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  • Ricoh's 'different' approach to Micro Four Thirds



    A Ricoh alternative to Micro Four Thirds has been mooted for some time and today it was launched; the Ricoh GXR system. I was at the UK press launch earlier today and I have produced a report here:

    http://dpnow.com/6532.html

    It's certainly unusual! But there are some themes that look familiar, like the hot-shoe EVF, and the basic size.

    But lens modules with different sensors built in - now that's going to take some getting used to!

    In the photo gallery in the report there are a couple of shots of the GXR side by side with my E-P1 (in fact all the shots apart from those were taken with my E-P1 in very poor lighting conditions at ISO 800 (though many were boosted by over 100% in Lightroom as I got the exposure wrong! "

    I'd be interested to hear what folks think of the GXR concept.

    Ian
    Founder/editor
    Four Thirds User (http://fourthirds-user.com)
    Digital Photography Now (http://dpnow.com)
    Olympus UK E-System User Group (http://e-group.uk.net)
    Olympus camera, lens, and accessory hire (http://e-group.uk.net/hire)
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
    Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
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  • #2
    Re: Ricoh's 'different' approach to Micro Four Thirds

    I think it looks ugly, and has none of the benefits of mFT of using legacy (or indeed any different) lenses. Its saving grace has to be image quality. If it doesn't score there, I think it will sink without trace.

    Andy
    Olympus E-M1 ZD 7-14 f4, 300 f2.8, PL 25 f1.4D
    mZuiko 12-40 f2.8 Pro, 60 f2.8, 40-150 f2.8 Pro
    EC-14, EC-20, HLD-7
    Metz 58 AF-1&2 , Manfrotto 441, Gimbal Head, Velbon Neopod 74


    Gallery: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/elliott.aje.andy

    Website: 361photography.com 361wild.com

    "Oly_OM" @ e_group

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    • #3
      Re: Ricoh's 'different' approach to Micro Four Thirds

      WOW! Brave design. I like it.

      Now what they need is an add on flash WITH the electronic viewfinder built-in.

      Question:
      I wonder what is a lens/sensor cost ratio in digital cameras. Just to get a general idea for this Ricoh approach.
      GF1 / E-5 / TM900

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Ricoh's 'different' approach to Micro Four Thirds

        Interesting idea, not sure it's something I'd be interested in though. The m4/3 cameras have one huge selling point and that is they open the possibility of using more or less any lens on a small body, whereas this basically blocks out any options except for Ricohs own. If there are image quality benefits, then I'm sure there will be people who will buy into a two/three lens set up as good compact system.
        http://adrianfrearson.smugmug.com

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        • #5
          Re: Ricoh's 'different' approach to Micro Four Thirds

          Originally posted by Ian View Post


          A Ricoh alternative to Micro Four Thirds has been mooted for some time and today it was launched; the Ricoh GXR system. I was at the UK press launch earlier today and I have produced a report here:

          http://dpnow.com/6532.html

          It's certainly unusual! But there are some themes that look familiar, like the hot-shoe EVF, and the basic size.

          But lens modules with different sensors built in - now that's going to take some getting used to!

          In the photo gallery in the report there are a couple of shots of the GXR side by side with my E-P1 (in fact all the shots apart from those were taken with my E-P1 in very poor lighting conditions at ISO 800 (though many were boosted by over 100% in Lightroom as I got the exposure wrong! "

          I'd be interested to hear what folks think of the GXR concept.

          Ian
          http://www.fourthirds-user.com/forum...ead.php?t=5661
          enjoy

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Ricoh's 'different' approach to Micro Four Thirds

            Definitely a bold approach! I applaud Ricoh for taking a risk and doing something different and new.

            I see both advantages and disadvantages to the design. On the plus side, it gives Ricoh the opportunity to optimize the sensor/lens combination for each lens. This may not seem to make much difference at the outset, but who knows what they might come up with in the future? The possibility of other modules (like the projector that Ian mentioned) are also intriguing. And as sensors improve, new modules can be created, with optimized lenses, to take advantage of the newest technology.

            As for disadvantages, the modules are obviously much larger and bulkier than an interchangeable lens alone, so you lose some of the size advantage of a compact system. Cost will be higher since you have to duplicate the sensor along with each lens. And it remains to be seen just how much of an upgrade path is available in the future--if you incorporate a sensor with more MP, the interface and memory system of the camera (the memory card appears to be on the camera side) won't be able to keep up.

            It will be very interesting to see how this camera does in the market, to whom it appeals, etc.

            - Hal -
            A Still Mind - Photography, Music, Meditation, Ministry - www.astillmind.net
            Olympus E-M5; Panasonic-Leica DG Summilux 25mm; Zuiko 12-60 SWD, 50-200 SWD; Sigma 105 Macro; Rokinon (Samyang) 7.5mm fisheye; Olympus 8/1.8 PRO fisheye; FL-50R; Giottos MT-8361 tripod with Gitzo GH2780QR ballhead.

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            • #7
              Re: Ricoh's 'different' approach to Micro Four Thirds

              Great to see manfacturers are thinking of new designs to offer users.

              This is a bold move and I hope Ricoh gain a little more market penetration, but not at the expense of Olympus of course.

              Regards. Barr1e

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Ricoh's 'different' approach to Micro Four Thirds

                I would have thought that someone should have gone all the way...........

                Mount the lens like a regular interchangeable one on a bayonet sensor. There is no need to worry about short term obsolescence. Give the buyers a choice of sensors and lenses. The LCD is, at 920,000 or so, one of the highest resolution. You get a Sony or Foveon sensor.

                I own a Ricoh GX100. I love it. It is the smallest camera that feels "good" in my hands. I applaud Ricoh for going out on a limb. I just think they should have gone further.

                Randy

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                • #9
                  Re: Ricoh's 'different' approach to Micro Four Thirds

                  I think it may become a tough competitor for the PEN with more advanced amateurs, not for the general entry level shooters.

                  The concept of having a tailor made lens and sensor combo sounds nice and depending on the implementation it could get the gear heads interested. A sensor without AA and Leica type micro prism technology to reach perfect distortion free images and with minimal light fall off at the edges ..

                  A GR II already seemed to be a pleasure to handle & is unobtrusive.

                  Some call it expensive but if the 50mm reaches Panleica 25mm f1.4 performance you could consider it cheap as you get the body & matching Nikon D300 type sensor & sensitivity free and it would allow a simular experience (maybe..)

                  I think it can work. But I also think it will be popular only in a smaller but dedicated segment.

                  Martin

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Ricoh's 'different' approach to Micro Four Thirds

                    It seems a rather inelegant solution with obvious disadvantages.

                    The big issue, though, is it proves that it is possible to have user replacable sensors in digital cameras. Imagine what an advantage it would give Olympus if they "future proofed" the eventual E3 replacement in this way!
                    View my ebook, The Light Fantastic, at: http://store.blurb.co.uk/ebooks/3026...ight-fantastic

                    John

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Ricoh's 'different' approach to Micro Four Thirds

                      Just the idea of changing out the sensor module is a radical move, if you add a bayonet mount to the sensor module we would have a really new approach. It's the first innovation in this direction and could hold a lot of promise for a true modular system. I have to commend Ricoh for their offering of a new approach. Who knows where this will lead.

                      Bill
                      E510, 14-42,14-54, 50-200, EC1.4, FL36R

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Ricoh's 'different' approach to Micro Four Thirds

                        Originally posted by Byll View Post
                        Just the idea of changing out the sensor module is a radical move, if you add a bayonet mount to the sensor module we would have a really new approach. It's the first innovation in this direction and could hold a lot of promise for a true modular system. I have to commend Ricoh for their offering of a new approach. Who knows where this will lead.

                        Bill
                        Just to clarify, the sensor is not independent of the lens. If you want to upgrade the sensor in the future, you will need to buy a whole new lens and sensor camera module.

                        Ian
                        Founder/editor
                        Four Thirds User (http://fourthirds-user.com)
                        Digital Photography Now (http://dpnow.com)
                        Olympus UK E-System User Group (http://e-group.uk.net)
                        Olympus camera, lens, and accessory hire (http://e-group.uk.net/hire)
                        Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
                        Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
                        Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ianburley/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Ricoh's 'different' approach to Micro Four Thirds

                          Originally posted by click-click View Post
                          WOW! Brave design. I like it.

                          Now what they need is an add on flash WITH the electronic viewfinder built-in.

                          Question:
                          I wonder what is a lens/sensor cost ratio in digital cameras. Just to get a general idea for this Ricoh approach.
                          The 1/1.7 inch CCD sensor in the compact zoom module is very inexpensive. The APS-C CMOS sensor in the 33mm Macro lens module is much more expensive as it's 8.5 times larger in surface area. As the cost of semiconductor chips rises exponentially with size, the APS-C sensor is going to be substantially more than 8.5 times more expensive than the smaller sensor.

                          Ian
                          Founder/editor
                          Four Thirds User (http://fourthirds-user.com)
                          Digital Photography Now (http://dpnow.com)
                          Olympus UK E-System User Group (http://e-group.uk.net)
                          Olympus camera, lens, and accessory hire (http://e-group.uk.net/hire)
                          Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
                          Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
                          Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ianburley/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Ricoh's 'different' approach to Micro Four Thirds

                            Originally posted by rbrissey View Post
                            I would have thought that someone should have gone all the way...........

                            Mount the lens like a regular interchangeable one on a bayonet sensor. There is no need to worry about short term obsolescence. Give the buyers a choice of sensors and lenses. The LCD is, at 920,000 or so, one of the highest resolution. You get a Sony or Foveon sensor.

                            I own a Ricoh GX100. I love it. It is the smallest camera that feels "good" in my hands. I applaud Ricoh for going out on a limb. I just think they should have gone further.

                            Randy
                            I used a GX200 lent to me so I could take some shots of the GXR next to my E-P1 for comparison purposes. I have to say the image quality was shocking - sooo grainy! Even though I used flash and was only 3-4 feet away from the subjects, ISO 238 was selected by the camera. It looked like ISO 3200 on the E-P1.

                            Ian
                            Founder/editor
                            Four Thirds User (http://fourthirds-user.com)
                            Digital Photography Now (http://dpnow.com)
                            Olympus UK E-System User Group (http://e-group.uk.net)
                            Olympus camera, lens, and accessory hire (http://e-group.uk.net/hire)
                            Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
                            Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
                            Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ianburley/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Ricoh's 'different' approach to Micro Four Thirds

                              Originally posted by John Perriment View Post
                              It seems a rather inelegant solution with obvious disadvantages.

                              The big issue, though, is it proves that it is possible to have user replacable sensors in digital cameras. Imagine what an advantage it would give Olympus if they "future proofed" the eventual E3 replacement in this way!
                              John,

                              Just a quick comment. There is more to this than just the sensor. A more modern sensor typically comes along with a higher data rate (e.g. higher pixel count, increased bit-depth). For the camera to remain balanced, that requires more buffer memory, faster data processing and in particular data transport inside the camera and onto the memory card. So here I have listed everything, which is typical "computer stuff" inside a modern camera, which needs upgrading in line with the sensor - which leaves essentially only the mirror and shutter mechanics unchanged. It makes sense to me that (apart from Ricoh) nobody went down that route.

                              Part of that is, what really questions in me, why is it worthwhile to keep that Ricoh body when upgrading the sensor. It will not be able to handle the data traffic coming from lens modules in 4 years time and that 3 inch 960 kdot LCD will also be long in the tooth (I expect visibility in bright sun shine to be a key issue).

                              To that point, if I compare my E-300 and E-P1, I can see the improvement. The E-300 (5 years old) took benefit from memory cards writing 20 MB/s (Sandisk Extreme III), which was in line with top Canon bodies then, but it only does 4 images. The E-P1 easily tops this and feels so much more responsive. It feels more responsive if I use a 30MB/s Sandisk Extreme card (latest lot) instead of a 20MB/s Sandisk Extreme III, though I still need to do formal testing here.
                              enjoy

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