What better way to start my article about the 4th Ricohforum meetup than with a picture of the new Ricoh GRD IV and of course a thanks to Ricoh for attending this meetup.
Today was the 4th Ricohforum meetup and it was intersting in a lot of ways, not least because of the Pentax buyout by Ricoh but also because of the GXR Mount A12 module for the Ricoh GXR system.
This meant that this time the focus was also on legacy M lenses and not just on the Ricoh cameras, wether this is a good thing or bad thing is certainly up for debate. Still, seeing that the GXR Mount A12 modue is one of the most successfull cameras for Ricoh and hard to find, I believe it to be a very good thing for Ricoh.
We started off with coffee and a chat about Ricoh cameras and lenses. It was interesting to see the different lenses we had on te table and the unique character and look each produced. It was also intersting to see that everyone used Mode 2 to manually focus the lenses and we agreed it is the best way to focus once you get used to it and way superior to the peaking Mode 1.
We also had a Leica M9 there and while a completely different class of camera it was great to have the ability to swap lenses around, the GXR also handles the Voigtlander 15mm lens much better than the M9 but it is of course not full frame and the crop should make it easier. There is no question though that it is easier to frame and focus with the GXR when using ultra-wideangle (under 28mm) or telephoto (90mm-135mm) lenses where it's not possible to eiher have or see the framelines well enough.
I also got a change to try out the new Ricoh GRD IV camera and I was quite impressed, it is indeed a small step up from the GRD III but it feels more finished and more refined due to the changes Ricoh have done to both the body and the firmware. Althogh they have put in the often requested (and in my view pointless) RAW only shooting mode, Ricoh needs to start saving a higher resolution embedded preview file since it will be pretty much improssible to check focus or anything from the RAW only review image.
There are a lot of other changes and adjustments and I hope to get a review sample at some point after my upcoming holidays to be able to better compare it to the predecessors.
I have asked Ricoh about a GXR roadmap or more details of what will come out of the Pentax buyout. It is still early days for Ricoh and the Pentax buy certainly has changed a few things for Ricoh so before comitting to any more GXR modules they will have to first evaluate the different camera lines and see how to best integrate everything. They are however aware of the demand for a FF mount module and a K-mount module and looking at the success of the GXR Mount A12 module it seems clear where the focus for the GXR system should be.
For the Pentax users out there, the dSLR line will be continued since it complements Ricoh's own offerings, the most changes will probaly emerge for the lower end compact camera lines.
It's still early days though so nothing concrete is known yet until Ricoh had a chance to evaluate the different cameras lines. They will provide an update as soon as there are details and I am sure the next Photokina will be interesting for both Ricoh and Pentax users.
The already announced GXR Zoom module has been delayed due to the floods in Thailand and the reduced availability of sensors from Sony, which will most likely also impact the GXR Mount A12 availability.
What I could find out is that it will have a zoom range similar to the GX100/200, so from 24-80/85mm, it will not be GR labeled and will not have a constant aperture.
It should be available early next year from the looks of it.
Afterwards we headed out for a photo walk and checking out some camera shops to try out some legacy lenses and also got the change to play around with the Nikon V1 and the new Fuji X10.
I was really underwhelmed with the Nikon V1, it felt cheap and plasticky and had only a slow kit zoom lens attached to it in similar size to the Olympus m4/3 kit lenses.
The Fuji X10 looks very nice and looks like a muc better camera than the V1 but it's not the hoped for Panasonic LC1 replacement, the OVF is pretty useless and has no point being there and the firmware seems as bad as on the X100 at first look. So I was again not tempted.
Wat really tempted me was the Voigtlander Nokton f1.1 50mm lens (pictured above) which seems an excellent lens capable of producing some very nice images and it's actually lighter than expected although not small as ou can see. Now I just need to try out the Nokton f1.2 35mm before deciding which one to go for. Having the GXR Mount A12 certainly is not a good thing for my bank account ;) .
While trying out lenses and cameras we also got a few people very interested in our GXR cameras and after seeing how well they performm and the easy of using the MF assist functions with legacy lenses it was not difficlut for them to see why the GXR is such a great system for using legacy lenses on.
The last stop of the day was the British Museum to take some more pictures before heading to a pub for a well deserved pint.
It was a great day and I like to thank everyone who joined, I hope you all enjoyed it.