Saturday Shout: Is the Ricoh GX100 the Ultimate Compact Camera?

March 31, 2007 | Mark Goldstein | Saturday Shout | 27 Comments | |

Saturday ShoutTwo weeks ago Saturday Shout wondered if the Sigma DP1 could be the ultimate compact camera for keen photographers. Just 10 days later, there’s a new contender in the shape of the Ricoh GX100. Ricoh are like Sigma - a relatively small company in a massive pond filled with much bigger fish - so they have to do things a little differently to make an impression. The new Ricoh GX100 certainly fits that bill. It offers a wide-angle, 24-72mm zoom lens, with an optional wide conversion lens that will provide 19mm if required. And unlike most recent digital cameras from the larger manufacturers with entry-level DSLRs, the GX100 provides both RAW and RAW + JPEG shooting modes. This new camera comes in two different versions, the more expensive offering a removable electronic view?nder, which provides an extra way of framing your images. Throw in a 10 megapixel sensor and a hot shoe which accepts an electronic view?nder, an external ?ash, or the external view?nder, and the Ricoh GX100 starts to look very interesting. There is one fundamental difference between this camera and the Sigma DP1, however, and that’s the size of the sensor, with the DP1 having a much larger APS-C sized sensor which will almost certainly provide better overall image quality. The GX100 does offer a more versatile focal range than the DP1, though, so photographers looking for a DSLR backup suddenly have two very interesting cameras to consider. Can the Ricoh GX100 be a contender? Shout out now...

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#1 Peter Adams

If the GX-100 is anything like the quality of Ricoh's GR-1 film camera. It's going to be a great camera. I used two GR-1 cameras (still do) to suppliment my digital SLR and love the images. I haven't been able to give it up because I can't find a digital camera's of similar form factor and image quality.

My only hesitation in buying a GX-100 now is that the Phoveon sensor in the Sigma DP1 _should_ produce vastly superior image quality in what looks like a very similar form factor - and that's what it's all about for me.

7:53 pm - Saturday, March 31, 2007

#2 evan

Well, it's obviously not the "ultimate" compact camera, as it doesn't have the bigger sensor. I guess we the consumer don't really know what is technically achievable for the "ultimate" camera. For example, here is what I would like:

24-105 mm
manual focus ring
at least 2/3" sensor
compact size

If that were all packaged in one camera, I would say it's just about as "ultimate" as one could hope for. Can the manufacturers actually build such a camera? Who knows, but it looks like there's a lot of action toward this direction, so maybe I'll wait a little bit longer.

1:36 am - Sunday, April 1, 2007

#3 wolfie

On paper the GX100 looks very exciting - the lens is its major selling point plus the GR-type twin control dials. The external LCD viewer is a great idea -but wonder what the price is..$US 200?
However the big obstacle is will the 10MP sensor in the GX100 perform any better than the 8MP in the GR-digital? I also expect this to be highly priced which will be a put off given the IQ reservations.
Hope it does overcome the IQ issues as it would very close to "ultimate" - which doesnt have to mean an APS sensor. A good 1.8 CCD can make wonderful images.

2:11 am - Sunday, April 1, 2007

#4 Wigwam Jones

It is missing:

1) Internal viewfinder.
2) Bigger sensor.
3) Ability to change manual adjustments without turning on LCD.

Like the GRD and the Sigma DP-1, it is flawed. So far, the Sigma comes closest to what I'm looking for. I want it all, though. Don't know why it's so hard.

6:01 am - Sunday, April 1, 2007

#5 Nicholas

I think the most important feature to me in a very goood compact camera is that when I lose/mis-place it, it would be cheap enough for me to just go out and buy another one.

Actually, this is why I hesitated to get one upto now, I know I will lose it.


10:35 am - Sunday, April 1, 2007

#6 david cago

The cameras should NOT be compared. The Ricoh will have lots of noise, due to tiny sensor and their history of noisy sensors. Lens will be OK, but not great; again based on past performances by Ricoh. Electronic viewfinders are jokes.

The Sigma will be in a different league. Lens will be very sharp. The Image Quality will be far superior than any compact can produce. Images posted on the web from the Sigma SD14 promises the DP1 to be a killer compact.

11:36 am - Sunday, April 1, 2007

#7 Stef

The GX100 looks like it could be an excellent tool for street photographers who have the skill to fill a wide angle frame with something interesting. For those kind of shots a noisy sensor won't be an issue.

The GX100 will be a contender but only in a niche market. The GX100's predecessor the GX8 hardly set the world on fire did it? The GX100 is an incremental improvement on the GX8 and it's still essentially the same kind of camera.

People will be interested by the GX100 but that's a lot to do with the bigger manufacturers quietly dumbing down their own compacts to bump up DSLR sales.

1:25 pm - Sunday, April 1, 2007

#8 Wigwam Jones

If you look closely, the GX100 resembles the GRD much more closely than it does the GX8, despite the zoom. In fact, it looks like a GRD with a zoom. I know they are calling it the successor to the GX8, but it doesn't look like it.

2:53 pm - Sunday, April 1, 2007

#9 neil hoyte

the sigma with a 50mm lens would be perfect.

8:58 pm - Sunday, April 1, 2007

#10 jj

The Sigma with a 40mm f2.4 lens. Now, *that* would be perfect. Talk about your Leica CM digital... 35mm f2.8 would also be nice. But I would gladly settle for a 40mm f2.8 or even f3.2...

11:37 pm - Sunday, April 1, 2007

#11 neil hoyte

Fuji! Its your turn!

7:57 pm - Monday, April 2, 2007

#12 Felix Cano

I whish I could make choices as easy as many of you do. To me every camera is a tool each and everyone with a unique compromise but if you allow me I would like a Sigma Camera with the Ricoh 24-72 lens.

4:14 am - Tuesday, April 3, 2007

#13 Csaba Farkas

I still lament the combo of Contax and Zeiss having thrown in the towel. My wishlist includes a TVS digital IXX... titanium body BUT with the controls and manual options of Ricoh, with fast 24-90mm eqv. 2.8-3.5 Zeiss T* lens with tolerable macro range, decent, LARGE internal vf with paralax lines, 2.5" LCD, AND the Sigma sensor, CF and /or XD, RAW w or wthout JPEG (choice), not necessarily fast but large buffer for continuous shooting. NO movie please, it's ridiculous in a compact.
The GRD was a failure due to small sensor and smudgy noise reduction. I fear 10 MP and the "smooth imaging engine II" smells trouble again - too much software conjuring to get rid of noise artefacts.
Hard pressed, I'd vote for the Sigma, it promises crisp, no nonsense images.

9:29 pm - Tuesday, April 3, 2007

#14 Hugues

there is one point which desapoint me : the ricoh GX 100 seems to have no rafale mode.
Does any one know something about it ?

9:21 am - Thursday, April 5, 2007

#15 harold glit

The ricoh is a very nice concept until you realize what kind of enlargements you can do with such a tiny sensor.
I don't get it. There is clearly a niche market for a professional compact. you would think that it would be interesting for smaller manufacturer.
how about the same features with an APS sensor . who cares if the camera is bigger and more pricey

3:48 am - Saturday, April 7, 2007

#16 SMS

The Sigma DP-1 is only a 4.7 megapixel camera and won't be able to yield decent large prints. Given the disappointments of the Sigma SLRs, and the lens, they will have to price the DP-1 at less than $US 200. The last Foveon based compact sold for about $US 100, when it finally came out after lengthy delays.

I guess there is no market for a professional compact. Canon gave up when they decontented the G7. The GX100 appears to have good specs, but the pixel size is so small that the noise levels will be high.

1:34 am - Tuesday, April 10, 2007

#17 Nicholas

The Sigma DP-1 is a 4.7 MP Red, 4.7MP Green, and 4.7MP Blue camera. This eaily equates to the Canon 5D resolution.
I suggest you download a full size Sigma SD-14 Jpeg, view it at 400%, and step back from your monitor t a reasonabe viewing distance. The image holds together extremely well.
Try it, it is really amazing.

11:00 am - Tuesday, April 10, 2007

#18 Ron

This will be a compact camera as opposed to teh Sigma which will be significantly bigger and only with a f4. Many love the GRD and find the noise on it and this less problematic and more like film grain. Check out posts on rangefinderforum. I am seriously intrigued although I have a Fuji Natura Black with a 24/F1.9 lens for wide angle shooting. It is a film camera.
Zeiss-Contax threw in no towel. Yashica decided to get out of the photography business and since they have an exclusive license from Carl Zeiss to use the name Contax which still has a few years to run (I believe) Zeiss cannot use it. However Zeiss can still and does make lenses for a variety of camera mounts including Sony and high price lenses for Sony's Alpha DSLR series and manual focus lenses for Nikon cam,eras including the DSLRs

1:47 pm - Tuesday, May 1, 2007

#19 Simon

This would be a very fun street-photography tool. The picture quality would most likely to be pretty average at best, but the traditional Ricoh speed and the wide angle along with the unique viewfinder should allow some fun moments.

Nicholas please, it has been proven many times in other places a Foveon sensor does NOT have three times resolution of a traditional Beyer sensor of equal (spatial) photosites. Believing that the SD14 is equal to the 5D in resolution is just pipe dream. And I haven't even mentioned the higher price, inferior camera body, noisy images in high ISO, etc.

3:01 am - Wednesday, May 9, 2007

#20 Britton

Simon, you should really take a look at the following comparison between the 5D and the current Foveon sensor (in an SD14).

4:29 am - Monday, June 18, 2007

#21 Alex Weiss

I used the Gr Digital, the new Leica D-Lux-3 and G7 Canon in order to find a "professional" compact:
G7 is out for the lack of Raw format. If not needed it is a very fine camera. Results are good/excellent but still far away from a D200 DSLR or similar.
LEICA: no viewfinder! So no point having it in dark locations as concert halls or similar. Fine results, better then G7. Has Raw.
Ricoh GRd: nice,very nice and very fine results. Noisy above any acceptable limit over 100 ASA still a "nice" noise.Has a fantastic optional viewfinder, has (slow processor) Raw. 28mm fixed (plus additional lenses).
Ricoh GX100: almost as good as the GRd but less noisy, has a little zoom.Blur reduction. The electronic viewfinder is nice but only for rough framing in dark environments or strong daylight. Zoom is slow. The best compromise between versatility and quality.
Wish: Viewfinder, 35mm fixed with additional lenses, or little zoom. APS sensor is a must now. Priced between 500-800€ depending on general quality,brand.
Who could do it? Fuji, Ricoh, Sigma, Olympus?

8:40 am - Monday, June 25, 2007

#22 Fred Sugar

Frankly my ideal camera doesn't have to be too compact, what I would like to see is:-
(1) Fixed lens, similar in operation to the Leica tri-elmar however with focal lengths of 28mm, 56mm, 84mm.
(2) F2.8 through out, if possible.
(3) APS size sensor, say 8 megs.
(4) Usable in camera optical viewfinder with parallax frame lines for the focal lengths.
(5) No movie
(6) Modes: aperture, time, manual, custom x2.
(7) Raw + jpeg

7:13 pm - Wednesday, June 27, 2007

#23 Charlie

Fred (post 22), I agree almost entirely. Would prefer a 45mm mid point on the lens. I could also settle for a f3.5/4 if needs be (but a fixed 2.8 would be wonderful!). Cost? If it comes in under £600 then I more than happy. I have a Leica CL with the 28/40/90 lenses and it is the most perfect camera I have ever held/used, but the time is now and that means digital...

7:00 pm - Monday, July 16, 2007

#24 Martin T

I've had my GX100 for 2 months now. It's quite simply the best digital camera I've used. It sits so well in the hand, the controls are just where you want them and it responds quickly. The customisable controls seemed unnecessary at first glance, but they are actually really useful. The 24mm lens is just fantastic. I still use Nikon SLRs for more static work because the biger sensor is an advantage but they don't handle so well, and you can't put them in your pocket. For a compact canmera this is unbeatable.

1:45 pm - Tuesday, January 8, 2008

#25 Phil U

I've just compared the GX-100 with the Casio Exilim EX-Z200.
More control on the Ricoh - the Casio returns to default settings when it's power cycled - irritating.
The Casio seems actually to have slightly more field of view at the widest setting.
The Casio JPEGs have fewer artifacts than the Ricoh, smoother cleaner image, (although I haven't tried RAW on the Ricoh. On balance I don't think the Ricoh is worth the extra £120.

5:33 pm - Thursday, April 17, 2008

#26 dave

ok then phil

1:46 am - Friday, March 6, 2009

#27 Phil U

Dave the world has moved on since I wrote my comment. I creamed my Casio by dropping it. Did some more research and bought the GX-200. I have managed some satisfying shots with it. The shutter is fast and that makes a big difference. And it's stood up to my usual abusive treatment. Dropped it on hard ground, into snow etc. Still working, much sturdier than the Casio. Lots more flexibility and control. So I take it all back.

12:51 pm - Friday, March 6, 2009