The latest development of this quirky camera system is both interesting and disturbing. A little cut and paste description first
Camera unit RICOH LENS P10 28-300 mm F3.5-5.6 VC* (name tentative)
With an original Ricoh noise reduction function and a back-illuminated CMOS sensor, this camera unit expands the photographer's range of expression by making it possible to shoot high-quality images in scenes ranging from low light to bright light.
Featuring a high-magnification 10.7x (28-300 mm) optical wide-angle zoom, this unit has 120 frame/second high-speed continuous shooting ability plus a wide range of other functional capabilities such as RAW image recording, image settings adjustable to nine levels, multi-target AF, and much more.
Start of sales planned for the summer of 2010.
The "VC" designation indicates that this unit has the vibration correction function developed independently by Ricoh.
Camera unit GR LENS A12 28 mm F2.5 (name tentative)
Featuring a newly developed 28 mm fixed-focal-length GR LENS, this camera unit achieves high resolution and high imaging power.
A 23.6 mm x 15.7 mm (APS-C size) CMOS sensor is used. The combination of this sensor with the GR ENGINE III image processing engine enables the camera unit to shoot high-quality images with smooth tone gradations as well as high definition and low noise.
There is a manual focus ring that can be used for precise focus adjustments.
Start of sales planned for the winter of 2010.
The APS-C sensor coupled with a 28mm equivalent lens is really not surprising, considering Ricoh was one of the earliest to have 28 mm wide compacts. Most disturbing is the release date, a tentative Winter 2010.
What could be holding up the final product? Problem with developing a 28 mm lens? Unable to pair it with the sensor optically? Difficulty with software algorithm? It would make development of more large sensor modules doubtful.
The P10 module seems to be basically a souped up CX3 with RAW capability, which is a good thing, and presumably also with PASM modes. Disturbing is it looks like they are cobbling current small sensor technology into a supposedly high end high priced compact system. I hope it is not an act of desperation to make up for non-existent modules.