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Thursday, 04 March 2010


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It's hard to see what this system is supposed to do better than gear available last year in terms of performance, size. or convenience. And it's expensive in the bargain.

...Olympus Pen E-PL1 review...

Let me nitpick. Imaging-Resource
calls it a preview. Barnett calls
it an overview. There are no sample
pictures as in a full review.

While on the one hand I can't really see this system being a roaring success, I still applaud Ricoh for having the nerve to do something completely different to everyone else.

It'll be interesting when they release more modules - as well as other lenses, or maybe sensor/mount combinations (M mount?), would be non-lens modules.
A disk module containing a shockproof solid-state drive which when mated to the device can automatically back up your shots from your memory card.
A projector would be another obvious accessory.

If only it were possible to change the lenses and the sensor seperately, then it'd be a real revolution. Now it's just some weird system that doesn't really make sense to me at all.

Forget the module idea for a moment...if you are looking for outstanding image quality in a very small form factor, what are your options?

Leica X1 @ $2000
Panasonic GF1 with 20mm pancake @ $900
Olympus E-P2 with 17mm pancake @ $1100
Ricoh GXR with 50mm macro @ $1175

From this perspective it seems pretty competitive from a performance perspective and the price isn't that far away from its closest competitors...

Regarding the Olympus, I am only seeing last month's preview, not a full review...?

This just in: TOP readers can find a review of the Olympus E-PL1 by Mark Goldstein posted today at Photography Blog.



think differently. That is the real DMD you are waiting for.

All the best, titus

I might add 2 cameras to John's list of small quality imagers, Sigma's DP's. If I look at this concept as a fixed lens camera it's very slow, hardly a DMD at all. If I look at it as an interchangeable lens camera system then I guess I object to the requirement that lenses must be discarded when sensors are "out dated." What's up with that anyway?

If only it were possible to change the lenses and the sensor seperately, then it'd be a real revolution.

Oh, you mean like my RB-67 ...

Now just add a lens mount, and what have we got? The starting point for a digital camera with interchangeable sensors... Add a AA-less black and white sensor into that mix, and perhaps another sensor without infrared blocking filter, and we are almost there.

Digital has just managed to relive the first 50 years of film camera's in about 10 years. Give it another 10 years, and we might even get back a useful set of controls, like an aperture ring and a shutterspeed dial, so one can set his camera while looking at his subject again...

It's blocky looking, not particularly small and quite expensive. Its designers' decision to permanently pair each lens with a sensor is controversial. Why, then, am I so drawn to this thing?

Charles, I'd like to know your definition of slow with regards to a DMD? If you are referring to autofocus speed, DPReview rates the GXR as neck and neck with the E-P2 and GF1 and much faster than the Leica X1. Is it dSLR fast? No, but it's the equal of it's peers.

And we've also got to remember that fast is not just the time it takes to focus with the shutter half-pressed; it also includes the time leading up to the decisive moment. And in this regard, Ricoh has consistently been one of the best in the industry. My recently departed GX100 had a user interface that made it a joy to use and as fast as I could think. It also had great zone focusing capabilities and a whisper-quiet shutter that made it a lethal street shooter.

If the GXR is half the street camera that the GX100 was, then we've got a seriously good camera on our hands. It's a newer camera though, so I expect that it's even better than that. It's just too bad that Ricoh hasn't effectively marketed the camera...

Amazing how most People react to something truly new and out of the box
Anyway , the GXR is one of the most interesting small digital camera on the market. How refreshing after all of these "me-too" "auto-everything" cameras to handle one really made and designed for photographers
I am really enjoying my GXR with A12.Now I just have to wait for the 28mm module.

I'm also a bit bothered by the lens being forced into obsolescence with the sensor, especially when you consider how fast things have been evolving lately. Maybe Ricoh will anounce a refurb program to address that issue.

Despite that, I already know I'll buy one with the 28mm-e APS sensor. With Ricoh's snap focus feature and an actual focal length of 19mm, how could focus speed be an issue for a street shooter? I don't claim to be a great street shooter but I do agree with Harold.

i bought gxr/a12, i am more than satisfied with picture quality, af is not a real issue, just a beautiful piece of engineering, regards

I agree with Kevin Schoenmakers. Ricoh has put the module boundaries in the wrong place. The lens is the component that does not go obsolete and it should obviously be its own module. Interchangeable sensors would be a great addition, but I suspect it would be difficult to define a stable interface for a 'sensor mount', as so much of the in-camera processing depends on the type of sensor. Also, the handling of exposed sensors would have to be pretty careful.

Ricoh will have to drop the price of this thing substantially or it's going nowhere fast. As has been mentioned, you can buy separate cameras from other manufacturers corresponding to each Ricoh module, and they will be both smaller and cheaper.

I just noticed, after reading the full DPR review, that this camera seems to address, at least in part, two major concerns by Michael Reichmann in his Open Letter to Leica:


The first is hyperfocal prompting. Though the GXR doesn't prompt you, it does at least offer several hyperfocal options with full-press snap.

The other, and most important, is exposure. DP Review says the camera simply doesn't clip highlights, and when looking over the sample images I was amazed to see how beautifully the highlights roll off in just about every example.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems there is some kind of "expose to the right" calculation going on, with the result being that the GXR has a constant four stops of highlight range at every ISO. Whatever the technical reason, I love what I'm seeing. Seems like a big deal that no one's really talking about.

I just got an A12 because of noting the exact dynamic range exposure features that triplight mentions from the DP review.

The images from the GXR A12 are not only very sharp, but the manual and snap focus are wonderfully easy to use. As for slow AF, it seems no slower than the E-P2 after installing the latest GXR firmware update (I think most reviews are based on v1 firmware). At f2.5, the bokeh of the A12 unit is quite smooth and the lens seems to have little distortion.

Another GXR design that is well done are the 3 user preferencces (much better than the Oly E-P1/2 method). I've set my 3 for B&W, HDR (+/-1.7), and a Pano setting with fixed ISO & WB, MF, and selected f-stop. Panos in portrait mode are easily accomplished by pivoting about one of the lens indentations, which parallels the diaphragm, on a finger tip in vertical orientation, while having the level feature beep to keep me holding the camera true (the upcoming 28mm will also be useful for panos).

The GXR is a very nice package, feeling both solid and comfortable to the hands.

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