Compared to...

Picking the cameras to compare the Ricoh GXR with the A12 lens module to is not an easy task. With its interchangeable sensor/lens modules the Ricoh is a unique offering in the current camera marketplace that competes in different sectors according to what you've got attached.

With the A12 module attached to the GXR body the nearest alternatives to the Ricoh are either fixed lens large sensor cameras, such as the Leica X1 or Sigma DP2, or comparatively compact Micro Four Thirds cameras such as the Panasonic GF1 (with the 20mm F1.7 lens) or the Olympus E-P1 (with the 17mm F2.8 lens). While the Leica is much more expensive than the Ricoh, the Olympus and Sigma are substantially cheaper. At $900 with a 20mm F1.7 prime lens the Panasonic GF1 comes closest to the GXR/A12 combination's $1200.

To make the image quality comparison on the following pages more manageable we've limited it to three cameras. We've picked one representative each of the fixed lens and Micro Four Thirds camps. With its three-layer Foveon sensor, the Sigma DP is even more of a niche product than the Leica X1, which is why we've stuck to the latter. Out of the Micro Four Thirds cameras we've opted for the Panasonic, simply because it is a little closer to the Ricoh in terms of specification and focal length (with the 20mm lens) than the Olympus.

To add a completely different perspective to the mix we have also included the Canon G11. It's one of the best specified compact cameras, and in terms of build quality and external controls quite similar to the Ricoh GXR. However, its 1/1.7 type sensor is much smaller than the Ricoh's A12's APS-C sensor, resulting in a smaller pixel-pitch and less creative control over depth-of-field. It's one of the most expensive compact cameras you can buy at the moment, but at $450 is a bargain compared to the GXR.

The table below compares the key specifications of all the cameras above, including broadly comparable lenses - the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 ASPH for the GF1 and the Olympus 17mm F2.8 Pancake for the E-P1.

Camera Kit
35mm equiv. Video LCD Anti
(effective pixels)
Ricoh GXR/A12 50mm $1200 50mm 720p@24fps 3.0" / 920k pixels No 12.3 MP CMOS (APS-C)
Leica X1 $2000 35mm No 2.7" / 230k pixels Electronic 12.2 MP CMOS (APS-C)
Canon G11 $450 28-140mm VGA@30fps 2.8" / 461k pixels Lens-shift 10.0 MP CCD (1/1.7)
Panasonic GF1 with 20mm F1.7 lens $900 40mm 720p@30fps 3.0" / 460k pixels No 12.1 MP LiveMOS (4/3)
Olympus E-P1 with 17mm F2.8 lens+VF $730 35mm 720p@30fps 3.0" / 230k pixels In-body 12.3 MP LiveMOS (4/3)
Sigma DP2 $570 40mm Yes 2.5" / 230k pixels No 14.06 MP Foveon CMOS (APS-C)

Ricoh GXR/A12 50mm advantages

  • 720p video (with GF1 and E-P1)
  • Large screen with highest resolution
  • Interchangeable sensor/lens modules provide dust protection
  • Equal largest sensor (with the Leica X1 and Sigma DP2)
  • Potentially larger choice of camera/lens modules in the future

Ricoh GXR/A12 50mm disadvantages

  • No image stabilization (with GF1 and DP2)
  • No manual control of video mode
  • No auto or manual focus in video mode
  • No user-controllable DR enhancement
  • Price (only Leica X1 is more expensive)