Monday, 28 November 2011

GXR A16 24-85 Pre-Announcement

Today, Ricoh has pre-announced their latest GXR camera unit as mentioned in my HK meetup post.
It's the new APS zoom module and while not all details have been made public I got some details from Ricoh regarding the module.

As you can see in the above image it will feature a 16 MP sensor, have a 24-85mm zoom and the lens will not be GR labelled. Further it should be relatively big as it will not collapse like the Olympus m4/3 kit zooms for example.

The release was planned for the end of this year but the flooding in Thailand caused delays sensor production so it has been pushed back slightly.

UPDATE: I have made some changes to the post as I am awaiting further information from Ricoh on a few points.

UPDATE 2: No further information, other than the display at PMA & CES 2012 was for the press only. I would expect the module to be announced and released in the next month (maybe at C+ in Japan) but have no further confirmation yet.

UPDATE 3: I have received more information from Ricoh and will prepare a special post for this.

UPDATE 4: The official announcement is out and available here.


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  2. 24-85mm zoom with a f3.5-5.5 <-- might be a great walk around lensor, but unfortunately the aperture is not big and constant :(

    Any image stabilization? Shake Reduction from Pentax?

  3. The zoom module does not have a big aperture, this is most likely a compromise to keep the size small. While it is a shame, I think the zoom module was always more thought of as a kit zoom rather than a very fast zoom lens.

  4. To me this lens module defies the purpose of the GXR system which is aimed at "enthusiasts." I wonder how many of those would be interested in shelling out (presumably) so much money for a slow kit zoom. From my point of view, it would have to be cheap in order to consider throwing it into the bottom of the bag for occasional use - but it can't be because of the included sensor.

    The Sony 16MP sensor is excellent though. I'm blown away by the image quality I can get from it when paired with my CZ 35/2.0.

  5. There seems to be a strong current of demand for an aps-c zoom lensor. It seems like any zoom will do. For those where size is not an object but performance is then there is always the choice of fitting a legacy manual zoom lens via an adapter and M mount module. If the aps-c zoom module were to be a more exotic product then the price of such a module would probably frighten off most of those currently demsnding that the module be made.
    In essence the "kit zoom" specifications are only following the well worn track made by other manufacturers. They sell well, serve their purpose, and perform well enough for the majority of those that seek them

  6. Björn, I see this as a good module for occasional use and any faster aperture would have made it too big to comfortably carry and use on the GXR.

    The Sony NEX and Zeiss lens seem to work really well for you but afetr my holiday and having time to use the GXR-M more, I can only say that this is the way to go for M lenses. You should look at getting the Voigtlander 12mm or 15mm L or M lenses to complement the zeiss, they are small (especially in L version) and very good quality.

    Tom, you are right taht this module just needs to offer a relatively compact zoom to complement the other A12 modules, for ultimate quality the GR lenses and M module will be the first choice.

  7. I agree that the zoom module is for occasional use and should be compact. The problem I see is that you are spending a lot of money for what is essentially a slow zoom for occasional use. That because you have to buy the sensor with it. In that sense, the GXR system is not so optimal for using "kit" zooms. Better to buy a lens that you'll use a lot considering the expense of buying a sensor with it.

    Cristian, I'm already looking at the Voigtländer 12 and 15mm lenses. I was quite impressed with your 15mm I had on the GF2 last summer. Unfortunately, my budget is exhausted at the moment. I'd also love to try my Zeiss 35/2.0 on your GXR. See how it handles.

  8. What I continue to find interesting is the continuing "requirement" for a kit lens aps-c module for the GXR when it is quite easy to obtain similarly performing manual lenses to fit on the GXR-M. I have a Pentax 24-35mm fixed f3.5 PK lens which I bought in the 1980's not only is it a nice lens to use but it is not overly large. Larger is a Sun 35-70mm f3.5-4.5 macro but it cost me all of $60 and is in fine condition. Larger still but an excellent mid range lens is a Pentax 40-80mm f2.8-4.0. These are all good usable mid range lenses and arguanly just as good as any kit zoom that might come on offer today. Manual everything of course but I only point to the entree - there is a virtual smorgasbord of zoom lens types out there for the asking and the entry price is not high.

  9. Björn, having a kit zoom on the GXR might indeed not be the best use for the system but some people seem to want it and it at least gives an option. I think at times it could come in handy but it all depends on the size.

    The Zeiss works very well on the GXR, Tom has the same but is thinking to sell it since it overlaps too much with the 28mm Zeiss he has.
    You are welcome to try it on the GXR next time but be warned that it could bring with it a new camera purchase ;). The GXR is currently the best camera to use M lenses on, it just works great with them and the handling is fantastic.

    Tom, you are right that one could always use a zoom lens on the GXR Mount A12 but if the A16 zoom module is smaller and lighter than a typical manual focus zoom lens it still has a place.

  10. Cristian, I guess options are always good. If it were me though, I'd tend to use one or two good primes most of the time and the zoom rather less frequently. So something very compact like the 24-70mm 1/1.8" sensor module would be better for me.

    I did actually take a serious look at the GXR. Having owned a GX100 a few years ago, I have a pretty good idea of how good the handling must be. The only reason I went with the NEX-5N instead is the tilting screen. For my style of photography, that's an essential feature that I don't want to be without any more. It's the main reason why I went with the NEX instead of the GX1. Sony's EVF is also extremely good and once you have the UI customized it's actually quite efficient. Probably not at the level of the GXR, but there's always some sort of compromise.

  11. Björn, like you I use mostly primes rather than zoom lenses and aside from the LC1 most zoom lenses are too compromised in speed and optical quality. No idea how the GXR zoom will be but I expect it will not really replace the LC1 for me.

    We agree on the flip screen and I would love to have one in the GXR but for me this is the compromise I am willing to live with since I don't like the feel of the Sony at all and the NEX7 does not seem to be a good option for M lenses at all.
    The m4/3 cameras have lost any interest for me since there is no good body and sensor out there and I am not a fan of most lenses for it. Now with me replacing the Nokton f0.95 lens will leave me with one one single lens for the GF1 and only one reason to keep it. At the moment I try to figure out if a CV 12mm f5.6 together with my 15mm f4 and the A12 28mm lensor can not replace this, too.
    The Panasonic GX1 is a joke and I can't believe all that Panasonic has done is add a grip to a 2 year old camera and release it as new.

  12. Hi there, this is the first time I read your blog and I want to congratulate you for its content. On the zoom subject for the GXR I am currently testing the old Tri-Elmar and the 21-35 Leica R with a Novoflex adapter on the M module. Results are great with both but focusing is harder than with an F2, or F1.4 lens because I only use the magnifier. The 21-35 has the advantage of beeing a "real" zoom and also a 50cm focus distance !

  13. A question for Cristi. You mention the LC1 in your post. Is it the Panasonic LC1 with the Leica zoom 17-22.5 ? Do you know if it's possible to find adapters which fit a 4/3 lens to an M mount. It doesn't look that Novoflex has one !

  14. Thanks for your comments Berswiss!

    Glad you like the blog and content.

    The lenses you are trying are indeed very nice but without the mode 1 or mode 2 for focus assist it will be more difficult to focus them. You should try out mode 1 since it's not too disturbing or obvious.

    I was referring to the Panasonic LC1 with the 2/3" sensor an fixed lens.
    There is unfortunately no m4/3 to M adapter available since the register distance for m4/3 is less than for M so it only works the other way around to mount a M lens on an m4/3 camera. This is unfortunate since I wuold have loved to use my f0.95 Nokton on the GXR.

  15. Hi, thanks for your answer. We migth be communicating off time because I am a Swiss based in Geneva. For the assist focus I am used to the magnifier and I don't use the peaking. I am hoping Ricoh will improve the function to be like the Nex peaking which is much better.
    For the lenses I don't think putting a m4/3 lens on the M mount will be good because of the size of the CCD ! I might be wrong but I believe the edges will suffer a lot. I was more thinking about using the old Panasonic-Leica lens which was on the LC1 Panasonic with a 4/3 mount. I tried this lens on a E3 Olympus body and it gives great results !
    Regarding the test of the 21-35R on the M module, I found it's better than the new tri-elmar but not as good as the 21mm or the 24mmF1.4M.
    I am amazed by the performance of this 24F1.4 on the M module ! All the best to you and the folks reading this blog. "Tout de bon"

  16. Cristian, seeing the image quality from the NEX-5N with the Zeiss 35/2.0, I'm starting to lose interest in Micro Four Thirds as well. The announcement of the GX1 did nothing to rekindle my interest either.

    Unlike you, I quite like the feel of the Sony and I prefer it over the GF1/2. The NEX-5N's ergonomics are not perfect though and the body could use a larger and more comfortable rubberized grip - like the NEX-7 has. But I'm not willing to spend so much money on a body whose sensor seems not to perform as well with M-mount lenses. If that turns out to be different, I can always get the NEX-7 later while getting rid of my m4/3 gear.

    Even though not as wide as the Lumix 7-14, I could probably live with the CV 12/5.6. But only if its IQ is good on at least one of the Sony bodies. I'm not sure yet, but I might start with the CV 15/4.5 simply because its not so extreme wide angle makes it a better general purpose wide prime.

    The fact that I'm even considering yet another manual focus prime is an indication of how much more I'm enjoying manually focusing lenses on the NEX than I ever did on one of my Lumix cameras.

  17. Hi Berswiss, I am based in london so the times are not too far off.
    I have tried the NEX peaking and find it identical to Mode 1 in the Ricoh but Mode 2 is in my opinion the best way to manually focus.

    I have not used many Leica lenses on the GXR-M but am very happy with the results from the Voigtlander lenses and especially the GR lens I own.

    Björn, I think zou begin to see whz I started to sell off mz m4-3 gear. Once zou use legacz lenses it is hard to go back to the digital m4-3 lenses, especiallz if zou use these lenses on an APS sensor.

    I liked the NEX3 you let me use on my last trip to Amsterdam but the NEX5 does not work quite as well for me, I prefer the handgrip on the NEX3 series. The NEX7 feels great though but the problems with M lenses are what make it a no-go at the moment.

    After starting to use M lenses it became clear taht I much rather buy lenses I can not only use on cameras made in the last 50 years but will also be able to use them on almost every single mirrorless interchangeable lens camera made in the future. With m4/3 or E mount lenses I am tied in to on system and can't really use them outside of that system.

    Regarding the Voigtlander ultrawides, the 15mm is a great lens and also half the price of the 12mm so a good start. I would recommend you look for the Leica screw mount versions of these lenses, they are smaller and cheaper but not rangefinder coupled (which is not an issue on a live view camera anyway).

    Once you get used to manually focusing lenses and also have a usable assist function it is hard to go back to focus-by-wire lenses or even normal AF lenses.

  18. I can see exactly what you mean, Cristian. I've never gotten the level of image quality I'm seeing with the Zeiss 35/2.0 on the NEX-5N with anything I've ever used before. It's a real treat. Of course you can continue to invest in ever bigger sensors and better lenses, but there are budgetary constraints and portability issues. So now my Sony and the Zeiss have brought me to a crossroads where I need to decide if should begin to sell off some of my m4/3 gear as well. The decision is complicated by the fact that I have the occasional paid assignment where I feel I need some faster and longer AF lenses. Panasonic also offers faster low light AF. If it weren't for these paid assignments, I'd be tempted to sell my m4/3 sooner rather than later.

    Oddly enough, the deeper and narrower hand grip of the NEX-5N works better with the Zeiss Biogon than with Sony's own lenses. The diameter of the Zeiss' lens barrel is smaller leaving more room for my knuckles between grip and barrel. But I understand your preference for the shallower but more spacious grip of the NEX-3. That's just an awful lot of plastic though.

    As to using M-lenses on almost every single mirrorless ILC in the future, I wonder how many bodies will actually work well with these lenses. For example, edge performance with the CZ 35/2.0 is considerably better on the NEX-5N than on my GH2. In theory it does make sense though to invest in lenses that can potentially be used on other systems.

    Interesting suggestion to look for the screw mount version of the CV 15/4.5. I'm still not sure though if that's the best choice for me at the moment. I'm also considering the CV 12/5.6 simply because I already have the Sony NEX 16/2.8. I'm sure we could think of all kinds of unflattering adjectives for that lens, but it is very lightweight, relatively bright and gets the shot. The CV 12/5.6 would complement the pancake better, giving me real wide angle capability on the NEX-5N. It would also be a good way to check whether I miss the more extreme range of my Lumix 7-14.

    So now I just have to get used to manually focusing lenses; I have the useful focus assist function and the high resolution viewfinder. Is the only reason you have trouble going back to AF due to the inferior image quality of the AF lenses you've used?

  19. Björn, the great thing about the M lenses is their size and the optical quality which you won't find better elswhere.
    If you need some of the Af lenses for m4/3 it makes sense to keep it or at least the lenses you need for the paid assignments but you might find taht you can do some of them using legacy lenses on the Sony and benefit from the better sensor.

    The NEX-3 does have too much plastic so I would most likely also go for the NEX-5n and just deal with the handgrip but thankfully the GXR does not have any of these problems aside from the missing tilt screen.

    Mlenses will continue to work on most mirrorless cameras and even if not all will be fuly optimized, it still means you can use them and chances are there will always be at least one camera which will work fine with them.

    next time we meet you are welcome to try my CV 15mm, if you think to get the CV 12mm hav at look at, they have it there for a very good price. Right now I am debating wether to sell my 7-14mm lens and get the 12mm instead. If I do this it ould leave me with the GF1 and no actual m4/3 lenses for it aside from the Holga lens.

    The main reason for me having trouble to go back to AF lenses is the optical but also the build quality of legacy lenses. At the same time I also find MF more efficient in most cases and faster than AF. While the GR lenses on the A12 28mm and 50mm modules are of great quality, I prefer the handling of an M lens.

  20. imo the speed of the lens will be 3.5 t0 4.5

  21. Paul, the info I got from Ricoh was that it is a f3.5-5.5 lens but I have asked for more details and confirmation, will update the post as soon as I receive this.

  22. CES has come and (virtually) gone, but no show for the APS zoom. Do you know if there has been another delay/problem?

  23. Ricoh only showed the module to the press at CES but it's not to be made public yet. In a few days we should all know more.