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Ricoh announces the long-awaited GR Digital

Ricoh announces the October 21 launch of the GR Digital, a newly developed professional-grade high-resolution compact digital camera.
In addition to a CCD with 8,1 megapixels, the new digital camera boasts superb resolution through a newly developed high-performance lens, image-processing algorithms, as well as low noise and low chromatic aberration. With a high-quality feel and superb expandability, this is the perfect tool for professional photographers and advanced amateurs...
The Ricoh GR Digital Brochure (PDF)


Professional Grade High Resolution Compact Digital Camera

Tokyo, Japan - September 13 - Ricoh Co., Ltd. (president and CEO: Masamitsu Sakurai) announced today the October 21 launch of the GR Digital, a newly developed professional-grade high-resolution compact digital camera. In addition to a CCD with 8,130,000 effective pixels, the new digital camera boasts superb resolution through a newly developed high-performance lens, image-processing algorithms, and other innovations, as well as low noise and low chromatic aberration.

The new GR Digital inherits the superb image quality that made the award winning GR Series (first launched in 1996) of 35mm compact film cameras so popular, as well as the depictive performance to satisfy professional photographers, distilled into a compact 25mm thin body.
With a high-quality feel and superb expandability, this is the perfect tool for professional photographers and advanced amateurs.

When planning the GR Digital, Ricoh's engineers began by identifying the elements that provide the high picture quality demanded by discerning photographers. After much study, Ricoh placed special emphasis on resolution, noise level, color aberration correction, color reproduction, tone, and distortion characteristics. In order to achieve extremely high levels in each of these areas, Ricoh gave the GR Digital a CCD with 8,130,000 effective pixels, and also developed two key components: (1) a F2.4 fixed focal length GR lens with f = 5.9 mm (28 mm converted to 35 mm format camera) having high resolution and depictive power; and (2) a new GR Engine image-processing system featuring natural composition and rich, fine gradations while further lowering noise in all images.

These key components in turn translate into a high Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) rating for the central area of the image as well as the edges. MTF is a measure of contrast and resolution, and one of the most widely used standards for evaluating image quality. The GR Digital has the descriptive power to show each hair on a person's head, with superb reproductive capability all the way into the corners of the picture. The GR Digital's images also reduce noise, giving greater continuity in dark areas, reproduces natural tones and gradations, and reduces blurring and distortion.

* The closer the 50/mm and 150/mm curves are to 100%, the higher the contrast and resolution.
* 50 lines/mm and 150 lines/mm are equivalent to 10 lines/mm and 30 lines/mm, respectively, when converted to a 35mm format camera. In general, if a 10 line/mm 35mm format camera has an MTF of 80% or higher, it is considered to have excellent image quality, and at 60% or higher is considered to have satisfactory image quality.
* The alignment of the R and T characteristics is vital for blurring and other depictive characteristics.

Launch date October 21, 2005
Note: Supplied accessories include rechargeable battery, battery charger, AV cable, USB cable, CD-ROM (software), and strap.


Ten years have passed since Ricoh launched the Ricoh DC-1, the first Ricoh digital camera, in 1995. The Ricoh DC-1 was the world's first digital camera to support video. During that time Ricoh have remained at the forefront of digital camera technology. Ricoh's leading edge technologies have seen many breakthroughs with such outstanding features as: 1cm macro, wide-angle high quality optical zoom lenses, ultra fast response times (start-up and shutter release lag) and unique linking of communications and GPS support functions.

Main Features of the GR Digital

1. Newly Developed GR Lens Provides High Resolution and resolving power

• A retro-focus lens using a concave lens toward the subject and a convex lens toward the CCD, widely used in wide-angle SLRs and the like, is used. In addition to this two glass-molded aspheric lenses and one special low dispersion lens are used. These are optimally laid out in a configuration that fully corrects and reduces distortion, frame aberration, color aberration, using fewer lens element. It also improves the light transmissivity of the lens, producing clear images.

• A retracting lens system is employed, allowing part of the lens groupings (rear group) to be stowed inside the camera body.  This shortens the distance between the second and third lenses when stowed. This not only helps to improve the image quality it also helps to reduce the camera size.

• A dedicated system can adjust the optical axis of the outer lens group and CCD-side lens group at the micron level. This enables uniform image quality from edge to edge.

• Equipped with a generous seven- blade aperture and neutral density (ND) filter.

• These features enable high resolution, high image quality from edge to edge, low noise in dark areas, natural tone and gradations, and good background blurring upon aperture release. The ND filter uniformly absorbs each base color: R, G, and B, allowing larger apertures to be utilized.

• Boasting 8,130,000 effective pixels, the camera delivers the high image quality that professionals demand.

2. Image Processing via GR Engine Maximizes Lens Performance

• Supplemental processing on adjacent pixels creates smooth, natural curves.

• Noise is reduced even further by including top-of-the-line components with superb characteristics in the analog circuit. During long-term exposures, heat and light sources – which can cause noise – are kept down to a minimum, enabling long 3minute exposure times for great pictures of the night sky and similar subjects.

• Through image-pattern analysis, variations in auto exposure (AE) and auto white balance (AWB) are suppressed. As a result, Whites look White and Blacks look Black.

• Improved AF precision in macro mode.

• Images are simultaneously stored in uncompressed RAW and JPEG formats.

3. Thin, Compact Design

• The thin, compact design – 107.0 x 25.0 x 58.0 mm (WxDxH) achieves both portability and ease of use as a photographic tool. Now you can enjoy the high-quality photography of the GR Digital any time, anywhere.

4. Functionally Aesthetic Design Delivers High Quality and Easy Operability

• The lens is placed near the center of the camera, in a design that provides the photographer maximum balance for greater stability.

• The camera uses a magnesium-alloy case combining a stylish design with durability for maximum strength.

• Offers the first twin dial in a compact digital camera. You adjust the aperture in the front, and the shutter in the back. This allows a high degree of operability and flexibility when shooting in manual mode.

 • The built-in strobe uses a pop-up system, preventing vignetting (gradual fading of the image at the edges)

5. The Camera Itself is Simple, And Highly Expandable to Meet a Wide Range of Needs.

• We (Ricoh) intentionally did not make an optical viewfinder standard, offering a high-performance externally attached optional viewfinder instead. It fits on a hot shoe almost directly above the lens to help achieve more accurate framing.

• The wide converter optional lens features an ultra wide-angle 21 mm (when converted to 35 mm format camera).

• An optional external strobe, cable release, hood and filters are also available.

6. Short Photo Interval of 1.7 Seconds

• Even with 8,130,000 effective pixels, the shooting interval is just 1.7 seconds. When shooting continuously, you can shoot at this interval until the memory is full.

7. Built-in Large, High Resolution LCD with 100% View

• The camera is equipped with a bright, high-definition, large 2.5-inch/210,000 pixel LCD. The field of view is 100%, enabling accurate framing.

8. Images can be captured in various combinations of resolution and compression. RAW compression and RAW with JPEG can be selected for ultimate quality.

9. An aspect ratio of 3:2 can be selected, the same aspect ratio as 35mm and most digital SLR's that allows images to be printed in standard sizes without cropping.

10. Manual, Program, Program shift AE and Aperture Priority modes allow for greater flexibility and freedom of expression.

11. Three metering modes are available: 256 multipoint, spot metering and centre weighted average metering giving the photographer the freedom to compose shots as they please under various lighting conditions.

12. A sophisticated 9-point AF system assures fast and accurate focus from just 30cm and 1.5cm in Macro.

Additional information: The Ricoh GR Digital Brochure (PDF)
September 13, 2005
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