Ricoh’s GR III HDF drops an ND filter for a diffusion filter

When Ricoh launched its very first office copier, the Ricopy 101, in 1955, the product’s popularity sparked a term — supposedly folks would say “make a Ricopy” instead of “make a copy.” And with the company’s current camera lineup, the GR III, they have made a lot of Ricopies, making only slight changes to each of the pocket-sized point-and-shoot cameras year over year.

The latest of which is the $1,066.95 Ricoh GR III HDF. It has the same 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor and external hardware as all of the other GR III cameras, including the first GR III camera that was released in 2019. But what makes it worth talking about today is the new “HDF” part of its name. It stands for “high diffusion filter.” Whereas previous Ricoh cameras had a built-in ND filter, which you can think of as sunglasses for your camera that minimize the amount of light hitting the sensor, the GR III HDF has a diffusion filter instead. When enabled, this causes highlights, such as a backlight on someone’s head, to diffuse or spread out. It also ever so slightly, and I cannot stress every so slightly enough, softens the image as a whole.

I spent over three weeks with the Ricoh GR III HDF. And while I appreciate Ricoh dropping the ND filter, which I rarely enabled in previous GR III cameras, for something I have been playing with a lot more, the HDF filter, the core tech of the camera is starting to feel dated. Tune in to my video above for more on that and loads of photo samples with the new diffusion filter.

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