What’s better, the Ricoh GR III or the Fujifilm X-E4 with a Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens? They’re both compact APS-C cameras that are reasonably affordable. They are both capable of producing excellent straight-out-of-camera JPEGs that don’t require editing. But which one is the best? If put head-to-head, which one will come out on top? Let’s find out!
First, I want to point out that I have Film Simulation Recipes for the Fujifilm X-E4 and Recipes for the Ricoh GR III. I have a Film Simulation Recipes App for Fujifilm, and I have a Film Simulation Recipes App for Ricoh. While there are significantly more Recipes for the Fujifilm X-E4, there are still quite a few for the Ricoh GR III; both camera are capable of producing analog-like results out-of-camera. With that said, let’s look at some pros and cons to each camera.
The biggest pro for the Ricoh GR—and let’s be honest, this is the reason to own it—is its super compact size—the smallest APS-C camera, in fact. The GR III easily fits into my pants pockets or nearly anywhere. It’s perfect for travel or for just carrying around. The inconspicuous design lends itself well for street photography. The GR III has IBIS, albeit a mediocre one that’s not particular necessary with an 18mm lens (but, still, it has it). Snap focus is a pretty useful feature. Ricoh just gave it a new Image Control Effect (their version of a Film Simulation) with a Kaizen firmware update, something Fujifilm hasn’t done in a long time. Perhaps the second biggest pro to the Ricoh GR III is that you can actually buy one without too much difficulty.
The biggest con for the Ricoh GR is that it has a fixed lens. That could be good or bad, depending on your perspective, but for certain it lacks versatility—the GR III is a one-trick pony, but of course it does that one trick very well. Another big con is that it lacks a viewfinder; because the LCD doesn’t move, the camera can be hard to use in harsh light conditions. I don’t like that it has a PASM dial, as I much prefer the manual tactile controls found on most Fujifilm cameras. While the camera-made JPEGs do look good, I prefer those from the Fujifilm X-E4, as I think Fujifilm’s JPEGs are a little better than Ricoh’s. Finally, the GR III is now over four years old, and it’s perhaps beginning to feel slightly dated.
For the Fujifilm X-E4, the biggest pro is Fujifilm’s renown JPEG output and the large number of Film Simulation Recipes available for it. For straight-out-of-camera photography, it’s very hard to beat this camera! The X-E4 has an electronic viewfinder, as well as a tilting LCD. You can attach any number of different lenses to it; the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 is my favorite. The Fujinon 18mm f/2 is a full stop brighter than the f/2.8 lens on the Ricoh GR III, which can occasionally be a big deal, but most of the time isn’t. The X-E4 has the traditional camera controls that Fujifilm cameras are known for. Fujifilm released the X-E4 two years after Ricoh released the GR III, and to a small extent you can tell.
The biggest con for the Fujifilm X-E4 is that it’s difficult to find, and, if you do, it might be at an inflated price. Due to parts shortages, Fujifilm couldn’t keep up with demand, and then they (inexplicably) discontinued the camera. Good luck finding one. While the X-E4 is small and pocketable if your pockets are large enough, it’s significantly bigger than the Ricoh GR III. It doesn’t have IBIS, although with the 18mm lens it’s not really necessary. The Fujifilm X-E4 paired with the Fujinon 18mm f/2 has an MSRP of $1,450, while the Ricoh GR III has an MSRP of only $900.
Comparing the Ricoh GR III to the Fujifilm X-E4 with the Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens isn’t really fair. They’re two different tools for two different purposes. But there are enough similarities and crossover that they do make some sense to test side-by-side. I like the Fujifilm X-E4 better—much better, in fact—than the Ricoh GR III, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best camera. Best is subjective, and it kind of depends on your goals and how you’ll use the cameras.
The Ricoh GR III is significantly cheaper and you can buy it right now without too much trouble. The Ricoh GR III is easier to carry around and is more inconspicuous. The Fujifilm X-E4 offers a more fun shooting experience and is much more versatile. I prefer the pictures from the X-E4, but those from the Ricoh GR III are still very good. Ultimately the winner is the one that makes the most sense to you. I own both cameras, and I use the Fujifilm X-E4 probably ten or maybe fifteen times more often than the Ricoh GR III, so it is my winner; however, you might prefer the GR III for various reasons, so it could be your winner. Even though I use the X-E4 much more often, there are times that the GR III is more practical to have with me, so I’m glad that I own it.
Below are some pictures that I recently captured with a Ricoh GR III and a Fujifilm X-E4 with a Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens.
Ricoh GR III
Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2
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