Pentax KP vs Ricoh GR III
The Pentax KP and the Ricoh GR III are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2017 and February 2019. The KP is a DSLR, while the GR III is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Pentax has a resolution of 24.1 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.
|Pentax KP||Ricoh GR III|
|Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Pentax K mount lenses||28mm f/2.8|
|24.1 MP, APS-C Sensor||24 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/60i Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-819200||ISO 100-102400|
|Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0" LCD, 921k dots||3.0" LCD, 1037k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Fixed touchscreen|
|7 shutter flaps per second||4 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|390 shots per battery charge||200 shots per battery charge|
|132 x 101 x 76 mm, 703 g||109 x 62 x 33 mm, 257 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Pentax KP 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 physical size and weight of the Pentax KP and the Ricoh GR III are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The KP can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the GR III is only available in black.
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 (49 percent) than the Pentax KP. It is worth mentioning in this context that the KP 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 KP is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The power pack in the GR III can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Pentax KP»||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||24.8 oz||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099||Pentax KP|
|Ricoh GR III«||4.3 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||9.1 oz||200||n||Feb 2019||899||Ricoh GR III|
|Canon G7 X Mark III« »||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.6 in||10.7 oz||235||n||Jul 2019||749||Canon G7 X Mark III|
|Canon 80D« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||25.8 oz||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199||Canon 80D|
|Fujifilm XF10« »||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||9.8 oz||330||n||Jul 2018||499||Fujifilm XF10|
|Fujifilm X-H1« »||5.5 in||3.8 in||3.4 in||23.7 oz||310||Y||Feb 2018||1,899||Fujifilm X-H1|
|Nikon D7500« »||5.4 in||4.1 in||2.9 in||25.4 oz||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299||Nikon D7500|
|Panasonic ZS200« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.0 oz||370||n||Feb 2018||799||Panasonic ZS200|
|Panasonic GH5« »||5.5 in||3.9 in||3.4 in||25.6 oz||410||Y||Jan 2017||1,999||Panasonic GH5|
|Pentax K-70« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.9 in||24.3 oz||410||Y||Jun 2016||649||Pentax K-70|
|Pentax K-3 II« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||28.2 oz||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099||Pentax K-3 II|
|Pentax K-3« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||28.2 oz||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299||Pentax K-3|
|Pentax K-5« »||5.2 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||26.8 oz||740||Y||Sep 2010||1,099||Pentax K-5|
|Ricoh GR II« »||4.6 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||8.9 oz||320||n||Jun 2015||699||Ricoh GR II|
|Ricoh GR« »||4.6 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||290||n||Apr 2013||799||Ricoh GR|
|Sony A9« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||23.7 oz||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499||Sony A9|
|Sony A77 II« »||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.2 in||22.8 oz||480||Y||May 2014||1,199||Sony A77 II|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The GR III was launched at a lower price than the KP, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the KP offers a slightly higher resolution of 24.1 megapixels, compared with 24 MP of the GR III. This megapixels advantage translates into a 0.3 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the KP has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.90μm versus 3.91μm for the GR III). Moreover, it should be noted that the GR III is much more recent (by 2 years) than the KP, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The GR III has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
Unlike the GR III, the KP has the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Pentax KP has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 819200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Ricoh GR III are ISO 100 to ISO 102400 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Pentax KP||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||..||..||..||..||Pentax KP|
|Ricoh GR III||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Ricoh GR III|
|Canon G7 X Mark III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon G7 X Mark III|
|Canon 80D||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.2||1135||79||Canon 80D|
|Fujifilm XF10||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/15p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm XF10|
|Fujifilm X-H1||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-H1|
|Nikon D7500||APS-C||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||24.3||14.0||1483||86||Nikon D7500|
|Panasonic ZS200||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Panasonic ZS200|
|Panasonic GH5||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||23.9||13.0||807||77||Panasonic GH5|
|Pentax K-70||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60i||..||..||..||..||Pentax K-70|
|Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80||Pentax K-3 II|
|Pentax K-3||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.7||13.4||1216||80||Pentax K-3|
|Pentax K-5||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/25p||23.7||14.1||1162||82||Pentax K-5|
|Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80||Ricoh GR II|
|Ricoh GR||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.5||972||78||Ricoh GR|
|Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92||Sony A9|
|Sony A77 II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Sony A77 II|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the GR III provides a faster frame rate than the KP. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the KP 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 Pentax KP and Ricoh GR III in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Pentax KP||optical||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/6000s||7.0||Y||Y||Pentax KP|
|Ricoh GR III||optional||n||3.0||1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.0||n||Y||Ricoh GR III|
|Canon G7 X Mark III||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y||Canon G7 X Mark III|
|Canon 80D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n||Canon 80D|
|Fujifilm XF10||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Fujifilm XF10|
|Fujifilm X-H1||3690||Y||3.0||1040||full-flex||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||Y||Fujifilm X-H1|
|Nikon D7500||optical||Y||3.2||922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n||Nikon D7500|
|Panasonic ZS200||2330||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Panasonic ZS200|
|Panasonic GH5||3680||n||3.2||1620||swivel||Y||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y||Panasonic GH5|
|Pentax K-70||optical||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/6000s||6.0||Y||Y||Pentax K-70|
|Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2||1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||Y||Pentax K-3 II|
|Pentax K-3||optical||Y||3.2||1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||Y||Y||Pentax K-3|
|Pentax K-5||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||Y||Pentax K-5|
|Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0||1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Ricoh GR II|
|Ricoh GR||optional||n||3.0||1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Ricoh GR|
|Sony A9||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A77 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||Y||Y||Sony A77 II|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The KP has one, while the GR III does not. While the built-in flash of the KP is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the KP is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Pentax KP and the Ricoh GR III both have 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the KP and the GR III write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 Pentax KP and Ricoh GR III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Pentax KP||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||none||2.0||Y||-||-||Pentax KP|
|Ricoh GR III||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||3.0||Y||-||Y||Ricoh GR III|
|Canon G7 X Mark III||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y||Canon G7 X Mark III|
|Canon 80D||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 80D|
|Fujifilm XF10||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm XF10|
|Fujifilm X-H1||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-H1|
|Nikon D7500||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon D7500|
|Panasonic ZS200||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Panasonic ZS200|
|Panasonic GH5||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.1||Y||-||Y||Panasonic GH5|
|Pentax K-70||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Pentax K-70|
|Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Pentax K-3 II|
|Pentax K-3||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Pentax K-3|
|Pentax K-5||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Pentax K-5|
|Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Ricoh GR II|
|Ricoh GR||Y||mono||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Ricoh GR|
|Sony A9||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A77 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A77 II|
It is notable that the KP has a microphone port, which is missing on the GR III. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Both the KP and the GR III are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The GR III replaced the earlier Ricoh GR II, while the KP does not have a direct predecessor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Pentax and Ricoh websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Pentax KP and the Ricoh GR III? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Pentax KP:
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/6000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (390 versus 200) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2017).
Reasons to prefer the Ricoh GR III:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 921k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the KP requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (109x62mm vs 132x101mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the KP).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- 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 2 years of technical progress since the KP launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the KP comes out slightly ahead of the GR III (12 : 11 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 Pentax KP 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the KP or the GR III perform in practice. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon G1 X Mark II vs Ricoh GR III
- Leica M Typ 240 vs Pentax KP
- Nikon B500 vs Pentax KP
- Nikon D60 vs Pentax KP
- Olympus E-400 vs Pentax KP
- Olympus E-M10 vs Pentax KP
- Olympus E-M10 vs Ricoh GR III
- Olympus E-M5 vs Pentax KP
- Panasonic GH4 vs Pentax KP
- Pentax KP vs Sony HX350
- Pentax KP vs Sony RX100 VI
- Ricoh GR III vs Sony RX1R
Specifications: Pentax KP 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||Pentax KP||Ricoh GR III|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Pentax K mount lenses||28mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||January 2017||February 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 1099||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Pentax KP||Ricoh GR III|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.1 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6016 x 4000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.90 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.56 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-819200 ISO||100-102400 ISO|
|Image Processor||PRIME IV||GR Engine VI|
|Screen Specs||Pentax KP||Ricoh GR III|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Pentax KP||Ricoh GR III|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||No Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/24000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Pentax KP||Ricoh GR III|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Pentax KP||Ricoh GR III|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||390 shots per charge||200 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
132 x 101 x 76 mm
(5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
109 x 62 x 33 mm
(4.3 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||703 g (24.8 oz)||257 g (9.1 oz)|
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