Ricoh seal the future of interchangeable lenses

Tokyo, Japan, November 10, 2009—Ricoh Co., Ltd. (president and CEO: Shiro Kondo) today announced the development and release of the GXR interchangeable unit camera system featuring the world’s smallest and lightest* digital camera with the ability to change lenses.


The new GXR is an interchangeable unit camera system in which lenses are changed by using a slide-in mount system to attach camera units to the body. The lens, image sensor, and image processing engine are integrated into the camera units so the body itself does not contain an image sensor.


With world-leading small size and low weight* enabling easy carrying, the GXR interchangeable unit camera system features a highly rigid magnesium alloy body and multiple camera units that can be changed to best fit the scene to be photographed. You can enjoy easy lens changes as well as amazing image quality and shooting flexibility. Concealing infinite possibilities in its small body, the GXR is a revolutionary camera system that pioneers a new realm of photography.

Distinctive characteristics:
1.    Lens, image sensor, and image processing engine comprise an integrated unit which can be changed to match the scene being photographed.
2.    World’s smallest and lightest* digital camera with interchangeable lenses
3.    System potential expanded through use of interchangeable units

Comment from David Kilpatrick:

Though the Ricoh system as revealed through this press release appears to show only a GR-size body with a zoom lens module suitable for a 2/3rds or slightly smaller imaging sensor, Ricoh has said that sensors right up to the size of APS-C will be built in to further lens modules. The ultra-wide angle version would have an APS-C sensor making similar to the Sigma DP-1. For similar reasons, high ISO and fast lens may be combined with a different size of sensor.

This is not the first time a digital camera has been designed with lens-sensor modules that could be changed. The Minolta Dimage EX 1500 accepted either a standard zoom module, or a wide-angle module. These included viewfinders (missing from the Ricoh concept, which relies entirely on the rear screen or electronic viewfinders) and had the unique ability to be removed from the camera on a 1.5m long Cable EX. This allowed users to position the wide-angle module inside scale models, doll’s houses and similar subjects to obtain realistic human-scale perspectives. It was only a 1.5 megapixel camera, and Minolta abandoned the concept before they had a chance to develop it further, whatever dPreview said ten years ago:

The technology behind the Ricoh is not all that different from the way consumer digital cameras are constructed anyway. Lenses are already sold sealed to CCD/CMOS sensors, as a single unit. That is how the OEM sources of the lens-sensor modules market them. At photokina, you can see (every two years) a new crop of such modules with both the technical resolution specs of the optical unit and the megapixel count of the sensor, identifiable to this non-Chinese/Japanese reader in the middle of a description which is usually inb Chinese. In 2006, I tracked such a module from its maker to the first camera I could find which used it – a compact branded as Vivitar. The customisation consisted of building any body the maker chose to design, and putting a ring on the lens front labelling it is a high resolution Vivitar lens; actually, it was just a generic lens-sensor assembly from China.

Ricoh has also pioneered unusual digital designs in the past, including rotatable or detachable lens modules and one of the first viewfinder-less designs, where the viewing screen was intended to be used at waist-level rather than today’s habit of waving the camera in front of your face.

This differs from anything previously done in the power of the CPU unit in each lens, and control module with screen display and card interface in the host body. It should allow any reasonable pixel count and sensor size to be built in to future optical modules. If the accessories do eventually include dedicated APS-C lens-sensor sealed modules, ‘dust on sensor’ will be one clear benefit (or the lack of it will). A supertelephoto module is also planned which will use a sensor smaller than APS-C.

Canon develops new IS system

London, United Kingdom / Republic of Ireland, 22nd July 2009 — Canon Inc. announced today the development of Hybrid Image Stabilizer (IS), the world’s first* optical Image Stabilizer which compensates for both angular camera shake and shift camera shake. The technology will be incorporated in an interchangeable single lens reflex (SLR) camera lens planned for commercial release before the end of 2009.

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Sigma’s DP2 – Camera less obscure


Sigma’s DP1 was launched in 2007 (with production models available in 2008) to great critical acclaim. occupying a unique spot in the marketplace by combining an APS-C format sensor with a compact “point and shoot” style body. There were a few controversial design choices, and the user and reviewer feedback varied greatly with the time and effort people were prepared to put in learning about the camera, yet the verdicts on the optical performance were united – the DP1 was astounding. Now the DP2 has arrived, with production-quality units available from UK retailers.
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Sekonic's camera calibration

The Sekonic Digitalmaster L-758D meter offers the solution to variable ISO/EI ratings, and apparent sensitivity and contrast curves variations found in DSLRs. With a USB interface to link it up to a PC/Mac calibration program, the L-758D can remember three different cameras, two types of lighting (ambient or flash) and two measuring methods (incident or reflected) plus a range of ISO values for each of the cameras. There are twelve basic ‘profiles’ that can be stored, and within each profile a range from ISO 3 to ISO 8000.

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Nikon D3X announced at last!

RRP: £5499.99 / €7728.00
Availability: Late December 2008

Nikon UK is pleased to introduce its new top-of-the-range premium D-SLR – the D3X. Building on the reliability, handling and durability of the award-winning D3, the D3X offers an imaging sensor with over twice the resolution* of the revolutionary D3, breaking new ground in image quality.

(*Nikon’s own words – actually, it’s twice the pixel count, and approximately 1.42 times the linear resolution, as resolution is normally understood, though the visual information density is more than doubled).

The all-new 24.5MP CMOS* sensor makes the new model eminently suitable for the broadest range of shooting situations, both in the studio and on location – ideal for photographers seeking unrivalled detail.

(*Nikon’s own words again – we must wait to find out whether it is really all-new, or is a derivative of the Sony 24.x megapixel sensor. See features below of gapless microlens array and 12-channel readout, which are not claimed by Sony. Samsung pioneered gapless microlenses in the 14.6 megapixel sensor for the Pentax K20D/Samsung GX20).

“This is the camera that many professional photographers have been waiting for,” said Robert Cristina, Professional Products and NPS Manager at Nikon Europe. “Just as the D3 has become the professionals’ camera of choice in sports photography, the D3X’s extremely high imaging resolution will raise the bar for commercial, fashion and stock photography. The results speak for themselves: this is without doubt our highest-quality camera to date.”

The World is Your Studio

The D3X boasts a specially-developed FX-format CMOS image sensor with 12-channel readout, gapless micro lens array and on-chip noise reduction. It delivers class-leading levels of continuous shooting speed and noise management at higher sensitivities without sacrificing detail.

The D3X supports a broad ISO range from ISO 100-1600, extendable down to ISO 50 and up to 6400 equivalent with up to 5 fps continuous shooting at full resolution, or 7 fps in the 10MP DX-crop mode. The acclaimed MultiCAM3500FX 51-point autofocus system enables extreme accuracy with outstanding dynamic tracking for fast moving subjects in low light.

The camera’s LiveView function offers a smooth workflow option, perfect for studio work or other situations where the use of the viewfinder is impractical. The camera also delivers a superb response rate, with a start-up of just 12 milliseconds and 40ms shutter lag. The Kevlar/carbon fibre composite shutter has been designed for intensive professional needs and tested to 300,000 cycles.

Images with the X factor

The D3X reaps the benefits of the very latest developments in sensor design and image processing technology. Designed to produce files suitable to meet the demands of tomorrow’s commercial and stock requirements, the camera produces 50MB 14-bit NEF (Raw) files. Using Capture NX2 software, NEF files can be processed into medium format terrain; 140MB (16-bit TIFF-RGB). Fine details are reproduced with incredible clarity, whilst shadows and highlights contain tonal gradation with minimal clipping for pictures with a unique look and feel.

Intuitive control

The D3X shares the same ergonomics and handling as the D3, which have been designed to enable anyone to get to work quickly and efficiently. The bright, uncluttered viewfinder features 100% coverage and comprehensive illuminated displays, while the high-definition, 3-inch, 920,000-dot VGA TFT monitor enables outstanding playback quality for on-the-spot image assessment. The D3X’s magnesium body, which is sealed for moisture and dust resistance, also supports Nikon’s wireless system (the WT-4), HDMI output, offers a dual slot for CF cards and is compatible with the new GP-1 GPS unit.