Pentax/Ricoh has released a new 16 megapixel APS-C camera called the GR (the last GR was released in 2011) that looks to compete directly with the popular FUJI X Pro1, the Canon G1X and the Sony RX100. This is a market that Nikon recently entered with their Coolpix A, and one that is likely to continue to grow. In what I have seen in the new GR shows Ricoh's intent to go straight at this market with a camera that performs better than you might expect, for only $800.
Below you can see how the GR is being positioned, compared directly with a host of competitor cameras that currently lead in this category (click for larger):
They also go right at the new Nikon Coolpix A, which is being said by many to be a huge step for Nikon. Based on what Ricoh is releasing, the GR just kills the Coolpix A:
The GR has a 16 megapixel CMOS image sensor, with an image-sensitive area as wide as that of a PENTAX DSLR which offers low-noise characteristics, and supposedly super-high resolution and rich contrast imaging with no compromise in image quality or color accuracy, in any lighting condition.
The advanced GR ENGINE V imaging engine offers high sensitivity shooting with minimal noise and the GR’s anti-aliasing filterless design produces supremely high resolution, color-rich images with depth and beautiful Bokeh effects. To balance for lack of the Anti-aliasing filter, a chromatic moiré compensation function is added to minimize wavy moiré patterns and distortion in images.
The newly designed nine blade diaphragm and fixed wide angle 18.3mm f/2.8 GR lens, equivalent to 28mm in the 35mm format, provides high resolution images with edge-to-edge sharpness and is the highest performing lens ever created by Ricoh for a compact camera. Thanks to its nine-blade diaphragm, the GR lens produces a natural Bokeh effect at larger apertures.
The high speed autofocus system captures crisp subjects in a mere 0.2 seconds, thanks to the newly developed lens driving mechanism and optimized AF algorithm, as well as the ever-faster data readout speed from the image sensor. Start-up time is only one second, and the GR’s AF Continuous Shooting function captures a series of photos at a maximum speed of approximately four images per second, allowing capture of fast-moving subjects, such as athletes and wildlife, all in incredibly sharp focus.
The GR sports DSLR-like handling and functionality with an AF button, accessible with the thumb on the back panel. When the AF lever is set to the Continuous AF (C-AF) mode, the user can capture a series of images of a moving subject — all in sharp focus — by pushing the shutter release button while depressing the AF button. The user can also choose an optional setting, in which the continuous shooting mode is automatically activated while the C-AF button is pressed. A preview button has also been added to the camera’s side panel for quick confirmation of the depth of field before shooting, making it easier for the photographer to visualize the level of the Bokeh effect in the resulting image.
You can read more detailed specs on the product page at B&H. Based on what you see here, does this camera interest you? Ricoh/Pentax is pushing very hard to get this camera out there, and based on what I have seen they are ready to do what it takes to show the GR can compete with the best. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.