GXR system

Started Mar 25, 2012 | Discussions thread
Senior MemberPosts: 2,459
Re: GXR system
In reply to lenseye, Mar 30, 2012

Certainly a full frame module is a logical extension for the Mount A12 module. Think about it - the digital cameras on the planet purpose built for M mount rangefinder lenses are:

Leica M8 (1.3x crop)
Leica M9 (full frame)
Ricoh Mount A12 (1.5x crop)
Epson R-D1 (1.5x crop, long out of production)

And that's it.

The Ricoh is easily competitive with the M8, but isn't a rangefinder. On the other hand the Ricoh is still in production and is less than half the price of used M8's and a quarter the price when new. The Ricoh is one fifth the price of a new M9.

FF sensors are not many orders of magnitude more expensive than crop sensors; the gap has narrowed. It seems reasonable that a maker could produce an a compact electronic finder camera like the GXR, with a full frame sensor, for a decent fraction of the price of a M9. Feature for feature, if economies of scale were the same, such a camera should cost less than a D800 or any of the prosumer full frame Nikon or Canon DSLRs, as there's simply less to build in an EFC mirrorless compact, and fewer features to develop and support in hardware and firmware.

Ricoh has developed the in-house knowledge required to produce a camera that treats M lenses well. Maybe other camera makers could also do the same, but other than Leica, the only company with current demonstrated expertise in this area, and willingness to go there, is Ricoh.

Could others go this route too? There is history on the side of Nikon and Canon and even Sony (via Minolta) - all have produced Leica compatible rangefinder cameras in their past, with the Minolta CL having been produced within the lifetimes of most or many folks posting here. But those companies carry baggage in the form of existing DSLR and compact lines and maybe more importantly, lens lines they want to maximize profits from. Ricoh (ignore Pentax for the moment) doesn't have those ties, which is probably why they felt open to making the Mount A12 in the first place.

Finally, you'd expect with Leica having a M8 (crop) first, a proving ground, followed later by the M9 (full frame) camera, perhaps Ricoh also decided to prove themselves worthy by taking on the M8 in substance with the Mount A12 always with a plan to take the next step.

For the time being Ricoh seem to be the best bet to release a full frame compact we'd be happy to mount rangefinder lenses on. Is the market for such a unit big enough to warrant the design costs?

I hope so. I've no data but know that every where I turn existing Ricoh Mount shooters and those using other camera systems continue to express serious interest in a Ricoh FF Mount camera unit. Priced right it would sell very well. I want to pre-order one now.

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