Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ricoh GXR P10 28-300 mm F3.5-5.6 VC Review

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Review based on a production Ricoh GXR body with firmware v1.18 and P10 28-300 mm lens unit with
v1.1.3 firmware 18 This room has been reviewed using our ' Quick Review ' format which we use for cameras that are in terms of operation and/or image quality very close to either their predecessors table or other models in the line that we already treated to a full review. For a fuller view of the camera's functionalities and qualities we therefore recommend you not only read this Quick Review, but also the full review of the Ricoh GXR with the S10 24-72 mm module.When Ricoh announced the GXR interchangeable camera module system in 2009, with its sealed lens/sensor units it was certainly one of the more extravagant room innovations of recent years. However, as most completely new systems, the GXR initially only offered little choice to potential users. You could slide either the S10 24-72 mm module with 10 megapixel 1/1.7 sensor or the A12 50 mm module with 12 megapixel APS-C sensor into the GXR body. Now Ricoh GXR users has given some more choice by launching the P10 28-300 F3.5-5.6 VC module (there's also a A12 28 mm unit currently under development). With this new module images are captured on a 1/2.3 "back-illuminated CMOS sensor. The image-stabilized unit also includes features such as RAW capture, HD video recording and 5 fps continuous shooting (up to 120 fps at VGA resolution). Ricoh says the optical formula of the lens is the same as that of their room but the CX3 compact lens construction has been changed and the design ' optimized ' to offer higher quality images. Unique sliding lens, flat mountInterchangeable sealed lens/sensor unitsCompact Magnesium Alloy die-cast body with ' GR coating ' Extensive customization options and external controls3.0? 920,000 pixels LCDBuilt-in flash and accessory shoeOptional electronic viewfinderHDMI connectorBack-illuminated 10 MP CMOS sensor10.7 x (28-300 mm equiv.) zoom lensRAW captureHigh speed continuous shooting (up to 5 fps in RAW mode) Ultra high speed continuous shooting of up to 120 fps at reduced captureWhere resolution720p HD video Micro Four Thirds and similar systems aim to cut bulk by removing the mirror box, which slims down the camera body and somewhat reduces the size of the lenses (though by how much depends on the sensor size used), they still end up pretty big once you add zoom lenses (and if we're talking about long zooms or telephotos the advantage is all but lost-large sensors require large lenses). The fact is that with current technology, you can't get the image quality of a DSLR and the versatilty of a superzoom compact camera into the same sized package.Ricoh's answer to this problem is novel, to say the least. Rather than selling a camera body with a fixed sensor, the GXR system uses interchangeable lens/sensor units every lens comes in a sealed unit complete with sensor, shutter, aperture, processing engine (there's also one in the camera body) and the motors necessary to focus the lens (and drive the zoom mechanism if present). You are, essentially, buying a new ' room ' every time you buy the lens: the GXR body is little more than a shell containing the screen, card slots, controls and flash. This radical rethink of the ' interchangeable lens ' has some important consequences: Different lens units can have different sensor sizes and technologies (CCD or CMOS, for example) By using a smaller (compact camera) sensor the GXR system can offer very small zoomsLens units can be designed for specialist applications (video optimized lens and sensor for example) The overall performance of the system is essentially defined by the lens unit, not the bodyEach lens has its own leaf shutter-which will generally be quieter, and offer faster flash sync than the focal-plane shutters used by Micro Four Thirds The GXR lens unit slides into the body and clicks into place

The GXR body (which is like a slightly over-sized G or GX model) can thus be anything from a high speed compact super zoom (at the Panasonic TZ series) to an APS-C compact with a fast prime lens (think Sigma DP2 or Leica X 1) simply by swapping lens units. By replacing the lens unit with a compact projector, printer or high capacity storage device it could stop being a room completely, at least that's the theory.

You can find the P10 28-300 mm module's specifications in the table below. Please have a look at our GXR S10 24-72 mm/review for the specs of the GXR body.

Price: $ 500/? 470 as a kit with the GXR body
$ 300/? 250 module onlyConstruction10 elements in 7 groups (4 aspherical lens elements) Focus range • Approx. 30 cm-?
• Macro: 1cmImage Sensor • 1/2.3 "CMOS
• Total pixels: 10.6 Million
• Max file size: 3648 ? 2736Focus • Contrast detect AF
• Manual • Stills focusShutter speeds: 30 sec-1/2000
• Movies: 1/30 sec-1/2000Sensitivity • Auto
• Auto-Hi
• ISO 100-3200Continuous Shooting • 5 fps (RAW)
• 30 fps
• 120 fps
• Raw buffer: 3 or 4 framesFile types • JPEG (3 levels)
• Raw (DNG) Files Sizes3648 ? 2736, 3648 ? 2432, 3648 ? 2736 x 2736, 2048, 3264 x 1840, 3264 ? 2448, 3264 ? 2176, 2448 x 2448, 2592 x 1944, 2048 ? 1536, 1280 ? 960, 640 ? 480Movie mode • 1280 x 720
• 640 x 480
• 320 x 240
• 30 fps
• Motion JPEG AVIDimensions114mm ? 58 mm ? 50 mm
(when mounted on the GXR body)

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read some of our Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion/recommendation/ratings are based on the opinion of the author, we recommend that you read the entire review before making any decision. Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of them, click to display a larger image in a new window.

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Dpreview use calibrated monitors at the PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X, Y and Z and ideally also A, B and c.

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