Ricoh has finally announced the 8 million-pixel GR Digital that echoes the styling of the popular 35mm analogue GR series, which was popular with professionals and enthusiasts. The GR Digital is said to inherit the 'superb image quality' from its analog brother and Ricoh engineers have managed to incorporate a fixed F2.4 focal length for the newly-developed GR 28mm wideangle lens. There is a 2.5-inch LCD and Ricoh didn't make a viewfinder as standard but instead offers an externally attached optional viewfinder. RAW capture is also possible and Ricoh has decided to adopt the DNG format for these files. The Ricoh GR will be available in October priced £399.99 (€593).

Press Release:

Ricoh announces the GR Digital

Ricoh GR Digital

Professional Grade High Resolution Compact Digital Camera

Northampton 2005. September 13 - Ricoh announced today the launch of the GR Digital, a newly developed professional-grade high-resolution compact digital camera. In addition to a CCD with 8,130,000 effective pixels, the new digital camera boasts superb resolution through a newly developed high-performance lens, image-processing algorithms, and other innovations, as well as low noise and low chromatic aberration.

The new GR Digital inherits the superb image quality that made the award winning GR Series (first launched in 1996) of 35mm compact film cameras so popular, as well as the depictive performance to satisfy professional photographers, distilled into a compact 25-mm thin body.

With a high-quality feel and superb expandability, this is the perfect tool for both professional photographers and advanced amateurs.

When planning the GR Digital, Ricoh’s engineers began by identifying the elements needed to provide the high picture quality demanded by discerning photographers. After extensive tests and research, Ricoh placed special emphasis on resolution, noise level, colour aberration correction, colour reproduction, tone, and distortion characteristics. In order to achieve extremely high levels in each of these areas, Ricoh gave the GR Digital a CCD with 8,130,000 effective pixels, and also developed two key components: (1) a F2.4 fixed focal length GR lens with f = 5.9 mm (28 mm converted to 35 mm format camera) having high resolution and depictive power; and (2) a new GR Engine image-processing system featuring natural composition and rich, fine gradations while further lowering noise in all images.

These key components in turn translate into a high Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) rating for the central area of the image as well as the edges. MTF is a measure of contrast and resolution, and one of the most widely used standards for evaluating image quality. The GR Digital has the descriptive power to show each hair on a person's head, with superb reproductive capability all the way into the corners of the picture. The GR Digital’s images also reduce noise, giving greater continuity in dark areas, reproduces natural tones and gradations, and reduces blurring and distortion.

MTF Curve of GR F 2.4 Lens with f = 5.9 mm

Notes:
* The closer the 50/mm and 150/mm curves are to 100%, the higher the contrast and resolution.
* 50 lines/mm and 150 lines/mm are equivalent to 10 lines/mm and 30 lines/mm, respectively, when converted to a 35-mm format camera. In general, if a 10 line/mm 35-mm format camera has an MTF of 80% or higher, it is considered to have excellent image quality, and at 60% or higher is considered to have satisfactory image quality.
* The alignment of the R and T characteristics is vital for blurring and other depictive characteristics.

Ricoh launched their first digital camera – the Ricoh DC- in 1995. The Ricoh DC-1 was the world's first digital camera to support video. Since then, Ricoh have remained at the forefront of digital camera technology. Ricoh’s leading edge technologies have seen many breakthroughs with such outstanding features as: 1cm macro, wide-angle high quality optical zoom lenses, ultra fast response times (start-up and shutter release lag) and unique linking of communications and GPS support functions.

Main Features of the GR Digital:

Newly Developed GR Lens Provides High Resolution and resolving power.

  • A retro-focus lens using a concave lens toward the subject and a convex lens toward the CCD, widely used in wide-angle SLRs and the like, is used. In addition to this two glass-moulded aspheric lenses and one special low dispersion lens are used. These are optimally laid out in a configuration that fully corrects and reduces distortion, frame aberration, colour aberration, using fewer lens element. It also improves the light transmissivity of the lens, producing clear images.
  • A retracting lens system is employed, allowing part of the lens groupings (rear group) to be stowed inside the camera body. This shortens the distance between the second and third lenses when stowed. This not only helps to improve the image quality it also helps to reduce the camera size.
  • A dedicated system can adjust the optical axis of the outer lens group and CCD-side lens group at the micron level. This enables uniform image quality from edge to edge.
  • Equipped with a generous seven- blade aperture and neutral density (ND) filter
  • These features enable high resolution, high image quality from edge to edge, low noise in dark areas, natural tone and gradations, and good background blurring upon aperture release. The ND filter uniformly absorbs each base colour: R, G, and B, allowing larger apertures to be utilized.

Boasting 8,130,000 effective pixels, the camera delivers the high image quality that professionals demand.

Image Processing via GR Engine Maximizes Lens Performance.

  • Supplemental processing on adjacent pixels creates smooth, natural curves.
  • Noise is reduced even further by including top-of-the-line components with superb characteristics in the analog circuit. During long-term exposures, heat and light sources – which can cause noise – are kept down to a minimum, enabling long 3-minute exposure times for great pictures of the night sky and similar subjects.
  • Through image-pattern analysis, variations in auto exposure (AE) and auto white balance (AWB) are suppressed. As a result, Whites look White and Blacks look Black.
  • Improved AF precision in macro mode.
  • Images are simultaneously stored in uncompressed RAW and JPEG formats.

Slim, Compact Design.
The thin, compact design – 107.0 x 25.0 x 58.0 mm (WxDxH) achieves both portability and ease of use as a photographic tool. Now you can enjoy the high-quality photography of the GR Digital any time, anywhere.

Functionally Aesthetic Design Delivers High Quality and Ease Of use.

  • The lens is placed near the centre of the camera, in a design that provides the photographer maximum balance for greater stability.
  • The camera uses a magnesium-alloy case combining a stylish design with durability for maximum strength.
  • Offers the first twin dial in a compact digital camera. You adjust the aperture in the front, and the shutter in the back. This allows a high degree of operability and flexibility when shooting in manual mode.
  • The built-in strobe uses a pop-up system, preventing vignetting (gradual fading of the image at the edges)

The Camera Itself is Simple, And Highly Expandable to Meet a Wide Range of Needs.

  • Ricoh intentionally did not make an optical viewfinder standard, offering a high-performance externally attached optional viewfinder instead. It fits on a hot shoe almost directly above the lens to help achieve more accurate framing.
  • The wide converter optional lens features an ultra wide-angle 21 mm (when converted to 35 mm format camera).
  • An optional external strobe, cable release, hood and filters are also available.

Short Photo Interval of 1.7 Seconds
Even with 8,130,000 effective pixels, the shooting interval is just 1.7 seconds. When shooting continuously, you can shoot at this interval until the memory is full.

Built-in Large, High Resolution LCD with 100% View
The camera is equipped with a bright, high-definition, large 2.5-inch/210,000 pixel LCD. The field of view is 100%, enabling accurate framing.

Images can be captured in various combinations of resolution and compression. RAW compression and RAW with JPEG can be selected for ultimate quality

An aspect ratio of 3:2 can be selected, the same aspect ratio as 35mm and most digital SLR’s that allows images to be printed in standard sizes without cropping.

Manual, Program, Program shift AE and Aperture Priority modes allow for greater flexibility and freedom of expression.

Three metering modes are available: 256 multipoint, spot metering and centre weighted average metering giving the photographer the freedom to compose shots as they please under various lighting conditions.

A sophisticated 9-point AF system assures fast and accurate focus from just 30cm and 1.5cm in Macro.

Price and Availability:

The Caplio GR Digital will be available from October. RRP £399.99 inc VAT.

Ricoh GR Digital specifications

Sensor

• 1/1.8" Type CCD
• 8.3 million pixels total
• 8.1 million effective pixels

Image sizes • 3264 x 2448
• 3264 x 2176
• 2592 x 1944
• 2048 x 1536
• 1280 x 960
• 640 x 480
Text:
• 3264 x 2448
• 2048 x 1536
Movie clips • 320 x 240
• 160 x 120
File formats

• Still: JPEG, RAW, TIFF (TEXT ONLY)
• Movie: AVI
• Sound: WAV

Lens • 28 mm (35 mm equiv)
• F 2.4 - F 11
Conversion lenses Wide Conversion Lens GW-1
Digital zoom Up to 4x
Focus • Auto focus
• Manual focus
• Snap
• Infinity
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance • Normal: 30cm to infinity
• Macro: 0.02 m to infinity
Metering • 256 multi-point
• Spot metering
• Center-weighted average
ISO sensitivity • ISO 64
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600 (not available in RAW mode)
Exposure compensation • +/-2EV
• 1/3 EV steps
Exposure bracketing -0.5 EV, 0, +0.5 EV
Shutter speed 180 - 1/2000 sec
Modes • Program
• Aperture priority
• Program shift AE
White balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Overcast
• Tungsten Light
• Fluorescent light
• Manual
• Advanced
White bracketing Yes
Self timer 2 or 10 secs
Continuous shooting Yes
Flash • Built-in pop-up
• Auto, red-eye suppression, force flash, slow synchro, no flash
• Range: Approx. 0.2 to 3 m (when ISO Auto is set)
Viewfinder External viewfinder via hotshoe
LCD monitor • 2.5" TFT LCD
• 210,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 2.0
• AV out
Storage • SD card
• 26 MB internal memory
Power • 1x rechargeable D-60 battery or 2x AAA batteries
• Charger optional
Weight 170 g (6 oz) (no card, batteries or strap)
200 g (7.1 oz) (with batteries and strap)
Dimensions 107 x 25 x 58 mm (4.2 x 1 x 2.3 in)