is an array of software features that make it much more secure and capable for worksite use. This includes an enhanced camera memo function with text, audio, and reference images, as well as a transparency guide for comparing images side-by-side in camera and with a current view, barcode scanning, password protection, and plenty more.
Who among you have been waiting for the GR III? Have you placed an order yet? How about the WG-6 or G900? All these are interesting upgrades and we would love to hear your take on all of them in the Comments box, below!