Ricoh GR Digital III Review

4.5
August 20, 2009 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 3.5Mb.

The Ricoh GR Digital III produced images of excellent quality during the review period. The Ricoh GR Digital III's main drawback in terms of image quality is noise, with ISO 800 showing some noise, blurring of detail and slight colour desaturation. The noise and loss of detail get progressively worse as you go from ISO 800 to the fastest 1600 setting.

The new Dynamic Range mode works really well, resulting in images that have noticeably more dynamic range that those shot in the Normal mode, and far surpassing most other compact cameras. If you want to shoot images that retain detail in both the highlight and shadow areas, then the Ricoh GR Digital III is a great choice.

The Ricoh GR Digital III handled chromatic aberrations very well with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations. The 10 megapixel images were just a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting of Normal and either require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you should increase the in-camera sharpening level.

The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 180 seconds allowing you to capture enough light for most situations. Macro performance is a stand-out highlight, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm away from the subject, although there is a lot of lens distortion and shadowing at such a close distance. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure.

Noise

There are 6 ISO settings available on the Ricoh GR Digital III. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting for both JPEG and RAW files.

JPEG

RAW

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

Dynamic Range

When the Ricoh GR Digital III is in DR mode (Dynamic Range double shot) it takes two images with different exposures, and then records a single image that combines the properly exposed parts of each one. You can also choose to take a DR and Normal image at the same time (both are saved to the memory card). Here is an example which was shot with Normal and then the three DR modes (Weak, Medium and Strong).

Normal

Dynamic Range - Weak

   

Dynamic Range - Medium

Dynamic Range - Strong

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting of Normal. You can change the in-camera sharpening level to one of the preset levels if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

The Ricoh GR Digital III has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

10M Fine (3.30Mb) (100% Crop) 10M Normal (2.08Mb) (100% Crop)
   
10M RAW (14.5Mb) (100% Crop)  
 

Chromatic Aberrations

The Ricoh GR Digital III handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review, with very limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Ricoh GR Digital III offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is just 1cm away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Ricoh GR Digital III are Auto, Red-eye-Reduction, Flash On, Slow Synchro, Manual Flash, and Flash Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Red-eye-Reduction settings caused any red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Ricoh GR Digital III's maximum shutter speed is 180 seconds, which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at ISO 64. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

3 inch LCD, wide-angle, 10 megapixel, ricoh, 28mm lens, gr digital 3, Ricoh GR Digital III Review