(news and commentary)
I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the Ricoh cameras. The GXR, despite its oddly chosen modularity, is actually a very photographer-friendly camera that performs quite well. Outside Japan, however, the Ricoh cameras haven't gained a lot of foothold, even though hobbyists have long been touting the quality of the Ricoh compact cameras.
Today those compact cameras just got large. As in "large sensor." The old GR line were small sensor cameras with a fixed lens, but the new GR just introduced is a 16mp APS sensor camera, pitting it squarely against the Nikon Coolpix A, the Leica X2, and the Fujifilm X100s.
While the body is a little long for a pocket, it's suitably thin and not very high, so it still qualifies. The big news, however, is that this camera comes in at US$800, basically undercutting the rest of the competition. The GR features an 18.3mm (28mm equivalent) f/2.8 lens that collapses into the body when the camera is off, and has Ricoh's usual relatively well thought out controls and menus. About the only drawback in the spec list is the relatively low-resolution 3" LCD on the back.
Another interesting aspect of the new GR is that Ricoh has updated two accessories that the smaller sensor, earlier GRDs had: a 21mm equivalent accessory lens that bolts on the front, and an optical finder that slides into the hot shoe that has both 21mm and 28mm frame lines on it.
Early samples show that the lens on the new Ricoh GR is pretty good right into the corners, and the GR doesn't have an anti-aliasing filter, so get prepared for some pretty good detail rendering across the frame.