Nikon D1 vs Ricoh GR III
The Nikon D1 and the Ricoh GR III are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 1999 and February 2019. The D1 is a DSLR, while the GR III is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 2.6 megapixels, whereas the Ricoh provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D1 and the Ricoh GR III? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D1 and the Ricoh GR III. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Ricoh GR III is considerably smaller (72 percent) than the Nikon D1. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D1 is splash and dust resistant, while the GR III does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the GR III has a lens built in, whereas the D1 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D1 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
As can be seen in the images above, the D1 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. The power pack in the GR III can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Nikon D1||157 mm||153 mm||85 mm||1100 g||..||Y||Jun 1999||5,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Ricoh GR III||109 mm||62 mm||33 mm||257 g||200||n||Feb 2019||899||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||105 mm||61 mm||41 mm||304 g||235||n||Jul 2019||749||amazon.com|
|4.||Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D300S||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||938 g||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D3||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1300 g||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D300||147 mm||114 mm||74 mm||925 g||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D2Xs||158 mm||150 mm||86 mm||1252 g||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D200||147 mm||113 mm||74 mm||920 g||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D2X||158 mm||150 mm||86 mm||1252 g||3800||Y||Sep 2004||4,999||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D1H||157 mm||153 mm||85 mm||1100 g||1200||Y||Feb 2001||4,499||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D1X||157 mm||153 mm||85 mm||1100 g||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic TZ200||111 mm||65 mm||45 mm||340 g||370||n||Feb 2018||799||amazon.com|
|15.||Ricoh GR IIIx||109 mm||62 mm||35 mm||262 g||200||n||Sep 2021||999||amazon.com|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||n||Jun 2015||699||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony ZV-1||105 mm||60 mm||44 mm||294 g||260||n||May 2020||799||amazon.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The GR III was launched at a lower price than the D1, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the GR III is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the GR III offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 2.6 MP of the D1. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 11.93μm for the D1). However, it should be noted that the GR III is much more recent (by 19 years and 8 months) than the D1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GR III has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Ricoh GR III implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the GR III for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D1 are 10 x 6.6 inches or 25.4 x 16.7 cm for good quality, 8 x 5.2 inches or 20.3 x 13.3 cm for very good quality, and 6.7 x 4.4 inches or 16.9 x 11.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The GR III has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Nikon D1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 200-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Ricoh GR III are ISO 100 to ISO 102400 (no boost).
In terms of underlying technology, the D1 is build around a CCD sensor, while the GR III uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|2.||Ricoh GR III||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.5||1897||83|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.2||12.4||583||65|
|4.||Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|5.||Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|7.||Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
|15.||Ricoh GR IIIx||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.2||13.8||2146||85|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The GR III indeed provides for movie recording, while the D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the GR III can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D1 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GR III relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GR III can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the GV-1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D1 and Ricoh GR III in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Nikon D1||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/16000s||1.5/s||n||n|
|2.||Ricoh GR III||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.0/s||n||Y|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Nikon D4||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|5.||Nikon D3S||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|6.||Nikon D300S||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon D3||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|8.||Nikon D300||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon D2Xs||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|10.||Nikon D200||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D2X||optical||Y||2.5 / 235||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|12.||Nikon D1H||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/16000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|13.||Nikon D1X||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/16000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|14.||Panasonic TZ200||2330||n||3.0 / 1240||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Ricoh GR IIIx||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.0/s||n||Y|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Sony ZV-1||none||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||Y||1/2000s||24.0/s||n||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One feature that is present on the D1, but is missing on the GR III is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The Ricoh GR III has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The D1 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the GR III uses SDXC cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D1 and Ricoh GR III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon D1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|2.||Ricoh GR III||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||3.0||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Nikon D4||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Nikon D3S||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Nikon D300S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Nikon D3||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D300||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D2Xs||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D200||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D2X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D1H||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D1X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic TZ200||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|15.||Ricoh GR IIIx||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||3.0||Y||-||Y|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony ZV-1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
It is notable that the GR III offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D1 does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D1 (unlike the GR III) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The GR III is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Ricoh. In contrast, the D1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D1 was succeeded by the Nikon D1X. Further information on the features and operation of the D1 and GR III can be found, respectively, in the Nikon D1 Manual (free pdf) or the online Ricoh GR III Manual.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D1 and the Ricoh GR III? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 1999).
Advantages of the Ricoh GR III:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 2.6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 201%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 120k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D1 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (109x62mm vs 157x153mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the D1).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 19 years and 8 months of technical progress since the D1 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GR III is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 9 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D1 and the Ricoh GR III place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D1 or the GR III. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Nikon D1||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jun 1999||5,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Ricoh GR III||4/5||..||3.5/5||81/100||4/5||..||Feb 2019||899||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||..||+ +||4/5||81/100||4/5||..||Jul 2019||749||amazon.com|
|4.||Nikon D4||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon D3S||5/5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D300S||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D3||..||..||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D300||..||+ +||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,799||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D2Xs||..||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2006||4,699||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D200||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Nov 2005||1,699||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D2X||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2004||4,999||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D1H||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2001||4,499||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D1X||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2001||5,999||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic TZ200||..||+ +||4.5/5||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||799||amazon.com|
|15.||Ricoh GR IIIx||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2021||999||amazon.com|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony ZV-1||4/5||..||4.5/5||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||May 2020||799||amazon.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Nikon D1
- Canon 5DS R vs Nikon D1
- Canon G15 vs Ricoh GR III
- Leica SL2 vs Ricoh GR III
- Leica TL2 vs Ricoh GR III
- Nikon D1 vs Nikon Z9
- Nikon D1 vs Panasonic G6
- Nikon D1 vs Pentax 645D
- Nikon D1 vs Sony HX95
- Nikon D3200 vs Ricoh GR III
- Panasonic G9 vs Ricoh GR III
- Panasonic GX850 vs Ricoh GR III
Specifications: Nikon D1 vs Ricoh GR III
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon D1||Ricoh GR III|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||28mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||June 1999||February 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 5,499||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D1||Ricoh GR III|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||2.6 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||2000 x 1312 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||11.93 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||0.71 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 102,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||200 - 6,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D1||Ricoh GR III|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||96%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||120k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D1||Ricoh GR III|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Continuous Shooting||1.5 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D1||Ricoh GR III|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||Firewire||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon D1||Ricoh GR III|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
157 x 153 x 85 mm
(6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
109 x 62 x 33 mm
(4.3 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||1100 g (38.8 oz)||257 g (9.1 oz)|
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