Fujifilm, pay close attention: Ricoh just did with their GR III and GR IIIx what you won’t do with your X-series cameras.
Fujifilm has stated that they’re moving away from Kaizen and to expect less of it going forward, but some other camera makers—including Ricoh—are embracing it. In fact, Ricoh just added a new Picture Control Effect, which is their Film Simulations equivalent, to their GR III and IIIx cameras. This new Effect is called Negative Film, and it looks pretty good so far to me. It’s not really like anything on Fujifilm exactly—perhaps it could be described as somewhat similar to a cross between Classic Negative and PRO Neg. Std—but it does produce an aesthetic that’s easy to appreciate.
I want to point out that the GR III was released almost at the same exact time as the Fujifilm X-T30. Since the release of the X-T30, Fujifilm has introduced three new Film Simulations—Classic Negative, Eterna Bleach Bypass, and Nostalgic Neg.—plus some other JPEG options like Color Chrome FX Blue, Clarity, and Grain size. None of it has trickled down to the X-T30 (or X-T3). Even the X-Pro3 and X100V—premium models, supposedly—weren’t given the Kaizen love that they (really, Fujifilm’s customers) deserve. Yet little ol’ Ricoh not only created a new Effect for apparently no reason other than the fun of it, and they gave it to the almost four-year-old GR III just because they wanted to make their customers happy.
I have a ton of advice that I’d give to Fujifilm if they were ever interested in hearing my opinions. I mean, I have a pretty good pulse on a big chunk of their customer base, and I’ve done more than most to bring them new customers, whether directly or indirectly, so you’d think they would be interested in hearing what I have to say. The very first suggestion that I would have for them is to do more Kaizen and not less. I get that it costs time and money, but fostering a happy long-term repeat customer base is priceless, and well worth whatever it takes to do that. A lot of photographers go from brand-to-brand-to-brand, or they begrudgingly put up with a brand for a long time because they don’t want to endure the cost and headache of switching, and there is a surprisingly large amount of disloyalty among customers. Yes, there are the outspoken fanboys—I am one for Fujifilm—but while their voices are loud, their numbers are surprisingly small. So if a brand can actually make more of their customers loyal, which they do by showing them that they matter and are appreciated, it can have a significant long-term impact. Of course, if your customers don’t think you care about them, they’ll be more quick to leave when another brand offers something new and exciting, or if they think that another brand cares more about their customers than the one they’re currently using.
Ricoh just made sure that their customers know that they care. Fujifilm, make sure that your customers know you care!
Below are some examples of photos captured using the new Negative Film Picture Control Effect on my Ricoh GR III.
This post is by popular demand! Ever since I started sharing pictures captured with my new-to-me Fujifilm X70, I’ve been bombarded with requests to compare the camera with the XF10 and the Ricoh GR models. And I fully understand why: there aren’t very many truly pocketable APS-C fixed-lens cameras, yet these are perfect for travel, street, and to just carry everywhere and use literally every day. There’s definitely a draw to them, and I can’t fathom why they’re not even more popular. Every photographer should want one of these, or something like them, but they often stay in a state of obscurity. I find it odd, but that’s the way it is.
We’ll start this off with a comparison of the two Fujifilm models: X70 and XF10. What’s similar and what’s different? Which one is better? Of the two, which should you buy?
At first glance you might think they’re the same camera, because they look very similar, and have nearly identical dimensions. The XF10 is lighter than the X70 because it has more plastic in its construction, and it feels like a cheaper camera (which it is). The lens is optically the same, but the X70 has an aperture ring while the XF10 doesn’t. The X70 also has a tilting rear screen, something not found on the XF10. And then there’s the dial: PASM vs Shutter Knob—regular readers of this blog know already that I don’t prefer PASM (putting it mildly), but maybe you do. The XF10 doesn’t have a hot shoe, or C1-C7 Custom Presets. The X70 has a 16-megapixel X-Trans II sensor, while the XF10 has a 24-megapixel Bayer sensor—I think, as far as image quality goes, they’re pretty similar, and I wouldn’t call one output “better” than the other. The XF10 is newer, released more than two-and-a-half years after the X70.
There are some things, such as Snapshot, that I like about the XF10, but there are some things, such as a generally sluggish performance, that I don’t. Between the two, it’s clear that the X70, despite being an older model released in 2016, is the more premium option, and it is the camera that I prefer of the two. The X70 is a keeper if you’ve got one; the XF10 is dispensable. With that said, the X70 can be hard to find (those who own them rarely sell them) and are often expensive. The XF10 is much easier to find, but finding a bargain on one can still be a challenge. If you are on a tight budget or don’t have much patience (and don’t mind the limitations of this model), the XF10 is a very good runner-up, but if you want the better option of these two, the X70 is the one to go with. Both models have been long discontinued, so don’t expect to find one brand-new, and if you somehow do, know that it will come with a premium price tag; otherwise, you’ll have to be satisfied with something that isn’t new but is new to you.
How does the X70 (and XF10) compare to the Ricoh GR cameras? I’m most known for my Fujifilm Film Simulation Recipes, but lesser known are my Ricoh GR Recipes; I know a thing or two about both brands. I own a GR and a GR III. The GR II is essentially the same camera as the GR (just minor improvements), so everything that I say about the GR in this discussion will apply to the GR II. The GR IIIx has a different focal-length lens, but is otherwise very similar to the GR III, so what I say about the GR III applies also to the GR IIIx. I hope this makes sense and helps to simplify things a little.
The Ricoh GR models are not as pretty as the Fujifilm models, but what they lack in beauty they make up for in compactness. While the X70 and XF10 are small, the GR cameras are really small, which makes them even easier to carry with you everywhere. The GR III is just a little smaller than the GR I & II. Functionality and feature wise, all of the GR models are more similar to the XF10 than the X70. The rear screens are fixed. There’s a PASM dial. There’s no aperture ring around the lens. The GR cameras aren’t laggy like the XF10, though, plus there’s a hot shoe.
Image quality on the GR cameras are similarly good compared to the Fujifilm models. My opinion is that the GR, which was released in 2013 and features a 16-megapixel camera, has the “worst” technical image quality of all of these cameras, but there’s some sort of pixie dust that gives it a special quality—I’m not exactly sure what it is, but there’s an unexpected appealing quality to the images (this applies also to the GR II, released in 2015). The GR III, which has a 24-megapixel sensor and was released in 2019, has superior technical image quality over the GR, but lacks a little of that pixie dust. Is technical image quality more important, or that hard-to-define special quality? Your answer will reveal which GR camera to consider. I personally like the GR III a little more than the GR.
What’s better, though: Fujifilm or Ricoh? That’s a really tough decision. I do like Fujifilm’s JPEGs a little more than Ricoh’s, but they’re both very good; the “color science” and approach to JPEG output is different, so you might prefer one over the other (I personally prefer Fujifilm’s, no surprise, but everyone is different). Between the XF10 and any of the GR models, I would go with Ricoh, but Ricoh isn’t the hands-down winner—the XF10 is nearly as good, but the GR cameras are slightly better, in my opinion. Between the X70 and Ricoh, I give the X70 the edge, because the design and shooting experience is superior. Even though the GR models are noticeably smaller and fit just a little easier into my pockets, I’d choose to take the X70 with me instead, as it’s more fun to shoot with. The GR III is the only model that you can still buy brand-new, so if you don’t want to purchase a used camera, it’s your only option.
The best case scenario is if you can own multiple cameras, because each have their advantages and disadvantages. There are times when each of the models discussed in this article could be the best choice. If you own a Fujifilm camera and a GR camera, that allows you to choose which one you think will work best for you in the situations you anticipate encountering. However, if it can only be one, I recommend the Fujifilm X70 (even though I’ve only owned it for a short time), followed very closely by the GR III, then followed very closely by the GR or GR II (get the GR II if the price is the same), then followed very closely by the XF10. Some might disagree with that ranking, but that’s my opinion. I do hope this article is helpful for those trying to decide which one to get.
None of these cameras are perfect by any means, but they are all perfect for shoving into a pocket and carrying with you everywhere. Can’t afford any of them? Don’t worry, just use your phone—if you have an iPhone, be sure to try my RitchieCam camera app! This can serve a similar purpose, and since you already have your phone on you, it’s not necessary to also carry a camera. While I have a phone with RitchieCam in my pocket, I’ll often have a Fujifilm X70 or Ricoh GR III in a pocket, too.
Ricoh GR III
This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.
Also, the Ricoh Recipes App received an update, which fixed some bugs and added the ability to search for recipes by name. If you have the App, be sure to update it manually if your phone didn’t do so automatically.
Have a Ricoh GR camera? Download the Ricoh Recipes App today!
This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.
I’m very exciting to announce a new project that I’ve been secretly working on for the last several months: Ritchie’s Ricoh Recipes! This is similar to Fuji X Weekly film simulation recipes, except for Ricoh GR cameras. Obviously, Ricoh and Fujifilm cameras are much different, so the recipes are much different, too; however, I’m very pleased with how these turned out. If you own a Ricoh GR, GR II, or GR III camera, you’ll want to check it out!
Why Ricoh GR? I often get requests to make recipes for other camera brands, but the top asked-for brand is Ricoh. At first this might seem strange, since Canon, Sony, and Nikon (and probably a few other brands, too) are much more popular than Ricoh, but there are three factors that make this seemingly unlikely camera a popular request. First, a surprisingly large number of Fujifilm photographers also own a Ricoh GR camera. Why? Because Fujifilm and Ricoh are both popular options for street, travel, and documentary photography, and Fujifilm doesn’t offer a great alternative to the GR (the X70 has long been discontinued, and the XF10 was a little underwhelming). Second, Ricoh GR photographers are more open to using straight-out-of-camera JPEGs due to the camera’s film heritage and the film-like experience of shooting JPEGs. Third, Ricoh has included many useful and creative JPEG options on the GR cameras—it’s easier to create recipes that you’d actually want to use than with some other brands.
I don’t know the percentage of Fujifilm photographers who also use a Ricoh GR, but it has to be a fairly significant number based on the requests that I’ve received. Many of the messages are to the effect of, “I love using your recipes on my X-Pro2, and I’d really like to do something similar on my Ricoh GR III.” While this project is for a different camera brand, I’m hoping that it is largely for the benefit of the Fujifilm community. I believe that many in this audience will find it a useful resource.
Ricoh Recipes are different than my Fujifilm Recipes, not only in how they look but in how they’re organized. Choose either GR/GR II or GR III. Within each camera category are four recipe Collections. Within each Collection are five recipes. In other words, there are 40 recipes, 20 for the GR/GR II and 20 for the GR III.
A Ricoh Recipes App (similar to the Fuji X Weekly App) is in the works for both iOS and Android, and should be available before the end of the month. With any luck, it could be available as early as the middle of September. On the app, for Ricoh Recipe Patrons, will be eight bonus recipes (one for each Collection). Be sure to check out Ritchie’s Ricoh Recipes Blog. Follow me on Instagram, too! Please be patient with the website (and app), as it is all still very much a work-in-progress, and far from finished.
I’ve been trying really hard to prevent this new project from interfering with Fuji X Weekly. I have a whole bunch of upcoming things for this website, which I think you’ll appreciate. There are many film simulation recipes in the works. If you don’t own a Ricoh GR camera, don’t worry, there’s a lot of great things happening for Fujifilm, so stay tuned. If you do own a Ricoh GR camera, I hope that you enjoy trying these new recipes for your camera!