Thursday, 2 February 2012

Ricoh Lens A16 24-85mm f3.5-5.5 GXR Zoom Module Announced

After many delays Ricoh has now officially announced the GXR A16 24-85mm zoom module for the GXR, as reported earlier it has a f3.5-5.5 aperture and a new 16 MP sensor. The lens is as reported not a GR lens but the quality should nonetheless be much higher than your typical software corrected lens from the other manufacturers.
While the zoom range is great, the slow aperture is a bit of a let-down and not what most have expected from Ricoh. At least you get something better than normal kit lenses, both in zoom range and also quality but on the downside you get a sensor stuck to it as well.

The most notable new features are the ability to continue shooting while holding the shutter button pressed, this will use the same settings as before, and a new self closing and opening lens cap. Other notable features include a improved leveller, RAW only shooting capability (something I have never seen the reason for but people apparently want) and the ability to enter copyright information in the EXIF data. All other features are the same ones you can find in the other GXR modules so you will get a lot of customization and features aimed at photographers.

One feature which is still neglected and is typical for Ricoh is the video mode which is still only available in 720p and without any meaningful compression or options.

While this module will appeal to some people who want a APS zoom for their GXR camera, I think it is too big and the lens is too slow for any low light shooting, especially when combined with the maximum ISO of 3200. There also is no manual zoom or focus ring on the lens so it means using the zoom buttons on the body for this.

Below is the full press release and the full specs.

UPDATE: I just received an update on this and by the looks of it the sensor will not have an AA filter so it should provide excellent detail.

Ricoh announces RICOH LENS A16 24-85mm F3.5-5.5

A new GXR camera unit featuring a 3.5x optical zoom lens (24-85 mm)
and an APS-C size CMOS sensor

Tokyo, Japan, February 2, 2012—Ricoh Co., Ltd. (president and CEO: Shiro Kondo) today announced the development and release of RICOH LENS A16 24-85mm F3.5-5.5, the fifth camera unit in the GXR interchangeable unit camera system.

Introduced in December 2009, the GXR is a revolutionary interchangeable unit camera system in which lenses can be changed by mounting camera units that integrate lens, image sensor, and image processing engine into a single unit.

The new RICOH LENS A16 24-85mm F3.5-5.5 brings together a newly developed 24-85 mm wide-angle zoom lens, an APS-C size CMOS sensor, and the proven Smooth Imaging Engine IV to create a unit with high image quality, high power of expression, and high flexibility.

<Main features of RICOH LENS A16 24-85mm F3.5-5.5>

1. Newly developed 24-85 mm wide-angle zoom lens with an APS-C size CMOS sensor with approximately 16.20 million pixels
・This newly developed lens features a 9-group, 11-element configuration. The utilization of three double-sided aspherical lenses as well as high-refraction lenses effectively reduces various types of distortion across the entire zoom range. The result is high resolution and imaging power from edge to edge.
・The configuration of nine rounded aperture blades enables both highly precise aperture settings and beautiful bokeh.
・This camera unit features a 23.6 mm×15.7 mm (APS-C size) 16M CMOS sensor. In combination with the image processing engine Smooth Imaging Engine IV, this image sensor makes it possible to shoot high-quality images with smooth tonal gradations as well as low noise and high-resolution.

2. Diverse shooting functions and high operability
・Dynamic range compensation reduces overexposure of highlights and underexposure of dark areas. For backlit and high-contrast scenes that cannot be handled with exposure compensation, doing the dynamic range compensation in specific portions of the image makes it possible to shoot the subject at a brightness
level close to that seen by the naked eye.
・ISO sensitivity can be set in 1EV or 1/3EV steps.
・With the new ISO bracketing function, the photographer can shoot and record three images with different ISO sensitivities.
・When the new function for maintaining the same shooting settings is set on, by keeping the shutter release button pressed halfway after taking a picture, the photographer can continue to shoot with the same settings (focus, exposure, white balance, etc.).
・The function for recording a JPEG image simultaneously with the RAW image has been expanded so that it is now possible to record only the RAW image. This is suitable for a work flow based on the premise that image finishing is to be done on a PC after shooting. Since a JPEG file is not simultaneously recorded, this option is also useful when the photographer wants to increase the number of images which can be recorded on the memory card.
・It is now possible to turn ON/OFF the white saturation display that shows areas where bright portions will be rendered white and where color shade gradations will be lost.
・The tilt indicator function has been enhanced. In addition to the conventional horizontal indicator, this function can now also detect camera movement direction tilting.
・Copyright information such as the photographer’s name can be entered and written to the image Exif data. The recorded information can be checked on the playback screen detailed information display.

3. Highly precise focusing possible
・For the AF area size for spot AF, either normal or pinpoint can be selected.
・A focus-assist function has been included in an effort to raise the accuracy of manual focusing. The photographer can select from two modes and check the focus by strengthening outlines and contrast.
・The shooting screen can be magnified for convenience in focusing. The magnified area can be displayed in the center or across the entire screen. In addition, the image quality for 4x and 8x magnification has been further enhanced. The area to be magnified can be moved using the direction pad.

4. The power of expression that is a hallmark of the GXR series
・Picture settings for image quality and color can be customized with nine levels for easy
creation of a diverse range of images.
・My Settings enables the settings for a wide range of shooting functions to be recorded in advance and specified in an instant when needed. For the setting storage, now six patterns can be stored in the body’s My Settings Box and six patterns can be stored in the SD card. This expands the world of photo expression by enabling GXR users to exchange their shooting settings.
・B (bulb) and T (time) can now be selected as the shutter speed in manual exposure mode. With “B,” the exposure continues while the shutter release button is pressed, and with “T,” the shutter release button is pressed to start and end the exposure. For both, the exposure is forcibly ended when 180 seconds have elapsed.
・New scene mode options have been added for the easy enjoyment of a wide range of photo expression. The five new options are soft focus, cross process, toy camera, miniaturize, and high contrast B&W. The photographer can create a unique image by just pressing the shutter release button.
・An image flag function has been added to enable the quick display of specific images from among those in the camera. Up to 20 images can be flagged.
・It is possible to shoot 1280 × 720 pixel HD movies.
* Note: When shooting movies of 1280×720 size, the use of an SD/SDHC memory card with an SD speed class of Class 6 or higher is recommended.

5. New options added
・A newly designed lens hood (LH-2) especially for this camera unit.

 ・A lens cap (LC-3) that opens and closes simultaneously with the movement of the lens. It does not need to be removed when shooting.

・A wrapping sheet (WS-1) that can wrap the GXR when the camera unit, external viewfinder, and other options are attached.

<RICOH LENS A16 24-85mm F3.5-5.5 Major Specifications>

Effective pixels:
Approximately 16.20 million

Image sensor:
23.6 mm × 15.7 mm CMOS sensor (total pixels: approx. 16.50 million pixels)

Focal length: f=15.7~55.5 mm (35 mm camera equivalent: 24-85 mm)
Aperture (f-number): f/3.5 – f/5.5
Focus range: Approx. 25 cm - infinity (from the front of the lens)
Construction: 11 elements in 9 groups (3 aspherical lens elements with 6 surfaces)
Filter diameter: 55 mm

Optical zoom: 3.5x
Digital zoom: 4.0x (3.6x for movies)
Auto resize zoom: Approx. 6.8x (VGA)

Focus Modes:

Contrast AF-based multi and spot AF; MF; Snap; infinity (focus lock and AF-assist)

Shutter speed:
Photographs: 1/3200 - 180 s , bulb, time (upper and lower limits vary according to shooting and flash mode)
Movies: 1/2000 – 1/30 s

Exposure control:
Metering: TTL- metering in multi (256-segment), center-weighted, and spot metering
(TTL metering with auto exposure lock)
Mode: Program AE, aperture priority AE, manual exposure, shutter priority AE, target-move function
Exposure compensation: Manual (-4.0 EV to +4.0 EV in increments of 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV), auto bracketing (-2.0 EV to +2.0 EV in increments of 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV)

ISO sensitivity (Standard Output Sensitivity):
AUTO, AUTO-HI, ISO-LO, ISO200, ISO250, ISO320, ISO400, ISO500, ISO640, ISO800, ISO1000, ISO1250, ISO1600, ISO2000, ISO2500, ISO3200

White balance:
Auto / Multi-P AUTO / Outdoors / Cloudy / Incandescent Lamp 1 / Incandescent Lamp 2 / Fluorescent Lamp / Manual Settings / Detail; white balance bracketing

Flash (when GF-1 is used):
Method: TTL, manual, external auto
Flash mode: Anti Red-eye, Flash On, Flash Synchro, Manual
Firing timing: 1st/2nd curtain sync

Shooting mode:
Auto / program shift / aperture priority / shutter priority / manual exposure /scene (movie, portrait, sports, landscape, nightscape, skew correction, miniaturize, high contrast B&W, soft focus, cross process, toy camera) / “My Settings”

Continuous mode:

Number of pictures shot in Continuous (Picture Size: RAW):
Noise Reduction off: 3 pictures
Noise Reduction on: 2 pictures

Number of pictures shot in M-Cont Plus (1 set):
HI (1280 × 856): 30 pictures (30 frames/sec.)
LO (4928 × 3264): 14 pictures (2.5 frames/sec.)

Picture quality ※1:

Image size (pixels):
16:9 4928×2768, 3456×1944
4:3 4352×3264, 3072×2304, 2592×1944, 2048×1536, 1280×960, 640×480
3:2 4928×3264, 3456×2304
1:1 3264×3264, 2304×2304

1280×720, 640×480, 320×240

File size (approx.):

NORMAL: 23,445 KB/frame, FINE: 25,703 KB/frame, VGA: 20,508 KB/frame,

RAW only: 20,332 KB/frame

NORMAL: 24,443 KB/frame, FINE: 26,795 KB/frame, VGA: 21,405 KB/frame,
RAW only: 21,181 KB/frame

NORMAL: 27,603 KB/frame, FINE: 30,265 KB/frame, VGA: 24,139K KB/frame
RAW only: 23,937 KB/frame

NORMAL: 18,383 KB/frame, FINE: 20,147 KB/frame, VGA: 16,105 KB/frame
RAW only: 15,929 KB/frame

NORMAL: 2,901 KB/frame, FINE: 4,999 KB/frame

NORMAL: 3,041 KB/frame, FINE: 5,226 KB/frame

NORMAL: 3,415 KB/frame, FINE: 5,889 KB/frame

NORMAL: 2,288 KB/frame, FINE: 3,927 KB/frame

NORMAL: 1,481 KB/frame, FINE: 2,514 KB/frame

NORMAL: 1,579 KB/frame, FINE: 2,668 KB/frame

NORMAL: 1,749 KB/frame, FINE: 2,974 KB/frame

NORMAL: 1,192 KB/frame, FINE: 2,008 KB/frame

FINE: 2,293 KB/frame

FINE: 1,479 KB/frame

FINE: 818 KB/frame

FINE: 202 KB/frame

Battery life:
Based on CIPA standard, DB-90: approx. 400 shots※3

Dimensions (W × H × D):
Camera unit only: 71.4 mm × 70.5 mm × 93.3 mm
(according to CIPA guidelines)
When mounted on the GXR body: 113.9 mm × 74.7 mm × 98.5 mm
(according to CIPA guidelines)

Weight (approx.):
Camera unit only: Approx. 350 g
When mounted on camera body: Approx. 550 g (battery and SD memory card

Operating temperature:
0 °C to 40 °C

Operating humidity:
90% or less

Storage temperature:
–20 °C to 60 °C

*1 The picture quality modes which can be set vary depending on the image size.
*2 A JPEG file is also recorded (the JPEG file may be a FINE- or NORMAL-quality file with the same dimensions as the RAW file or a VGA file 640 × 480 pixels in size).
RAW files use the standard DNG format promoted by Adobe Systems Incorporated.
*3 For reference only; actual number of shots varies greatly according to how camera is used. We recommend that you carry spare batteries when in use for extended periods.
(Shooting capacity was measured using CIPA-standard parameters. These are only estimates; performance may vary depending on usage conditions.)


  1. I still don't get this lens unit, especially considering that the GXR is aimed at the enthusiast market. I suspect that such a slow zoom won't be of much interest to the majority of serious photographers. A brighter lens with a less ambitious zoom range might have been a more appealing option. Or better yet an ultra wide prime lens unit.

  2. Björn, I agree with you that this lens is very big and very slow so not ideal even as a backup to keep in your bag. It looks as bad as the Sony NEX cameras with their huge lenses on a tiny body.

  3. If it has a leaf shutter and will synch at any speed and will give me 24mm auto focus, then I do get it--and I will get it.

  4. John, I would assume it has the same leaf shutter and flash sync speeds as the other A12 lensors.

  5. Any news on the sensor - same as the K-01 or the one in the Nex5N, or something different again? Perhaps the bigger issue for me is the autofocus speed, but that will probably depend on the sensor.