Ricoh GXR

Well this is interesting!

In brief, the following video outlines Ricoh’s new GXR system which compromises of camera body/back with separate interchangeable lens and sensor all-in-one unit. Yep, lens and sensor combined in one slot-in module. At outset one back and two lens/sensor units will be available.

Ricoh GXR video from “Which?”

Have your say in our GXR polls!

What type of module would you like? GXR poll

Which APS-C prime lens module would you like to see? prime choice poll

Prices for the GXR system:
£420 for the “back”

£600 for the “A12” – 12.3MP CMOS sensor & 50mm Macro Lens (HD Video)

£330 for the “S10” – 10MP CCD sensor & 24-72mm Zoom Lens (5fps RAW, VGA video)

n.b. lens focal lengths given as 35mm equivalent

Pricey perhaps, but hopefully that’s the RRP and the street price will be less.

The lens/sensor integration is obviously a key point here, and at first it seems strange.  If you want to use the latest sensor you’ll have to get a new lens, if you want a different lens you will have to buy a new sensor.  However, lens design is intimately tied to the characteristics of the sensor, so by bringing the two together you should get the optimum combination.

I’m intrigued by the idea, but still not sure about it.  To keep things simple for myself I look at the GXR as competing with just compacts, not DLSRs, and it begins to make more sense. 

Buying a new lens everytime you want a new sensor or feature is what you do with compacts so the GXR wins there as you retain the back.  If you want the large APS-C sensor then there is no way around the fact it has to be bigger than a camera with a sensor the size of a fingernail.  If you want large sensor image quality in a small format then your choice is limited to the Sigma DP1s & DP2, the Panasonic GF1 with 20mm lens, and the Leica X1. 

Or put it another way, for a long zoom to stay small you need a small sensor. For a pancake lens you can keep it small with a fast lens.

Price wise the GXR slots in between GF1 and X1, and does seem to offer more value than the X1.  The early sample shots suggest it gives better IQ then the GF1, but that needs to be tested further.  And to date the Ricohs are more usable and handle better than the DPs.  The price is still high though, and hopefully it will eventually drop the 10% or so I think it needs to.

This interchangeable compact camera is either a brilliant concept, or a flawed one commercially,  the important question is, that whatever the specs and make up of the camera, will it result in good image quality in a well handling package ?  Whatever the future may bring hats off to Ricoh for trying something truly innovative!  

The official press release.

Ricoh’s own GXR site. If this camera works as well in the hand as the specifications suggest, then… wow.

Ricoh’s own GXR blog.

A useful and thoughtful blog from Stanley Young, who attended the announcement event in Tokyo and GXR interview (google translations)

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~ by Alan Humphris on November 9, 2009.

5 Responses to “Ricoh GXR”

  1. Very interesting! Kudos to Ricoh for thinking beyond the obvious. I will certainly buy into this system.

  2. So strange !!! but new innovation but risquy !

  3. […] Expect an announcement tomorrow, until then you can enjoy this video preview. […]

  4. Great news! It is good to see Ricoh doing the “natural” thing – I commented on precisely this subject (modularity) in my comments on the Olympus E-P2 successor wishlist
    Digicam Progress: Olympus E-P1/2, etc.

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