Ricoh GXR with GR S10 Camera Unit

      Photo Review 8.8

      In summary

      A camera unit with a 1/1.75-inch CCD sensor and stabilised 3x optical zoom lenses for photographers who require versatility and pocketability.Having covered the camera body and A12 Macro camera module in our initial reviews, in this review we will focus on the Ricoh S10 camera unit, which appears to use the same sensor as the GR Digital III and GX200 and the same lens as the GX200. This unit will appeal to photographers who have been asking for a GR Digital III with a zoom lens. . . [more]

      Full review


      Having covered the camera body and A12 Macro camera module in our initial reviews, in this review we will focus on the Ricoh S10 camera unit, which appears to use the same sensor as the GR Digital III and GX200 and the same lens as the GX200. This unit will appeal to photographers who have been asking for a GR Digital III with a zoom lens.

      Readers who haven’t caught up with the camera body and A12 lens reviews can click on the links here to access them. Effectively, fitting the S10 camera unit to the GXR body gives you the same control suite as the GR Digital III, albeit in a slightly larger form factor than Ricoh’s GX and GR Digital models. But it also brings with it the limitations associated with a small-sensor digicam; noise at high ISO settings and dynamic range limitations.


      The Ricoh Lens S10 camera unit, which has the same 1/1.7-inch (7.6 x 5.7 mm) CCD sensor as the GR Digital III and GX200 and the same 3x optical zoom lens as the GX200. (Source: Ricoh.)

      The lens retracts into the camera body when power is off, which means it doesn’t stick out from the camera body as much as the A12 camera module does. The combined body and camera module is pocketable, although not quite shirt-pocketable.


      The GXR body with the S10 camera unit fitted. (Source: Ricoh.)

      When the camera is switched on the lens extends in two sections by about 25 mm. Zooming out to the tele position pulls the front of the lens back about 5 mm.


      Side view of the GXR body with the S10 camera unit fitted. (Source: Ricoh.)


      Top view of the GXR body with the S10 camera unit fitted. (Source: Ricoh.)

      Unlike the A12 camera unit, this camera module accepts DW-6 wide conversion lens and TC-1 tele-conversion lens accessories, which were designed for the GX200. It can also use the LC-2 self-retaining lens cap.


      The GXR/S10 camera fitted with the optional LC-2 self-retaining lens cap. (Source: Ricoh.)

      Sensor and Image Processing
      The sensor in the S10 camera unit is a 7.38 x 5.54 mm CCD sensor with approx. 10.4 million photosites and an effective resolution of 10 megapixels. It’s coupled to the same the Smooth Imaging Engine IV image processor, an updated version of the processor used in the GX200.

      File format

      Aspect ratio




      DNG.RAW + JPEG/Fine


      3648 x 2736



      3648 x 2432



      3648 x 2048



      2736 x 2736


      JPEG L


      3648 x 2736




      3648 x 2432




      3648 x 2048




      2736 x 2736



      JPEG M


      3264 x 2448




      3264 x 2176




      3264 x 1840




      2448 x 2448





      2592 x 1944



      2048 x 1536



      1280 x 960



      640 x 480



      Movie options are pretty limited for a modern digicam, with only two resolution and one frame rate settings provided. HD video recording is not supported and no provision is made for capturing widescreen video clips. Typical recording times for a 4GB card are shown in the table below.

      Video format

      Picture size

      Frame rate

      Recording time/4GB card

      Motion JPEG

      640 x 480

      30 fps

      37 minutes 18 seconds

      320 x 240

      30 fps

      90 minutes 33 seconds

      A number of important controls are quite different from their equivalents in the A12 camera unit. For starters, the lens has no focusing ring so manual focusing is controlled by pressing the Macro button and turning the up-down dial – after the MF mode is selected in the Focus sub-menu.

      Zooming is via the rocker on the rear panel, rather than a zoom ring on the lens barrel. Unlike the A12 unit, the S10 camera unit can focus as close as 1 cm from the subject – but only with the wide-angle setting. There’s a fair amount of distortion and risk of shadowing at such a close position.

      Sensitivity settings range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200, which is one EV step wider than the A12 camera module, but burst capture speeds are slower at 1/6 frames/second for Large/Fine JPEGs. The lens aperture range, while starting at the same value of f/2.5, tops out at f/8 for the 5.1mm focal length and f/16 at15.3mm.

      Fitting the S10 camera unit adds a Camera Shake Correction setting to page 3 of the main menu. This is useful as the top shutter speed is cut back to 1/2000 second. The table below shows the main differences between the two currently-available camera units.


      Ricoh GXR/A12

      Ricoh GXR/S10

      Sensor size

      23.6 x 15.7 mm CMOS

      7.38 x 5.54 mm CCD

      Effective resolution

      12.3 megapixels

      10 megapixels

      Max. image sizes

      4:3 – 3776 x 2832
      3:2 – 4288 x 2848
      16:9 – 4288 x 2416
      1:1 – 2848 x 2848

      4:3 – 3648 x 2736

      3:2 – 3648 x 2736

      16:9 – 3648 x 2048

      1:1 – 2736 x 2736

      Movie capture

      1280 x 720, 640 x 480, 320 x 240 at 24 frames/second

      640 x 480, 320 x 240 at 30 fps


      Auto, Auto Hi, ISO 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200

      Auto, Auto Hi, ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200

      Shutter speeds

      Stills -180 seconds to 1/3200 second; Movies – 1/30 to 1/2000 second

      Stills – 180 seconds to 1/2000 second

      Movies – 1/30 to 1/2000 second

      AF system



      Image stabilisation


      Built-in sensor-shift

      Max burst speed (Raw)

      3 fps

      3 fps

      Buffer capacity

      Max. 4 DNG.RAW

      Max. 5 DNG.RAW

      Battery capacity (CIPA)

      320 shots/charge

      410 shots/charge

      Camera unit weight

      263 grams

      161 grams

      Pictures straight out of the camera were a little soft and benefited from post-capture sharpening. Image colours with the default setting were natural looking and Imatest showed colour accuracy to be a cut above average and JPEG saturation was well controlled. Overall resolution in our tests was slightly above average for a small-sensor digicam with DNG.RAW files slightly better than JPEGs.

      The highest resolution for the lens came at 13.1mm focal length with the widest aperture settings. Wider apertures tended to yield higher resolutions – but were also associated with noticeable edge softening. Resolution declined steadily from about f/5.6 onwards. The graph below shows the results of our Imatest tests.


      Resolution held up surprisingly well at high resolutions in our Imatest tests, particularly with DNG.RAW files. However, there was a steady decline in resolution with JPEG images as sensitivity was increased. The graph below shows the results of our tests.


      Image quality was comparatively low at the highest ISO settings and shots taken at ISO 3200 would make barely acceptable prints at snapshot size – even in DNG.RAW mode. Flash exposures at ISO 800 were slightly noise-affected but by ISO 3200 images had become soft and quite granular in appearance. Digital zoom shots were also artefact-affected.

      In contrast, close-ups were quite impressive, thanks to the lens’s ability to focus down to 1 cm. However, blown-out highlights and blocked-up shadows were found in some shots taken in bright, contrasty lighting. Some coloured fringing could be seen in shots taken in contrasty lighting, but it was relatively minor.

      Auto white balance performance was similar to the A12 camera units, although the orange cast with incandescent lighting wasn’t quite as strong. No colour casts were observed in shots taken under fluorescent lighting and, although the pre-sets over-corrected colours a little, manual measurement delivered a neutral colour balance with both types of lighting.

      Flash performance was generally good and the built-in flash had sufficient power to illuminate an average-sized room at ISO 200. Flash exposures were evenly balanced across the camera’s ISO range.

      Autofocusing performance varied widely, depending on the ambient lighting and subject distance. In bright conditions with subjects more than a metre from the camera, lag times were acceptable, However, with low-contrast subjects and in dim lighting, hunting was commonplace and the lens often failed to find focus. Close focusing was annoyingly slow.

      We conducted our timing tests with a Verbatim Class 6 4GB SDHC memory card to enable the camera’s fastest processing speeds to be evaluated. However, the S10 took approximately three seconds to power-up, largely because the lens extends fully before pulling back to the shooting position. This also accounts for the S10 camera unit’s very long autofocusing lag times.

      We measured an average capture lag of 2.0 seconds, which reduced to less than 0.1 seconds with pre-focusing (proving lag times are mainly due to AF lag). Shot-to-shot times averaged 2.5 seconds without flash and 4.5 seconds with.

      JPEG files were processed in less than one second, while several seconds were required to process each DNG.RAW file, depending on the size of the JPEG file paired with it. In the Continuous shooting mode, a burst of 10 high-resolution JPEGs was recorded in 2.7 seconds, which equates to just under four frames/second. It took 4.3 seconds to process this burst.

      Shooting DNG.RAW files with JPEGs reduced the number of files in a burst to four, regardless of the size of the JPEG file and cut capture speed back to about 2.4 frames/second. Four Raw+Large/Fine JPEGs took just over 10 seconds to process, while four Raw+VGA JPEG files were processed in7.3 seconds.

      Buy this camera if:
      – You want a well-built, inconspicuous camera for street and candid photography.
      – You want a small camera with raw file support.
      – You’re interested in investing in extra camera units as the system evolves.
      – You’re attracted by the accessories on offer.

      Don’t buy this camera if:
      – You’re looking for a low-priced point-and-shoot digicam.
      – You require fast autofocusing, fast continuous shooting speeds and a large buffer memory for high-resolution images.

      JPEG images


      Raw images converted with Adobe Camera Raw.




      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.


      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.


      5.1mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/160 second at f/8.


      15.3mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/9.8.


      Digital zoom; 15.3mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/250 second at f/6.3.


      Close-up; 5.1mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/60 second at f/5.6.


      15.3mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/250 second at f/8.9.


      100% crop from the above image showing coloured fringing.


      60-second exposure at night at ISO 100, 7.3mm focal length, f/2.5.


      30-second exposure at night at ISO 800, 7.3mm focal length, f/6.3.


      15-second exposure at night at ISO 3200, 7.3mm focal length, f/8.


      100% crop from the above image showing the effects of image noise.


      Flash exposure at ISO 100; 15.3mm focal length, 1/80 second at f/4.4.


      Flash exposure at ISO800; 15.3mm focal length, 1/80 second at f/4.4.


      Flash exposure at ISO3200; 15.3mm focal length, 1/80 second at f/4.4.


      15.3mm focal length, ISO Auto (263), 1/20 second at f/5.6.


      13.6mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/80 second at f/4.4.


      15.3mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/250 second at f/6.3.


      10.1mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/400 second at f/6.1.


      10.1mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/125 second at f/5.5.




      Specifications: GR S10 Camera Unit (24-72mm f/2.5-4.4 VC)
      Image sensor: 7.38 x 5.54 mm CCD sensor with approx. 10.4 million photosites (10.0 megapixels effective)
      Image Sizes: 16:9 – 3648 x 2048, 3264 x 1840; 4:3 – 3648 x 2736, 3264 x 2448, 2592 x 1944, 2048 x 1536, 1280 x 960, 640 x 480; 3:2 – 3648 x 2736, 3264 x 2176; 1:1 – 2736 x 2736, 2448 x 2448
      Movie sizes: 640 x 480, 320 x 240 at 30 frames/second
      Lens: 5.1-15.3mm f/2.5-f/4.4 lens (24-72mm equivalent in 35mm format); 11 elements (four aspherical) in 7 groups
      Image Stabilisation: Image sensor shift method
      Focus system: CCD-based AF with multi, spot, snap and infinity modes plus focus lock and AF-assist; range – 30 cm to infinity; macro to 1 cm
      Digital zoom: Up to 4x; 5.7x auto resize zoom (VGA)
      Shutter speed range: 180 seconds to 1/2000 second (upper and lower limits vary with shooting and flash mode); Movies – 1/30-1/2000 second
      Exposure metering: 256-segment TTL-CCD metering with multi, centre-weighted and spot modes; AE lock provided
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 4 EV in 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps
      Exposure bracketing: +/- 2 EV in 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps
      ISO range: Auto, Auto Hi, ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
      White balance: Auto, Multi-P auto, Outdoors, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Manual; White balance bracketing supported
      Built-in flash range: 20 cm to 4.5 metres (ISO auto)
      Sequence shooting: Max 5 DNG.RAW at 3 fps; M-Cont Plus mode – HI (JPEG 640 x 480): Max 30 frames at 30 fps; LO (JPEG 3648 x 2736): Max. 15 frames at 1.6 fps
      Battery life (CIPA rating): Approx. 410 shots/charge
      Dimensions: 68.7 x 57.9 x 38.6 mm (camera unit only); 113.9 x 70.2 x 44.4 mm (with camera body)
      Weight: 161 grams (camera unit only); 325 grams (with camera body but not including battery, memory card, neck strap, connector cap or lens cap)





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      RRP: $699 (camera body); $649 (S10 camera unit); GXR camera body plus S10 camera unit – $1,199

      Rating (out of 10):

      • Build: 9.0
      • Ease of use: 8.5
      • Image quality: 9.0
      • OVERALL: 8.8