The GXR has the same excellent 3.0 inch 920,000 pixel TFT screen as seen on the latest GRD III and GX200 models, putting it on a par with the best current digital SLRs and ahead of its nearest competitors. It really is a very nice screen; sharp, bright, and contrasty, and it has a relatively effective anti-reflective coating (which has the unfortunate side-effect of showing every fingerprint in stark detail). Of course it's as unusable as every other screen in very bright direct sunlight, but at least you do have the option of a high resolution viewfinder at that point.
|The 3.0" TFT offers high resolution, high refresh rate and excellent image quality.|
Electronic Viewfinder VF-2
The GXR's optional electronic viewfinder offers the same 920,000 resolution as the main screen (so a lot better than the Panasonic version, not quite as good as the identically-named new Olympus). The 0.37" display has a 100% frame coverage and, frankly, looks fantastic as long as you don't move too quickly - at that point you'll see some color tearing (this is a field sequential display).
The quality of the live view in the viewfinder also depends to some extent on the lens unit attached; the A12 50mm appears to produce a slightly higher frame rate (though does exhibit typical CMOS rolling shutter 'jello effects' when panning), whereas the S10 looks a little laggy.
Screen / Viewfinder view
Ricoh has designed the GXR to be as easy to operate as a compact camera. More specifically I guess, to be as easy to operate as a high-end Ricoh compact camera, and to this end the user interface will be pretty familiar to users of GRD or GX models. The standard display (which is, of course, customizable) makes full use of the large, high resolution screen, and has the usual array of icons and information ranged around the edge (you can choose to add a black frame around the preview if you find it difficult to see small icons against the live view image). Like many modern digital SLRs there's also a 'control panel' option, activated by pressing the DIRECT button. This, as the name implies, gives you direct access to all the camera's important shooting functions, as well as providing an 'at a glance' view of current settings.
|The standard live view ('picture mode') simply displays relevant information around the screen.||Pressing the direct button brings up an alternative 'info panel' display that offers direct access to all the most commonly used photographic settings (much like the Olympus Super Control Panel).|
The Direct mode display can be navigated using the four-way controller or the dials, and allows menu-free access to all the most important settings. The diagram below shows a typical screen (in the 'no preview image' mode):
|*1||Also displays flash output when set|
|2||Only shown when in use|
When shooting in normal 'picture' mode the high resolution screen is put to good use with an immense amount of detail on display (note that you'll never see all these icons at the same time). The diagram below gives you an idea of what some - though not all - the things you might see around the screen when shooting mean:
|1||Flash mode||17||Camera shake correction|
|2||Flash compensation/manual flash amount||18||Date imprint|
|3||Scene mode/Continuous||19||Battery level|
|4||Shooting mode||20||Auto exposure lock|
|5||Number of exposures remaining||21||Self-timer|
|6||Destination (card/internal memory)||22||Macro mode|
|7||Snap focus distance||23||Minimum shooting distance|
|8||Picture quality/size||24||Digital zoom ratio|
|9||Focus mode/full press snap||25||Zoom bar|
|10||White balance/white balance compensation||26||Interval shooting|
|11||Exposure metering||27||Exposure indicator|
Battery / Card Compartment & Battery
The GXR uses a new 3.6v 1700mAh Lithium Ion battery (BP-90), which takes a leisurely five hours to charge fully using the supplied BJ-9 compact charger and provides around 410 shots with the S10 zoom or 320 with the A12 50mm APS-C prime (CIPA standard).
The battery and SD card share a compartment under a solid locking door on the base of the camera. Like most of cameras at this end of the market, the GXR accepts the popular SD format of memory card (including the larger capacity SDHC variety).
Unfortunately, due to the location of the tripod mount, you cannot change the card or battery while the camera is mounted on a tripod.
Hidden away under a flexible plastic cover on the right hand side of the camera (viewed from the rear) are the GXR's I/O ports (USB, A/V and mini HDMI). To the right of the connector cover in the shots below you can see the small built-in speaker.