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Thread: Review of the Ricoh GXR

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    Moderator Cactus jACK's Avatar
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    Default Review of the Ricoh GXR

    Introduction - Ricoh engineers really went all the way back to the drawing board on this before delivering the GXR system. The GXR system is a hybrid system which tries to bridge the ravine between the compact small sensor zoom and the APS-C DSLR primes. It offers an interchangeable camera module (yes, camera... not just lens) system. You can mount a 28-300 super zoom or change to a 50mm GR lens, making it a very versatile system in a compact outfit.


    Ricoh GXR system

    The Ricoh GXR system includes: Ricoh GXR body, A12 50mm f/2.5 Macro GR (camera module), A12 28mm f/2.5 GR (camera module), S10 24-72mm f/2.5-4.4 VC (camera module), P10 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VC (kit camera module), and VF-2 (external viewfinder).


    Ricoh GXR with A12 50mm f/2.5 Macro GR and VF-2
    Last edited by Cactus jACK; 16th May 2011 at 11:52 PM.

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    Default ...

    This review is structured in three parts (and contributed by myself, ed9119, and sebastiansong)

    i) Specifications of the Ricoh GXR system
    ii) ISO test shots with the Ricoh GXR
    iii) Field test with Ricoh GXR

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    Moderator Cactus jACK's Avatar
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    Default Specifications of the Ricoh GXR system

    Sensors are built into the camera module, so each lens has its own sensor. e.g S10 24-72mm has a 1/17" CCD senor, while the A12 50mm fashions a 23.6mmx15.7mm CMOS sensor. The camera unit would do all the image capturing, while the body unit would do the processing.

    The both A12 modules boast GR lenses, which are Ricoh's high performance lenses in terms of sharpness, low distortion, and low color aberration. While the S10 and P10 zoom modules have VC - Vibration Correction available.


    Ricoh GXR camera module comparison, click to view larger image


    Ricoh GXR interchangeable camera module system
    Last edited by Cactus jACK; 16th May 2011 at 11:55 PM.

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    Default Specifications of the Ricoh GXR system [cont...]


    GXR rear LCD live view


    GXR VF-2 external viewfinder live view
    Last edited by Cactus jACK; 16th May 2011 at 11:58 PM.

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    Default Specifications of the Ricoh GXR system [cont...]


    A12 50mm f/2.5 Macro (left), GXR with A12 28mm f/2.5 GR (right)


    A12 50mm f/2.5 Macro (left), GXR with S10 24-72mm f/2.5-4.4 VC (right)


    A12 50mm f/2.5 Macro (left), GXR with P10 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VC (right)
    Last edited by Cactus jACK; 16th May 2011 at 11:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Review of the Ricoh GXR

    Hi Cactusjack.....sorry for the delay in putting up some images shot with the GXR







    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

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    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of the Ricoh GXR









    Last edited by ed9119; 6th February 2011 at 03:15 AM.
    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

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    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of the Ricoh GXR

    One might assume that its so redundant having an imaging sensor attached to each lens module in Ricoh's concept that has radically stepped away from conventional logic in camera design

    However looking at Ricoh's press release 2 days back announcing plans to introduce an Leica M mount modules , the advantages are potentially mind boggling .....

    Effectively, the GXR family of bodies could in the near future see matching lens modules on FULL FRAME or God forbid ..... even in MF sized sensor modules

    The recent announcement that I'd mentioned above is a move in the right direction but ..... WHY stick to a APS-C CMOS sized sensor ? http://www.dpreview.com/news/1102/11...icohmmount.asp

    The market is totally saturated in the 1.5 and 1.6 crop factor sector ...... full frame sensors have been getting alot within reach ......

    IF users are able to slide on a module housing a Full Frame or Medium Format sensor..... Ricoh could well have its hands around this segment of the market
    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

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    Moderator sebastiansong's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of the Ricoh GXR

    Ricoh’s GXR is a unique camera system that consists of a body and, presently, four camera units. They are the A12 50mm F2.5 macro, the S10 24-70mm F2.5-4.4 VC, the P10 28-300mm F3.5-5.6 VC and the A12 28mm F2.5. Featuring a unique slide mount mechanism, each camera unit could be swapped easily and quickly. My first impression of the GXR could be summed up in three words, light, compact and portable.

    Each camera unit is distinct, offering distinct lens, image sensors and image processing engines. Mount, slide and click. The change of camera units is never simpler. The controls and menus are highly customizable, a must since each lens unit offer unique shooting requirements. The flexibility is welcomed.

    Thus by changing units, the photographer is, in fact, using a whole new camera. A word of caution. The photographer must be fully aware of the characteristics of the operating camera unit to fully optimize the Ricoh. More than ever, the manual is an important read.


    On Build
    What the Ricoh lacks in curves, it excels in build. Molded with a strong but light magnesium alloy, the camera body has a non-slip “pear-skin” finish. Together with a nice rubber front grip, it is well balanced with all existing camera units. More importantly, it is a delight to hold and easily operated with just one hand. High marks to Ricoh for the excellent ergonomics.

    Photographers have regarded built-in sensor cleaning as a must for any lens swapping camera system. Ricoh offers an alternative. The integration of the lens and the image sensor in each camera unit practically makes it sealed. Both P10 and S10 zoom units are also collapsible, making the Ricoh even more compact.


    On Camera Units
    While not comprehensive, I have noticed differences among the four camera units.
    •Battery life (the P10 is rated at 440 shots, the S10 at 410 shots while the A12 28mm and 50mm are both rated at 320 shots)
    •Image sensors (The S10 is the exception, featuring a CCD sensor. The other three utilize CMOS sensors. As a result, S10 yields 10 megapixels (3648 X 2736) and in 4:3 format. The P10 and both A12 28mm and A12 50mm yield 12.3 megapixels (4288 X 2848) in 3:2 format.
    •Movie capture capabilities (Only the P10 and both A12 units are HD capable.)

    Thus each swap translates into a new camera with very different capabilities. In other words, there are presently four cameras, the P10, S10 and two A12 primes available for the GXR system.

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    Moderator sebastiansong's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of the Ricoh GXR

    On Display
    The GXR has an excellent 3.0-inch 920,000 pixel TFT screen. However, visibility is affected when ambient lighting conditions are at extreme, either too strong (sunlight) or too dark. The screen is then barely visible or appear noisy. But size does matter, as it allows as much as 31 settings to be displayed without appearing cluttered.

    A great feature is the Control Panel which allows 13 settings to be readily available. They are shooting mode, white balance, flash mode, metering mode, AF mode, bracketing, exposure setting, image setting, quality setting, battery level, drive mode, exposure scale and info. I particularly like this “essentials” selection as it allows operation without navigating the otherwise comprehensive and intimidating nine pages of menu.

    The GXR's optional electronic viewfinder also offers the same 920,000 resolution as the main screen. The viewfinder tilts through 90 degrees and is invaluable for both discreet streetshooters and macro photographers. Offering 100% coverage, it is, definitely, an excellent accessory to invest in.


    On Focusing
    The GXR offers five focus modes:
    •Multi AF,
    •Spot AF (center of frame),
    •Manual Focus (only available on the two primes unit),
    •Snap (preset focus distance) and
    •Infinity.

    One nice touch is the focusing distance scale that appears on screen to provide instant feedback. This is especially useful when using the macro lens. However hunting occurs when focusing on low contrast areas. To make matters worse, the GXR can indicate a ‘focus lock’ even when the subject is not in focus. Hence image preview is encouraged.


    On Shutter Speeds
    While all four camera units share a maximum 180s exposure, they differ with their fastest shutter speed. Both A12 units, the 28mm and 50mm macro, are capable of 1/3200 while the P10 and S10 are restricted to 1/2000. Though marginal, the A12 units may appear more proficient. However, the user must take heed that the fastest shutter speed is not available at all f-stops for both A12 units. At f2.5 the fastest shutter speed is limited to 1/1000, 1/1250 at f2.8, 1/1600 from f3.2 to f3.5, 1/2000 from f4 to f4.5, 1/2500 from f5.0 to f6.3, only at F7.1 and beyond could 1/3200 be achieved.


    On Step Zoom
    One great feature is the step zoom which allows user to fix the zoom at standard focal lengths. Thus the user no longer needs to hold onto the zoom button. Each press of the zoom button now enables fast and accurate zooming for the P10 (equivalent to 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 105mm, 135mm, 200mm and 300mm) and S10 (equivalent to 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 72mm). For the number crunchers, that is seven presses to zoom from 28mm to 300mm for the P10 and four presses to zoom from 24mm to 72mm for the S10.


    On ISO
    It is puzzling why ISO100 can only be found with the zoom units, P10 and S10. The A12 prime units have ISO200 as the slowest ISO. Another grievance is the inability to change ISO settings by 1/3 or even ˝ stops. Thankfully, the Ricoh delivers more than decent result, retaining strong image details even at high ISO (1600 & 3200). All images are shot without noise reduction with no post processing, i.e., levels, sharpening etc are applied.

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    Moderator sebastiansong's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of the Ricoh GXR

    The Colors of GXR
    All images are straight from camera at default settings (no sharpening, noise reduction, standard colors)


    Red

    Red (Crop)



    Green

    Green (Crop)
    Last edited by sebastiansong; 6th February 2011 at 10:59 AM.

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    Default The Colors of GXR

    All images are straight from camera at default settings (no sharpening, noise reduction, standard colors)

    Purple

    Purple (Crop)

  13. #13

    Default Re: Review of the Ricoh GXR

    thanks for the review. care to give a brief summary of the overall feel? Like shutter lag? Problem you faced and things you like about the interface? Thanks

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    Moderator sebastiansong's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of the Ricoh GXR

    Quote Originally Posted by RayDream View Post
    thanks for the review. care to give a brief summary of the overall feel? Like shutter lag? Problem you faced and things you like about the interface? Thanks
    Raydream, you are most welcome.

    Well the GXR is a love-hate machine. Great ergonomics in an extremely portable package. You want to carry and shoot with it and that is a major plus. But each camera unit makes it a different beast altogether. As a reviewer, I was constantly changing between units and at times forgot about their various characteristics. The other issue is the focusing which can lag especially if you are shooting low contrast subjects. But in good lighting conditions, the Ricoh can hold its own against any compact in the market.

    The interface is very friendly. Control Panel for access to essential shooting functions, whereby the user can tend choose to use the dial to switch values immediately or activate the appropriate menu selection panel. There are a total of nine menu pages and could be cumbersome to navigate even for experienced users. I especially appreciate the function of allowing the Control Panel to be an overlay screen during the live preview. Once I depress the shutter button, the Control Panel disappears and I can devote myself to shooting.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Review of the Ricoh GXR

    When the GXR was first launched about a year ago, alot of people dismissed it as a gimmick, the equivalent of Betamax and that continued support by Ricoh is a major concern.

    More than a year later, the GXR now has 4 lens modules. It launched with 2 modules, the A12 50 and the S10, this was followed by the P10 and more recently the A12 28 and now they have just announced the M module. The GXR is not a gimmick. Ricoh has been supporting and is still continuing to support the GXR.

    Compare this with other manufacturers who would have replaced the GXR with a newer model by now. Panasonic GF1 -> GF2, GH1->GH2, Olympus E-P1-> E-P2, E-PL1-> E-PL2 and the list goes on.

    On top of the continued release of new modules, Ricoh has been constantly releasing firmware updates. I think there have been 4 to date and these are not bug fixes, they improve upon the camera and add features and functionality.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Review of the Ricoh GXR

    One thing to add, the modules are quite small physically, probably one of the reasons why they did not go with a full frame sensor.

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    Default Re: Review of the Ricoh GXR

    Quote Originally Posted by zixaw View Post
    One thing to add, the modules are quite small physically, probably one of the reasons why they did not go with a full frame sensor.
    I think size isn't an issue when you can attach a medium-format sized sensor to the GXR like these mockups here (shown in CP+ Camera and Imaging Show 2010 for the uninformed):


    (Image from http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/n...11_353988.html)

    If Ricoh continues to make sensor backs for different lens format for the GXR, I am pretty sure more people will pick it up in a matter of time.

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    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of the Ricoh GXR

    Quote Originally Posted by Makanator View Post
    If Ricoh continues to make sensor backs for different lens format for the GXR, I am pretty sure more people will pick it up in a matter of time.
    I WILL BE THE FIRST IN LINE if ricoh goes that direction... esp if they have FF sensors with adaptors for leica, CV, CZ and Contax G lenses ....
    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

  19. #19

    Default Re: Review of the Ricoh GXR

    where are the good places to buy ricoh gxr in singapore? how about in china?

  20. #20
    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of the Ricoh GXR

    Quote Originally Posted by zixaw View Post
    One thing to add, the modules are quite small physically, probably one of the reasons why they did not go with a full frame sensor.
    no from what I saw on the review unit...... there is nothing physically blocking the slot areas from a larger module to be slid in/out

    if Ricoh goes this direction, it will immediately open a whole floodgate for enthusiasts to enter the world of mirrorless FF and especially digital Medium Format ..... ALL ALONE ......

    I'm wondering why Ricoh is still wasting its time on crop factor APSC type sensors/lens modules when a whole new first-to-market benchmark is already waiting impatiently for the first manufacturer to sit on that throne?
    Last edited by ed9119; 7th February 2011 at 12:11 PM.
    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

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