The GXR is an all-new camera concept by Ricoh. It is an interchangeable lens kit plus sensor unit. This could start a whole new trend as a succession to the Micro Four Thirds system. Let us take a look at some of the features of this fascinating new camera concept.
Every lens from the GXR series is a self contained unit with its own sensor! The basic idea is to pair the optics with an ideal sensor, milking out every drop of image quality possible. The golden question is – is this arrangement worth it, keeping in mind the increased cost of a lens with its own sensor? While the arrangement does have the obvious advantages of a dust-free arrangement between lens and sensor, and the fact that the sensor is fine tuned for the optics, the cost of the GXR with both available lenses is over 1500 Pounds. Would you rather just buy a DSLR for this price? That is for you to decide!
The GXR is a straightforward body design of robust quality, with thoughtfully placed control dials, very much in line with conventional DSLR design. The rear d-pad offers easy access to camera functions as well. However we were not too happy with the zoom toggle lever, which we feel could have been placed at a better position. The 3 inch LCD is of superb quality, and gives you satisfying playback. This is the only composition tool as well, with an optional electronic view finder available on the market (over 200 Pounds!).
The GXR allows for nine settings for night modes alone, and this is more than any other model we have seen so far. Other scene modes include the black and white mode, and the vivid contrast mode. The GXR allows you to fine tune sharpness and color settings very much like a DSLR, and this is great for those wishing to have complete control over there image quality (DSLR users listening?). Ricoh pioneered the ‘horizonal level’ function with their digital cameras, and this is present with the GXR series as well. In fact you here an audio signal when the camera is positioned perfectly horizontal, and this is one of the most convenient and striking features of GXR performance, seemingly negligible at first but often made use of when actually shooting.
The concept of a modular camera is NOT entirely new. The idea of interchangeable lenses is nothing modern, film backs have always been available for medium and larger format film cameras. What we are trying to say is, the concept of this camera may not be as ‘new’ as it seems! While it is an ingenious idea to have a sensor within the lens housing, we believe a good lens coupled with a good sensor in the conventional camera body does the job! Ricoh could launch a range of accessories for the GXR to make it more appealing, but we don’t expect it to to sell like hot cakes just as yet.