Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm Review

April 24, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Ricoh A16 24-85mm is the latest camera unit for the Ricoh GXR camera system, which combines the lens and sensor into a single interchangeable unit. The new A16 24-85mm module combines a 24-85mm lens f3.5-5.5 with a 9-group, 11-element configuration and a 16 megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor. It simply slides into and out of the front of the GXR body, with virtually all of the features of the camera body available for any of the five units that are now available. The Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm module additionally offers an ISO range of 100-3200, Smooth Imaging Engine IV processor, dynamic range compensation, ISO bracketing, an improved two-axis electronic level gauge and two different manual focusing aids. The Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm camera unit costs £449.99 / $599.

Ease of Use

As the Ricoh GXR body is common to all of the available camera units, virtually all of the comments that we made in our original GXR review apply equally to the new A16 24-85mm camera unit. Rather than repeat them here, you should read the Ricoh GXR review first and then our specific comments about the A16 24-85mm unit below.

With the A16 24-85mm camera unit fitted, the Ricoh GXR weighs 550g and measures 113.9 mm × 74.7 mm × 98.5 mm, including the the battery and memory card. The camera body measures just over 3.5cm in depth, with the lens extending by almost 12cms from the front of the camera unit when set to full telephoto, rather dwarfing the GXR body.

The A16 unit has a 16 APS-C image sensor and a 24-85mm lens f3.5-5.5 zoom lens. This is a unique offering in the Ricoh range and is the third Ricoh camera module to feature the same-sized sensor that the majority of DSLRs use. When the GXR is fitted with this unit, it's automatically in the same league as a DSLR or the other compact or mirrorless cameras that have an APS-C sensor, like the Sony NEX range, Samsung NX cameras and the Pentax K-01. In theory the GXR with the A16 unit should deliver better image quality than the likes of the Micro Four Thirds ranges from Panasonic and Olympus, the Nikon 1 system, and the Pentax Q.

Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm
Front Rear

The 24-85mm lens provides a focal range that is comparable to a lot of DSLR kit zooms, with the maximum apertures of f3.5 at 24mm wide-angle and f5.5 at 85mm telephoto also being very similar. Other than a detachable filter ring, the A16 24-85mm has no controls at all, including zoom and rings, instead relying on the thumb-operated zoom buttons and the camera body's external buttons and LCD screen instead. With the 3.5x lens taking around 3 seconds to zoom from 24mm to 85mm, this makes the operation very slow and much more awkward in comparison to a DSLR standard zoom lens.

The GXR A16 24-85mm is the third Ricoh GXR camera unit to offer HD video recording. There are three movie sizes available - 1280x720, 640x480 and 320x240 pixels - all at 24 frames per second and all saved in the AVI file format, which unfortunately does result in some rather large file sizes. Sound recording is mono only, and there are no advanced features like Windcut or Pause / Restart as seen on other cameras, so Ricoh still have some work to do in this area.

If you don't like composing your photos by holding the camera at arms length and looking at the LCD screen, there's also another way of framing your shots. You can additionally buy the completely removable optical viewfinder, the VF-2, which we'd particularly recommend for the A16 24-85mm camera unit. This slots into the hot-shoe on top of the camera, allowing you to hold the camera up to your eye and instantly giving the GXR the feel of a single-lens reflex camera.

Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm
Side Side

The start-up time from turning the Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm on to being ready to take a photo is fairly responsive at around 2 seconds. Focusing with the 24-85mm camera unit is quite quick in good light, taking around 0.5 second, and the camera happily achieves focus most of the time indoors or in low-light situations. It takes about 0.5 second to store a JPEG image, allowing you to keep shooting as they are being recorded onto the memory card, and there is virtually no LCD blackout between each image.

Shooting in RAW mode is also very quick, with the GXR only taking around 1 second to store a RAW image. In the fastest Continuous mode the camera shoots at 2.5 frames per second but only for 3 RAW images (if noise reduction is turned off), taking a further 5 seconds to record the images before you can take another picture. For JPEGs, in single shot mode image are recorded instantaneously, and in Continuous mode the A16 24-85mm shoots at the same 2.5fps rate as RAW files but for up to 14 images.

Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm
Top Front

The Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm has a number of unique features that other GXR camera units don't offer. In addition to a useful spot focusing mode, clever peaking function during manual focusing which outlines the in-focus areas in colour, and an electronic level for image composition, the A16 has a new Dynamic Range Compensation option. This increases the detail in the shadows and highlights, with three different strengths available.

There are also five new creative scene modes including high contrast black and white, miniaturize and toy camera, the ability to bracket the ISO speed, shoot only in RAW mode with no accompanying JPEG, and display over-saturated areas of the image during playback. Finally, if you continue to half-press the shutter button between shots, the focus, white balance, and exposure values are all maintained, useful for shooting under a constant light source, for example in a studio.

Now that we've discussed the new features that the A16 24-85mm brings to the Ricoh GXR system, let's take a look at its image quality.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of 5Mb.

The Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm produced images of excellent quality during the review period. The performance of the A12 camera unit with its large image sensor is great, with noise not really becoming objectionable until ISO 1600, and even 3200 looking good, easily putting the GXR on a par with entry-level DSLRs. The Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm handled chromatic aberrations very well with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations, although there is noticeable barrel distortion at the 24mm focal length.

The 16 megapixel images were just a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting of Normal and either require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you should increase the built-in sharpening level. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds allowing you to capture enough light for most situations. Macro performance is poor, only allowing you to focus as close as 25cms away from the subject. The GXR A16 24-85mm's small built-in pop-up flash worked well indoors at full power, with no red-eye and good overall exposure, and the ability to fine-tune the power output is very welcome, but unfortunately part of the large camera unit appears throughout the zoom range which makes the flash practically useless.


There are six ISO settings available on the Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm camera unit. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting for both JPEG and RAW files.

A16 24-85mm Camera Unit



ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)


ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)


ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)


ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Rioch A16 24-85mm camera unit has a focal range that's equivalent to 24-85mm in 35mm terms.




Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting of Normal. You can change the in-camera sharpening level to one of the preset levels if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


File Quality

The Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

16M Fine (4.91Mb) (100% Crop) 16M Normal (2.99Mb) (100% Crop)
16M RAW (20.6Mb) (100% Crop)  

Chromatic Aberrations

The Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm handled chromatic aberrations very well during the review, with limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)


The Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 25cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


The flash settings on the Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm are Auto, Red-eye-Reduction, Flash On, Slow Synchro, Manual Flash, and Flash Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m with the 28mm camera unit.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)


Flash Off - Wide Angle (85mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (85mm)

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Red-eye-Reduction settings caused any red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)


The Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds and there's a Bulb option for even longer exposures (up to 180 seconds), which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at ISO 100. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Dynamic Range Compensation

The new Dynamic Range Compensation option increases the detail in the shadows and highlights, with three different strengths available.






Creative Scene Modes

There are five new creative scene modes including high contrast black and white, miniaturize and toy camera.


High Contrast B&W


Soft Focus

Cross Process


Toy Camera


Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm camera, which were all taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm camera unit enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some Ricoh RAW (DNG) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1280x720 at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 26 second movie is 112Mb in size.

Product Images

Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm

Front of the Ricoh A16 24-85mm Camera Unit

Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm

Isometric View

Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm

Isometric View

Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm

Rear of the Ricoh A16 24-85mm Camera Unit

Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm

Front of the Ricoh A16 24-85mm Camera Unit

Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm

Isometric View

Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm

Isometric View

Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm

Top of the Ricoh A16 24-85mm Camera Unit

Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm

Bottom of the Ricoh A16 24-85mm Camera Unit


Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm

Side of the Ricoh A16 24-85mm Camera Unit

Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm

Side of the Ricoh A16 24-85mm Camera Unit

Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm

Front of the Ricoh A16 24-85mm Camera Unit

Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm

Front of the Ricoh A16 24-85mm Camera Unit


The A16 24-85mm camera unit is arguably the first camera unit that Ricoh should have released for their fledgeling GXR system, given that it closely replicates the focal range and maximum apertures of many DSLR and compact system camera kit lenses.

It delivers excellent image quality with an eminently usable ISO range of 100-3200 and some interesting new features to boot, but the usual GXR problem of an eye-watering price tag along with a lack of physical zoom and focus rings, significant barrel distortion at wide-angle focal lengths, and a rather chunky design prevents us from recommending it more highly.

Image quality is where the A16 24-85mm scores most highly, with the large APS-C sensor delivering great image quality all the way up to ISO 1600, with the fastest setting of ISO 3200 also usable. It also enables shallow depth of field effects with nice bokeh thanks to the nine rounded aperture blades. The ability to shoot just in the Adobe DNG RAW format is also very welcome.

While the A16 24-85mm and GXR body make a great combination from an image quality point of view, Ricoh's eye-watering asking price is less so in these economically challenging times. The £479.99 / $599 cost of the A16 module is a lot more than a standard kit lens from Canon or Nikon, and with the GXR body currently retailing for around £250 / $350, this is definitely one expensive kit lens and APS-C combination.

If you've been yearning for a more general purpose lens for your GXR system, then the new A16 24-85mm will certainly meet your needs. Despite delivering great photos, we don't feel that it will attract too many new users to GXR though, being particularly hampered by not having zoom or focus rings and that sky-high price-tag. Ricoh wanted this camera unit to widen the appeal of the GXR system, but ultimately we feel that it makes more sense if you've already bought into Ricoh's take on the compact system camera.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3.5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 3.5
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 3.5


Effective pixels Approximately 16.20 million
Image sensor 23.6 mm × 15.7 mm ?MOS sensor (total pixels: approx. 16.50 million pixels)
Lens Focal length f=15.7?55.5 mm (35 mm camera equivalent: 24-85 mm)
f/3.5 – f/5.5
Focus range Approx. 25 cm - infinity (from the front of the lens)
Construction 11 elements in 9 groups (3 aspherical lens elements with 6 surfaces)
Filter diameter 55mm
Zoom Optical zoom: 3.5x
Digital zoom: 4.0x (3.6x for movies)
Auto resize zoom: Approx. 6.8x (VGA)
Focus Modes Contrast AF-based multi and spot AF; MF; Snap; infinity (focus lock and AF-assist)
Shutter speed Photographs 1/3200 - 180 s , bulb, time (upper and lower limits vary according to shooting and flash mode)
Movies 1/2000 – 1/30 s
Exposure control Metering TTL metering in multi (256-segment), center-weighted, and spot metering (TTL metering with auto exposure lock)
Mode Program AE, aperture priority AE, manual exposure, shutter priority AE, target-move function
Exposure compensation Manual (-4.0 EV to +4.0 EV in increments of 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV), auto bracketing (-2.0 EV to +2.0 EV in increments of 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV)
ISO sensitivity
(Standard Output Sensitivity)
AUTO, AUTO-HI, ISO-LO, ISO200, ISO250, ISO320, ISO400, ISO500, ISO640, ISO800, ISO1000, ISO1250, ISO1600, ISO2000, ISO2500, ISO3200
White balance Auto / Multi-P AUTO / Outdoors / Cloudy / Incandescent Lamp 1 / Incandescent Lamp 2 / Fluorescent Lamp / Manual Settings / Detail; white balance bracketing
Flash (when GF-1 is used) Method TTL, manual, external auto
Flash mode Anti Red-eye, Flash On, Flash Synchro, Manual
Firing timing 1st/2nd curtain sync
Shooting mode Auto / program shift / aperture priority / shutter priority / manual exposure /scene (movie, portrait, sports, landscape, nightscape, skew correction, miniaturize, high contrast B&W, soft focus, cross process, toy camera) / “My Settings”
Continuous mode Number of pictures shot
in Continuous (Picture Size: RAW)
Noise Reduction off: 3 pictures
Noise Reduction on: 2 pictures
Number of pictures shot
in M-Cont Plus (1 set)
HI (1280 × 856): 30 pictures (30 frames/sec.)
LO (4928 × 3264): 14 pictures (2.5 frames/sec.)
Picture quality*1 FINE, NORMAL, RAW (DNG)*2
Image size (pixels) Photographs 16:9 4928×2768, 3456×1944
4:3 4352×3264, 3072×2304, 2592×1944, 2048×1536, 1280×960, 640×480
3:2 4928×3264, 3456×2304
1:1 3264×3264, 2304×2304
Movies 1280×720, 640×480, 320×240
File size (approx.) RAW 16:9 NORMAL: 23,445 KB/frame, FINE: 25,703 KB/frame, VGA: 20,508 KB/frame, RAW only: 20,332 KB/frame
4:3 NORMAL: 24,443 KB/frame, FINE: 26,795 KB/frame, VGA: 21,405 KB/frame, RAW only: 21,181 KB/frame
3:2 NORMAL: 27,603 KB/frame, FINE: 30,265 KB/frame, VGA: 24,139K KB/frame RAW only: 23,937 KB/frame
1:1 NORMAL: 18,383 KB/frame, FINE: 20,147 KB/frame, VGA: 16,105 KB/frame RAW only: 15,929 KB/frame
L 16:9 NORMAL: 2,901 KB/frame, FINE: 4,999 KB/frame
4:3 NORMAL: 3,041 KB/frame, FINE: 5,226 KB/frame
3:2 NORMAL: 3,415 KB/frame, FINE: 5,889 KB/frame
1:1 NORMAL: 2,288 KB/frame, FINE: 3,927 KB/frame
M 16:9 NORMAL: 1,481 KB/frame, FINE: 2,514 KB/frame
4:3 NORMAL: 1,579 KB/frame, FINE: 2,668 KB/frame
3:2 NORMAL: 1,749 KB/frame, FINE: 2,974 KB/frame
1:1 NORMAL: 1,192 KB/frame, FINE: 2,008 KB/frame
5M 4:3 FINE: 2,293 KB/frame
3M 4:3 FINE: 1,479 KB/frame
1M 4:3 FINE: 818 KB/frame
VGA 4:3 FINE: 202 KB/frame
Battery life Based on CIPA standard, DB-90: approx. 400 shots*3
Dimensions (W × H × D) Camera unit only: 71.4 mm × 70.5 mm × 93.3 mm
(according to CIPA guidelines)
When mounted on the GXR body: 113.9 mm × 74.7 mm × 98.5 mm
(according to CIPA guidelines)
Weight (approx.) Camera unit only? Approx. 350 g
When mounted on camera body: Approx. 550 g ?battery and SD memory card included?
Operating temperature 0 °C to 40 °C
Operating humidity 90% or less
Storage temperature –20 °C to 60 °C

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