Inside Story

Image processing engine for bringing out more performance from the GR lens

The GR lens is an excellent lens. While covering a wide 28 mm range, it delivers high resolution in peripheral areas with minimal distortion. The GR DIGITAL II incorporates a new image processing engine to thoroughly bring out that expressive power. "We moved up to a 10.01M CCD and evolved image processing to the 'GR ENGINE II' of high noise processing performance," tells Higuchi.

Noise reduction was looked at particularly with ISO400, which is a comparative frequently used speed. "In reducing high sensitivity noise, we loose resolution, causing the image to seem expressionless, so we tried reducing noise without sacrificing the high resolving power." That was a difficult challenge for a compact digital camera.

5-group 6-lens GR lens
5-group 6-lens GR lens

Evolved --GR ENGINE II-- image processing engine
Evolved "GR ENGINE II" image processing engine

Higuchi added, "Ricoh has long prioritized resolution in delivering descriptiveness, but there are people who prefer description with low noise even if it means losing some resolution." On that point, noise reduction ON/OFF control was added to the shooting menu of the GR DIGITAL II so that users could choose the description they wanted.

Shorter writing time in the RAW mode

In recent years, there has been an increase in users who want to process images themselves on PC using what is called a RAW mode that directly records the output signal of the CCD in a "raw data" format. If it were about film cameras, this trend would be tantamount to an increase in users who develop pictures themselves. Software for processing RAW data is widely available, so there is a much easier environment for handing RAW data today compared to 2 years ago when the GR DIGITAL first came out.

Higuchi tells, "We shortened the RAW data writing time from the roughly 11 sec of the GR DIGITAL to a fastest 3.8 sec with the GR DIGITAL II, and made it possible to take the next picture while the previous picture was being written." Not only with RAW data, but processing speed in general was increased and response was greatly improved.

Enhanced expression with the 40 mm teleconversion lens

GR DIGITAL II mounting the GT-1 40 mm teleconversion lens 40 mm
GR DIGITAL II mounting the GT-1 40 mm
teleconversion lens 40 mm

In addition to improving image quality, greater expressiveness was pursued via the angle of view. "User surveys indicated that many people wanted a standard range conversion lens of -- say -- 40 mm or 50 mm by 35 mm film conversion. It can be used obviously for snapshots but also for stills and portraits when the 28 mm lens is too wide," says Higuchi. They say the standard field of view is close to that seen by the human eye, making it easy to capture exactly what the eye sees. "Also, by incorporating the 1:1 square aspect ratio that was highly popular with the Caplio GX100, the applicable shooting range was greatly expanded," tells Higuchi.

*Lens focal lengths described in this web site are values converted into those for a 35 mm camera equivalent.

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