Taking advantage of the fact that the Leica M mount is no longer under patent, Ricoh has announced a street photography-friendly GXR lens module with 12MP APS sensor and a Leica M mount.
If you aspire to own a Leica M9 but can't swallow its $7,000 price tag, a new option arriving next month will accept Leica lenses. Ricoh's unique GXR, which was launched in 2009 and accepts interchangeable, modular lens/sensor combinations, is about to gain the A12, a new module with an APS-sized sensor that lacks a lens but has a Leica M mount and can accept any Leica M-mount lens.
The A12 features a 12MP, 23.6x15.7mm APS-C CMOS sensor and a newly-developed focal plane shutter with a shutter speed range of 180 sec to 1/4000 sec. Users could choose the electronic shutter to get up to 1/8000 sec. In addition to M-mount lenses, the camera can accept other lenses via an adapter. Ricoh claims the A12 can independently correct coloring at the corners as well as distortion for each lens. A focus-assist function is said to aid in manual focus accuracy via screen magnification or by strengthening outlines and contrast for better focus targeting.
Other new features include: Scene Modes including soft focus, cross process, toy camera, miniature and high-contrast B&W; an electronic level, 720p HD video; ability to add information on the lens used to EXIF data; My Settings instant access to customized range of shooting functions; Bulb and Time modes available in manual exposure; and a durable die-cast magnesium body.
If Leica lenses are still too rich for you but you want to take advantage of the M-mount, used lenses as well as less expensive but optically excellent off-brand screw-mount lenses made by Voigtlander and Zeiss can be added via an adapter.
The Ricoh GXR A12 mount module will be available in September for $649. The GXR body ($349.00) and other lens/sensor combinations and are available now.