Ricoh announced the development of its latest GR point-and-shoot camera back in September last year, promising an early 2019 release. True to its word, the Ricoh GR III has launched today.

As mentioned in our previous coverage, the GR III has been treated to a newly-developed F2.8 lens. The 18.3 mm (or 28 mm in 35 mm speak) glass is made up of six optical elements – including two aspherical – in four groups, with Ricoh promising it will deliver "the clearest, sharpest images in GR-series history." Minimum focusing distance in macro mode is just 6 cm, and there's a Neutral Density filter that opens up the aperture by two stops.

"Its nine-blade diaphragm creates a natural bokeh (defocus) effect and a truthful sense of depth at open aperture, while capturing beautiful light beams at closed-down apertures," said Ricoh in a press release.

At its, heart, the GR III has a large 24 megapixel APS-C size (23.5 x 15.6 mm) CMOS sensor – with an anti-aliasing filter simulator that's reported to offer as much moiré reduction as an optical filter, with users being able to adjust the level of the effect to best match the shooting situation – and a GR Engine 6 image processor. This combo means a startup from cold in as little as 0.08 seconds, light sensitivity that tops out at ISO102,400, and 14-bit RAW image capture.

The hybrid AF system offers the benefits of both contrast autofocus and phase detection, and the camera boasts as much as four shutter steps of camera shake compensation from its 3-axis sensor-shift shake reduction mechanism. Disappointingly though, the GR III does seem to be a little behind the times on the video recording front – only offering a maximum resolution of 1080p Full HD at up to 60 frames per second.

Rounding out the specs are included Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11n Wi-Fi for remote operation and wireless image transfer, a magnesium alloy construction designed for travel-ready durability, and a first for the GR series – a touchscreen. The 3 inch, 1.037 million dot display panel features an electronic level to help avoid wonky shots, and an Outdoor View setting to improve onscreen clarity when out and about.

But rather worryingly, the GR III looks to have taken a serious battery life hit compared to the previous model, recording just 200 images before the battery cries out for juice.

The Ricoh GR III is currently shown as up for pre-order for US$899.95.

Product page: GR III