Ricoh expands GXR system with megazoom module

Ricoh delivers on its promise of a megazoom module for its GXR system camera. The P10 features a 28-300mm f3.5-5.6 lens (35mm equivalent) plus 10-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor.

As promised when it announced the GXR system back in November 2009, Ricoh has introduced the P10 megazoom module to slide into the GXR camera back. It features a 28-300mm f3.5-5.6 lens (35mm equivalent) plus 10-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor. The result will essentially be a compact 10x zoom camera with specs similar to popular point-and-shoot models from manufacturers like Sony, Panasonic, and Canon. Unfortunately, pricing and availability are still up in the air.

To refresh your memory, the GXR system comprises a housing that includes the basic pieces of a point-and-shoot--920,000-pixel 3-inch LCD, controls, hot shoe, and flash--into which you can slide slide a series of modules incorporating various lens/sensor combinations. In theory, that lets Ricoh optimize the characteristics of the module by choosing different sensors to match the different tasks for which one would use different lenses.

Here's Ricoh's current module lineup:

  P10 module A12 module S10 module
Sensor (effective resolution) 10-megapixel BSI CMOS 12.3-megapixel CMOS 10-megapixel CCD
1/2.3-inch 23.6mm x 15.7mm (APS-C) 1/1.7-inch
Sensitivity range ISO 100 - ISO 3,200 ISO 200 - ISO 3,200 ISO 100 - ISO 3,200
Lens 28-300mm f3.5-5.6
10.7x
50mm f2.5
fixed
24-72mm f2.5-4.4
3x
Closest focus 0.4 inch 2.8 inches 0.4 inch
Battery life (CIPA rating) 440 shots 320 shots 410 shots
Weight (ounces) 12.9 (est) 9.3 (est) 5.7 (est)
Mfr. Price tbd $440 $830

And here's how the GXR+P10 kit will stack up against some typical competing compact megazooms:

  Ricoh GXR+P10 module Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7
Sensor (effective resolution) 10-megapixel BSI CMOS 10-megapixel BSI CMOS 12-megapixel CCD
1/2.3-inch 1/2.4-inch 1/2.33-inch
Sensitivity range ISO 100 - ISO 3,200 ISO 125 - ISO 3,200 ISO 80 - ISO 6,400
Lens 28-300mm f3.5-5.6
10.7x
25-250mm f3.5-5.5
10x
25-300mm f3.3-4.9
12x
Closest focus 0.4 inch 2.0 inches 1.2 inches
Continuous shooting 5 fps
n/a JPEG/5 raw
10 fps
10 JPEG
2.3 fps
3 JPEG
Viewfinder Optional EVF None None
Autofocus n/a-area contrast AF 9-area contrast AF 11-area contrast AF
Metering 256 segment n/a 144 zone
Shutter 30-1/2000 sec 30-1/1600 sec 60-1/2000 sec
Flash Yes Yes Yes
LCD 3-inch fixed
920,000 dots
3-inch fixed
230,000 dots
3-inch fixed
460,000 dots
Image stabilization Sensor shift Optical Optical
Video (best quality) 720/30p n/a 1080/60i AVCHD or MP4 720/30p AVCHD Lite or Motion JPEG
Battery life (CIPA rating) 440 shots 310 shots 300 shots
Dimensions (WHD, inches) 4.5 x 2.8 x 2.0 4.1 x 2.4 x 1.2 4.1 x 2.4 x 1.3
Weight (ounces) 12.9 (est) 7.1 7.6
Mfr. Price tbd $349.99 $399.95

The P10's fast BSI sensor enables some of the whizzy features available in models like the HX5V, including "Dynamic range double shot mode" (it shoots twice in quick succession and combines the frames for better tonal range and lower noise results in low or high-contrast light) as well as a variety of lower-resolution, high-speed burst modes including a one-second 120fps burst (albeit at VGA resolution) and a preshot buffer.

With this model, the company's introducing updated region-based noise suppression algorithms, too. But given the enthusiast audience Ricoh targets with this model, and for what I expect to be a relatively high price, I was kind of hoping for more. I'm not sure what--it's got a nice-sounding LCD, but a faster lens or larger sensor might have been nice. Then again, it may be very well executed. I won't know till we've gotten a chance to try one out.

 

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