Ricoh GXR - Leica M-Module
It is pretty unusual in our shop to dedicate a whole evening seminar with beer and sandwiches to the study of a simple photo accessory - particularly one that is as basic as a lens mount. But Camera Electronic recently did and here’s why: It is more than a lens mount....it is a portal into a whole new world of image making.
Heard that one before? We hear it all the time, and we’re generally pretty deaf - this time we listened.
The Ricoh company decided some time ago to take a basic good compact camera platform - the body of their GRD cameras - and split the function of the camera into two sections. One section was the chassis, with viewing screen, operational controls, battery and memory card. The second section was the lens and a sensor dedicated to it, with associated electronics. One bit slid into a dock in the other and you had the joy of a good quality interchangeable lens camera.
Ricoh made a small range of zoom and fixed focal length lenses at first and we were struck by how good they worked with their sensors - and no dirt on the sensors - all sealed.
Then they announced that they were making a GXR-M module for the camera chassis. It contained a shutter, a sensor, and a precise Leica-style M mount. All of a sudden that whole new world of imaging opened up - now users of Leica M film cameras could use all their lenses digitally at a modest price. Voigtländer users could experiment with the wide-angle lenses they own. Anyone who has a stock of historic screw-mount Leica lenses and a simple adapter could recreate the look in live view.
And not just with stills - the GXR has full HD video capability built in. Imagine filming ( without film, of course...) with Leica lenses. Sharp as. All this in a hand-size package that does not break either your shoulder or your bank balance.
As far as money goes we’re talking $ 1248 for the body and M-mount module. Not to be mean to Wetzlar, but this is the sort of price that lets us all play. If we can’t afford an M9, well we still get to look through good glass.
If you want to add cream to the top of the cake, remember that the GXR camera also takes their VFR2 electronic viewfinder. Clean, bright, and adjustable to all eyesights - now you can shoot in the sun without squinting.
As with any good gear, it goes fast....but we have stocks now so call in and give it a test run. If you have M-mount lenses already, bring them and an SD card in and take some test images - you won’t be disappointed with the results.