Ricoh GR III vs Sony A9 II
The Ricoh GR III and the Sony Alpha A9 II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2019 and October 2019. The GR III is a fixed lens compact, while the A9 II is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (GR III) and a full frame (A9 II) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.
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 Ricoh GR III and the Sony Alpha A9 II? 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 Ricoh GR III and the Sony A9 II. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth 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 Sony A9 II is considerably larger (83 percent) than the Ricoh GR III. It is noteworthy in this context that the A9 II is splash and dust-proof, 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 A9 II 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 A9 II and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.
The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.||Ricoh GR III||109 mm||62 mm||33 mm||257 g||200||n||Feb 2019||899|
|2.||Sony A9 II||129 mm||96 mm||76 mm||678 g||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||105 mm||61 mm||41 mm||304 g||235||n||Jul 2019||749|
|4.||Fujifilm X-S10||126 mm||85 mm||65 mm||465 g||325||n||Oct 2020||999|
|5.||Fujifilm XF10||113 mm||64 mm||41 mm||279 g||330||n||Jul 2018||499|
|6.||Leica C-LUX||113 mm||67 mm||46 mm||340 g||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049|
|7.||Panasonic GX9||124 mm||72 mm||47 mm||407 g||260||n||Feb 2018||849|
|8.||Panasonic ZS200||111 mm||65 mm||45 mm||340 g||370||n||Feb 2018||799|
|9.||Ricoh GR II||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||n||Jun 2015||699|
|10.||Ricoh GR||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799|
|11.||Sony ZV-1||105 mm||60 mm||44 mm||294 g||260||n||May 2020||799|
|12.||Sony A7 III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999|
|13.||Sony RX100 VI||102 mm||58 mm||43 mm||301 g||240||n||Jun 2018||1,199|
|14.||Sony A9||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|15.||Sony A7S II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||627 g||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999|
|16.||Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|17.||Sony A99||147 mm||111 mm||78 mm||812 g||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: 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 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 A9 II, 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Ricoh GR III features an APS-C sensor and the Sony A9 II a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A9 II is 131 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Even though the A9 II has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the A9 II has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 3.91μm for the GR III), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. In addition, the A9 II is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 months) than the GR III, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time. 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 Ricoh GR III has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A9 II are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Ricoh GR III||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Sony A9 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.0||3434||93|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Panasonic GX9||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
|12.||Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96|
|13.||Sony RX100 VI||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|15.||Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
|16.||Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|17.||Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the A9 II provides a better video resolution than the GR III. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Ricoh is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A9 II has an electronic viewfinder (3686k dots), which can be very helpful 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Ricoh GR III and Sony A9 II along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Ricoh GR III||optional||n||3.0||1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.0||n||Y|
|2.||Sony A9 II||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|9.||Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0||1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|12.||Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|13.||Sony RX100 VI||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|16.||Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
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 A9 II 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 Ricoh GR III and the Sony A9 II 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 GR III and the A9 II write their files to SDXC cards. The A9 II features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the GR III only has one slot. The A9 II supports UHS-II cards (on both slots), while the GR III can use UHS-I 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 Ricoh GR III and Sony Alpha A9 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Ricoh GR III||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||3.0||Y||-||Y|
|2.||Sony A9 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|9.||Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Sony A7 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony RX100 VI||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A9 II has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The GR III does not feature such a mic input.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A9 II (unlike the GR III) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the GR III and the A9 II are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The GR III replaced the earlier Ricoh GR II, while the A9 II followed on from the Sony A9. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Ricoh and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Ricoh GR III and the Sony A9 II? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Ricoh GR III:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A9 II requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (109x62mm vs 129x96mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A9 II).
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2019).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A9 II:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 1037k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (690 versus 200) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (7 months) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A9 II is the clear winner of the contest (22 : 6 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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 Ricoh GR III and the Sony A9 II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the GR III or the A9 II. 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 table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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.||Ricoh GR III||4/5||..||81/100||4/5||..||Feb 2019||899|
|2.||Sony A9 II||..||..||90/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2019||4,499|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||..||+ +||81/100||4/5||..||Jul 2019||749|
|4.||Fujifilm X-S10||5/5||..||86/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||999|
|5.||Fujifilm XF10||..||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2018||499|
|6.||Leica C-LUX||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049|
|7.||Panasonic GX9||4/5||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||849|
|8.||Panasonic ZS200||..||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||799|
|9.||Ricoh GR II||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699|
|10.||Ricoh GR||5/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799|
|11.||Sony ZV-1||4/5||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||May 2020||799|
|12.||Sony A7 III||..||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999|
|13.||Sony RX100 VI||4.5/5||+ +||83/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2018||1,199|
|14.||Sony A9||5/5||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|15.||Sony A7S II||5/5||+||..||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999|
|16.||Sony A7 II||5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|17.||Sony A99||5/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Ricoh GR III vs Sony A9 II
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||Ricoh GR III||Sony A9 II|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28mm f/2.8||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2019||October 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 899||USD 4,499|
|Sensor Specs||Ricoh GR III||Sony A9 II|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||35.6 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2||847.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm||42.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.91 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.55 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 102,400 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||GR Engine VI||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||93|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||25.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||14.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||3434|
|Screen Specs||Ricoh GR III||Sony A9 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3686k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||1440k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Ricoh GR III||Sony A9 II|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/32000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||Dual UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Ricoh GR III||Sony A9 II|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Ricoh GR III||Sony A9 II|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||200 shots per charge||690 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
109 x 62 x 33 mm
(4.3 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
129 x 96 x 76 mm
(5.1 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||257 g (9.1 oz)||678 g (23.9 oz)|
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