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Saturday, 28 May 2011


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Wouldn't the biggest problem with M mount lenses on a camera that focuses via live view be the lack of camera controlled aperture?

I always thought that M lenses are always at their set aperture, unlike SLR lenses, which are only stopped down by the camera at the time of exposure. With an M lens on a live view body, you'd either be doing the compose/focus/manually stop down/meter/adjust exposure/shoot dance or you'd be focusing with the lens stopped down--which is fine in good light, but gets really ugly really quickly as the light goes.

Can you elaborate on manual focus issue. I'm supposing it's something of a PITA? I'm considering a mirrorless camera but I like viewfinders. However as a bifocal glasses user I'm wondering which correction comes into play using an electronic viewfinder. And I'm having some trouble tracking down a bricks & mortar vendor where I could try one out. Can anyone speak to this?

>It seems to me that to be a really successful product, the system would have to offer an embarrassment of choices so as to be easily customizable for each customer.

Eh, Mike, is this what you had in mind:


Greetings, Ed

Funny thing about Ed's picture in that link is I think I could still find an excuse for wanting more gear even if I had all of that. The GXR seems like the perfect system for the gearhound who's always looking for something new.

Medium format systems mix and match lens, body and sensor. Perhaps if you can put into words (and numbers) why this is necessary and why it works you can translate it into reason(s) it may or may not work for smaller formats.

Mike, I agree they have the form factor down pat, now they just need to understand the strange baby they gave birth to.

I do think that offering interchangeable sensor packs AND lenses would be amazing, but the number of permutations of a relatively small number of components would be huge.

Say 2 bodies (video and stills form factors), 5 sensor+shutter packs (1.5X crop 16MP, 10MP low light, 16MP B&W and IR and a 2.5X crop 10MP for telephoto) and seven lenses (10m, 20mm, 35mm, 65mm, 100mm, 18-50mm and 50-200mm). This would provide effective prime focal lengths covering 15mm to 250mm and zoom up to 500mm and a total of 70 permutations.

I have a GRDIII. It's really a joy to use. The interface is simple, intuitive, configurable to your preferences, and what might be called photo-centric. It's got the snap focus, a really useful and fast spot metering system in manual, a fast lens, and ISO reasonably usable up to 1600. Mostly its everything you need and nothing you don't to take good pictures, if you do your part, and it very seldom, if ever, trips you up in that process. Image quality is quite good for a G12 sized sensor.

I understand the GXR is the same way, except with way better IQ in the case of the A12 modules. Issues about the lensors ( lens/sensor combo) seem almost beside the point. I hope you get one to use, I think you'll love using the camera. You need a lens, a sensor, and a body to interface between the two. The way Ricoh packages the three things in the GXR maximizes your long term use of the best thing they do, provide a great interface with lens and sensor.

If sensor/lens modules proliferate in the future, how you access and control their capabilities will stay the same. It's not a bad idea. Novel, but not without its logic.

IMO, the m mount is premature. They ought first to make a full set of APS-C size A12 modules. In fact they should have never made the 50 macro first. The 28 is great, but they need a 40mm f/2 pancake (should have been their first) and a fast portrait module. Since they already have the macro capability, that would give them a system that you might begin to think about as your main system, not a backup or take-along. I see no point in small sensors in the GXR. They do nothing to differentiate the GXR from multiple other available options including some of Ricoh's own.

No matter how you package lens and sensor, a 28/2.5, 40/2, and 90/1.8 together with the 50 macro would be a formidable package. Those APS-C lensors when coupled with the wonderful, photographer first interface in a package as or more compact than a m4/3 kit might be something worth paying for.

At the end of the day it is just a camera. It takes pictures.

If you ask 10 people what GXR units they would like you'll get 10 different responses. Ricoh is a small company who's success depends primarily on their home turf Japan market. They dictate what the rest of us around the world get.

The number one request on various forum surveys has been for a B&W optimized unit. Much like the medium format achromatic back. But which sensor size and which focal length, and which... one small company cannot provide an infinite variety of choices.

For some of us, the GXR was the opportunity for a large sensor Ricoh, and that in and of itself is enough.

i think the idea of the lens+sensor module capitalizes on people who are sick of the merry-go-round and don't want to upgrade every time a new sensor/body comes out. i don't think they really expect people to keep buying the same sensor just to get a different lens, but the more the merrier if that's the case.

a few modules that i think would be really, really, really, spectacularly spectacular, and awesomely awesome:

28-50mm-e f/0.5 s10 module (yes, f0.5!): a collapsible zoom that's actually fast enough for low light photography with those small sensors. it would leave every other digicam in the dust.

15-35mm-e f/0.7 s10 module: for photojournalism. don't say it's for landscapes! ;)

75-135mm-e f/0.7 s10 module: this one is for portraits.

50-200mm-e f/2.5-3.5 s10 macro module: the macro digicam to end all macro digicams. 1:1 all the way.

24-100mm-e f/2.5 s10 tilt/shift module: architecture and still life on a p&s! question: what are you smoking? answer: the good stuff. =)

35mm-e f/2 a12 module: no explanation needed.

new body unit with a form factor inspired by rolleiflex/hasselblad: offers interchangeable finders that mount over an upward facing lcd (waist-level, chimney, and pentaprism), rotating module mount, and rotating side grip. it would be very unique, and cameras with this kind of form factor are so nice to use.

Check out this interview with Ricoh:


"The use of a focal plane shutter though will require a new solution for live view operation.
The shutter is not exposed and so can not relay information to the rear LCD screen.
Mr Saiki told AP that Ricoh does have a solution for this, but he would not be drawn on what it was.
He would say, however, that it would not involve a time consuming process and that the camera would remain very effective as a tool for street photographers."

My take on this is that, due to the lack of EVF function, the GXR-M module might be closer to the Epson RD1 than a Sony NEX .
It might even be for ONLY LTM and M lenses - if the 'solution' is to make use of the calibrated lens RF cam to give a distance display.
Perhaps even going the whole hog and have an electronically coupled rangefinder OVF bolt on - with projected EVF info like the X100.

I'm holding off any purchases of NEX7/X100/Pentax EVIL etc. until Ricoh reveal all of their cards.

Eh, Dennis,

I have -5.25 in my glasses and about I should use bifocals (but I do not since they somehow give me splitting headaches). But for mannual focusing on my GF1 (using Nikon glass) I tend to look over the rim of my glasses (it look stupid I know, don't bother to tell me that :-)). Then I check the camera writing to see wether I'm in focus and then I check the screen with 8 time magnification if the subject is in focus. And hey, it works (eh never use full aperture of course but, hey you never did that, right?). An of course there's always hyperfocal....in which you extend the range of sharpness to the horizon and take pictures of everything from the start of the range of focus (lets say 3 meters) to the end (lets say infinity or a large building blocking your view).

And now tell me what a PITA is please and both of will have gained knowledge.....

Greetings, Ed

BTW, for the GX680 medium format I use the same proces but slightly different. Glasses of when I compose the picture (they then dangle from the camera, but since that is big enough there's always a place to hang then from, personally I let them overlook the lens to entertain the masses :-)). When I look through the magnifying glass I flip them on my nose again in order to get the focussing done. Yeps, no spontainious snapshots possible but as an (urban) landscape photographer my photos do not depend on catching the moment, so I can live with it.

I like the idea of a b&w module, though I doubt that will happen. I do think that multiple M-modules should be produced, but focusing on the sensor lens combinations I.e. one module optimised for wide angle M lenses, another for medium angle and another for the tele end. This would then not lose the idea of a sensor to match the lens, which Ricoh are championing with the GXR system.

The remark about "build-your-own-camera" is spot on. This is the way I looked at the GXR as well - not so much as modular system that aims at being an allround system but as a kit to DIY one or two very specialized cameras. For me it would be an A12 28 mm. The one hitch is, it seems you first have to buy the zoom kit, and, there is only one body so far. I'd like a swivel LCD for instance, and I like EVFs too (there are trade offs of portability of course but there can and should be more variety in the bodies).

But seeing it as a DIY camera rather than as a "system" really hits the nail on the head. IMO.

It's telling that the comments from people who have used a gxr are almost uniformly positive. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it Mike.

I'm in the market for a smaller camera with a larger sensor. The gxr with the 28 or the x100 are the top contenders. I'm going to see what new cameras the next few months hold and get something before the end of the year.

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