Ricoh GXR system review
January 23, 2010
Price as Reviewed:£750.00
Unconventional and completely new, the Ricoh GXR camera system may change the way we think about the relationship between cameras and sensors. Richard Sibley examines the new system
Like the Micro Four Thirds-format cameras, the absence of a reflex mechanism in the Ricoh GXR means that it is reliant on using a contrast-detection autofocus system. While this method isn’t as fast as phase-detection AF systems found in DSLRs, these days it is good enough for most types of photography.
With contrast-detection AF, it is unrealistic to expect to take images of fast-moving subjects with the GXR, although with only a standard zoom and a fixed 50mm equivalent lens available these types of images aren’t what Ricoh had in mind when it designed the camera. It is safe to say that the GXR is best suited to the landscape, documentary and travel photographer in much the same way as a rangefinder camera.
With this in mind, the Ricoh cameras have one particularly useful AF mode: Snap AF. This locks the focus point to a user-definable distance between one and five metres, or infinity. With the AF distance locked to a set point, it becomes far quicker to use the camera to point and shoot, making it ideal for candid street photography. It is obviously advisable to set a reasonably small aperture when in this mode to maximise depth of field.
Other focusing modes include the more general Multi-Point focusing and Spot focusing. The latter allows you to specify an AF point to use.
Sadly, though, this is not simply a case of holding a button down and using the directional control button on the rear of the camera. Instead, you must press the ADJ button select to change the focus point, then use the directional control to change the position of the point, before going back to the main shooting screen to take your image. Should you wish to move it to another position you must go through the process again. Anyone used to changing the AF point on an enthusiast DSLR will find the process quite tiresome.
Manual focusing is also a feature of the Ricoh GXR. Once switched to this mode, the Macro button must be held down while the front control dial is then used to focus back and forth. Sadly, there is no option to show a magnified view on the rear screen, although the screen is of a high-enough resolution that accurate manual focusing is possible.
- White Balance: Auto, Multi Point Auto, 4 presets, plus custom and manual settings
- Shutter Type: Electronically controlled focal-plane
- Built-in Flash: Yes
- Memory Card: SD/SDHC
- AF Points: 256 point auto or manually selectable points
- Viewfinder Type: Manual, single shot AF, Multi, Snap
- Output Size: A12: 4288x2848 pixels. S10: 3648x2736 pixels
- LCD: Fixed 3in LCD with 920,000 dots
- White Balance Bracket: Yes
- Max Flash Sync: 1/250sec
- Sensor: A12: APS-C-size CMOS with 12.3 million effective pixels. S10: Compact camera-size 1/1.7in CCD with 10 million effective pixels
- Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
- Drive Mode: A12: Single, continuous (4fps for raw files, or 3fps for raw with noise reduction on, or unlimited JPEG files), self-timer, interval timer. S10: Single, continuous (5fps for raw files, or 4fps for raw with noise reduction on, or unlimited JPEG files), self-timer, interval timer
- Shutter Speeds: A12: 180-1/3200sec in 1⁄3 steps. S10: 180-1/2000sec in 1⁄3 steps
- Exposure Modes: PASM, plus 2 custom modes, 6 scene modes
- Weight: A12: 265g (423g on GXR body). S10: 161g (325g on GXR body)
- File Format: Adobe DNG raw, JPEG, raw + JPEG simultaneously
- Power: DB-90 rechargeable Li-Ion battery
- RRP: A12: £599.99 (excluding GXR body £419.99) S10: £329.99 (excluding GXR body £419.99)
- ISO: 200-3200 in 1/3EV or 1EV steps
- DoF Preview: No
- Focusing Modes: Manual, single shot AF, Multi, Snap
- Dimensions: A12: 113.9x70.2x77.1mm on GXR body. S10: 113.9x70.2x44.4mm on GXR body
- Metering System: A12: 256 segment multi-zone, centreweighted, spot. S10: 256 segment multi-zone, centreweighted, spot
- Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed/HDMI
- Compression: A12: Two-stage JPEG (Normal, Fine)
- Exposure Comp: A12: ±4EV in 1⁄3 EV steps. S10: ±4EV in 1⁄3 EV steps