Icon – Ricoh GXR
Hmm, it just looks like a regular point-and-shoot camera…
Look closer, friend. The Ricoh GXR might appear run-of-the-mill at first glance but it’s the only camera that doesn’t let you just change the lens, it lets you change the sensor.
Why would I want to do that?
It’s all about tailoring the GXR for different situations. There are five “camera units” (as Ricoh calls these lens/sensor combos), each designed to fulfil a specific role. So if you want versatility, you opt for the 10MP 24-72mm or 10MP 28-300mm camera unit, which have physically small 1/1.7-inch CCD sensors but large zoom ranges. If, on the other hand, you want optimum image quality and aren’t afraid to limit your focal length, there is the 12.3MP 50mm unit or 12.3MP 28mm unit, each of which have CMOS sensors at APS-C size.
Sounds like the perfect compact-ish camera. Any issues?
Sadly, yes. It’s quite pricey: the back unit (with the buttons and a 3-inch screen) costs about £300, and the camera units are more expensive still: you’re looking at about £450 for the 50mm, 28mm and 24-85mm combos. And usability isn’t as streamlined as on most compacts, with the autofocus dragging its heels a bit. But if you like your cameras a bit off-the-wall, the wacky GXR deserves a spot on your “to consider” list.