In My Opinion
Sometimes I wonder if the Camera and Lens industry is not that much different than the oil producers of the world. Like the oil companies, was the Ricoh GXR concept swept under the carpet just like so many alternative energy developments have been. God forbid that a new and different technology which would advance something like photography get a decent shot.
Now I cannot speak for the oil industry but I do know that over the years there have been some very good cameras concepts developed that simply and quietly disappeared. Is it because they were so different and yet so much better that they could have made a real technology difference, leveled the playing field for more than just two players or was it because reviewers could not separate themselves from Nikon and Canon without bleeding to death?
How do I know what has taken place in the camera industry? I am sort of old and have spent the better part of my life getting sort of old in the camera industry. I have seen systems come and go, some incredible and some not even trash worthy.
In the case of the Ricoh GXR system, I not only blame many reviewers that treated the camera as a joke, but I also blame Ricoh who unfortunately could not market their way out of a paper bag
The Ricoh GXR system as well as their “pocket cameras” have always been outstanding and way ahead of the curve.
In my opinion what makes a camera and it’s lenses outstanding is image quality, easy of operation with the most important controls at my finger tips, comfort in handling, build quality. and great design. Hmmmm! Sounds like a Ricoh GXR to me, and it was a few years ago when I jumped feet first into their system.
I have used a lot of camera systems, my current one being the Fuji X, which I love. As a matter of fact it will more than likely be the last one I invest in. It fits into that outstanding category and I feel pretty good about that.
Dusting Off My Incredible Almost Forgotten Ricoh GXR System
I still own a Ricoh GXR and seven lens modules. A 28mm 2.8, a 50mm 2.8, 24-72 zoom, 24-85 and a 28-300 zoom and a Leica M mount adapter. The 28mm and the 50mm macro are superb but the zooms were a mistake on the part of Ricoh. Not a serious mistake but because each lens module contains its own sensor and each sensor is different based on the lens it is coupled with, Ricoh made a mistake of using “small sensors” i.e. 1.7 inch as opposed to APS-C for the zoom lenses. There was one exception that came later and it was a great zoom and it was APS-C 16mp, 24-85.
I can honestly say that I have not met anyone shooting serious photography with digital cameras who has not been totally sucked into a continuous upgrade path for more megapixels and dynamic range. And of course many totally useless features that will never make a difference in the quality of the image. I know because I was one of those people who always had to have the next piece of technology.
That was why the Ricoh got shelved in a dark corner of my closet. But it has been rediscovered and after charging the batteries, dusting of the gear, and taking the system for a walk I realized once again why I fell in love with this wonderful system. Now that does not mean I am going to shelve the Fuji X system. Far from it, but after taking all the Ricoh gear out for a spin and seeing the results I am once again wowed by images and the handling of the camera. It is small, built, has high quality optics for the most part and just a pleasure to walk around with and travel with, as is the Fuji.
One of the many things that make the Ricoh system unique and what I love is that each lens is a module that slides onto the camera body
Each module contains it’s own sensor which is matched to the lens and
also has it’s own software which is updated when the camera firmware is updated as well.
When I processed the images from my camera walk I was once again astounded how good this camera is and what I can tell you is that don’t be talked into dumping what you own for something with a few more megapixels, or full frame, because more than likely you will never see the difference from the “upgrade.”
Another factor is todays software. It has made amazing strides in processing images once you master it and it can breath new life into older cameras. Remember I said cameras. You can not make a low resolution, inexpensive lens into more than it is.
Resource information for those who want to learn and know more.