The Ricoh GXR: Hands-On Report

A winner mirrorless camera

By PF Staff in Photokina 2012 on Sep 18, 2012
The Ricoh GXR: Hands-On Report

While the Ricoh GXR mirrorless camera isn't new, the Photokia 2012 trade show was the first opportunity for your PentaxForums staff to handle this camera, and my and were we impressed (especially considering that this camera is now three years old)!

To recap, the Ricoh GXR was introduced back in 2009 as a quite compact, interchangeable lens-module camera. This initially meant that each lens was affixed to a dedicated sensor unit and the entire unit with lens was exchanged rather than just swapping the lens.

Exc module

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Later Ricoh introduced a 12 MP APS-C sensor module with a lens mount for Leica M-mount lenses. Thus the GXR evolved into a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera and can now be compared to the Pentax K-01, Pentax Q, Sony NEX etc.

Leica module

We had the opportunity to play with a GXR with the GR 28mm equivalent prime lens module with APS-C sized 12 MP sensor and the 24 to 90mm (eqv.) zoom lens module with an APS-C sized 16 MP sensor. We were provided with the optional electronic viewfinder and found that the GXR with this viewfinder really shines over the Pentax mirrorless offerings- even the K-01. We've had great difficulty composing images in bright sun with the K-01 and the Q but the GXR's electronic viewfinder (EVF) solves that problem and does it in style. A weakness with some EVFs is time lag - the viewfinder image will occasionally lag behind or even freeze up for long moments. We found no viewfinder lag with the GXR; it was very responsive and the viewfinder image was crisp and of good contrast. In a way, this Ricoh camera seems to be way ahead of the K-01!

Ricoh GXR - Click to enlargeRicoh GXR Back - Click to enlargegxr menu

Wait a moment, though- why is this Ricoh camera relevant to us Pentax users?  Is Ricoh simply forcing it upon is?  In a way, yes; Pentax and Ricoh are now the same company and going forward we will include Ricoh cameras in our databases and reviews. Secondly, the Ricoh GXR fills a gap in the Pentax line-up by offering an electronic viewfinder in a mirrorless camera. And last but not least (as we have hinted at before), we wouldn't be surprised if a K-mount module would be introduced for the GXR - soon!

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