Cameras | Technopolis

Its body is a mere shell, but the lens is very clever

This small camera from Ricoh offers plenty of creative freedom.

Its body is a mere shell, but the lens is very clever

March 03 2010
Jonathan Margolis

For years, doctors (odd ones, at least) have discussed whole body transplants, whereby your serviceable head is grafted onto a healthy body whose owner is brain dead. The conundrum: if, given such advances in medicine, it becomes possible to have a new body fitted to your head, what will have taken place – a) a body transplant for you; or b) a head transplant for the other guy?

This poser came to mind with the latest from my obscure yet loved Ricoh camera brand. Ricoh’s GXR is being promoted as the smallest interchangeable lens camera on the market, in direct competition with the terrific recent Olympus E-P1 (as advertised by Kevin Spacey), its coming successor, the E-P2 and the sublime Panasonic Lumix DMC GF1.

The GXR’s USP is that the body is a mere shell without a lens or a brain, and is small and light. However, each lens unit has a built-in sensor and brain, so is accordingly rather more than a handful. The GXR seems at first meeting to be a funny old “solution”, and I wouldn’t bet my house on it being a big hit. But it does give you more creative freedom than the existing and highly sophisticated pocket Ricoh, the GR Digital III. There’s not a lot a huge Nikon or Canon DSLR does that a GXR can’t. Now that is impressive.

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