Ricoh has built a loyal community around its GR series of cameras, and they may have just teased the announcement of a new one.
The Ricoh GR III is one of the best cameras for street photography in modern times, but it has been almost five years since its first release. Many special editions as well as the Ricoh GR IIIx have been released since, but we have recently heard that the Ricoh is close to a new announcement for the GR series - most likely the Ricoh GR IV.
In a recent interview on the Ricoh GR Photography YouTube channel, 'the official YouTube channel of Ricoh GR for the European Community', the GR series designer Inaba San talks about all things GR. The interview provides a really good insight into how the GR series is designed, and how the development and design teams have to carefully work together to fit all of the desired technology into a small and stealthy camera body. It is a fascinating watch!
Just as the interview is concluding, the last question posed to the designer was, "I also heard that you have a little surprise for us today, a little announcement. Is there something you can share about the GR series?" This sounded like the interviewer was expecting the announcement of a major GR addition, however, the response was one of silence, or rather a gesture to show that they are close but cannot say anything yet. The announcement must be for the GR IV which of course had the comment section offering their dream features. But what are we likely to see in the new GR camera?
Throughout the interview, the designer drilled home the fact that the GR series is not trying to be a camera that caters to everyone, and very much is a 'snapshooter'. A lane in which the Ricoh GR III has found huge success, especially in the genre of street photography. Any updates to the camera will only aim to serve this style of shooting, but there are a few features that would update the camera and keep its values.
Weather sealing is the first update that comes to mind. As a street photographer, especially in the UK, you are often met by the elements and weather sealing instills the confidence that your equipment is safe. This was one of the updates from the Fujifilm X100F to the Fujifilm X100V, and one which the Fujifilm community appreciated. Drawing another potential parallel from the compact Fujifilm update, a tilting screen may also offer a new perspective whilst keeping the same stealthy feel of the GR.
The other question is that of focal length. The GR III released with an 18.3mm (Approx. 28mm in 35mm equivalent focal length) at f/2.8, whereas the newer GR IIIx has a 26.1mm (Approx. 40mm in 35mm equivalent focal length) at f/2.8. I imagine it may be a similar approach with the GR IV, releasing with a 28mm and a newer 40mm coming not long after. It would be nice however if the f-stop could be dropped to f/2, although not one of the biggest concerns for users.
I expect to see more information on the new GR announced in the new year, and as March 2024 will mark five years since the Ricoh GR III, we may start to see it around that time.