Today, I had the great pleasure to meet Wouter and Björn for a nice talk and photo walk.
We had quite a few cameras around as you can see so the topic of our discussion should be easy to figure out. It is always great to meet people you know only from online conversations face to face. We had a great time and I hope to see them again soon when we also have more time for photography.
Another great thing was that I finally got the chance to see and handle the GXR camera, with the 50mm A12 module and EVF, but also the highly regarded Panasonic GF1 with 40mm lens.
First the good things about the GXR, the camera is smaller than it looks on pictures and fits in a jacket pocket with the EVF removed, the EVF is fantastic and of very high quality, the build and handling are as usual with Ricoh excellent, the shutter is very quiet, the image quality of the A12 module is really good ands the built in lens hood is pretty cool.
Now on to the bad things, the AF is really painfully slow and unreliable, the focus-by-wire system simply is annoying to use and I dislike it, the highest ISO is 3200 which is not up to date with some equally high priced dSLRs, you get the rolling shutter effect when panning and I am not a fan of the new shutter button or power button either and prefer the way they are done on the GRDs or GX200.
Lastly to the ugly, the image quality is only good till ISO 1600, over this there is visible banding (unacceptable for a APS camera) and while I could just about excuse a slow and unreliable AF system on a macro lens, the most serious issue for me is the LCD-freeze whe you halfpress the shutter button. This simply ruins the module for me at the moment.
Having said that, I am still looking forward to try it out longer tomorrow and see if I can make it work somehow as I did on the GRD II and the GX200 (both of which have the same AF problems).
Now what really impressed me today was not the GXR but the really fantastic GF1. Panasonic seems th have done everything right with this camera. The AF is extremely fast and accurate, the camera is small enough with the 40mm pancake lens and the image quality is very good. Sure, the handling is not up there with the Ricoh and it has a fairly loud shutter but it is responsive and works great for street photography.
More impressions of the GXR will follow tomorrow and I don't want to sound too negative on it but I might have expected too much from it. It looks like the best performing camera from Ricoh is at the moment still the CX1, which is also the cheapest and their consumer camera.
I posted 5 pictures today taken with 4 different cameras, the GF1, the GRD I, the GXR and the LC1 (not in that order).