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Archive 2011 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?
  
 
michaelwatkins
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p.43 #1 · p.43 #1 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Big companies partner with small companies all the time. Leica sales are but a tiny proportion of Ricoh over all Leica lens its brand to all sorts of cameras made by others. Ricoh may or may not be manufacturing on an OEM basis components for others, in photographic equipment or elsewhere... actually just by their size they must be. I predict or speculate on nothing though... but if Ricoh and Leica did partner up in some way, I just hope that it pays benefits for M glass shooters and not just those willing to pay M9 prices.

Regardless of how popular Ricoh cameras might be in some markets, digital cameras is one of the very few business units they operate which target consumers. The bulk of the company is focussed on business solutions. Camera products are within a division that overall accounts for about 7% of sales, though I don't know what percentage of that division camera products represents. If it were 100%, they'd be just over 4 times the size of Leica. No doubt Pentax numbers (not rolled into these) make them substantially larger but still relatively small compared to the company as a whole. Hopefully a large enough and important enough unit to do interesting things, but will they be interesting to folks like us?

Mitch: I should pay more attention to the GRD. Maybe that's what I need for an autofocus compact camera rather than picking up one of the lensor modules.



Mar 25, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Mitch Alland
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p.43 #2 · p.43 #2 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Michael,

Actually, Ricoh Camera is a small company owned by a large — or is it mid-sized? — office equipment manufacturer. Ricoh Camera has to "eat what they kill", but perhaps got funding from the large Ricoh parent company for the Pentax acquisition. The production of all their cameras is in China, as far as I know on a batch OEM basis. As Leica could arrange Chinese OEM production on their own, I don't see why they would partner with Ricoh Camera. Although one could argue that Ricoh Camera could benefit from a tie-up involving the Leica brand name, that is much less compelling after the Pentax acquisition. Indeed, in my view such a move would only complicate the digestion process by Ricoh Camera of Pentax.

All this is why I don't think Tariq's argument that "the reason is money" rings true. While it may be true that Leica "needs a partner", it's hard to see that a Japanese camera manufacturer needs Leica — Ricoh Camera doesn't, and neither does Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fujifilm, or even Panasonic at this stage. And I am not sure that Leica needs a partner. Leica needs good management, which it hasn't had for a long time, but may now have — I simply don't know.

On the GRD4, it's a great camera and could be what you need, particularly if you are interested in street photography, for which the huge depth of field and the 28mm and 21mm depths of field are useful. Although I've mainly shot B&W with the GRD cameras, I like the color that one can get from it, of which below are some GRD3 examples, shot in the seaside town of Pak Nam Pran. (By the away, having bought a GRD4, I;m trying to get around to selling my GRD3, but also have a GRD2, with the 21mm and 40mm lenses that I still haven't gotten around to selling.)



http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4116/4819178209_70c70b373f_b.jpg



http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4142/4886828734_3f7001b587_b.jpg



http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4137/4824944883_545ca1e4d8_b.jpg



http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4073/4884144017_c34b918172_b.jpg



http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4120/4891819585_de7d721e4a_b.jpg



—Mitch/Bangkok
Paris ay rytme de Basquait



Mar 25, 2012 at 02:03 AM
rscheffler
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p.43 #3 · p.43 #3 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Leica needs what Ricoh also needs in North America - better retail channels. Hence the reason Leica is following Apple's lead by opening their own branded stores to sell directly to the consumer, rather than compete for shelf space in crowded, noisy, poorly located 3rd party retailers where staff may have more incentive to sell based on manufacturer spiffs than product features. This allows them to control the sales environment in ways far beyond that of regular camera stores. And the Leica stores are strategically located in upscale shopping areas, targeting more discriminating buyers (discriminating about the shopping environment, not necessarily about the product). I don't believe Leica needs a partnership with another photographic brand, definitely not for financial reasons, since they've recently managed to attract some investment capital elsewhere to help them with their expansion plans.

So, not really anything to do with the GXR, but that's my take on it. I highly doubt Leica will repeat the CL considering how it apparently seriously undercut M series sales, or allow a partner brand to sell their own version of the camera. I do believe Leica needs a mid-range camera as a bridge for those wanting to buy into the system. But then, we'll see what happens in May with Leica's big announcement.



Mar 25, 2012 at 03:07 AM
atran
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p.43 #4 · p.43 #4 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


michaelwatkins wrote:
Big companies partner with small companies all the time. Leica sales are but a tiny proportion of Ricoh over all Leica lens its brand to all sorts of cameras made by others. Ricoh may or may not be manufacturing on an OEM basis components for others, in photographic equipment or elsewhere... actually just by their size they must be. I predict or speculate on nothing though... but if Ricoh and Leica did partner up in some way, I just hope that it pays benefits for M glass shooters and not just those willing to pay M9 prices.

Regardless of how popular
...Show more
Mike you seems to be someone with a business background as well Mind if I ask which specific field?
I just take a quick look at the financial statement of Ricoh for year end 2011 and came up with similar thing:
-Camera producing in under other segments with sales of about of 122B Yen (USD 1.47B). I was under the impression that most of the sales from this segment is camera though since they attribute most of the change in sales in this Other segments to camera so I think it's safe to assume that most of this segment sales are camera related.
-R&D for camera is about 2.268B Yen (USD 27.5M). I don't know how this compares to other major camera manufactures though.



Mar 25, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Mitch Alland
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p.43 #5 · p.43 #5 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


atran wrote:
...-R&D for camera is about 2.268B Yen (USD 27.5M). I don't know how this compares to other major camera manufactures though.


But the point is that Ricoh Camera is not a major camera manufacturer. I don't have the time to look at Ricoh's annual report, but the idea that the sales of Ricoh Camera amounted to about US$1.5 billion in 2011 is clearly incorrect.

EDIT: I seem to remember from somewhere a reference that the "other categories" in Ricoh's annual report refers to digital cameras, finance and logistics (and perhaps a few other categories). I would think that Ricoh Camera's sales would be of the order of magnitude of some US$500 million, or roughly, say, 2-4 times that of Leica — still leaving Ricoh Camera a small camera manufacturer.

—Mitch/Bangkok
Tristes Tropiques? No, They Have a Strip Mall in Chiang Mai Too



Mar 25, 2012 at 03:56 AM
michaelwatkins
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p.43 #6 · p.43 #6 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Too much analysis spoils the wishful thinking aspect of photography.

I agree with Ron, given the success of the M9 and their lens line up, somehow I can't see them doing a deal that would allow another to undercut them.

That said, in a way it is already happening, isn't it? I'm thinking of Leica lenses being used on NEX, GXR and other such cameras, not to mention the Zeiss and Cosina product also making their way on to cameras other than Leica M's. Whether trying to take a slice of that pie is interesting to them or not, who knows?

Speaking of Apple, as a total aside, I can't believe how many times I've heard an executive exclaim "We have to be more like Apple" What they really mean is they want Apple's gross margins, and they want to be seen as the go-to cool product in their category. For most of them it just isn't going to happen.

There's no doubt Leica can do well with boutique company stores in certain markets. I wonder if one here in Vancouver could be justified? Maybe there'd be more product for sale if most sales went through company stores but it seems that they have production issues meeting demand already.

I realize Ron wasn't suggesting Leica wanted to actually be like Apple - although maybe its new investors do. If we were to day dream that Leica decided to be more than just a very high end maker of gear and licenser of their brand name, if they truly wanted to be the Apple of photography, they'd need to bring out products for the everyman.

As for Ricoh the whole picture is muddy until we know what the Pentax acquisition and reorganization means.



I get chills just thinking about it.



Mar 25, 2012 at 05:26 AM
aleksanderpolo
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p.43 #7 · p.43 #7 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


There was also a rumor that Leica is going to come up with their own mirrorless (non-rangefinder) camera. If that is the case, perhaps they will license/outsource this mirrorless camera to another camera maker, much like how Panasonic is making their P&S, to take a slice of the mirrorless market. While a mirrorless camera can take Leica lens, focusing on EVF and focusing on rangefinder patch is still rather different experience, so I think there are still room for both to co-exist. A mirrorless camera with Leica's implementation of microlenses/blessing will also be preferable to the offering of Sony or Fuji, based on the current testing result. [/long speculation]


Mar 25, 2012 at 06:06 AM
aleksanderpolo
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p.43 #8 · p.43 #8 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?




https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-oZpyUtcd_YI/T26zqo6S0iI/AAAAAAAACJE/ZUw8GO5NOEM/s144/k-01.jpg

I get chills just thinking about it.




A worst of both world mirrorless camera with the same flange distance and hence body thickness, cannot mount M or many other lenses, no EVF, no OVF, slower AF. What were they thinking?



Mar 25, 2012 at 06:17 AM
atran
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p.43 #9 · p.43 #9 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


michaelwatkins wrote:
As for Ricoh the whole picture is muddy until we know what the Pentax acquisition and reorganization means.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-oZpyUtcd_YI/T26zqo6S0iI/AAAAAAAACJE/ZUw8GO5NOEM/s144/k-01.jpg

I get chills just thinking about it.

What if this camera contains a FF sensor without AA filter and competent focus peaking mode



Mar 25, 2012 at 06:36 AM
michaelwatkins
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p.43 #10 · p.43 #10 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Then I'll get chills of a different sort altogether!


Mar 25, 2012 at 06:54 AM
 

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kosmoskatten
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p.43 #11 · p.43 #11 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


aleksanderpolo wrote:
There was also a rumor that Leica is going to come up with their own mirrorless (non-rangefinder) camera. If that is the case, perhaps they will license/outsource this mirrorless camera to another camera maker, much like how Panasonic is making their P&S, to take a slice of the mirrorless market. While a mirrorless camera can take Leica lens, focusing on EVF and focusing on rangefinder patch is still rather different experience, so I think there are still room for both to co-exist. A mirrorless camera with Leica's implementation of microlenses/blessing will also be preferable to the offering of Sony or
...Show more


Ha! You beat me to it. Leica hinted about a new mirrorless interchangeable camera to be presented at Photokina with at least an APS-C sensor, M lens compatible and I started thinking; huh, Panasonic don't do APS-C as far as I know... ...so maybe Ricoh and Leica are collaborating on this?

This would perhaps imply a GXR-ish Leica APS-C camera (fixed sensor though, no modules) with some NEW Leica lenses (drool) as well as backwards compatibility with the M line. If Ricoh is part of it - sign me up for one... ...and arguably it would be based on the 16MP Sony sensor.

So the "GXR MkII" might be a Leica in disguise, or the other way around.

Remember where you read this first. (And forget all about it if I am dead wrong...)



Mar 25, 2012 at 07:38 AM
michaelwatkins
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p.43 #12 · p.43 #12 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Here's another (still under investigation) reason to avoid updating to v1.50: RPP might not be compatible with DNG files produced by the 1.50 firmware.

Ron - have you opened any of your recent images in RPP? Any issues? I see the image chopped up into horizontal bands that are not assembled in the right order. I'm not sure if 100% of my V1.50 created files are affected as such, yet, but it does look like it.

Am communicating with Andrey, the author of RPP, on the issue right now.

EDIT: Downgrading to V1.44 hasn't resolved the issue. Sigh.

EDIT: Andrey suspects LR4... which may be a possibility.

EDIT: And the winner is... Lightroom 4, but it isn't a big issue. The upgrade to LR4 reset my import settings switching from the appropriate "Copy" setting to "Copy as DNG" and that latter approach applies file compression to the DNG which RPP isn't able to deal with. Crisis over.

But I'm sticking with V1.44 so I can get my lens labels back.



Mar 26, 2012 at 05:22 AM
rscheffler
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p.43 #13 · p.43 #13 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Compressing files on import would seem to be a huge issue that should be decided by the user. Any word on if this is lossless or lossy compression?

I haven't yet tried LR4, but am curious, if it's compressing the files, do you see this in the actual file size of the DNGs? I guess you would, since that is one purpose for compression. My GXR DNGs are consistently 18.6 or 18.7 MB, there is some very minor variation from file to file...

BTW, regarding Leica stores, Leica rumors reported that a Leica Boutique will open in Richmond BC, operated by Broadway Camera.

My Leica-Apple analogy was meant as: Leica can't compete based on price in a normal camera store environment, just as Apple was at a disadvantage against other computer hardware manufacturers in electronics stores before they were cool in the minds of the average consumer. BTW, if all of the Leica stores are like the one in Munich, it's an excellent shopping experience with friendly staff enthusiastic about the product and willing to give you as much time as you (reasonably) need trying product. That said, the Munich store might be corporate owned, whereas some others aren't.



Mar 26, 2012 at 11:28 PM
michaelwatkins
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p.43 #14 · p.43 #14 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Ron - it turns out it was user error, or if anyone wants to be charitable to me, "user" not noticing LR4 had reset my import default to "Copy as DNG" because I keep that pane of Lightroom hidden all of the time.

IF... RPP supported compression, and if the compression isn't lossy, the disk savings might be worth going there for some. The files are about half the size: 9.8mb as opposed to ~ 18.5 on one I checked.

On Leica, the Broadway Camera rumour sounds right to me. If I wanted to fondle a M9 I would head to one of their stores confident that they'd have stock. Richmond, downtown, or Oakridge Mall right beside the Apple Store are where I'd expect them to open. I wonder if they'll make a go of it for the long run... I've no sense of that.



Mar 26, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Tariq Gibran
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p.43 #15 · p.43 #15 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


The Apple Store analogy for Leica does not work unless Leica is able to offer a wider range of options at prices close to other cameras while still offering the panache and intrinsic perceived quality of the brand. Just look at the majority of Apple products and you will see that except for the Desktops, they are very price competitive for what they offer while still offering arguably superior build and design. Leica has a ways to go before they can achieve that and doing so will likely require cheaper production ie another partner. Thus Leica will have to introduce a very competitive system at a price within better reach of most before any sort of Leica Store will fly on a grand scale. The CEO of Leica has said as much regarding their need to move into other markets.




Mar 27, 2012 at 12:51 AM
michaelwatkins
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p.43 #16 · p.43 #16 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Maybe the Gucci or Bulgari or Cartier stores are a more apt comparison. Leica has the price, but not the variety of goods. Regardless it would not be surprising to learn Leica would rather sell via their own single-focus boutiques than use the retail channel *like everyone else*.


Mar 27, 2012 at 05:27 AM
rscheffler
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p.43 #17 · p.43 #17 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Well, even Canon is opening their own 'user experience centre' in one of the big Alberta cities at some point soon... not just for cameras, but also printers, copiers, etc., and they have been setting up stores within stores in some locations. I think any brand is to some degree frustrated by the lack of control over the independent retailers due to poor product placement or stock levels, biased store staff...

As for the Apple store model, one has to remember that Apple was in a similar situation at one time - near the cusp of irrelevance, selling what they promoted as higher end hardware, but with a limited user base. Then they shifted their focus more mainstream. It's possible we will get an idea of where Leica is heading with their May announcement, or at least by Photokina. And without doubt, for them to capitalize on the boost provided by the M9, they need to find a way to get more people interested in the brand, and that will mean more affordable options. Maybe we'll see a GXR-like camera....



Mar 27, 2012 at 08:53 AM
michaelwatkins
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p.43 #18 · p.43 #18 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


And Sony has Sony Stores, absolutely.

Whether all brand-solo stores can make a go of it over the long run is another matter.

PS: Ron did you ever make any headway with the bug you observed? I see a Ricoh CX6 firmware update *today* to fix what appears to be a red-purple half-way shutter flash of colour that seemed familiar to what you described. Others have reported similar experience on the GXR so hopefully another firmware upity-date for the GXR is coming soon.



Mar 30, 2012 at 06:09 PM
rscheffler
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p.43 #19 · p.43 #19 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Thanks for that update Michael, sounds promising. I haven't used the camera in about 10 days... and it was still happening then, so doubt anything has changed. BTW, love your cafe photo in the 'favourite photo of the week' thread.


Mar 30, 2012 at 09:56 PM
rscheffler
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p.43 #20 · p.43 #20 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


FYI: another firmware update: http://www.ricoh.com/r_dc/download/firmware/gxr/

I haven't tried it yet...



Jun 26, 2012 at 10:35 PM
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