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Ricoh shows off upcoming GR III advanced compact with 3-axis stabilization

Ricoh officially announced the third generation of its compact GR street-shooter Tuesday at Photokina. The GR III incorporates a newly designed lens and a higher resolution, 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, up from 16MP in the GR II. The camera, which is still under development, will be available in early 2019.

Although many details remain to be seen, Ricoh is calling it a “totally new breed” of GR camera, but core specifications like an 18.5mm f/2.8 (28mm full-frame equivalent) lens are returning. Other features will help bring it into the modern era, like USB-C and internal, 3-axis stabilization — a first for a GR camera. It also looks as if the sensor lacks an antialiasing filter, as AA Filter Simulator is listed on the spec sheet, which uses the sensor-shift stabilization system to mimic the effect of the filter, similar to what we’ve seen in some Pentax DSLRs (Ricoh owns Pentax).

There’s still no electronic viewfinder, so users must rely on the 3-inch LCD to frame pictures. However, this time around that screen is touch sensitive, which should help offer more direct access control without cluttering up the traditionally streamlined exterior of the camera with buttons. For users who want a viewfinder, the optional optical viewfinder available for previous models should still work here, as well.

In addition to a redesigned lens and new sensor, the GR III will also use a new image processor to help churn through all those extra pixels and could potentially improve performance in other areas. One such area could be continuous shooting speed, details of which have not been released, but the GR II topped out at just 4 frames per second, so there is room for improvement. Video could also benefit from faster processing, but it looks like 4K won’t be offered. Full HD 1080p, however, will be available at up to 60 fps.

While not wildly popular among consumers, the GR series carved out a niche for itself with street and travel photographers who gravitated toward its compact size and great image quality. The cameras are designed to be easily used in one hand. True to form, the GR III weighs only 257 grams, or just over half a pound, with memory card and battery loaded. What we don’t know at this time is battery life, maximum ISO sensitivity, the actual release date, or price, but the older GR II currently sells for $600.

Updated on October 25 with new images.

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