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Tuesday, 12 July 2011


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Two questions: How large is the sensor, and I wonder how many X100 owners will have buyers remorse?

Thanks for the link, Mike. What's interesting is if you scroll all the way down, it would appear that Ricoh is making their own lens in an M mount (I assume, I can't make head nor tail of Japanese). 55 f1.2, a really fast one.

Hmm. I wonder how the module will deal with the wide variety of Leica and other rangefinder lenses out there. I wonder this because chatter on the Inter-Web is that Leica lenses on micro 4/3 cameras do not necessarily produce better images out of the camera than the m-4/3 lenses. The speculation has been that this is down to lack of in-camera adjustment for vignetting and various aberrations due to lack of electronic communication with the lens. I wonder if Ricoh will evolve wide, normal and tele-adapted sensors to deal with these issues or whether it will all be a firmware fix. The market is probably too small for one-off sensors, but once the fires of hope get stoked . . . Love the innovation Ricoh!

This is what makes me excited; the prospect of being able to change the sensor independent of the lens and visa versa.

It's unlikely to happen, but imagine if Ricoh were to produce a dedicated B&W sensor with an M mount (or F mount, EOS mount, M3/4, etc.) They could make a dedicated portrait sensor with lower resolution but higher dynamic range like the Fujifilm S5 had. I know Thom Hogan among others have been harping on this idea of true modularity for a long time.

Soviet-era styling meets German optics. It's the East Berlin of cameras.

OK! Now I am excited. This has the potential to become something truly desirable...and comfortingly ugly at the same time.

This is about as close to being a serious tool as any compact camera has been to date. I am quite tired of "retro chic" in the camera world, especially when it is used to disguise mundane performance or excuse high prices.

If Ricoh could make a version for M43 and Pentax K as well, they would not only have blitzed the CSC market but made a lot of users very happy. Me included.

To answer some of the questions raised by previous comments. The Japanese text says that the 15 mm lens is "equivalent" to a approximately 23 mm, so the crop factor is ~1.5. The 55 mm 1:1.2 lens is an old SLR lens, mounted on the M-module with an adaptor.

I do wonder about the size of the sensor; anything less than 24 x 36 mm is bound to be disappointing to some people, but such a large sensor might prove to be opticallly mediocre (with horrible light falloff issues or the like), thrillingly expensive, or both. If it doesn't suck or cost a mint, I bet it will make a lot of people quite happy.

I will be more interested if they make something with a fully-functioning autofocus mount. Such a thing would likely be fraught with IP and licensing issues, but they did just buy Pentax...

Is there any kind of crop factor? What's the price?

Hell and damnation. The internets just ate my response. Anyway...

The sensor is apparently 1.5x crop sensor. The street photo was shot at 23 mm-e, and the lens on the camera is Voigtlaender Heliar 15/F4.5 if I see correctly.

John, Rikenon 55/1.2 is an old manual K-mount lens. The guy apparently used a K -> M adapter. He mentions a DSLR adapter. (Google Translate :))

What's interesting is if you scroll all the way down, it would appear that Ricoh is making their own lens in an M mount (I assume, I can't make head nor tail of Japanese). 55 f1.2, a really fast one.

That's the 55/1.2 Rikenon-P, a K-mount SLR lens that was offered with the Ricoh XR-series SLRs.

According to an impeccable source - and fellow reader of this blog - a 50mm lens equates to a 75mm field of view. So a crop factor of 1.5x.

I'm a mortal, not Ctein, but doesn't that imply an APS-C sensor?

"doesn't that imply an APS-C sensor?"



Of course they would announce this after I bought my M9:)

A couple of points. Following up on Benjamin Marks comment, a single sensor for all focal lengths would be contradictory to one of the rationales for having sensor-lens units, that being the suggestion that to optimize the image for each focal length it was best to have a specialized sensor for that length. Of course, it may be the case that there will be more than one m-mount unit.

I am though pleased (excited would be too strong a) that Ricoh has done this. I have the GRD3, and really like their controls. I also like live-view. I can see buying one as a back-up for and alternative to my Leica.

Doesn't this item contradict Ricoh's original justification for its marrying of lens-and-sensor in one unit -- that it had designed / engineered each particular lens to mate with a particular sensor, a pairing that produced uniquely advantageous results (and got rid of the dust problem to boot)?

Thanks for the confirmation, Mike.

My source has used the thing but it must be at their discretion whether to join the discussion.

I'm in the queue. It may not be full frame but neither is the M8.

Sandro Siragusa chides the 'Soviet-era styling' of the Ricoh GXR + M-mount. Wrongly, in my view: to visualise Soviet camera design, imagine rough knock-offs of early Leicas and Hasselblads. Which weren't all bad, either.
'East Berlin' cameras are a different lot, though, and more interesting: Pentacon's Praktica and Six, Ihagee's Exakta Varex traced their genealogy a long way back, to pre-war Germany, and East German styling was a cheapened, run-down but linear descendant of Bauhaus design practice and principles. In the case of lenses, the lineage is unbroken, witness this Zeiss Olympia Sonnar:

(Interestingly, Cosina seems to have drawn some inspiration from this visual vocabulary for a few of their recent Voigtländer-branded lenses.)

Speaking of 'cousins', when I took a Fuji X100 in hand, it reminded me of nothing as much as of the ancient Voigtländer Vitoret DR (1967)
(mouse-over to see it in profile)
which was my very first camera.
The same rebarbative sensation, inducing the same yearn for a true Leica, no matter how battered.
I can't wait to see the GXR + M-module for real.

This seems a lot like my Sony NEX with a M adapter, except a bit less flexible.

Now if someone were to make an extension cable to go between the sensor module and the handle module , I'd start getting excited. As it is , no flip no sale.

BTW if anyone thinks there are still screaming bargains in orphan lenses, the NEX and 4/3 owners have already scooped them up.

Everyone realises you've been able to do this for a few years now with a twenty buck adapter on an MFT body? I'm guessing this Ricoh module costs more than $20.

@Lynn - Why would an X100 user have buyers remorse because of this? Sure, it has interchangeable lens, huzzah! It also means losing AF, the DOF scale on the lens, and getting a bulkier package with no OVF thanks to the loss of the hybrid VF. Also, ugly as sin. Unless you're desperate for a different lens (which begs the question as to way one would have bought the X100 in the first place) how does this fill the niche better?

@Jed - The GXR system really only made sense to me as a modular setup. The whole 'sealed lens/sensor unit' idea was just ...odd. Being able to hold on to glass and the chassis almost moves us back to the days of keeping a camera for years and just updating the media.

I'm still waiting to see how the h*ck they are getting a EVF image with the sensor hiding behind a focal plane shutter, and how the focussing will work -- this will make or break this module so far as I can see.

JKF wrote:

I'm still waiting to see how the h*ck they are getting a EVF image with the sensor hiding behind a focal plane shutter,

The same way Olympus, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony do it: The shutter is left wide open until you take a shot.

"I'm still waiting to see how the h*ck they are getting a EVF image with the sensor hiding behind a focal plane shutter"

Probably the same way that the Sony NEX, the u4/3 and all the live view capable DSLRs do it, by only closing the shutter just before the exposure.

Of course then the holy grail of global shutters arrives we can get rid of the stupid mechanical shutter entirely.

I don't think the GXR is ugly at all. In the flesh, it's not as boxy as it appears in many images. It's comfortable, smartly laid out, and has a serious quality to it. It reminds me of the Olympus E1. Of course, if you think that was an ugly camera, then we're at opposite sides of the aesthetic divide. To me the E1 is one of the coolest looking cameras ever and one of Olympus' (many) missteps in my mind is going away from that particular body form. The grip was awesome. Anyway, the GXR seems cut from a similar mold and I'm enjoying the camera a lot. It is an odd concept, but it works pretty well!

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