Our Score


Review Price £299.95

The camera's overall performance is generally quite good. It takes approximately three seconds to start up and take a picture, which is a bit on the slow side, but in single shot mode it can maintain a shot-to-shot time of approximately 1.2 seconds, which is reasonably fast. In standard continuous shooting mode it can maintain a good speed of just over four frames a second apparently until the memory card is full, and also has several faster high-speed modes, although at reduced resolution.

The autofocus system is very quick in good light, although it does slow down noticeably in reduced lighting. It has a good AF lamp and can focus in darkness at a range of several metres. However I did find that the auto focusing was frequently very inaccurate, producing blurred shots even with good well-lit high-contrast subjects. This is a major flaw for an expensive camera with professional aspirations.

Image quality was also not without its problems. I was only able to test the GXR with the 10-megapixel 28-300mm P10 lens unit, which has the weakest sensor of the three currently available, a tiny 1/2.3-inch chip no bigger than those usually found in pocket compacts. The results were quite disappointing, with poor overall detail, excessive barrel distortion at wide angle, severe chromatic aberration, limited dynamic range and poor colour rendition, especially in the “Vivid” colour mode. Image noise was also a major issue, with visible noise from 400 ISO upwards.

Overall the GXR is something of a disappointment. I'm usually a fan of Ricoh cameras, and have owned several over the years. However the GXR system appears to be poorly conceived, with a number of disadvantages compared to other interchangeable lens systems, not least its very high price. The image quality from the 12-megapixel 50mm APS-C lens unit may be better, but for the cheaper P10 unit the results were very disappointing. Compared alongside other rival systems, especially Sony's outstanding NEX-5, I can't see a bright future for Ricoh's GXR concept.


While the GXR is well made, technically proficient and has good overall performance, the very high price of the lens/sensor units and the disappointing image quality shown by the test unit, as well as the unreliable autofocus system mean that the GXR isn't much competition for the other compact system cameras that are available.

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August 23, 2010, 7:59 pm

I actually really like the principle of this camera. The idea of having a compact camera that can switch from being a versatile super zoom with a smaller sensor for general photography to a fast 50mm (or indeed 70-100mm) for portraits/arty shots while having the total package still be very compact appeals greatly. It would certainly be an interesting alternative to carrying around an SLR with a couple of fast lenses (24-70, 70-200) or a super zoom lens and a prime. Sadly Ricoh doesn't seem to have got the balance right. Hopefully the company will have the chance to give it a second go.


August 23, 2010, 8:53 pm

@Cliff - Are all shots taken from the P10 lens?


August 23, 2010, 10:05 pm

I'd like to see what gets a 1 or a 2 out of 10 for value.


August 23, 2010, 10:16 pm

I suppose by changing the sensor size, they can keep the total package a compact size, whilst giving the choice of big sensor + prime or small sensor + zoom. For the money though, I'd rather get a NEX-5 or G2 - they're small enough whilst giving the benefit all the time of a large sensor. Otherwise, something like a TZ will give you all the versatility you need, in a very cheap, compact package (though I guess won'd give the dof or low-light abilities). People are used to investing in lenses, as although expensive they can be used over several generations of cameras. Whereas integrating them with fast-obsoleting electronics could seem like poor value in the long run.


August 24, 2010, 4:20 am

The concept is commercially crippled from the start by disallowing the interchange of the lens as well as sensor. One way of adding value would be to market a Foveon module, alhough commercially that would still be trying to make the best of a bad job. Ricoh should be getting in bed with Foveon anyway.

Cliff Smith

August 25, 2010, 2:55 pm

joose - Yes, that's the only lens unit that was supplied with my review sample. I'd like to see what sort of image quality the 12.3MP 50mm APS-C lens unit can produce, but at £500 it's still very poor value for money.

jopey - No, you really wouldn't.

Matt - Correct on all points.

Hedgeporker - An interesting idea, but Foveon is owned by Sigma now, so that's unlikely to happen.


September 2, 2010, 12:39 am

I used to own one of the very first film based superzoom/bridge camera in the form of a Ricoh Murai so I was expecting great things from the digital equivalent; but reading all the reviews available in the photographic press the Ricoh GXR comes out as an overly expensive rubbish system, irrespective of the sensor/lens combination.

Ricoh must have spent tens of thousands developing what should be a class leading camera system. Somewhere along the way they saw fit to hamper it with the full range of underdeveloped and incapable software, tiny noisy and inadequate sensors coupled to milk-bottle bottom lenses.

All of which produces results that are no match to Ricoh's own compact cameras. One wonders just where all the money was spent; it cannot all have gone on fitting two metal rails into a hollowed out GR body, or the sensor/lens connectors with their protective caps!.

Stir in a lens focus system which might or might not produce a sharp result...sometime, even in ideal conditions. The final system really has nothing going for it; for either entry level or creative photographer searching for a flexible lightweight alternative to their DSLR.

A quick study of the Ricoh CX3 or GR shows where this camera should be in terms of quality and ability. I so wanted the Ricoh GXR to be a step up from my Olympus 510 but the quality of pictures and cost involved mean the GXR is a photographic cul de sac. Ideally this camera should be finished in LEMON YELLOW with BLACK BANDS to warn off potential purchasers.

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