The new "GX", straight from the horse's mouth

Started Oct 16, 2009 | Discussions thread
Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 38,475
Re: Ricoh, Pentax, et al ....

Tom, read my thread "Unleash the furies" if you have not yet done so.

Basically I picked up on a simple reference posted on another thread referring to an old patent granted to Ricoh. This was a patent where lenses were split into two parts - basically the lens elements in one and the iris part in another. The iris part was then built on the camera body as a fixed part. The interchangeable bit was only the lens and presumably the focus mechanism only. The main advantage in slr days would have been lighter and cheaper lens elements as each and every lens would not have to have an aperture mechanism built in. However in the context of an slr there would be no overall size difference because of the mirror mechanism behind. Apparently there was at the time also significant cost savings on metering light - but this might no longer be such an advantage with digital cameras.

However generally speaking it is a no-no to bury part of a removable lens into the body of the camera. This problem goes away if you split the iris off and it is incorporated into the camera body (if this is possible) the truncated remaining lens portion could then be fitted to the buried iris portion and this in turn could possibly be flush to the camera body. Therefore prime wides might not protrude any more than say the current lens of the GRD (at rest - a guess as I am no optics engineer).

Telephoto would be more bulky but I guess they could be made retract to a point.

In other words the patent goes some way but not completely to helping Ricoh get an APS-C sensor into a GX-sized (maybe) body.

However such a lens if it does happen will not be compatible with any existing lens system whatsoever as the design is fundamentally different to anything else ever marketed to my knowledge.

However if the lenses themselves are simple to make, and lighter because of more simple construction they will also become available more quickly. Being cheaper to make might encourage Ricoh to make some high quality lenses at a competitive price. If they do this then they will certainly set the cat amongst the pigeons - hence my reference to the furies.

It would make sense for Ricoh to partner this venture even if were just a means of getting a good range of lenses to market quickly. As Olympus and Panasonic are lock-step with the micro4/3 system and Sony, Nikon and Canon will almost certainly go alone then the most obvious partners for Ricoh would be Pentax for additional lens-making clout and Samsung for helping fund the enormous cost of bringing a completely new lens system to world market. All aspirational camera manufacturers who mainly work to the niche market - Samsung seem to want to be a big player though and have had a couple of false starts - such a revolutionary concept might be all they need to get going.

There has been some scuttlebutt about a new K mount and if there is anything in this talk then Pentax cannot be too far away as it is their proprietary mount system.

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Tom Caldwell

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