Ricoh goes Micro Four Thirds...

Started Nov 11, 2009 | Discussions
safaridon Veteran Member • Posts: 3,321
Re: Ricoh goes Micro Four Thirds...

This is the concept Ricoh should have used in the first place for their revolutionary camera. Still very possible to come and likely addition. Providing m4/3 mt with sensor makes a lot of sense but doubt that they could fit in the IS unit as didn't for their APS-C module. Ricoh would still make money off their multiple modules and addons like EVF to make it profitable. This concept would reduce the overall cost with small sensor/lens + m4/3 flange/sensor costing less overall than the present setup but you would have to buy a m4/3 lens or use with manual legacy lenses with adapters.

johno Senior Member • Posts: 1,830
It's a shame

It's a shame that in order to drive profits and sell more new stuff, it's rational for manufacturers to restrict interoperability.

However, in this case a m4/3 mount for Ricoh could benefit Ricoh by making more lens choices available to aid short-term adoption of its detachable hand-grip system. It could also aid 4/3 by helping to entrench it as the dominant standard for detachable lenses on small cameras.

VLampa Senior Member • Posts: 1,030
Re: Would I use this?

Ranger 9 wrote:

I've thought of one user scenario in which Ricoh's concept makes perfect sense. Hint: It's NOT for avid photographers!

Suppose you're someone who isn't a photography hobbyist, but who is comfortable with gadgets and likes to take good pictures. Mostly your needs would be served perfectly well by a general-use compact camera such as the Pana LX3 or Canon G11.

But... you've also got a somewhat specialized hobby, such as stamp or action-figure collecting, or flower gardening, or whatever. You'd like to take some pictures of your hobby, but you don't want to bother investing in a DSLR camera and specialized lenses, or on spending the time learning how to use them.

So... Ricoh lets you buy a general-use compact camera that's not much different from anyone else's. Except: you can also turn it into a "specialized" camera for your particular interest by swapping on a different module. You get a lens and sensor optimized for your special use, and you still get to use the controls and features of the camera you already know how to use.

Ricoh's initial pair of modules exactly makes sense for the above scenario: the casual user who wants to make good macro pictures occasionally. I also can think of a few other obvious special-use profiles:

I have doubts about this. At around $2000 for the body and two modules, only well-heeled people would even consider it for the use you mentioned, especially considering that the target audience for your scenario are non-photographers.

I suspect people wanting to take nice photos of their main hobbies (and not interested to branch out into photography as a hobby) are already happy with the current crop of point and shoots, with most of them having a macro mode (focuses to 1 cm for a number of them) to satiate the needs to take close-up shots of stamps, etc. Even just the main body and compact module would run them close to a grand, which I suspect they'd rather invest into procuring stuff for their hobby.

Should they crave for the flexibility, I suspect they'd rather buy DSLRs. Much cheaper to assemble a similar system compared to Ricoh, and size won't be a big issue since they most likely have a P&S they can tote around everyday.

Also, outside of Japan, I think only photography enthusiasts know that Ricoh makes high-quality cameras. It would be a hard sell for Ricoh when the average non-photography enthusiast sees the GRX alongside the GF1 in stores. He/she would probably know Ricoh more as makers of office equipment while the Panasonic is a brand they can easily associate with cameras.

I wish Ricoh well, though. I appreciate and welcome innovation, and I'm as curious as you are in how the buying public receives the GRX, as well as Ricoh's future developments for this product line.

R Stacy
R Stacy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,143
.... "perfect"

keithwwalker wrote:

The GXR begins to make a little more sense with a MFT mount. Although I am still wanting for the following mounts:
laser cannon

flowbee

shamwow!

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R Stacy
R Stacy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,143
It is a shame, but not exactly that...

This design is strickly and only about Ricoh. No one will follow. Doesn't even matter if they design a lens/sensor attachment (or whatchamacallit) of 4/3 size at this point ~ this freak show has nothing to do with 4/3 open standards.

johno wrote:

It's a shame that in order to drive profits and sell more new stuff, it's rational for manufacturers to restrict interoperability.

However, in this case a m4/3 mount for Ricoh could benefit Ricoh by making more lens choices available to aid short-term adoption of its detachable hand-grip system. It could also aid 4/3 by helping to entrench it as the dominant standard for detachable lenses on small cameras.

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setmajer Junior Member • Posts: 46
Re: It is a shame, but not exactly that...

R Stacy wrote:

This design is strickly and only about Ricoh. No one will follow. Doesn't even matter if they design a lens/sensor attachment (or whatchamacallit) of 4/3 size at this point ~ this freak show has nothing to do with 4/3 open standards.

4/3 isn't an 'open standard'. It's a standard controlled by a (invitation only?) coalition of companies. No company outside the coalition can create a body or mount compatible with 4/3 without joining the coalition as there are both copyright and patent barriers to doing so.

That's not to say the cooperation among 4/3 members isn't a great thing — it is. And I have (and am enjoying) a GF-1 myself. But it is not an 'open standard' in the way that (say) HTML or TCP/IP are and shouldn't be confused with such.

Model Mike Veteran Member • Posts: 3,811
Re: Would I use this?

Ranger 9 wrote:

So: not a single-purpose camera... not a multi-purpose camera... but a two-or-three-purpose camera. I'm not sure how Ricoh will explain the concept, but it's not such a dumb idea!

Is it so revolutionary? The camera is still in two parts. All Ricoh have done is swap the location of the sensor from body to lens. Maybe I'm missing something, but I think the benefits are arguable at best.

If they'd gone one step further and made both the lens and sensor independently changeable, now that would have been worth sitting up for.

But in any case, general purpose devices always involve compromises, and the Ricoh body is about as general purpose as they come. I wouldn't be surprised if owners spent more time installing firmware updates than taking photos.

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Model Mike Veteran Member • Posts: 3,811
Re: very inspiring....

xavozin wrote:

... imagine if the sensor and the lens mount are cartridged the Ricoh way, the lenses conventionally interchangeable like all other systems and the body with the remaining components like the new Ricoh body, there you have sensor interchangeability, and if all manufacturers would stick to the same cartridge standard for mounting the sensor unit that would open endless possibilities: get the ergonomics (body unit) from mfr A, while the lenses (sensor/mount unit + lenses) from mfr B, that's a very wild dream i admit, but at least with this idea Ricoh can introduce a lens mount and conventionally detachable lenses within their new GXR system in the future.

Nice idea to have an MFT cartridge for the GXR, but at what cost, both monetory and in terms of complexity? Eventually MFT and other EVIL systems will become cheap enough that when you want a different sensor, you just buy into another system.

The more I think about it, the more the GXR is a solution to a problem that doesn't - or won't - exist.

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plevyadophy Veteran Member • Posts: 4,258
Maybe this could work Re: Would I use this?

david martyn wrote:

I've been looking at this system for a couple of days now & thinking under what possible scenarios I would use a system like this. So far I haven't come up with a single one.
While I applaud innovation several things occur to me.

1) How robust will the system be? Changing lens/sensor modules on a repeated and long term basis, in often difficult conditions would put a tremendous strain on the kit.

2) Say Ricoh come up with a tremendous sensor/lens combination, wouldn't we all want to use other lenses with that sensor? Including zooms?

3) They have stated that APS-C is the maximum size they are going to provide. So no full-frame.

4) The next lens is apparently scheduled to be a long-range zoom. Since their plan seems to be to keep zooms with the smaller sensor, presumably that will be a small retractable one.

5) Are there some exciting primes lens/sensor combinations waiting to burst upon us & what is the time frame? If its going to take a while to roll out the "good stuff" its not going to be a viable system anytime soon.

6) Does it offer anything that m4/3 doesn't already? One prime standard lens isn't an extensive lens range, whereas m4/3 has the most extensive lens range of any camera system. (via adapters)

7) Say Ricoh improve their sensor dramatically two years down the line. With their system you can't use your existing lenses to take advantage of that. The lens/sensor module that you have will then become.... what ??????

8) Oluvs illustration is great, but then it becomes a m4/3 camera. Does this mean that you can use m4/3 lenses on an APS-C sensor or does it mean that the size of the image has to be cut down?

9) Can you see Ricoh providing sensor modules for other manufacturers lenses?

10) To make this a viable system they are going to have to sell in quantity. What market are they aiming for? If someone is looking for a simple, all-in-one camera, will the Ricoh look like a good option?, particularly considering its price. The camera + zoom module is pretty expensive for what it is & there are plenty of other, cheaper options from more well-known companies with more MP's on the label.

11) If they are going for a market that is looking for a system, when will they have that system in place?

12) How much will it cost? If the standard lens/sensor is as stated, how much for a wide-angle/sensor combination for example? What are they going to do about longer lenses? Since the aim is to keep the system small, will they pair a telephoto lens with the smaller sensor? or will it be bigger, thus defeating the object of the exercise.

13) After looking at the results with the APS-C sensor, who is going to want to use the smaller sensor?

14) If Ricoh have a good APS-C sensor, and a good EVF which it seems they do, why didn't they make an E.V.I.L camera?.

When I first saw this announced, my initial reaction was "This is interesting" but the more I think about it the more I come up with the idea that this is not really going to lead to anything that I would want to use. It seems too restrictive, too limited to make me want to use it.

Of course it may become the must have camera for 2010 & fly off the shelves. It deserves to do well, because of Ricoh's left-field approach & I always like companies who take risks. Time will tell.

There is a good debate/article on the OnlinePhotographer blog site, and many of the concerns you raised are raised there too.

However, last night I was thinking to myself that there is actually a way that this Ricoh thing could take off, and pretty much leave microFT standing.

If instead of providing combined Sensor+Lens units, they provided seperate interchangeable sensor units (e.g. full frame, 4/3", 2/3",APS-C,) with lens mounts, and a few lenses then that would be superb.

For short primes one might simply swap out the sensor module and place a full frame sensor on the module, and if one wanted telephoto, one could change for a smaller sensor.

Such a system would be the ultimate in adaptability as one could, like the current microFT system use pretty much any lens one wanted, with the added bonus of, like medium format backs, being able to change the sensor too.

If I was Panny and Oly I would be very worried by this Ricoh thing. Of course, the $60M question is whether Ricoh have thought of this, and if they have, are they gonna implement such a system VERY VERY soon so that the public immediately sees the benefit of buying into their system for if they leave it too long Panny adn Oly will have got a much larger and entrenched user base.

Just my thoughts.

Regards

mattmtl Contributing Member • Posts: 968
Re: Maybe this could work Re: Would I use this?

plevyadophy wrote:

If I was Panny and Oly I would be very worried by this Ricoh thing.

I really don't see why. Ricoh seems to be content to be a mid-to-high-end niche brand. No matter how successful this system is, and even if they move to fully swappable sensors etc., there's probably plenty of room for Oly, Panny and Ricoh to be successful companies.

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