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


michaelwatkins wrote:
Why can't history repeat with Ricoh producing a M mount camera co-branded with Leica, reminiscent of the Minolta-Leitz CL / CLE?


The difference is that Minolta had huge brand awareness, retail presence and very strong marketing. Ricoh has none of that in North America - probably most of the world - when it comes to cameras. It seems likely they will use the Pentax brand going forward since it's a stronger brand for selling cameras. If they do so, unfortunately, I could see them subcontracting out to others such as Leica for their more niche market stuff. It will be interesting to see what happens. We do know from what Leica has stated that they wish to make a move into a broader market and perhaps Ricoh would be an ideal partner for that.



Mar 24, 2012 at 09:16 PM
aleksanderpolo
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p.43 #2 · p.43 #2 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


My wishful thinking is that, if Ricoh is in collaboration with Leica, they will help produce the M10, while using the same 35mm sensor technology for their M module. But again, this is wishful thinking.


Mar 24, 2012 at 09:23 PM
michaelwatkins
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p.43 #3 · p.43 #3 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


edwardkaraa wrote:
So basically Leica will sell us a GXR M disguised in an M9 shell for 7K and call it M10. Cool! I want one


Sure!

Better yet, Pentax-Ricoh will sell us a GXR M in a new shell for 30 - 70% less because the Ricoh (or Pentax) name is in a larger font than Leica. Hopefully they don't sign an agreement not to produce a full frame 35mm sensor camera.

Tariq, I hear you on branding and distribution but for a speciality camera maybe these aren't insurmountable problems. Pentax has better distribution in parts of the world where Ricoh isn't a big factor, and, if we are talking a M lens compatible camera anyway, they can get by with community awareness for a time carrying sales while they establish the "Pentax Leica Ricoh CM" camera. Does CL stand for Consumer Leica? CM Consumer M mount?



Mar 24, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Mitch Alland
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p.43 #4 · p.43 #4 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


All this — dare I say silly? — speculation:

—when is the A16 M-Mount coming? (But the A12 M-Mount came out only in October).
—will Leica cooperate with Ricoh on the M10? (No comment needed).
—will Pentax run Ricoh? (Can't conceive of a comment).

And the general perception of Ricoh as a minor brand: it is minor in the U.S. but rather large in Japan and Taiwan and perhaps Korea, maybe in China as well. On Friday, at Hong Kong airport, I picked up a slick 350-page book, published in Taiwan, on how to use the GR Digital in all its versions, the GRD to the GRD4. In Japan several books like this on the GRD have been published over the last few years. The GRD has been a cult success in Japan and Taiwan, and probably a financial success for Ricoh Camera as well. Ricoh Camera has no need to cooperate with Leica — and does Leica really need a tie-up with Ricoh Camera for technical reasons? Also, Ricoh Camera's distribution issues in North America can easily be solved through the Pentax acquisition.

Incidentally, the Taiwanese GRD book looks great: thorough and informative with very good example pictures, although I can't read a word of it. I wish books like this were published in the West. I recently bought a GRD4 and am happy with it. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I think that the GRD cameras are wonderful for street photography because of the fluid and loose style they facilitate when framing with the LCD — and because of their imade quality as well. Here are a couple with the GRD4 taken in Hong Kong, followed by a couple with the GRD3 taken in London:






































Mitch/Bangkok
Pak Nam Pran



Mar 25, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Tariq Gibran
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p.43 #5 · p.43 #5 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Mitch Alland wrote:
Ricoh Camera has no need to cooperate with Leica — and does Leica really need a tie-up with Ricoh Camera for technical reasons?

Well, there is the age old reason of MONEY. Seems like a good enough reason for Ricoh to be interested in a deal with Leica. For Leica, it would obviously be about production cost and capacity. Don't you think Leica might be interested in a partner that could produce the M10 for less than half of what it costs Leica to produce it?

I have no idea what might happen but I do think Leica needs a partner going forward.


Edited on Mar 25, 2012 at 12:41 AM · View previous versions



Mar 25, 2012 at 12:40 AM
bluetsunami
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p.43 #6 · p.43 #6 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


All I know is, whoever gets to a FF mirrorless body at a reasonable price first shall get the spoils. There's the issue of building a system behind such a body though and I'm not sure if Ricoh is up for that. Though the M-Mount module makes it so this isn't as huge consideration as putting your weight behind an actual body release. Ricoh are in the perfect position with their module system to do just this.


Mar 25, 2012 at 12:40 AM
michaelwatkins
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p.43 #7 · p.43 #7 · 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 #8 · p.43 #8 · 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.)











































—Mitch/Bangkok
Paris ay rytme de Basquait



Mar 25, 2012 at 02:03 AM
rscheffler
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p.43 #9 · p.43 #9 · 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 #10 · p.43 #10 · 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
 

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Mitch Alland
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p.43 #11 · p.43 #11 · 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 #12 · p.43 #12 · 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 #13 · p.43 #13 · 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 #14 · p.43 #14 · 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 #15 · p.43 #15 · 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 #16 · p.43 #16 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


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


Mar 25, 2012 at 06:54 AM
kosmoskatten
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p.43 #17 · p.43 #17 · 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 #18 · p.43 #18 · 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 #19 · p.43 #19 · 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 #20 · p.43 #20 · 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
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