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The Ricoh GR series HDF cameras offer dreamy vibes

Key Takeaways

  • Ricoh introduced new GR III and GR IIIx cameras with a built-in Highlight Diffusion Filter.
  • The new models maintain original features but offer a unique softening effect along image edges and on highlights for a vintage look.
  • Changes include a dark silver shutter-release button and enhanced Zone Select AF, but no built-in ND filter.


Ricoh has announced new versions of its GR III and GR IIIx cameras, though if you were expecting a drastic change, you’re out of luck. The new versions add a special built-in Highlight Diffusion Filter for softer highlights. But beyond that, most of the original features of these compact cameras remain the same.

Related

Ricoh GR III initial review: Tugging on those high-end heartstrings

The GR III is coming to Europe, priced £800/€900. We got to play with the high-end, fixed-lens, APS-C sensor compact to see if it still appeals.

The back of the GR III HDF camera

Ricoh


The GR III HDF and GR IIIx HDF are official

But what’s new?

The GR III and GR IIIx, both popular choices for street photography due to their compact form, share many features, including point-and-shoot functionality, a 24.2-megapixel sensor, three-axis sensor-shift stabilization, face and eye detection, and in-camera editing. However, they differ in their lens specifications: the GR III is equipped with a 28mm lens (35mm equivalent), while the GR IIIx features a slightly tighter 40mm lens (35mm equivalent).


All those stats stay the same on the new GR III HDF and GR IIIx HDF cameras. What Ricoh has done is add a Highlight Diffusion Filter (HDF) that it developed using its advanced inkjet technology. The special-effect filter diffuses highlights and “creates a blurred effect along the image’s edges,” says Ricoh. Those effects produce a softer image, much like those captured by film or in vintage movies. The HDF can be instantly switched on or off with a single action, so photographers can easily switch between looks.

Here’s how it looks in use:

Two images of Christmas lights on trees show the soft highlights from the Ricoh GR III HDF camera.

Ricoh

The above image on the left was taken with the HDF filter off, while the image on the right is with the HDF filter on. You can see how soft the highlights get with the HDF filter.


The top of the GR III HDF against a black background.

Ricoh

Other subtle improvements

Beyond the HDF filter, Ricoh also changed the color of the shutter-release button to dark silver to differentiate it from other GR series models and to “symbolize the effortless shift of visual express,” Ricoh explains. Ricoh also changed the default settings of the Function (Fn) button to control the HDF setting. The Fn button can be customized, of course, but if you’re buying the HDF version, you’ll likely want that feature available with the press of a button.

The two new models also feature Zone Select AF, which automatically sets the focus on the most appropriate area within the image after the photographer chooses the three-by-three desired zone. Unfortunately, the built-in neutral density (ND) filter is not available on the GR III HDF or GR IIIx HDF, so you’ll have to do without that.


One feature introduced on the HDF versions is also carried over to the existing models with the help of function-expansion firmware. You will be able to pre-program up to three white balance settings as the base white balance. That feature can be paired with the White-Balance Fine Adjustment function as well. The updated firmware will be available at the same time as the market launch of the HDF models.

The Ricoh GR III HDF against a black background.

Ricoh

But how much will they cost?

Both the GR III HDF and GR IIIx HDF will be available in April for $1,070 and $1,150, respectively.

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