The controls in the Direct menu can also be assigned to one of the two custom function buttons on the eight-way control pad, also on the right side of the camera. Not only does the 3-inch, 920,000-dot LCD have impressive resolution, Ricoh says it recreates the entire sRGB color gamut, again something you won’t fi nd on most compacts and a boon to those who plan to use their images online. There are three choices for grid overlays: A Rule of Thirds grid divides the screen into nine areas, and another adds horizontal, vertical, and diagonal center lines to the Rule of Thirds grid. A third option puts framing corners where the Rule of Thirds lines would intersect, plus hash lines indicating the centers of each side of the frame. Though out of the ordinary, the third option provided the most usefulness for the least amount of clutter, while the second option proved overly distracting.
If the horizon lines in your landscapes are often askew, you’ll like the tilt indicator. Little bars let you know how much your camera is tilted to one side or the other and lights up green if you’re level and orange or red if you’re not. It can also be set to beep intermittently when the camera is level, though we expect this would become annoying after a while.
For those times when you’ll know the distance you’d like the camera to focus to, such as when shooting a speaker at a podium, you can set the GXR to focus to certain preset distances. Among the choices is infinity, which is useful for landscapes.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the GXR’s nifty features stop once you take the picture. The playback screen can display up to 81 images at a time on its LCD screen, and the camera will let you delete multiple images at a time, selected individually or in one long range.
There are also a handful of fixes you can apply to images in the camera, such as cropping, resizing, white balance adjustments, and levels adjustments. That last one works like the Levels adjustment in Adobe Photoshop, showing you a histogram while you make your changes. There’s also something Ricoh calls skew correction that you can use to compensate for distortion due to perspective. This should prove useful for architectural shooters.
The features we’ve described so far apply to whichever module you use with the GXR body. Now we’ll take a look at the two camera units we tested.