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September 26, 2010

Ricoh planning "GXR expansion unit" for 2011 (but for which mounts?) and also APS-C zoom kit [updated]

As part of their latest Photokina report, Photoscala.de visited the Ricoh booth and there they have found a Ricoh GXR system roadmap. For 2011, Ricoh has an "expansion unit". As you can see in the picture above, the "expansion unit" has a lens mount but it obviously does not have a lens on it! Which mounts will this be available in? We do not know!

This is a feature a number of people interested or curious about the GXR system thought it would be a great idea to implement. Expanding the system in ths way would make it a whole lot more approachable and interesting to the millions of photographers using other more established mounts and lenses.

Ricoh is also showing the usual array of system accessories, such as printer, projector, fiber scope and copy machine units, but these are still not product announcements.

Ricoh_gxr_expansion_unit_shown_in_2011_roadmap_at_photoscala
Tiny crop of Ricoh GXR roadmap shown at Photokina, via Photoscala.de


UPDATE: Thanks to Harold Glit for pointing it out in the comments! Also shown in the roadmap is an APS-C GXR sensor+lens block with a zoom lens. Judging by the arrows, the lens of this new sensor+lens block is going to be somewhere in the 20-100mm range (35mm equivalent) [NEW!]


Opinion + Speculation
The new zoom lens will definitely give the GXR system more versatility for fans of zoom lenses. Prices are obviously going to be a factor and perhaps a stumbling block, as the prices of dSLRs and mirrorless cameras continue to drop. But for advanced photographers who like to mix and match cameras and lenses, Ricoh could end up offering something people have been asking for but no one (except for third-party lens mount adapters) have been offering. But let's not get too excited just yet - all this will depend on what exactly this "Expansion unit" is, what mounts it supports, and what type of communication you get between the body and lenses. Ideally what would make the most people happy is if every major mount was available and perhaps if Ricoh was willing to share specs with lens manufacturers, they could even help in the design and/or production of these units so they can get their own "classic" lenses on a digital mount.


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