Ricoh The new A16 zoom lens module announced!

Cristian Sorega

Regular
Apr 23, 2011
London
I am not sure what to think of this module, first the lens is not particularly fast, it has a very limited ISO range and poor video for some reason and then it's HUGE to top it off. After this I need to stop making fun of the NEX users with their tiny camera body and ridiculous huge lenses on them, this looks no better. I almost think the GXR-M with a legacy zoom lens will be smaller or even the K-01 will be smaller with a zoom lens than this.
Ricoh told me before that it is big but I did not expect it to be this big and certainly not to extend even further, the 16MP sensor also seems strange to me since it does not have any of the cool things found in the Pentax K-01 or Sony NEX-5n so it could be a different sensor from this, which in this case does not appear a good choice.
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Jul 15, 2010
SoCal
Bob
Ricohs are a niche market camera here in the US, when I bought my first GRD I think there were just two or three dealers, they have much more of a presence in other parts of the world and in those markets I high quality even if slow zoom with the APSc chip does have a market. For me it was a large mistake on their part, 21 or fast 85 mm equivalent lens would have made me think about staying with the GXR
 

Michael Penn

Veteran
Sep 14, 2010
Philadelphia
I am not sure what to think of this module, first the lens is not particularly fast, it has a very limited ISO range and poor video for some reason and then it's HUGE to top it off. After this I need to stop making fun of the NEX users with their tiny camera body and ridiculous huge lenses on them, this looks no better. I almost think the GXR-M with a legacy zoom lens will be smaller or even the K-01 will be smaller with a zoom lens than this.
Ricoh told me before that it is big but I did not expect it to be this big and certainly not to extend even further, the 16MP sensor also seems strange to me since it does not have any of the cool things found in the Pentax K-01 or Sony NEX-5n so it could be a different sensor from this, which in this case does not appear a good choice.
Limited ISO range ?
 

Michael Penn

Veteran
Sep 14, 2010
Philadelphia
The maximum ISO is 3200 on this module but 12800 or 25600 extended for the K-01 and NEX-5n, this makes a big difference for a f3.5-5.5 lens.
If I can shoot hand held in a dark alley at night at F2.5 and ISO 1600 the vast majority of people will be just fine with only ISO 3200 at F3.5 to F5.5. Specially since 12800 and 25600 is basically useless for anyone making prints larger than 5 x 7.
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Jul 15, 2010
SoCal
Bob
funny thing is everybody seem to have forgotten what is was like to shoot film, to get to 1600 one had to push the film two stops, not your everyday processing, muted colors and lots of grain.
 

Cristian Sorega

Regular
Apr 23, 2011
London
funny thing is everybody seem to have forgotten what is was like to shoot film, to get to 1600 one had to push the film two stops, not your everyday processing, muted colors and lots of grain.
I have never used film and if it were not for digital I would not be into photography so I am glad we are past this time and we have digital cameras.

Michael, maybe your alleys are brighter than the ones I shoot in :). Have struggled with my GF1 and f1.7 lens at ISO 3200 at times.
Btw. Love your Philadelphia Project although your site is a bit slow to navigate (it's worth though).
 

Andrewteee

All-Pro
Jul 8, 2010
I've gone above ISO 3200 on cameras that claimed they could, and I did not like it. I'd rather find another solution to the conditions than super high ISO. If condition warrant that I need ISO 12,000 on my f5.6 lens than I brought the wrong gear.

I think Ricoh is more conservative than others and not as interested in a long checklist of popular features. They focus on the core and do it really well.
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
I've gone above ISO 3200 on cameras that claimed they could, and I did not like it. I'd rather find another solution to the conditions than super high ISO. If condition warrant that I need ISO 12,000 on my f5.6 lens than I brought the wrong gear.

I think Ricoh is more conservative than others and not as interested in a long checklist of popular features. They focus on the core and do it really well.
Depends on the camera. The X100 shoots EASILY at 3200 and pretty decently at 6400. The GXR APS modules I've seen handle 3200 quite well too - not QUITE as well as the X100 but definitely well enough that I wouldn't hesitate to use it. That's a real advantage to me. I did a bunch of evening street shooting in Times Square with my EPL3 and 12mm f2 at 1600 and it did fine, but Times Square is NOT DARK! Some of the darker, quieter streets I've tried shooting on I've only been able to really get with the X100. And I've already done some shooting with a GXR 28 and I'm just trying to decide whether to keep it or not. And its really quite wonderful in really dark settings. Part of the reason I'm staying clear of paying the high price for the Fuji X-Pro is that I'd be paying a lot for a stop or so improvement over the X100, but I can't conceive of a situation where I'd need or even want better high ISO than the X100. Between that and the GXR, I'd have great low light capability in my two favorite focal lengths. When I was shooting with just an Olympus Pen, which topped out at 1600, I always felt like I wanted more and missed a good number of shots because I just couldn't keep the shutter speed high enough for street shooting. With the X100 and GXR, I have all of the low light capability I'd want, so I don't feel the desire to go higher. Its not an unquenchable desire for "better", but there is a threshold I had to hit before it was good enough.

As for Ricoh being more conservative than others, I though so too until the GRD4, which has essentially the same ISO values as the GRD3 but labelled them a full stop higher. Ricoh has a marketing department too!

-Ray
 

Duane Pandorf

Top Veteran
Apr 25, 2011
Western NC
funny thing is everybody seem to have forgotten what is was like to shoot film, to get to 1600 one had to push the film two stops, not your everyday processing, muted colors and lots of grain.
I too can remember only experimenting with pushing film and not having very much luck with it. I've been happy so far with what I'm able to get out of the GXR as is.

I too had wished this were a fast prime lens. Now that I have the A12 mount and one lens to put on it that's of course manual focus I do see one major benefit to this option. M mount lens have been around a long time whereas we've seen individual companies come and go or change their lens mounts along the way making obsolete your investment.

My style of shooting today does not require rapid focus as even with my auto focus 28mm module I find myself spending time (seconds) ensuring I've framed the picture the way I want. So far with my manual lens I am doing both at the same where I dont see this as a problem.

If I need the speed I now understand the zone focusing system and can easily preset my aperture and focus distance with auto ISO and get reasonably sharp images.

I see a couple more M mount lens in my future.
 

Michael Penn

Veteran
Sep 14, 2010
Philadelphia
I have never used film and if it were not for digital I would not be into photography so I am glad we are past this time and we have digital cameras.

Michael, maybe your alleys are brighter than the ones I shoot in :). Have struggled with my GF1 and f1.7 lens at ISO 3200 at times.
Btw. Love your Philadelphia Project although your site is a bit slow to navigate (it's worth though).
Thanks. My site will be updated to a HTML site later this year.

My typical shooting environment. Shot with GXR 28mm module and added 1 stop in postproduction.

A Walk On A Philadelphia Alley - YouTube
 

krugorg

All-Pro
Sep 26, 2011
Minnesota USA
Kyle Krug
Depends on the camera. The X100 shoots EASILY at 3200 and pretty decently at 6400. The GXR APS modules I've seen handle 3200 quite well too - not QUITE as well as the X100 but definitely well enough that I wouldn't hesitate to use it. That's a real advantage to me. I did a bunch of evening street shooting in Times Square with my EPL3 and 12mm f2 at 1600 and it did fine, but Times Square is NOT DARK! Some of the darker, quieter streets I've tried shooting on I've only been able to really get with the X100. And I've already done some shooting with a GXR 28 and I'm just trying to decide whether to keep it or not. And its really quite wonderful in really dark settings. Part of the reason I'm staying clear of paying the high price for the Fuji X-Pro is that I'd be paying a lot for a stop or so improvement over the X100, but I can't conceive of a situation where I'd need or even want better high ISO than the X100. Between that and the GXR, I'd have great low light capability in my two favorite focal lengths. When I was shooting with just an Olympus Pen, which topped out at 1600, I always felt like I wanted more and missed a good number of shots because I just couldn't keep the shutter speed high enough for street shooting. With the X100 and GXR, I have all of the low light capability I'd want, so I don't feel the desire to go higher. Its not an unquenchable desire for "better", but there is a threshold I had to hit before it was good enough.

As for Ricoh being more conservative than others, I though so too until the GRD4, which has essentially the same ISO values as the GRD3 but labelled them a full stop higher. Ricoh has a marketing department too!

-Ray

I had the first opportunity for some night street photography with my GXR 28 this past weekend - a torch light parade. I decided to go with snap focus, which worked pretty well and I was happy with the output at 3200. I did miss a good deal of shots, though, when my shutter speed couldn't keep up with the parade motion.

I probably need to practice more, but it seems like I may want to eventually add a Fuji X100, PL 25/1.4 (for my E-P3) or GXR M mount and a fast lens to my kit for these night and low light situations.

What were you using on your Pen for night stuff? I had kind of thought that the faster lens on the m4/3 would have allowed me to shoot at 1600 this past weekend and at a higher shutter speed, but it sounds like it is either one or the other? :)

Question for you on the X100 - how much do you run into flare/ghosting in real world night shooting? I am not trying to start a fire here (honestly!), it is just hard to figure out how frequently this occurs and whether there are easy ways to avoid the issue (e.g. wide open/stopped down?).


... I too had wished this were a fast prime lens. Now that I have the A12 mount and one lens to put on it that's of course manual focus I do see one major benefit to this option. M mount lens have been around a long time whereas we've seen individual companies come and go or change their lens mounts along the way making obsolete your investment.

My style of shooting today does not require rapid focus as even with my auto focus 28mm module I find myself spending time (seconds) ensuring I've framed the picture the way I want. So far with my manual lens I am doing both at the same where I dont see this as a problem.

If I need the speed I now understand the zone focusing system and can easily preset my aperture and focus distance with auto ISO and get reasonably sharp images.

I see a couple more M mount lens in my future.
Duane, did you have a chance to try out the focus peaking or zone focusing for night street stuff yet? Like you said, M glass makes a lot of sense, when thinking about longevity and resale value.
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
I had the first opportunity for some night street photography with my GXR 28 this past weekend - a torch light parade. I decided to go with snap focus, which worked pretty well and I was happy with the output at 3200. I did miss a good deal of shots, though, when my shutter speed couldn't keep up with the parade motion.

I probably need to practice more, but it seems like I may want to eventually add a Fuji X100, PL 25/1.4 (for my E-P3) or GXR M mount and a fast lens to my kit for these night and low light situations.

What were you using on your Pen for night stuff? I had kind of thought that the faster lens on the m4/3 would have allowed me to shoot at 1600 this past weekend and at a higher shutter speed, but it sounds like it is either one or the other? :)

Question for you on the X100 - how much do you run into flare/ghosting in real world night shooting? I am not trying to start a fire here (honestly!), it is just hard to figure out how frequently this occurs and whether there are easy ways to avoid the issue (e.g. wide open/stopped down?).
I find snap focus somewhat problematic in really low light just because there's not a lot of DOF with the lens wide open, so you really have to guess right on distance, whereas in decent light you've got plenty of DOF and margin for error. I did fine with snap focus in some limited but not too bad indoor lighting but when it gets really dark, I use auto focus and just take a bit more time to set up the shot. This shot is about as little light as I'll generally shoot in and AF worked well here, if not all that quickly:

View attachment 48890

A bit to my surprise, I actually find that at the same iso 3200 in the same lighting, I'm getting slightly faster shutter speeds with the GXR at f2.5 than I do with the X100 at f2.0, but I'm finding both very useable. The shot above came in at 1/50 and at closer to 1/30 on the X100. Of course, the X100 has a reasonably useable 6400, which the GXR doesn't, but I rarely go there, with 3200 covering about everything I'm going for. But I'd probably have trouble with snap focus at those speeds too, since I'm generally shooting with snap focus from the hip and more quickly. I'm sure I'm holding everything steadier held up closer to eye level and having to steady the whole operation to find AF. The PL25 f1.4 is an amazing low light lens, even on my epl3 which I never shoot above 1600. Part of it is the IBIS I guess, but I get great low light results with that. But its not a focal length I use out in the world much - most for family/friends types of shots in rooms that aren't that well lit. Same with the 45mm f1.8. When I'm out shooting, I'm just a wide angle junkie - its how I see stuff. As I've said, I've done OK with the 12mm f2.0 in reasonably well lit evening shooting, but not in the really dark stuff, although if the OMD will handle 3200, the combination of that and IBIS should make it a pretty decent low light camera with any of those f2.0 or faster lenses.

Here's a shot with the PL 25 wide open at f1.4 at 1600 on the EPL3 - it took the shot at 1/60, so you see there's not a whole lot more latitude there and this is the brightest of the m43 lenses (at least of the native AF lenses). And this scene wasn't quite AS dark as some of the others - you can see some blue sky beginning to show in the east...

View attachment 48891

Finally, I haven't had much problem with flare/ghosting with the X100, but I'm probably just not that sensitive to it. Here are two shots in VERY low light with some direct light sources and I guess there's some ghosting, a fair amount in the B&W shot. They don't bother me, but they might bother others...

View attachment 48892

View attachment 48893

-Ray
 

krugorg

All-Pro
Sep 26, 2011
Minnesota USA
Kyle Krug
I find snap focus somewhat problematic in really low light just because there's not a lot of DOF with the lens wide open, so you really have to guess right on distance, whereas in decent light you've got plenty of DOF and margin for error. I did fine with snap focus in some limited but not too bad indoor lighting but when it gets really dark, I use auto focus and just take a bit more time to set up the shot. This shot is about as little light as I'll generally shoot in and AF worked well here, if not all that quickly:

View attachment 48988

A bit to my surprise, I actually find that at the same iso 3200 in the same lighting, I'm getting slightly faster shutter speeds with the GXR at f2.5 than I do with the X100 at f2.0, but I'm finding both very useable. The shot above came in at 1/50 and at closer to 1/30 on the X100. Of course, the X100 has a reasonably useable 6400, which the GXR doesn't, but I rarely go there, with 3200 covering about everything I'm going for. But I'd probably have trouble with snap focus at those speeds too, since I'm generally shooting with snap focus from the hip and more quickly. I'm sure I'm holding everything steadier held up closer to eye level and having to steady the whole operation to find AF. The PL25 f1.4 is an amazing low light lens, even on my epl3 which I never shoot above 1600. Part of it is the IBIS I guess, but I get great low light results with that. But its not a focal length I use out in the world much - most for family/friends types of shots in rooms that aren't that well lit. Same with the 45mm f1.8. When I'm out shooting, I'm just a wide angle junkie - its how I see stuff. As I've said, I've done OK with the 12mm f2.0 in reasonably well lit evening shooting, but not in the really dark stuff, although if the OMD will handle 3200, the combination of that and IBIS should make it a pretty decent low light camera with any of those f2.0 or faster lenses.

Here's a shot with the PL 25 wide open at f1.4 at 1600 on the EPL3 - it took the shot at 1/60, so you see there's not a whole lot more latitude there and this is the brightest of the m43 lenses (at least of the native AF lenses). And this scene wasn't quite AS dark as some of the others - you can see some blue sky beginning to show in the east...

View attachment 48989

Finally, I haven't had much problem with flare/ghosting with the X100, but I'm probably just not that sensitive to it. Here are two shots in VERY low light with some direct light sources and I guess there's some ghosting, a fair amount in the B&W shot. They don't bother me, but they might bother others...

View attachment 48990

View attachment 48991

-Ray

Ray - thank you very much for the real world feedback on using m4/3 versus the GXR and Fuji for night shots. Extremely helpful, much appreciated!

I have seen one of those shots before, but they are really outstanding. I don't think I would have noticed the ghosting on the second without you calling it out.... definitely not distracting for me.

I think my expectations were a bit high as to what I could capture in streets with very little light. I was looking through my shots (a lot of misses) and looks like I was generally at 1/30 and pegging 3200 most of the time (set to Auto-High on ISO). Maybe I also need to work on my camera holding technique.

With the OM-D announcement, I am leaning towards using m4/3 for low light. Fast lenses, IBIS and larger DoF. I am going to keep practicing on the GXR, though. I love the controls, size and I do also like 28mm for what I have been doing.
 

Andrewteee

All-Pro
Jul 8, 2010
This A16 zoom unit is now showing up at B&H. You can't order it yet, but it shouldn't be too long now. Wish I had it for my vacation next week.
 

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