On this page, I collect information about the Ricoh GXR A16 24-85 camera unit, also called lensor or module.
The A16 24-85 camera unit is the first one to contain a 16 MP APS-C size sensor (CMOS, total pixels: approx. 16.5 million, effective pixels approx. 16.2 million). It is a zoom module with a 3.5x zoom range and a focal length between 15.7 mm and 55.5 mm, which is equivalent to 24-83.5 mm (officially it's 24-85mm). The unit corresponds to a "standard" zoom lens for a (D)SLR, however with a more extreme wide angle. It does not have a macro mode, but allows you to shoot from a closest distance of 25 cm, which makes it quite useful for close up shots, particularly when using tele. It has neither a focus nor a zoom ring. There are also no depth of field indicators on the lens body, but depth of field information is provided in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen when focusing manually. Also note that A12/A16 camera units do not incorporate a vibration correction (also called anti-shake correction).
Photo: Ricoh Lens A16 24-85mm equiv. f3.5-5.5
Accessories for the unit include the lens cap LC-3, which can be left on the lens all the time, and the lens hood LH-2, which regrettably cannot be used together.
The image quality of this camera unit is comparable to that of an APS-C DSLR, but there is some corner softness that may be beyond what you are willing to tolerate (see below).
Autofocus performance of this unit is not stellar, but seems to be comparable to the A12-50 unit. In my first tests, I could not find huge differences between wide and tele focal lengths. However, I found instances, where the autofocus indicated "success" but missed the target. This happened when I shot close ups - even spot autofocus and "pin point" spot autofocus did not improve matters.
And here is another "issue" - you may experience it as well or not, depending on how you hold the camera. Due to the wider diameter of the lens base, there is no room left to give my left ring finger a rest on the camera body. With the A12-50 camera unit, there is still some space left for this (see the photos below).
Photos: No room left for my ring finger on the body with the zoom (left); at least some room for the ring finger with the A12-50 (right)
The A16 24-84 unit weighs about 350 grams, that is, 90 grams more than the A12-50 camera unit. While the unit feels big, particularly when zoomed to tele (it extends for nearly 12 cm, see the photos below), it does not feel heavy. This is probably due to the use of plastic (nearly) all over. Some people will complain about this, but I don't mind (my full-metal range finder Zeiss lenses for the M-mount expansion unit feel really heavy...).
The new two-way level indicator will probably need some time to get used to (see photos below):
Photos: The new two-way level indicator
Finally, I should add that this camera unit is able to capture videos in HD 720p format - not stellar, these days...
Like Sean Reid, I found soft corners (and maybe soft edges), which seemed to indicate that my sample was decentered. I present examples of this issue on this site. I sent my camera unit to the CONVAIR repair center in Pirmasens, Germany, for adjustment. But I was not satisfied with the results (see (page 1 and page 2). Finally, Ricoh replaced the unit, for which I am very grateful, but the new unit was not a real improvement - it just shifted the issue to other corners (see here)... Nevertheless, the A16 24-85 camera unit has become my favorite camera unit for the moment (summer and autumn 2012), because of its versatility. I am only missing a somewhat larger zoom and a macro...
Photos: Body with A16 24-85 camera unit attached - "off" (left),"on" (wide; center), "on" (tele; right)
Photos: Top view of body with A16 24-85 camera unit attached - "off" (about 7cm long; left) and "on" (about 8.7 cm long; right)
Photos: Top view of body with A16 24-85 camera unit attached - "on" zoomed to 85mm (about 11.9 cm long; left); front view of the body with A16 24-85 camera unit attached - "off" (right)
It is far too early to draw any conclusions at the moment. I encountered issues with corner softness that I did not find tolerable. Nevertheless, the A16 24-85 camera unit has become my favorite unit at the moment (summer and autumn 2012) because of its versatility.