Ricoh GXR Review

December 14, 2009 | Mark Goldstein | |

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#1 John Griffith

It seems that in the list of competitors you left out the main competitor, the Leica X1.  The IQ of the images posted do not appear to be as good as some I have seen earlier.

5:17 pm - Monday, December 14, 2009

#2 Enche Tjin

Thanks for the early review. About competitor, it is actually pretty hard to find the “exact” competitor for GXR, because it could change into different kind of camera each time u plug different module into it.

Each module will have different competitors. For example the zoom module will compete with Panasonic LX3, Canon S90, etc.

and the 50mm macro will compete with Panasonic GF1, a DSLR with macro, plus Sigma DP2

5:38 pm - Monday, December 14, 2009

#3 John Griffith

What you are saying is correct and I should have limited it to the A12 module where I think its main competition will be the Leica X1 with the same APSC sensor and a 35mm lens.  One big question is how the lenses compare.

I, like many others are debating between these two cameras.  Both are high priced so it will come down to IQ for images and lens.

5:43 pm - Monday, December 14, 2009

#4 Josh Stevens

Re Leica: Does anyone really know that camera yet? When it’s reviewed, they can add it as a rival.

This review is good and it’s nice to see Ricoh finally putting out a camera with decent high ISO performance.
But really, who is going to pay the asking price for this system?
Think about it…the GX200 is about £300 and the GXR equivalent is more than double that! Are you *really* getting double the IQ, etc? I don’t think so.
It seemed that Ricoh did not listen at all to what their long suffering, yet loyal followers wanted. Sadly, I think this system will hurt Ricoh very much, at least outside Japan.
Even at half the price, it’s still unjustifiably expensive.

6:15 pm - Monday, December 14, 2009

#5 shep

“even tinier than…micro four thirds cameras”. Well, I’m not so sure about that. By the time you add the extra bulk of several large-size interchangeable lenses to use in the field, I think it will be bulkier than m4/3 by quite a bit.

8:26 pm - Monday, December 14, 2009

#6 moi

if you call this great image quality, you need new glasses. It’s truly horrible!

8:35 pm - Monday, December 14, 2009

#7 Nei1

A reasonable review coupled with your now famous terrible photographs.Difficult to understand .

9:43 pm - Monday, December 14, 2009

#8 GXR

GXR + A12 = the best compact camera !


10:11 pm - Monday, December 14, 2009

#9 Gianni Galassi

The fact that it’s hard to find the “exact” competitor for this camera proves thet Ricoh did the right job. I’m not planning to buy one (yet) as I just switched from Nikon DX towards M4/3, but seeing manufacturers leave behind themselves the traditional path of the film-era digitized old boxes is definitely good news.

10:17 pm - Monday, December 14, 2009

#10 Enche Tjin

About the dull images, i believe that it is because it is winter time, lot of overcast day.

But if you hand these camera to Gianni (above) I am sure the images will be terrific.

Camera is just a tool, the most important is the man behind the tool.

1:02 am - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#11 Ray

Solution in search of a problem. I can get better image quality/flexibility with an SLR, I can get more compactness with a m43 system (as pointed out, the initial size notwithstanding, this system gets space inefficient really quickly). And good God, the price. And there’s noting Ricoh can really do about the module price because they’re selling you a sensor each time. If they’d split it up; chassis>sensor module>lens; then it would have been brilliant. It would truly have allowed fine tuning the system; slap in a high res sensor with crazy dynamic range and a wide angle lens for landscape, a high ISO B&W sensor and fast normal for candids. As is, you’re going to end up paying a mint for something that’s always going to be a compromise.

1:10 am - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#12 John Griffith

I have a m4/3rds system (The GF1)  I have also owned the E-P1 and the G1.  While the IQ from m4/3rds is a big step up from the P&S world it still isn’t a match for APS-C or larger.  Therefore, I have been looking for at least APS-C in a small body.  Full frame would be better yet.  The challenge as sensor size increases is keeping lenses small.  Yet in the old film days they managed to do it.  Granted they did not have the issue with film of light sensitivity falling off at the edges due to angle of incidence but it would seem that this could be overcome by either developing a curved sensor or micro prism as Leica and Kodak have done with the M9.

Even M lenses are too large and we need pancake style lenses that could do the job.

Can you specify what raw converter you used to process your images?  What I have seen with C1 v5 is that it goes overboard on noise reduction leading to a water color effect and LR beta 3 doesn’t go far enough thus leaving quite a bit of noise in the image.  In this price range and with only so-so AF they really have to nail IQ or the product will fail because people like me won’t buy it.  Leica has the same predicament with the X1.  In Sean Reid’s review he states that the image IQ is the best he has seen in a small camera.  Of course this begs the question because the real issue is how does it compare to DSLRs in the same price range.  He does state that it is better than some DSLRs costing more.  Unfortunately he does not make images available for down load and comparison.  While I highly value Sean’s opinion, for this amount of money I want to see it for myself.

2:20 am - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#13 Sedentary

GXR body @ $550 is comparable to the similar Panasonic GF1 and a Panasonic 45mm macro lens will cost you $899 - only $550 for the A12 with a 40% bigger sensor. It would be interesting to find out the list price of the GF1 body only to conclude this price comparison.

3:15 am - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#14 valentines day gift ideas

I like the direction this system is going. As long as the body is solid, I wouldn’t have to worry about buying a new camera every couple years to keep up with technology. Although, I would like to see the price go down, seeing as similar point and shoots are the price of the body alone.

6:22 am - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#15 GRX

NO !

45 mm on the GF1 = eq 9O mm

ON the GXR, it is a 33 mm eq 50 mm!

7:42 am - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#16 latop ram

Until the micro four thirds can make pocket sized camera’s, there really isn’t any point in them. You can get a fully sized DSLR, compatible with a range of lenses, for the same price or cheaper. And this just seems like they’re targeting a market that isn’t there.

8:00 am - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#17 mudman

Thanks for the review. I had a chance to play with it in Japan last week. I admit the sliding mechanism is good. But the auto focus is really slow, really really really slow, I can’t tell you how slow it was. Looking at the GXR trying to find the focus point is like witnessing plate tectonics movement, the zoom lens is a tiny bit faster, just a tiny bit. it is absolutely rubbish.

8:34 am - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#18 David Wilson

It’s the price that will kill this. Canon S90 + Canon EOS500D plus change for the price of the main Ricoh unit plus both lens/sensor units? If you want a small size/small sensor camera, use the S90. If you want APS-C performance and the option of interchangeable lenses, use the 500D. This smacks of a final throw of the dice from a small player.

11:47 am - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#19 Antosh G

As it happens I played with a GXR yesterday. For anyone in London, the shop with all the Ricohs in the window on Tottenham Court Road has one on demo, and claims they’ll be getting stock next week.

It’s nicely built, but to me felt like a high-end compact with a large lens attached (I mostly used the A12 module). Years ago I tried a Ricoh GR1 film compact, and this very clearly shares its lineage. To me the controls felt a little plasticky and cramped, although loads of people love GR handling so I’m sure it’s very personal.

The main problem was the focusing. It seemed to hunt quite a bit, and strangely often seemed to insist on going through the full range before settling again (instantly) in the middle. In macro mode it had even more trouble, and rarely found a lock. It’s certainly no competition for the GF1’s focusing. The non-macro is probably fairly similar to the E-P1 from my memory of that, although possibly a little slower.

I also tried it in my coat pocket (with the A12), and it was *just* on the wrong side of fitting comfortably, whereas the GF1 just does so, even with a UV filter fitted.

Full disclosure: I have a GF1 / 20mm :-)

12:47 pm - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#20 John Griffith

I know there are folks tat say the AF speed doesn’t matter but tell that to the Olympus folks as they watched their sales of the E-P1 plummet do to complaints about AF speed once the GF1 came out.  According to Sean Reid’s information he gleaned from Leica the problem with AF speed has to do with the sensor maximum frame rate.  The GF1 has a frame rate of 60 fps whereas the CMOS APS-C sensor used by Leica and Ricoh has a max frame rate of 30 fps.  The only flaw I see in the argument is that Olympus uses the same sensor Panasonic uses and can’t match the Pannys for speed so there has to be more to it.

I have one of these on order but unless the IQ is really superior to the GF1 and the AF speed is acceptable I will send it back.  Other than some improvement in the user interface IQ is the only advantage it has over the m4/3 format since the lens multiplier only applies to legacy glass and Ricoh can’t use any legacy glass.

1:53 pm - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#21 Electricpics

Er, what exactly is the point of this new “system”? I think it’s innovative but answering a question no-one’s asked, or was ever going to ask.

7:50 pm - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#22 Mr Bungle

I’m a very happy GX100 owner for like 3 years - I love that camera, its so compact can generate great photos & I have 19 and fisheyes for it too. I was really waiting for the GX300, since I didnt want to trade up to the GX200 which suffers from the pixel count madness. But the GXR whilst interesting, I see no benefit over my GX100 now, its not worth me ‘upgrading’. I love 24 mm, so I’m not interesting in that APC longer focal length fixed lens sadly (maybe if they had a fixed 24 mm equivilent??) So sadly I’m going to keep the trust GX100 go-anywhere/anytime camera, and collect a Pentax K-7 for the portability with killer fixed super wide lens - nice n small!

10:40 pm - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#23 rob

The idea of including different sensor with each lens is just pure and simple madness.

After the lens, the sensor is the most expensive part in any digital camera. This is going to kill not only this particular line of cameras, but quite possibly, entire Ricoh company (at least their camera-making division).

11:57 pm - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#24 Mark

I doubt that Ricoh camera division will die because of the GXR. The GRD will continue to be a good seller.
About the samples in this review. They are probably default JPEG settings and taken in grey, miserable British November weather. I doubt these conditions would make any camera look good (except maybe in B&W). Maybe Ricoh should release future cameras at a more ‘picture friendly’ time of year.

12:09 pm - Wednesday, December 16, 2009

#25 Christian

Since 10 years I am using a Sony Cybershot (and before that I was using a Nikon F3) and was looking now for a replacement. I realized that it should be as small as possible and also intuitve to use as a photographer. By the way I was very anoid by the interface of the Cybershot.

I am not a professional photographer, I am an architect, but I need to make pictures on the one hand on travel (camera should be small) on the other hand in very good quality (big sensor).
GX100/ 200 would habe been one choice, but the GRX seems to perfectly match both needs, since I don’t have to run two camera systems also mentally.

And I like to support the idea of an entirely new system that questions the traditional relation between sensor (film) and lenses. And if sensors keep getting cheaper like processors do, why not combining lenses and sensors into one exchangeable system?

10:35 pm - Thursday, December 17, 2009

#26 PPL

This product is excellent! But a wide angle APS-C is necessary for the sustainability of the system.

Best regards.

8:20 pm - Saturday, December 19, 2009

#27 JR

I had a conversation with someone at one of the two distributors in the USA. He couldn’t understand Ricoh’s pricing. I agree. The body has so few parts in it….yet they charge as much as a G11 costs. The small sensored zoom costs how much? If Ricoh could not come up with more enticing lens units at introduction, nor did they even promise to follow up with lens unit A or B soon…a description at least to say they are coming….why would anyone spend their money on a system that has so little available that is enticing and with no indication of a planned promised future or a DOA….
Look at what Oly and Panny have at the micro 4/3rds introduction and look at what they promise is coming shortly….You know…

12:49 am - Sunday, December 20, 2009

#28 Jeff

Ricoh think they are the new Leica.

8:37 pm - Sunday, December 20, 2009

#29 JR

If they don’t wake up fast, Ricoh will be the ‘new’ Minolta and Konica…...
They are delusional…..

1:39 am - Monday, December 21, 2009

#30 Phileas Fogg

I think that one thing Ricoh have got sadly wrong is the price of the body alone. Something like £100 when bought with a camera unit would make a lot more financial sense.

I also feel that the zoom camera unit has been somewhat misjudged. Yes the GX200 is a respected camera, but why rebuild it as a unit for the GXR. The other unit is nice, but the main thrust should have been in developing a standard zoom unit with an APS-C sensor to compete with entry level DSLRs and a wide angle (say 28mm equivalent) unit with a n APS-C sensor to attract the GRD market.

Oh and for you Micro 4/3 adherents, please crawl back into your shells. That little sensor will never ever compete for quality with an APS-C sensor. When buying my latest DSLR I spent some time looking at the 4/3 system and was sadly disappointed by what that sized sensor was capable of when compared to the APS-C competition. Yes it’s a step up from the sensor in an apparently serious compact like a G11, but please don’t confuse it with a serious camera.

And on that search for a camera I did consider the GXR, but no demo units were available at the time and the range of available camera units put me off.

@JR - you mean they are likely to get bought out by Sony who will make a success of the cameras without really changing anything? That’s what happened to Konica Minolta.

1:35 pm - Wednesday, January 20, 2010

#31 Ben

One thing that most people and I think Ricoh missed is that the RAW image processor, VR, auto focus, and sensor is on a module. The body does JPEG compression and menu control. This is fantastic, screw the dust part. I totally disagree with wanting a new interface when I upgrade. I can have a compact camera and years down the road (I say years hoping but judging from the build quality it would be) that I can upgrade the sensor, better VR and not have to relearn the camera. That is the worse part about a new camera is figuring out how the d@#! thing works! Once you get over the initial investment and assuming the grips lasts a new high end camera 3 years from now only 3-4 hundred bucks as opposed to 600, I am sold.

1:18 pm - Friday, September 10, 2010

#32 Himbo

Thanks for review. In 2011 most review comments about the high price of this camera are outdated to the point that I finally bought one of these with s10 and 28mm lenses.
I have to say this is one of the most pleasant to use cameras I have ever laid my hands on. The interface and solid feel are great and its just a joy to use. This was probably the main factor in my decision to buy it. The image quality? Reviews have said its not as good as others? Do I care?, not really, its good enough and Ive not felt let down in that department. Besides there is a lot more to image quality than pixel sharpness, what about whats actually in the picture?. There are too many camera nerds taking technically perfect but boring pictures of nothing if you ask me. The point is you take your photos in the real world not in a laboratory and for me provided there are no glaring problems with the picture quality it is the interface which allows me to capture what I want fluidly and with minimal distraction. Once you have the GXR in your hands you will come to appreciate all the thoughtful little touches and elegant design. The best thing I can say about this camera is to repeat what many have said and that is it just gets out of the way and lets you get on with capturing what you see.

1:57 am - Saturday, May 14, 2011

#33 lisa

I just handled one of these at ICP opening photographer had one. I loved that big 3” screen..gorgeous.. I was told it has a very large sensor more than any other compact and the photog demonstrated the ease of removing the lens. He said the 28 millimeter was the best choice after the zoom which he said he didnt like zooms I do. Love them.. He loves this camera for street photos..It felt great in hand..Said it had a leaf shutter and was silent shutter. If it is true that it takes a long time to focus that isnt great at all if true. He said the sensor is in the lens. Said this was superior for a reason I dont understand. I liked the camera so much and what I saw on LCD that I wanted to buy one immediately.I still love film cameras however. Something very enticing about the look and feel of the camera and image on the LCD that was superb. I wish I could test run one before buying. I do not think the price is that bad but with the 28 lens it could go up to about 900.00 US dollars.

7:46 am - Sunday, May 22, 2011

#34 robert cook

Wow , very creative camera. I hope the lens sensor combo’s keep coming.

2:42 am - Thursday, August 30, 2012

#35 ANDY


12:12 am - Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Entry Tags

review, 3 inch LCD, compact, 12 megapixel, DSLR, 10 megapixel, 50mm, APS-C, ricoh, 3x zoom, gxr, Ricoh GXR Review, 24-72mm