Forget interchangeable lenses - the future mapped out by the Ricoh GXR sees cameras using swappable lens-and-sensor units.
We got our mitts on a GXR body, 50mm f2.5 lens and APS-C (SLR-sized) CMOS sensor, 24-72mm f2.5-4.4 lens and CCD sensor, and the electronic eye viewfinder. The idea is that the lens is perfectly suited to the sensor size.
The body itself is surprisingly light, but the 50mm is a hefty, chunky unit.
The 3-inch LCD is sharp enough to manually focus with reasonable accuracy. Speaking of manual control, the whole shebang is covered, with a mode dial featuring shutter and aperture priority, full manual and program modes, as well as a jog wheel in front of the shutter release and a lovely manual-focus ring on the 50mm lens.
The optional VF-2 electronic eye viewfinder is also very sharp, although the bulk it adds starts to make the whole system look a bit pointless.
Alongside a Pentax K-x, you can see the size benefits of ditching the optical viewfinder (and thus the pentaprism and mirror) and lens mount. Unlike the Olympus Pen E-P1, the Ricoh GXR also has a built-in flash.
First impressions are that this is a tasty system capable of excellent results. The autofocus seems to hunt a little excessively, and the price is eye-watering - £420 for the body, with lenses starting at £300. But if you've been pondering between the Canon G11 and Panasonic DMC-GF1, this is worth throwing into the mix.
Pre-order yours now from Park Cameras.