How To Fix and Avoid Ricoh GR II III Problems
Tips Howto Avoid & Fix Common Ricoh GR, GR II & GR III Problems. Dust on the Sensor, Closed Shutter after Power On (Broken Flex Cable), Stuck out & locked lens, Skippy Circle Dial...
How To Fix and Avoid Ricoh GR II III Problems
How To Fix and Avoid Ricoh GR II III Problems

In this post we describe and give instructions Howto Avoid & Fix Common Ricoh GR Problems. All problems and tips apply to Ricoh GR & GR II Camera models. Some of the problems and tips apply to the GR III and IIIx models.

Post updates:

  • 2022.12 – Reformating post and moving content to my personal website
  • 2022.06 – Adding image and link to DYI repair post of the broken camera flex cable by Tommy Jing-Tao Liu
  • 2024.05 – Adding GR 3 “Problem storing images”

1. Dust on the Sensor / Hot Mirror (GR, II, III, IIIx)

Dust particles enter the camera, deposit along the image path and become visible as black points / smudges on the photograph. With higher f-stops they stand out more clearly.

Ricoh GR II Sensor Dust
Ricoh GR II Sensor Dust

Who is reporting this problem?

Why does it happen with a GR & GR II ?

Dust can enter trough gaps in between the lens housing

The retractable GR & GR II Lens Unit consists of the housing barrels and the lens module. The unit is screwed onto a rectangle plastic plate with a blue glass in the middle, called “Hot Mirror“. It reflects the infrared light and also acts as physical barrier against particles depositing on the sensor behind it. With the lens breathing air while extracting and retracting, dust particles can enter the housing trough the front and side gaps in between the rotating barrels. Ricoh engineers tried to seal both pathways using a stripes of thin foam like material. The material thicknes and sealing quality degrades with usage. It is suspectible to tear apart and flake into smaller pieces which can enter the lens too. Particles traveling trough the lens will most likely deposit on the Hot Mirror and not on the sensor.

Dissassembled Ricoh GR & GR II Lens Unit, Foam Seals and Hot Mirror

Dust can enter trough gaps in between the camera body

The magnesium and plastic parts of the GR camera body include three openings for particels to enter the body. The first around the ADJ. Lever/Button. The second around the Front Wheel. The third inside the Battery Compartment. Dust and particulary the photographers own dead finger skin can enter on each side of the controls. When inserting the battery dust particles can be pushed trough the cutout holes in the battery compartement into the body.

To protect the Ricoh GR and GR II sensor the engineers decided to place a rectangular shaped Rubber Seal on top of the sensor plate. Once the sensor module is screwed together with the beforementioned lens module, the rubber seal squeezes together, ideally forming a protective dust barrier. However the rubber does not necessarily compress in a uniform way (lower left photo below). This is potentially the achilles heel for particles to slip under.

Dissassembled Ricoh GR & GR II Body and possible Particles/Dust Pathways

The GR III & IIIx lens modules are different

The description about rubber seal does not apply to the GR III model in the same way. As showed in the the YT-video Meeting Ricoh Imaging Japan! (GRIII & Showroom) @15:15min. the hot mirror seems to be screwed directly on top of the sensor, making a possible seal more tight or even unnecessary. However the question remains if there is a physical barrierer in between the hot mirror and the lens module?

Ricoh GR III Sensor Module & Hot Mirror – Screenshot used with persmission from YT Video by Samuel Streetlife
Ricoh GR III Lens mounted on top of Sensor Module – Screenshot used with persmission from YT Video by Samuel Streetlife

Howto protect a Ricoh GR, GR II, GR III and GR IIIx camera from sensor dust.

Mount the Ricoh GA Lens Adapter accessory and screw a high quality nano coated 49mm clear filter on it. This will seal the lens barrel against particles that might enter each time the camera is turned on and off.

Ricoh GR II with unmounted and mounted GH-3 Lens Adapter, Photo by Michael Kowalczyk
Ricoh GR II with unmounted and mounted GH-3 Lens Adapter, Photo by Michael Kowalczyk

To further minimise the insertion of dust, turn the camera off in between shots (startup time is only 0,8-0,6 seconds) and store it in a lint free camera bag. Not your jeans pocket!

Howto check for dust spots

ITo see the dust spots clearly we need to make a photograph of an evenly lit, uniform surface.

  • Focus on a white surface or manual at the blue sky @infinity.
  • Set the camera to Av-mode and increase the f-stop to f/11 or f/16. The higher the f-stop number the clearer dust particles become visible on the photo.
  • To minimize high image noise interferance try shooting with low ISO 100-400. Less is better.
  • If shooting handheld try to capture a sharp shot with a shutter time of at least 1/125th or faster. Use a tripod or put the camera on a flat surface.
  • Make the photo, review the image on a bigger screen and note the location(s), lenght(s) and definitions of the dust spot(s).

Howto remove dust spots

  1. By removing the dots using a clone tool in your image editing software
  2. By using the cameras built in sensor shake (dust removal) feature (GR III, IIIx)
  3. By pressing an ultrasonic toothbrush against the camera body. (see video below)
    This can potentially vibrate particles off the sensor. However they will be still trapped inside the camera.
  4. By cleaning the Sensor / Hot Mirror yourself
  5. By sending the camera to an authorized Ricoh camera repair service in your region

Example of the ultrasonic toothbrush vibrations:

2. Closed Shutter after Power On, Broken Shutter Flex Cable (GR, II)

The Ricoh GR & GR II shutter remains closed after Power On and the display remains black.

Ricoh GR II with closed shutter after Power On

Follow the instructions on: Howto repair a Ricoh GR (II) with Closed Shutter / Broken Flex Cable

3. Stuck Out & Locked Lens (GR, II, III, IIIx)

After power off the lens will not retract into the body and remains in the the extended power on position. Pushing and forcing the lens back inside the body is not possible.

Ricoh GR II Stuck Out Locked Lens
Ricoh GR II Stuck Out Locked Lens

Who is reporting this problem?

Why does it happen?

Possible reasons

  • The camera was dropped and the lens barrels are missaligned.
  • The camera encountered and internal error. It is programmed to extended the lens to a fail safe point.

Howto avoid it

  • Do not drop your GR on the ground ^_^

Howto fix it


Long term

Contact and send the camera to an authorized Ricoh camera repair service in your region.

4. Wobbly Circle Dial (skipping values when turning) (GR III, IIIx)

Ricoh GR III users report that turning the rear circle dial (adjusting ISO) leads to unexpected outcomes. ISO values randomly jump up or down. For example, instead of going down from ISO 800 to 400 the ISO changes to 1000.

Who is reporting this problem?

Why does it happen?

Most likely grease, dead skin or other small particles have accumulated under the round function dial. The continouus electronic contact is disturbed, leading to nonlinear value changes.

Howto avoid it

  • Wash your hand and clean wipe the camera back once in a while (:

How to fix it

From outside

  • The forum member “ricohgriiiwheelfix” (; reported that dripping alcohol on the dial and spinning it helped him to get it to work again.
  • Another reported solution was to using compressed air on the dial.

From inside

5. Free SD Card Space drops to 0 – “Memory Card Full” Error

When taking one picture the available SD Card Space of a Ricoh GR III digital camera drops instantly to 0. Taking another photograph results in “memory card full” error message.

Who is reporting this problem?

Why does it happen?

The error is caused by the internal “file numbering” reaching the maximum amount of images.

How to fix it

Go to Camera Settings > Setup > File Setting > Reset Numbering

End of Ricoh GR Problems (so far)