Ricoh My brief love affair with Ricoh GXR


Top Veteran
Dec 27, 2010
Kiev, Ukraine
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Ricoh GXR is not new by today's standards and (according to rumors) possibly even discontinued. But I finally managed to get my mitts on GXR only in April of this year, when local Pentax dealers in Ukraine started selling Ricoh cameras. And although initially I thought I wouldn't like the camera at all, in the end I totally fell in love with it.

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In my opinion, unusual construction and rather boring design make Ricoh GXR a bit of an ugly duckling. However, the camera has (once again, in my opinion) the best handling of any camera I have ever tried. Its controls fall directly under my fingers, and its menu system is extremely logical, clear and well thought-out. The camera is also very customizable — you can assign different functions to almost all of its buttons and levers. Once fully set up, the camera can be used without ever diving in the menus proper. There are no other cameras offering the same level of convenience in a package this small and unobtrusive... with the exception of the new Ricoh GR, which has almost the same control layout. I also happen to quite like the fact that I can swap the 'lensor' modules using only one hand. Try that with conventional bayonet-mounted lenses!

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The screen on Ricoh GXR is very good. On paper its specs are fairly ordinary (3 inches, 920k dots resolution, IPS panel, etc.), but it just seems to look nicer and sharper than screens on Olympus OM-D or Sony NEX-7. Unfortunately, there is no built-in EVF, but it can be added as an optional accessory.

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The size of the camera depends on the lensor you're using. With small-sensor lensors the camera is roughly the same size as other serious small-sensor compacts, such as Ricoh GRD IV or Panasonic LX7. With APC-C lensors it is closer in size to Panasonic GX1 with Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 lens.

I had the camera with two lensors — S10 (10MP 1/1.7" CCD, 24-72mm EFL zoom lens) and A12/50mm macro (12MP APS-C CMOS, 50mm EFL f/2.5 macro lens). The A12/50mm lensor is excellent, its image quality is great up to the ISO 3200 and the lens is sharp with wonderful rendition of OOF areas. The S10 produces images that are grainy even at the lowest possible ISO, but it is to be expected of the small-sensor camera.

The biggest downside of Ricoh GXR is its battery, which is good for about 150-200 shots. And the battery meter is very misleading, it tends to show full charge until the battery is almost fully depleted.

As I said in the beginning of this post, I completely fell in love with the GXR. Or, to be more precise, my heart fell in love with it, but my head insists that it's the wrong camera for me because... well, the reasons are not important. Suffice it to say that I can't use it as my primary camera and I can't afford to have multiple camera systems right now. But I will certainly buy it sooner or later.

Some pictures taken with Ricoh GXR A12/50mm:

Some pictures taken with Ricoh GXR S10:

In the end, I think Ricoh GXR is probably the most transparent camera I have ever tried. It (almost) doesn't get in the way of getting the shots, and the A12/50mm module is absolutely stunning: the sensor is not noisy at all and the lens is easily as good as anything. If you've never shot with it, you should definitely try it.


Bring Jack back!
Jan 11, 2011
Houston, Texas
Great write up and photos Pavel! I did have a very brief flirtation with the GXR + M module. Ultimately, it was not for me, because the focus peaking implementation wasn't to my liking. But like you wrote, the ergonomics and UI in the GXR are top notch.


Jul 8, 2010
The GXR/A12 50mm is still one of my favorite cameras, second only to the GR(D)s. I've taken tons of photos with it.


Hall of Famer
Dec 24, 2010
Brisbane, Australia
One of the things that I'm looking forward to when I get back back home in September is picking up the GXR again (which sadly missed the cut as one of my travel cameras). Quirky, far from pretty, but still a camera that I can't help but like. If it could handle reds a little better it would be right up with the Samsung NX200 as my favourite camera for colour output.


supernatural anesthetist
Sep 9, 2011
Cumbria UK
It really does seem the GXR is not seeing any love lately ! But due to the very low price that the GXR and A16 is at now, I've just ordered another. Yes i made a mistake selling my first one.
Anyway, A 16mp apsc sensor with no AA filter for £369 and two years warranty , It's a must buy in my book.
I always liked the detail in the images. I cant wait to Get shooting with it again. My lovely Nikon V1's will still be my goto cameras But for my slow considered work i will choose the GXR-A16


New Member
Nov 18, 2013
I have had the Ricoh GXR with the 50mm module for 1 1/2 years now and am very happy with it. I agree with pretty much everything you mention. Before buying the camera I read way too many review of other serious compacts, mirrorless cameras etc., but eventually decided on the GXR mostly due to the 50mm module (I do some artwork and often need to do jewelry close-up shots etc.).

Personally, the battery only being good for 100-150 photos never bothered me. But that's probably just me--I shoot a lot of film, so I am more of a "careful" shooter, I rather come home with 20 good shots than 100 shots from which I have to sort out 20 good ones :)

I really wonder why you said in the end that it's not the right camera for you? After all that praise, it's a bit confusing.

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