Ricoh's GXR Camera To Take On Micro Four Thirds Rivals

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News Posted: Thu, Nov 12 2009 3:33 PM
Ricoh isn't as big a name in the digital imaging arena as a company like Canon or Nikon, but it's still making some pretty big waves this year. Shortly after announcing its CX1 and GR Digital III, the company is now going after the Micro Four Thirds rivals with its GXR. The camera, which boasts both a simple name and a simple design, is most interesting due to its interchangeable slide mount lens units, which are described as "ealed modules containing both optics and sensor, meaning it can switch from a large (APS-C) 12 MP CMOS with a fast prime lens to a tiny 10 MP CCD (with a 24-70mm lens)."

Ricoh says that this camera is the planet's smallest and lightest with the ability to change lenses, and while we know that other MFT cameras are small, we'll take their word for it for now. The GXR is an interchangeable unit camera system in which lenses are changed by using a slide-in mount system to attach camera units to the body. The lens, image sensor, and image processing engine are integrated into the camera units so the body itself does not contain an image sensor. It's not too different if you're used to how DSLRs work, but it's a slightly different mechanism.

The body is constructed from magnesium alloy, and we're seeing pricing near the $600 mark online for this. That's a tough spot to be in when entry-level DSLRs are selling for less than that, but who knows, maybe Ricoh expects you to pay a premium for size here.


Distinctive characteristics

  • Lens, image sensor, and image processing engine comprise an integratedunit which can be changed to match the scene being photographed.
  • World's smallest and lightest* digital camera with interchangeable lenses
  • System potential expanded through use of interchangeable units

Main features of the new GXR

Ideal form for an interchangeable lens camera: The interchangeable unit camera system

  • Byintegrating lens, image sensor, and image processing engine into asingle optimized unit, we were able to created a compact camera withinterchangeable lenses.
  • The adoption of thisnew system has made it possible to achieve both "pocket size forgo-anywhere portability" and "the highest image quality for everyphotographic situation and subject."
  • Sincethe image sensor is not exposed when lenses are changed, the camera'sstructure makes it inherently difficult for dirt and dust to getinside.
  • Putting image processing engines in both the body and the camera units, our focus was on achieving the highest image quality.

Elegant design

  • Forthe exterior, we utilized die cast magnesium, which has a strong trackrecord in the GR series, and we covered the surface with acorrosion-resistant "pear-skin" coating. The end result is a body withsuperior levels of durability, light weight, and feel in hand.
  • Buildingon the operation control designs of the GR series and GX series, theGXR has several types of customizable buttons as well as the new DIRECTbutton, which the photographer can use to see many current settings ata glance. Sophisticated shooting settings can now be made faster thanever before.
  • The directional pad, the three MySettings, the ADJ.lever, and the function buttons all contribute to theeven greater operability achieved by the GXR.
  • Thegrip form allows the GXR to be firmly held despite its small size, andthe suitably yielding rubber material on the grip surface enables thecamera to feel like an integral part of the hand.

Even greater power of expression

  • The automatic exposure modes include program shift mode, shutter priority mode, and aperture priority mode.
  • Picture settings can be customized with nine setting levels for easy creation of a diverse  range of images.
  • ISO3200 facilitates shooting in low light conditions.

Enhanced rapid shooting capabilities help capture fleeting shutter chances

  • The Pre-AF function accelerates focusing speed by adjusting the focus to match subject movement.
  • The full press snap function shoots at a preset distance for a one-push full-press of the shutter-release button.
  • Whenshooting subjects up close, the camera automatically switches to macromode so macro photography can now be enjoyed without having to worryabout switching modes.(Auto macro setting)

High-definition 3.0-inch 920,000-dot VGA LCD picture display

  • Thehigh-resolution LCD picture display provides a wide viewing angle andhigh contrast. The screen has a fluorine coat to prevent soiling, ahard coat to prevent scratches, and an anti-reflection coat to giveexcellent visibility even outdoors in bright sunshine.
  • With 100% sRGB coverage for color reproduction, the picture display vividly reproduces image colors.

Wide range of functions

  • Tilt indicator utilizing an acceleration sensor.
  • Three grid guides useful for framing images while shooting.
  • Imageflag function to enable the quick display of specific images from amongthose in the camera. Up to 20 images can be flagged.
  • The new DIRECT screen enabling current settings to be displayed and changed.

Features of the GR LENS A12 50 mm** F2.5 MACRO camera unit

  • Thiscamera unit uses a 23.6 mm×15.7 mm (APS-C size) CMOS sensor withapproximately 12.30 megapixels. In combination with image processingengine GR ENGINE III, it achieves high-image-quality photography withhigh definition, low noise, and smooth tonal gradations.
  • Anewly developed GR LENS with an 8-group, 9-element configuration(aspherical lens: 1 element, two surfaces) is featured. Representing afurther advancement in the GR tradition of high image quality, the lensthoroughly corrects for various types of aberrations. Despite thecompact size, it is also a full-fledged macro lens with a floating lensstructure. At shooting distances from infinity down to the 1/2x maximummagnification macro range, it achieves strong imaging power all the wayto the edge of the frame. In addition, the low level of vignettingmeans that the photographer can enjoy rich and genuine bokeh effects.
  • Themanual focus ring is perfect for use in macro photography as it makeshighly precise focusing possible. It can also be used to make finemanual adjustments to the focus after autofocus is done.

Features of the RICOH LENS S10 24-72 mm** F2.5-4.4 VC camera unit

  • Thiscamera unit uses a 10.00 megapixel 1/1.7-inch CCD sensor boastinghigh-sensitivity capabilities enhanced through the adoption of an newprocess. In combination with advanced image processing engine SmoothImaging Engine IV, it achieves high-image-quality photography with highdefinition and low noise.
  • The lens is a 24 mmto 72 mm high-performance 3x wide-angle zoom with superior usability.Utilizing a 7-group, 11-element configuration (aspherical lens: 4elements, 4 surfaces) that includes special low-dispersion lenses, thislens achieves high dimensions of both compactness and imaging power.
  • A camera shake correction function (image-sensor-shift type) is used to reduce hand- motion blur.
  • The self-retaining lens cap has been a popular GX series option, and a GXR version is available as option LC-2.
  • New options enhance series expandability
  • Two soft cases, one for each camera unit.
  • The GXR can use the GR DIGITAL III external flash (GF-1), which can do TTL flash using auxiliary flash.
  • Convenientfor shooting in bright outdoor situations, the newly developed920,000-dot- equivalent high-definition LCD viewfinder is removable andcan be tilted up to 90 degrees. With a 100% field of view, it displaysinformation in the same way as the picture display, thus enabling thephotographer to shoot in a film camera style.

Functions expanded using firmware

  • Function-enhancingfirmware releases for the GR DIGITAL series have proved very popular,and this practice will be continued for the GXR. By updating theirfirmware, GXR owners will be able to use the latest functions.

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realneil replied on Fri, Nov 13 2009 5:31 PM

Way too much for way too little. Yawn!,........

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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Olympus EP-1 is priced at a $100 more. But like realneil I'm too tired to read between the lines...don't know why I'm posting this in fact.

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realneil replied on Sat, Nov 14 2009 7:54 PM

My Nikon CoolPix P-90 was $366.00 shipped to my door. It goes from 28MM to 680MM zoom at 12.1 Mega Pixel quality It's LCD screen tilts two ways and is 3" in size too.

So for the price of this Richoh camera you can get the Nikon and still hire a swimsuit model for the weekend at the beach.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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gibbersome replied on Sat, Nov 14 2009 10:05 PM

Yes, but the Ricoh is micro Four Thirds!

I have no idea what that means but I think it's a good thing. Smile

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