As promised when it announced the GXR system back in November 2009, Ricoh has introduced the P10 megazoom module to slide into the GXR camera back. It features a 28-300mm f3.5-5.6 lens (35mm equivalent) plus 10-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor. The result will essentially be a compact 10x zoom camera with specs similar to popular point-and-shoot models from manufacturers like Sony, Panasonic, and Canon. Unfortunately, pricing and availability are still up in the air.
To refresh your memory, the GXR system comprises a housing that includes the basic pieces of a point-and-shoot--920,000-pixel 3-inch LCD, controls, hot shoe, and flash--into which you can slide slide a series of modules incorporating various lens/sensor combinations. In theory, that lets Ricoh optimize the characteristics of the module by choosing different sensors to match the different tasks for which one would use different lenses.
Here's Ricoh's current module lineup:
|P10 module||A12 module||S10 module|
|Sensor (effective resolution)||10-megapixel BSI CMOS||12.3-megapixel CMOS||10-megapixel CCD|
|1/2.3-inch||23.6mm x 15.7mm (APS-C)||1/1.7-inch|
|Sensitivity range||ISO 100 - ISO 3,200||ISO 200 - ISO 3,200||ISO 100 - ISO 3,200|
|Closest focus||0.4 inch||2.8 inches||0.4 inch|
|Battery life (CIPA rating)||440 shots||320 shots||410 shots|
|Weight (ounces)||12.9 (est)||9.3 (est)||5.7 (est)|
And here's how the GXR+P10 kit will stack up against some typical competing compact megazooms:
|Ricoh GXR+P10 module||Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V||Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7|
|Sensor (effective resolution)||10-megapixel BSI CMOS||10-megapixel BSI CMOS||12-megapixel CCD|
|Sensitivity range||ISO 100 - ISO 3,200||ISO 125 - ISO 3,200||ISO 80 - ISO 6,400|
|Closest focus||0.4 inch||2.0 inches||1.2 inches|
|Continuous shooting||5 fps
n/a JPEG/5 raw
|Autofocus||n/a-area contrast AF||9-area contrast AF||11-area contrast AF|
|Metering||256 segment||n/a||144 zone|
|Shutter||30-1/2000 sec||30-1/1600 sec||60-1/2000 sec|
|Image stabilization||Sensor shift||Optical||Optical|
|Video (best quality)||720/30p n/a||1080/60i AVCHD or MP4||720/30p AVCHD Lite or Motion JPEG|
|Battery life (CIPA rating)||440 shots||310 shots||300 shots|
|Dimensions (WHD, inches)||4.5 x 2.8 x 2.0||4.1 x 2.4 x 1.2||4.1 x 2.4 x 1.3|
|Weight (ounces)||12.9 (est)||7.1||7.6|
The P10's fast BSI sensor enables some of the whizzy features available in models like the HX5V, including "Dynamic range double shot mode" (it shoots twice in quick succession and combines the frames for better tonal range and lower noise results in low or high-contrast light) as well as a variety of lower-resolution, high-speed burst modes including a one-second 120fps burst (albeit at VGA resolution) and a preshot buffer.
With this model, the company's introducing updated region-based noise suppression algorithms, too. But given the enthusiast audience Ricoh targets with this model, and for what I expect to be a relatively high price, I was kind of hoping for more. I'm not sure what--it's got a nice-sounding LCD, but a faster lens or larger sensor might have been nice. Then again, it may be very well executed. I won't know till we've gotten a chance to try one out.