Ricoh GXR with Swap-Me Lens & Sensor!

The Ricoh GXR is new camera with the world’s best party trick; interchangeable ‘lens and sensor’ units, each pairing tailored for different scenarios. On Sunday you may fancy a woodland walk, so a 50mm macro lens with a 12MP APS-C size sensor is called for. Then before you know it Monday morning springs up, but there’s still time to capture a street scene on your way to work with a slim 24-70mm & 10MP CCD unit.

The new Ricoh GXR with an interchangeable lens & sensor system

While the fledgling micro Four Thirds system is wooing many photographers with its mirror-less design offering weight saving and slim dimensions, Ricoh have decided on a different recipe to achieve similar objectives.

Each interchangeable unit contains the lens, autofocus motor, shutter, sensor and image processing unit. Essentially this makes the GXR body an interface - handling the controls, LCD screen, and accessory hot-shoe for either an external viewfinder or flashgun. A few functions are split between the lens unit and the body. For example, RAW processing takes place in the lens unit but the file itself is generated and written in the GXR body.

Ricoh GXR Body - Key Features

  • Weighs just 160g
  • 114 x 70 x 29mm dimensions
  • 3.0” LCD screen with 920k pixels
  • Built-in pop-up flash
  • Hot-shoe for optional VF-2 viewfinder or GF-1 flash
  • USB 2.0, HDMI and AV out connections

Ricoh S10 & A12 Lens Units

  S10 Unit A12 Unit
Focal Length (35mm equiv.) 24-72mm 50mm
Max. Aperture f2.5-4.4 f2.5
Optical Stabilisation Yes No
Sensor 10MP CCD (1/1.75") 12.1MP CMOS (APS-C)
ISO 100-3200 200-3200
Continuous Shooting 1.6 FPS 3 FPS
Weight 161g 263g

Ricoh S10 Lens UnitRicoh S10 Lens Unit Ricoh A12 Lens UnitRicoh A12 Lens Unit

Clever Ricoh

By bringing the lens and sensor together in a sealed interchangeable unit Ricoh have armed themselves with some enviable benefits: Image quality can be enhanced through optimised lens & sensor combinations, the sealed units prevent dust issues unlike swapping lenses on a DSLR and last but not least expandability. The ability to expand the system with different lenses is nothing new for a SLR user, but how about attaching a projector or a high capacity hard drive?

Is the GXR an indicator of a new era in photographic development?Is the GXR an indicator of a new era in photographic development?

Overall the GXR is an exciting prospect for photographers: The choice of a smaller sensor with a slim zoom or a large sensor with a fast prime lens will allow a flexible system with the same familiar controls in every situation.

How do you describe this new system? Well kudos to dpreview for coining the term ‘interchangeable camera’ camera – that’ll have to do for the moment!

Resources: Ricoh GXR Sample Images | Specifications | Hands-on Preview (dpreview)