More backpacking camera goodness--Ricoh GX100
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Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
More backpacking camera goodness--Ricoh GX100 on 03/29/2007 12:53:49 MDT Print View

Landscape fans should be thrilled by the potential of this new, small camera with a 24-72mm eq. lens and EVF. To my knowledge, there's no equivalent among the thousand or so compact digicams available on any given day.

http://www.ricoh.com/r_dc/caplio/gx100/

Too bad it won't be exported to the States, but that's what the InterWeb is for, right?

Even more fun--a 19mm eq. WA adapter. Watch those feet!

Along with the forthcoming Sigma DP1, there are some very interesting cameras on the way. Also interesting is the true innovation coming from these small camera companies while the Big Boys fight their zoom and pixel wars with me-too dreck.

Edited by halfturbo on 03/29/2007 13:58:41 MDT.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Re: More backpacking camera goodness--Ricoh GX100 on 03/29/2007 13:02:16 MDT Print View

Too bad it's a Ricoh. I wish Canon would come out w/ a similar product or that Panasonic would fix the noise related issues on their otherwise wonderful LX-2 (plus make it water resistant and add an optical viewfinder).

Summit CO
(Summit) - F

Locale: 9300ft
Re: More backpacking camera goodness--Ricoh GX100 on 03/29/2007 13:25:37 MDT Print View

24-72mm f/2.5-4.4 (max app 9.1-15.8!) with a 100% viewfinder and a lens hood.... RAW + CCD shift IS... runs on AAAs... what a great camera!

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
re:More backpacking camera goodness on 03/29/2007 20:51:48 MDT Print View

That Ricoh looks awesome indeed. But better cameras come along every year and I could not see paying more than $500 for one. Here's something similar for $300, I believe it is the only true 16:9 CCD pocket camera on the market with a 28mm lens.(someone please correct me if I'm wrong) I own one and use it for daylight and tripod shots. The lens is a little too slow for anything else and you've got to keep the ISO low or suffer the noise. But again, until someone comes out with a better 16:9 this is my choice for landscapes and tight indoor shots.
The Panasonic LX1:
http://deal.ritebuys.com/viewitem.php?IndexID=57006&RefTag=froogle
panasonic lx1

Edited by Brett1234 on 03/29/2007 20:55:51 MDT.

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: More backpacking camera goodness--Ricoh GX100 on 03/29/2007 22:36:44 MDT Print View

>>Too bad it's a Ricoh.

ok, kevin, I'll bite. What's wrong with Ricoh? Besides the price?

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
camera goodness? gracious! Ricoh on 03/29/2007 23:33:34 MDT Print View

Let's see, D.--- Ricoh digital has no real customer support in the US. They use a lot of 3rd party parts, I question the integration in some of their products. They have had a checkered history as a marque, particularly in the US. No resale value stateside. They make a lot of bizarro niche stuff----it looks like their designers have fun (although the look is butt-ugly) but their manufacuring doesn't always seem up to the task and marketing doesn't seem to have a clue. In addition, Ricoh seems as caught up in the megapixel wars as anyone else, "big boys" included--- I doubt the integration of optics and a 10 megapixal sensor suffers any less then most attempts in the compact digital camera realm. In fact, Ricoh has a bit of a rep for high noise levels, even at lower ISO speeds. Something it shares with many Panasonic offerings (in fact I heard a rumor that Ricoh uses similar software for noise reduction).

Nitpicking this particular model, based on Ricoh's specs and press release--- it may not be supported by Adobe Camera Raw. Electronic viewfinder? Fine on a digital SLR but an optical finder would be better for the pursuits practiced by people in this forum---no drain on batteries. Since it seems to have a shoe on top, one could substitute an accessory optical finder (such as the superlative Leica finder), perhaps. If the Lens zoom range extended more into an optical moderate telephoto (say to 35mm equivalent 135mm and bugger the digital zoom) it would be less a specialty camera and more useful for most, and more particularly, me. As it stands, if I owned a GX 100, I would feel compelled to carry a 2nd camera as well, and if I did that, why not just use a Digital Rebel and a couple of lenses instead?

But, by all means, someone please get one and report, after the camera is finally released.

Edited by kdesign on 03/29/2007 23:53:58 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Not just Ricoh on 03/30/2007 03:16:01 MDT Print View

Kevin
Would you explain what you mean by "they use a lot of third party parts ?"
For your information , I have never seen a Canon or Nikon or Olympus sensor in a compact digital camera, never seen a Sony lens either, have seen very little Canon or Nikon glass or acrylic for that matter, never seen a Nikon,Canon,Olympus,Pentax LCD......

"Why not just use a Digital Rebel and a couple of lenses?"
Size ? weight ?, just a hunch..

"Leica" optical viewfinder ?
And double the cost of the camera ?

I am with you about the noise, in fact more to the point the problem with Ricoh is the typical brownish mushy result even with the GR Digital, however I don't know of any other 24-70mm compact digital camera around (please don't mention Kodak) but I do know of many "long zoom" cameras.
Franco

Edited by Franco on 05/07/2007 05:09:10 MDT.

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: camera goodness? gracious! Ricoh on 03/30/2007 06:38:35 MDT Print View

Thanks for that, kevin. The noise levels would be the deal breaker for me, just as it is with the Panasonic models since my favorite shots are typically taken in low light conditions. AS Franco guessed, size and weight are also important considerations. I guess I'll keep waiting.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Re: Not just Ricoh on 03/30/2007 08:24:22 MDT Print View

Franco, on the issue of using non-in-house components, you're right that everyone does it to some degree. Canon and Nikon use Sony sensors but they do use in-house lenses--at least at the prosumer level ( they design the lens, make the lens elements from Ohara raw optical glass--where glass is used, coat and assemble the lenses). Canon uses their own proprietory software. These are areas that I like to see the maufacturers have particular control over. Not that it isn't possible to produce a good digital camera w/o the brand manufacturing all the main parts and having things made to spec----Panasonic has done well pairing up w/ Leica for lenses, for example. It's all in how well the integration of everything is pulled off.

Point of Rebel was more versatility and control over larger range of focal lengths. Yes, more bulk and weight but so is having to carry a pair of compact cameras to meet needs.

Leica viewfinder doubling price? Sure but one is already shelling out, what? 400 pounds for the camera. What's a few hundred more? Seriously, there are Russian copies of the viewfinder that are not bad at all for considerably less.

Yes, noise is the killer.

I never mention Kodak. :-)

Edited by kdesign on 03/30/2007 08:26:45 MDT.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Ricoh on 03/30/2007 11:11:54 MDT Print View

Interesting discussion.

Ricoh's limited presence in the States is a potential problem, especially when it comes to service and support. Only the Caplio 500G wide seems to be officially distributed here, and only through surveying and engineering supply companies. I would probably get a second-party warranty with any other model.

Having been in ebay bidding battles for GR-Ds and GR-series film compacts, I'll assert they hold their value better than the majority of digicams. (File that under "dam[n]ing with faint praise" but the fact is they've got an enthusiastic following for a small camera company.)

We won't know about the presence or absence of noise in the new model until it hits the street. Two observations:

* The GRD can certainly perform in dim lighting.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1013&thread=22093532

http://picasaweb.google.com/Cristian.Sorega/People

http://flickr.com/photos/88545034@N00/

* With active anti-shake, the GX100 will allow extended hand-holding at lower ISOs and the lens is relatively fast at the wide end, so the noise question only revolves around whether they're overreaching to hit the 10-meg mark.

Ricoh has adopted DNG-format raw, so conversion is unnecessary. The bigs have yet to follow suit--shame on them.

The optional EVF is a brilliant solution in a marketplace that has all but eliminated in-camera optical viewfinders (which admittedly are crude approximations on cameras not named "M8"). Nobody has made a zooming auxiliary optical viewfinder in decades, and making one that worked automatically (and corrected for parallax in the process) would be a whopping technological challenge that an EVF renders moot. It just needs to be bright and sharp. Tiltable? Better still.

For me, the overarching point is that this camera *isn't* for everyone, but instead seems particularly well-suited to lightweight backpackers who want a serious, compact landscape camera. I couldn't care less about owning a slow, extended-range zoom when I can have true wide angle instead. It still zooms to an ideal portrait length.

What's that sound? It might be the GX100 and the DP1 fighting in the background for a shot at my wallet. I love vaporware. ;-)

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Ricoh round up on 03/30/2007 11:27:02 MDT Print View

Ideal focal length for portraiture is just north of 100mm (35 equiv.) speaking as a former pro. Greater working distance, just enough compression of perspective, etc. Opinions will vary---but I'm right. :-P.

Yes, we will see about this camera. I would love to have all my concerns blown away. Please get one, Rick. As for the upcoming Sigma camera----doesn't that have a fixed focal length? 2 very different cameras.

As for Camera Raw--DNG format. Here's the latest from Adobe---
http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/cameraraw.html
---it would appear that the new camera probably will be compatible w/ Lightroom, at least eventually. The GR series are file supported, now.

Edited by kdesign on 03/30/2007 11:53:16 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Ricoh arty facts on 04/01/2007 23:50:21 MDT Print View

BTW Kevin, I was just playing the part of the Devil's Advocate. You have actually listed the reasons why I don't have the Ricoh GR Digital...

Franco
Could have been "Hardly facts"

Edited by Franco on 04/02/2007 16:28:25 MDT.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Pixel peeping on 04/04/2007 16:43:23 MDT Print View

A few pre-production sample shots are leaking out.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/leejoo/sets/72157600040709297/detail/

I'm impressed by this one:

http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=442243009&context=set-72157600040709297&size=o

--Rick

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Some comments on 05/06/2007 00:19:10 MDT Print View

PMA Australia will finish the four day expo today. I attended the show Friday and yesterday. One of the attractions there was the GX100. During a fairly long fondling session I had the opportunity to take a few shots and noticed that the picture used by Ricoh to show off the quality of the lens had been taken by a mate of mine. Commenting on that the rep pointed out that Shelton Muller also had shot some of the pics in the Aussie and Kiwi brochure, mostly landscapes.
So I spent some time with Shelton who was there as a speaker and to promote his publishing business. Forgot all about the GX100 till later on when he was busy so I had a chat with his wife and she assured me that Shelton was very impressed with the files from the GX100.
My impression : handles well, the EVF is a bit toy like but fun to use , IT CAN USE AAA BATT, the lens has relatively low distortion, even the 19mm attachment is pretty straight. My shots around the stands looked fairly clean even when fully magnified ( on the screen), noisy in the darkest corners.
I see if I can get some shots from Shelton, but I would definitely take a serious look at this one to take on expeditions were quality is needed but size and weight are of primary importance.
In AU $ , Camera $799, 19mm $199, EVF $ 99
Franco
http://www.photographybyshelton.com/gallery.php
You can contact Shelton at :
http://sheltonmuller.blogspot.com/

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Your ugly looking Ricoh GX100... on 05/06/2007 19:35:54 MDT Print View

...wears Army boots. :-)>
Interesting, Franco. Was everything in the Shelton link taken w/ this camera? I would love to see non-processed image files so I could actually judge how much noise at various ISO settings this camera has.

I still wish Ricoh offered an optional non-electronic optical viewfinder. The GR Digital theoretically had such an option. Still hate the short zoom range, 24mm equivalent or not. I do like that it uniquely allows both Li-ion and AAA batteries. Also, any compact digicam that offers a RAW file format is to be encouraged---there are so few.

Wonder why there is no real N. American distribution----some marketing agreement with a partner company that shares components (Panasonic?)?

However, there is a possibility that NYC based Adorama may eventually carry it under their own warranty. I notice they are bringing in Ricoh's Caplio R6---another interesting (for backcountry use) camera (again lacking an optical finder).

Edited by kdesign on 05/06/2007 20:07:35 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Ricoh on 05/07/2007 03:17:45 MDT Print View

Hi Kevin
Shelton only has files from the GR not the GX. The confusions comes from having the two cameras side by side and quickly looking through the brochure , there was a lot to see and spent most of my time explaining why I left my job after 22 years.
However he was impressed by the GX performance.
Shelton uses Nikon, a 25 year old habit. As the editor of the largest photographic magazine here in Australia and a prolific contributor to trade and commercial publications, he has tested dozens of different cameras, so is opinion is based on solid comparative knowledge.
I agree with you about the optical V/F , but they are expensive and or of poor quality. Not that the EVF is that good, but it does help in bright sunlight.
Obviously a camera as small as the GX will be a compromise, nevertheless an option for the lightweight backpacker or a climber that is not a pro photographer. For general landscapes/mountaineering I think that a 24-72mm is preferable to a 28-100mm. For you there are other options.
Take my comments about the Ricoh in the same way people should take my comments about my beloved Tarptents. I am fully aware that in some situations compared to a Bibler Bombshelter they would be absolute crap.
So the 8oz Ricoh will be a piece of rubbish next to a Sinar P3.
The reason that Ricoh are not in the US is very simple, and you read it here first.
The US market is subsidized, in other words to be competitive there the manufacturers have to sell at around or below cost. Ricoh have no reason to do that.This is why everywhere else, apart from the not serviced gray market, cameras are more expensive. Only last year the Kodak CEO stated that they lost more money than expected because they sold more cameras then anticipated ( mostly within the US)
Franco

Edited by Franco on 05/07/2007 05:07:17 MDT.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Ricoh on 05/07/2007 12:37:44 MDT Print View

Thanks Franco, for taking the time to post on your A-PMA experiences with the GX. They've begun trickling into stores, at least in Japan and the Far East, and evidently Australia. The new owners are still figuring out the controls, and I'm a little concerned with what seems to be a lack of overall dynamic range, but it's at least been demonstrated that the little camera can deliver good results in the right hands.

Here are a few owner samples I've seen.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/49387980@N00/sets/72157600170517662/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/71881102@N00/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/noelleon/

The DP1 appears months off yet at best, so any sort of "shoot-out" between the two remains a daydream. Who knows, maybe a GR-D-2 will be announced by then to really muck things up?

Roger B
(rogerb) - MLife

Locale: Here and there
Ricoh GX100 in the USA on 05/07/2007 16:57:43 MDT Print View

Adorama will sell, according to their web page, the GX 100. And given the AU$ US$ exchange rate it seems that it is about the same price.

The web address is http://www.adorama.com

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
GX-100 in the US of A on 05/07/2007 17:02:37 MDT Print View

Or more precisely---
http://www.adorama.com/IRCGX100K.html?searchinfo=ricoh&item_no=4
$699 American.

It appears to have a Ricoh International Warranty. But who and where would the camera actually be serviced?

Edited by kdesign on 05/07/2007 17:04:15 MDT.

Roger B
(rogerb) - MLife

Locale: Here and there
Re: GX-100 in the US of A on 05/07/2007 17:32:44 MDT Print View

$US699 includes the viewfinder