Ricoh GR III vs Fujifilm XF10 – What You Must Know before Buying

Ricoh and Fujifilm both released their APS-C large sensor compact camera in the second half of 2018. Ricoh being slightly more expensive at recommended retail price of $599 while Fujifilm XF10 at $499, same price as their predecessors. Does the Ricoh GR III still have it? Is it still the king of street photography? Or is Fujifilm XF10 the Kingslayer with his army of Fujifilm mirrorless cameras to conquer the Kingdom and take the throne? Let’s find out.

it's important to learn what's inside
it’s important to learn what’s inside

Similar Specs

First of all, it’s amazing how similar these two cameras are in. Both are about 24 megapixels with a maximum resolution of 6000 x 4000. Both use an APS-C CMOS sensor, both were released in mid-2018 with just over 2 months apart. Both are equipped with extremely sharp 28-millimetre equivalent lenses with a maximum aperture of f 2.8. Both have a normal focus range starting from 10 cm. Fixed articulated LCD screens are installed at the back of both cameras with the size exactly the same as 3 inches and both have touchscreen functions. Interestingly, neither Ricoh or Fujifilm has an optical viewfinder. They could even be sourcing the shutter component from the same provider with minimum shutter speed both at 30 seconds and maximum 1/4000.

The dimensions of the two cameras are very similar: Ricoh GR3 is 109 x 62 x 33 while Fujifilm XF10 was 113 x 64 x 41. Both cameras are clearly targeting the same enthusiast market looking for a large sensor, small body camera that can be taken anywhere in a pocket but still gives reasonable photo qualities. So why are they one hundred dollars apart, except for carrying a different badge?  Which one should you buy?

What sets them apart?

#1 No X-Trans sensor, no X Processor Pro

High end Fujifilms cameras uses its X-Trans sensor
High end Fujifilms cameras uses its X-Trans sensor – not the XF10

The XF10 appears to be a replacement of the Fujifilm X70: both have an APS-C sensor and even use the same Fujinon lens however what’s different is the FX10 is stripped of the X-Trans sensor and replaced with a standard Bayer types sensor with no low-pass AA filter. The X70’s poor cousin, XF10, has also been taken away the X processor image processing unit and replaced with a lower consumer grade processor that’s only found in the lower end model X-T100 and X-A5. I don’t know about you but I would ask myself why am I still buying a Fujifilm camera if nothing side is the core Fujifilm technology that one is really paying for? Some May argue that the Fujinon lens itself is good enough for the price but if you look at the Rikenon lens on the Ricoh GR III (or earlier models GR and GR II for that matter), it also has some amazing reviews about its very constant image quality with razor-sharp focus and rich colour. Fan around the world just can’t stop raving about it. Without these core technologies and processes, the XF10 looks like a cheap replacement of the real thing. Would you pay for the gate pass to the amusement park knowing that the rides are not included? I feel the Fujifilm XF10 doesn’t give you the same confidence and value-for-money that the X-Pro Series or the X100F would provide you with.

#2.Hot Shoe

What’s the hottest pair of shoes in the world of photography? Yes it is the hot shoe on top of your camera. Fujifilm took the corner by not including a hot shoe on the XF10. Some may argue that most users will never put anything on the hot shoe of such a small compact mirrorless camera. But allow me to disagree to that view. Having a hot shoe is a matter of attitude for serious photographer. Although his camera is small, professionalism should not be judged by size. In comparison, the hot shoe on Ricoh GR III has many uses.  The most obvious one being the external flash GF-1 which is capable of doing TTL flash using preflash. The hot shoe on GR III is able to be used with off-camera flashes favoured by many Street photographers fond of capturing the astonished looks of pedestrians and their kids. The Ricoh Hot Shoe is useful for putting on an external optical viewfinder (2 models to choose from). This is convenient for 35mm lens photographers as you are able to adjust the optical viewfinder to be 35mm equivalent to match your crop factor settings. Now you have turned your Ricoh GR into a fixed focal length compact camera with a 35mm equivalent focal length and an optical viewfinder. 

#3. Button layout

The biggest drawback of the Fujifilm XF10 is the button layout. Yes, Fujifilm is famous for the retro looks, the bells and whistles on the high-end models in its mirrorless range. When it comes to deduction: to put fewer buttons and dials on a smaller body, it turned out to be not as easy as Fujifilm had thought. Ricoh, on the other hand, has been utilising the classic and functional button layout for many generations in it’s GR cameras. GR users often tell me how they’re able to operate the camera with just one hand discreetly without even having to look at the camera. pre-focusing is huge for Street Photographers. It is the reason why I think existing GR users are unlikely to be attracted by any other brands.

#4. Character

You can’t deny cameras have their characters, characters lead to followers. Over the past decade, Ricoh GR has reached it’s cult-like status that others find it very hard to catch up. As a camera owner, you will find a lot of support and like-minded camera owners of the Ricoh GR III, including its previous generations, backdated all the way to the film era. There are online forums, websites, discussion boards dedicated to this camera. You are unlikely to have an experience anywhere close to this with the Fujifilm XF10. It’s The Underdog, the new kid on the Block, it takes time to prove itself and be remembered and worshipped. The important question is: is Fujifilm really wanting its XF10 to reach the GR status? From the image processor and sensor it chose for this model, the answer to me would be a loud and clear NO.

Who is the XF10 for?

Ricoh GR III vs Fujifilm XF10

Savour this camera is for Fujifilm fans that love to use a Fujifilm camera for any occasion including Street photography. You can hardly deny that with pre-focusing functions (or snap focus), the XF10 exceeds many of the small sensor mirrorless cameras on the market for Street photography-related tasks. So this camera is also for someone who does not wish to pay a premium for the legacy of a brand and a model. The benefit? Paying $100 less. XF10 is for practical photography who knew in advance that hot shoe will never be a requirement. Maybe it is also for those just upgraded from smartphones, believing it is OK to shoot without relying on physical buttons and dials. Instead, they are more comfortable with touch screens. Fujifilm will probably be a more social option. You won’t feel like the only one who uses a weird all black camera from a brand that no one among your friends has ever heard of. You won’t be regarded a member of a GR cult but welcomed as a member of a larger photography enthusiast group. Does this sound like you?

Check out their prices (where available):

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Why Every Street Photographer Needs a Ricoh GR III ?

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