GXR S10 – 28 Days Later


I’ve had the GXR with just the S10 unit for about a month now, and so far so good. In fact I’m happier with it then I expected to be! I bought it with an eye and a half to the future and the forthcoming A12 28mm-e. The reviews of the S10 are mixed, but I didn’t wait as I was keen to have a small camera for this coming summer and thought the S10 a good enough option for now, and versatile back up for later. But this does the S10 a disservice, it makes a fine camera in its own right.

My only other camera for comparison is a Canon 5D mk I. Nope, of course the output from the S10 does not match the image quality of the 5D, I did not expect it to. But where the GXR does match and even surpass is the build quality and the feel in the hand, and the UI is so simple that at first I thought – what is all the fuss about Ricoh’s famed UI – before it dawned on me that this was the point! Intuitive and good to use its a real alternative to a DSLR in these respects.


Of course a big benefit of the GXR over my 5D is its compactness. I now carry it most places whereas I wouldn’t the 5D, plus I’m much more inclined to take photos where I’d have felt the 5D too intrusive. From social gatherings to my first faltering attempts at “street photography” I now take more images, and even when I don’t have camera in hand I’m thinking of what images I could take because I now can take.

It is easy to dismiss the S10 for being a small sensor camera, that the point of the GXR is only APS-C sensors in a compact form, and that was my inclination. The point I now think is choice. Not just a choice of which focal length lens to use, but also a choice in sensors and the different characteristics they bring. A small sensor camera, I’ve now discovered, is a useful tool. Most notably for its much greater depth of focus, and smaller lens size. The depth of focus makes snap focusing much more usable, which in turn leads to a different shooting style. Sure there are trade offs to be made, but it is a different tool, and I like having the choice in the same system.


Any negatives? Nothing major yet, for me it would be useful if the setting of the snap focus distance was easier to get to, its not one of the options you can assign to a button. A nice to have would be an audio only recording option. I sometimes put together a video of the stills and use the background noise of the location as a soundtrack. This would be especially useful if I could still take pics whilst recording!

Oh, and it would be great if it were cheaper and the A12 28mm-e were available now! 🙂

Short back and sides?

Would I recommend buying the GXR if the S10 unit were the only one you were going to buy. No, it is too big and way too expensive compared to many alternatives, but to provide a different option in the system, a useful tool in its own right, it is worth considering.

Yep, all in all, so far so good, and I’m looking forward to what the future modules may bring. As nice as the S10 is, I believe it will be the A12 28mm-e that will make the GXR sing.



~ by Alan Humphris on April 19, 2010.

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