The City of Greenwood, Indiana erected this lighted sign on a walkway bridge over one of the main streets heading into town as a tribute to healthcare workers during the Corona-virus shutdown.
Instead of breaking out my DSLR with prime lenses as I normally would in this situation, I decided to take my newly purchased Ricoh GR III, attached to my tripod for long exposure photography.
Under normal circumstances with my DSLR, focusing would have been achieved in manual mode, aided by the eyepiece viewfinder. But with the Ricoh GR III, while it does have manual focus capability, it's not easily accessible, especially in low light situations. However ...
Auto-focus does not seem to be a problem at all in low-light, or almost no light circumstances. I found that all I had to do was set my frame, then just press the shutter release halfway as you normally would for focusing, and you will see the scene in the viewfinder display first go extremely over-exposed, then find the focus within a couple seconds. It's not extremely fast in this situation, but when I got the images back to my computer I found them to be very sharp and almost all were in focus.
The Ricoh GR III performed great, giving me very rich colors, nice light, and sharp images. The photo posted here was an 8 second exposure, with an aperture of f/14 and ISO 100.
I'll have to experiment more with it in the future, but if this is all it takes to get a auto-focus to work in low light situations, then I would consider it easier than using the DSLR, where I have to bend over, squint, fiddle with the focus ring, and 'hope' it's actually in focus. With the Ricoh GR III, it appears all I need to do is have the patience to wait two to four seconds for the camera to find the focus while I hold down the shutter release button. I certainly prefer the later.
I found absolutely no reason not to continue testing the Ricoh GR III for low light or night photography. I love going to county seat towns in Indiana and shooting late night light trails on the rural downtown streets, and the Ricoh GR III should prove to be worthy of taking over this chore from my Canon T3i. Especially given that the Ricoh GR III is miles ahead of the T3i in technology due to the simple fact that the T3i was release in Feb. 2011, and the Ricoh GR III in Mar. 2019.