Fitting a lens to the GXR Mount A12 is as simple as can be expected, and as the mount is substantial enough to get a good grip of, screw lenses can be removed easily while leaving a L-to-M adapter ring in place.
I noted that when the camera is on the sensor is exposed, so I learned to practise turning the camera off when changing lenses – which is a good idea anyway, even with DSLRs.
Focusing with the built-in assistance modes takes a little while to get used to, but soon proved a quick-enough process. The method is a great improvement on what was offered before, even if it falls slightly short of the traditional double-image overlay we are used to in rangefinder models.
I suspect the greatest issue for direct-view rangefinder users will be that the camera’s screen blacks out as soon as a picture is taken. I turned off the image review to ensure the camera could return to usefulness as soon as possible, but in a scene that is slowly unfolding, taking one shot precludes taking another for about 11⁄2secs while the image is recorded and safely stored away.
Facing a black viewfinder when the action is still in progress is an uncomfortable experience. It can be solved in part by switching to the camera’s continuous mode, but spraying the scene in the style of a drive-by shooting seems a little out of step with a desire to pick a decisive moment from life’s continuum.
I got used to it in time, but really Ricoh needs to get that shot-to-shot black-out down to less than the time it took to wind to the next frame of film. It’s a problem all electronic viewfinder cameras suffer from at the moment.
Ricoh’s menu system is long and extensive, and now longer again with the new features. The logic of positioning a feature’s on/off options separately from the same feature’s variation options sometimes escapes me, but it really won’t take more than a week to become totally familiar with where everything is – logical or not.
My only disappointment is that the electronic shutter option comes as a scene mode, and rather restricts access to the other shooting controls. It would be much better as a main menu item.
Image: Manual focus assist modes provide outlines on sharp objects, and disappear with a half-press of the shutter release