Like it or not, modern smartphone imaging systems – especially on high-end models – are so close to making digital cameras obsolete. Just like how traditional film shooters eventually faded into obscurity, The ongoing trend suggests it will possibly happen again in the future. However, Ricoh is not just about to give up without a fight, and its GR IIIx is ready to rumble.

The “x” in the name already tells us that this release packs innovative features over the outgoing model. However, as with every change, it’s a hard formula to nail down perfectly. What happened here is that Ricoh made improvements to address the GR III’s drawbacks. Unfortunately, it also opened another can of worms here.

Before we dive into the details, let’s talk about some of its technical specifications. The camera measures 4.3” x 2.4” x 1.4” and clocks in at a handy 9.2 ounces. Then there’s the 24.2-megapixel sensor with Ricoh’s GR Engine 6 processor. It may seem the same, but the addition of more post-processing magic makes a huge difference.

Let’s begin with the good stuff Ricoh GR IIIx users can expect from their new purchase. According to those who have spent some time with the new shooter, it boasts a fair share of welcome upgrades. For those who already own the GR III, it seems best to skip on this one. Still, die-hard brand loyalists are very likely to snap one up.

Design-wise it’s difficult to tell the original apart from the follow-up model. Meanwhile, some of the newer one’s caveats may give buyers second thoughts. Common gripes from long-time Ricoh enthusiasts include snap focus issues, shorter battery life, no weather sealing, and others. If you can look past these, the GR IIIx is one capable camera.

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Images courtesy of Ricoh