The Ricoh GR III lands to prove that compact cameras aren’t dead yet

Compact cameras might have mostly been gobbled up by the smartphone basking shark, but some are still thriving out in the wild – and the Ricoh GR III looks like it could join them.

The GR series have long been a favourite of street photographers thanks to their large, APS-C sensors and high-quality optics. The Ricoh GR III continues that trend (including the series’ very familiar design), while adding a long list of improvements to its four-year-old GR II predecessor.

In what is a radical move for this ultra-conservative camera range, the GR III has a new 24.23-megapixel CMOS sensor and a refined f/2.8 lens with a fixed focal length equivalent to 28mm.

It’s this combination, plus the camera’s new GR 6 processing engine, that promises to produce snaps that trump your smartphone for sharpness, detail and richness.

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Your photo hit-rate should be much higher than on the GR II too, as Ricoh has added a much-needed Hybrid AF system that adds phase-detection to its traditional contrast-based system. That should mean more reliable autofocus in across all lighting conditions.

Another bonus is the addition of three-axis image stabilisation, which promises to give you four stops of compensation (very handy for handheld low light shooting). And if you needed any further proof that Ricoh’s GR range has joined the 21st century, the GR III also includes a 3-inch touchscreen for the first time.

We mock, but the GR range has one of the most loyal fanbases in camera-land, and doesn’t introduce features unless it knows they’re going to be well received. In some ways, that’s a refreshing change from the throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach of most smartphones.

When Ricoh announced the GR III at Photokina 2018 there was no pricing, but that’s now official too – it’ll cost £799.99 and be available to buy in March 2019. We’ll bring you a full review before it’s on the streets taking moody monochrome portraits.

What do you think, is there still a place for premium compact cameras like the Ricoh GR III? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.