Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Digital Photography and other Digital Photography topics.
Ricoh has never been a power player in the camera world. But they've produced some nice cameras over the years. (Perhaps someone remembers the Hi-Color 35 Marine System from the 1970's?)
But Ricoh's latest offering - the GXR - has me scratching my head and asking, "What were they thinking?"
Instead of interchangable lenses - such as on Panasonic's G1 "four-thirds" digital camera - the GR has lens modules that slide in and out of the body. Each module includes a lens, a sensor and a processor in an "airtight" housing.
The one real advantage of this arrangement - no dust problem - makes some sense. But from every other angle, I just don't get this digital camera.
Ricoh makes much of the idea of coupling each lens with an optimum sensor. For instance, the 50mm f/2.5 macro lens comes with an "APS-C" sensor. That's the same size as found on most "prosumer" digital SLR's. So far so good.
But the 24 - 72mm zoom is coupled with a tiny 1/1.7" sensor. With a reported $440 price tag - and that's without the $549 body! - this tiny zoom/tiny sensor combo just doesn't compute. For two-thirds of that price, I could buy a Leica D-Lux 4.
Yes, the GXR has lot's of manual control. And, yes, Ricoh is promising a whole series of lens modules. But Canon, Olympus, Nikon and Sony all offer DSLR's - with a 14 - 42mm or 18 - 55mm lens - priced under $500.
Their compact size gives four-thirds system cameras a selling point that makes them worthy of consideration. But I can't find anything about the GXR that justifies the premium price.