Ricoh GRX vs Panasonic GF1 vs Olympus E-P1

by Enche Tjin on November 18, 2009

Since Ricoh GRX announced, many heated discussion about this camera. Some are very interested, many declare that the GRX has no future. Ricoh GRX is surely a new kind of camera that is very different than regular Digital SLR concept. Instead of being an interchangeable lens camera, Ricoh GRX is interchangeable module (lens+sensor) camera, so you can change not only lens but also image sensor. However, the lens will forever sealed with their optimized image sensor.

Many of the complaints are about the price/value and system flexibility especially when they compare it with micro four third system which is also an exciting system that many people think that this is the way to go in the future.

Let check out what are their differences:

Panasonic GF1 + 45mm Leica Macro OIS / Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 Olympus E-P1 + 17mm f/2.8 Ricoh GRX + A12 50mm f/2.5 Macro
Sensor size Four Thirds System

(Area: 225mm2)

Four Thirds System

(Area: 225mm2)

APS-C

(Area: 370mm2)

Type Interchangeable lens Interchangeable lens Interchangeable format module (lens+sensor)
Price $1500 (with 45mm)

$900 with (20mm)

$800 $1380
Body Full metal jacket / 460k LCD Full metal jacket / 230k LCD Black textured body with magnesium alloy chassis / 910k LCD
Focal Length 90mm / 40mm 35mm 50mm
AF Speed Fast with 20mm f/1,7  (.33 sec) Slow (1-1.3 sec) Slow with macro mode (1 sec)

Moderate with other module

Dust management anti-dust mechanism anti-dust mechanism No dust management needed because lens is sealed with image sensor
Dimension (W x L x H) 119 x 71 x 36.3 mm

Depth with 20mm f/1.7 = 61.8mm (2.4 in)

Depth with 45mm f/2.8 = 98mm (3.88 in)

121 x 70 x 36 mm

Depth with 17mm f/2.8 = 57mm (2.25 in)

113.9 x 70 x 28.9 mm

Depth with 50mm f/2.8 = 74mm (2.9 in)

Depth with 24-72mm f/2.5 = 45.5mm (1.8 in)

Panasonic GF1, Ricoh GRX and Ricoh GRD III comparison. Image by dpreview.com

Panasonic GF1, Ricoh GRX and Ricoh GRD III comparison. Image by dpreview.com

Notes:

Image sensor: In image sensor category, Ricoh GRX with 50mm module is bigger, thus better from its four third system competitor. Interestingly, GRX also able to change the format to smaller sensor. Currently beside APS-C sensor, GRX offers small 1/1.7 sensor which is up to par with advanced compact camera such as Canon G11 and Ricoh GRD III.

Price: This is probably the most talked about. GRX body + A12 module is not cheap ($1380) especially if you compare it will Panasonic GF1 + 20mm f/1.7 or Olympus E-P2 + 17 mm f/2.8.

However, A12 is a hi grade module which should be compared with Panasonic / Leica 45mm f/2.8 . If you get this lens with Panasonic GF1 body, it is more expensive than GRX+A12. But, of course the lenses are different, for example, Leica 45mm has longer reach, but Ricoh GR 50mm f/2.5 has bigger aperture.

Body design: Ricoh GRX is better than Olympus E-P1 and Panasonic GF1 in photographer’s perspective. It does not look pretty or fashionable, but the user interface, material and handling of Ricoh are superb.

Auto Focus: We still can’t conclude because there is no test / comprehensive review about it yet. But initial impression shows that Ricoh GRX with A12 AF is quite slow due to the macro lens construction. Generally, the Panasonic GF1 is still the best in this class.

Dimension: As you can check in above table, The dimension of three cameras are about the same. The depth will depend on what kind of lens/module that you attach to it.

I hope that this comparison will make it clear how Ricoh GRX has positioned itself in the DSLR / Micro four third system landscape.

Recommended read: Ricoh GRX pro and cons | Olympus E-P1 vs Panasonic GF1

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rob Osterndorff December 31, 2010 at 2:17 am

I hate yo say it but, I think Ricoh is on to something. Think of the PC. Years ago if you wanted to upgrade you had to get a new PC. Now, if you want a new processor, you replace it, more memory, add it, faster video, throw in a new video card. Now, back to the DSLR. Want a new processor, tough, a new sensor, tough, more features, buy a new model. When will the rest of the industry get on the ball and give us a truly modular DSLR. By the way, I just found a firmware hack for my XTi that opens up a the ISO from 1600 to 3200 and unlocks the sensors 1 deg. spot meter.

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