Right now, you can find only two lenses available for the Ricoh GXR. If you are on a budget, the 24-72mm is the way to go. The 24-72mm comes with a smaller sensor than the other option which is the 52mm f 2.5. By the way, we quote a zoom range of 24-72mm, keeping in mind the equivalent on a 35mm format (as is always the case in most articles you will find). Let us look at a few of the features of this lens unit.
1. Aperture – Shooting towards the wide end on this lens unit, you can get an aperture as large as f2.5. However, it is reduced to f4.4 when shooting on the tele range end. If you are familiar with Ricoh’s GX200, a high-end compact, the GXR comes very close to it with this lens unit attached – but pricier by a fair margin!
2. Usage – The GXR camera body employs a compact-like toggle lever to operate the zoom, which can be a little frustrating. Needless to say, the 24-72mm does not have a focusing ring on the lens body itself. This brings the camera closer to a compact than to a DSLR. Looking at competitor models such as the Canon G11, the GXR needs a lot more to truly compete with today’s standards. Coming back to the lens however, although the 24-72 is not advertised as a macro lens unit, it can shoot very close to the subject, like many Ricoh lenses (on the widest settings mind you). You can get as close as a centimeter to the subject! This lens also has an in-built image stabilization system, which you will truly appreciate when shooting close-up shots. Ricoh terms this the ‘Vibration Correction’ feature. Much in line with the GXR body again, this lens allows full manual override options, and you can use ‘My Modes’ on the camera to fine tune your personal preference settings. Also the SNAP focus mode is a handy option when you need to shoot some candid images. This offers a pre-fixed focus range of somewhere between 1-5m to infinity. On the downside, you may find it a little tricky to capture moving subjects with this lens, thanks to the sluggish auto focus system on the GXR.
3. Image Quality – The quality of image you will get out of a GXR is largely dependant on the camera’s 1/1.7 inch CCD sensor. The lens does its job, but you still wont get DSLR-like quality for sure. In this regard we question the survival of this range.That said and done, the lens is a sure buy for those who already own a GXR. Image quality again takes a hit if you look at the entire ISO range of the GXR – from 100 through to 3200 – never really crisp at any setting. Contrasting edges on some images gave us a tell-tale sign of over sharpening. The contrast detect auto focus system too worried us a little as it tends to stray sometimes.
4. Verdict – If you already own the GXR, yes you will want this lens!