Ricoh has unveiled a novel approach to compact cameras, with the announcement of the world's smallest and lightest camera which has the ability to change lenses.

Instead of adding a simple lens mount to the GXR, Ricoh has created what it calls an interchangeable unit camera system.

This means that a single unit complete with lens, sensor and imaging processing chip can be slotted out and exchanged.

As Ricoh notes, the new 'Face-Off' system means "you can enjoy easy lens changes as well as amazing image quality and shooting flexibility. Concealing infinite possibilities in its small body, the GXR is a revolutionary camera system that pioneers a new realm of photography."

CCD and CMOS sensor

Looks-wise, the GXR comes with a magnesium alloy body with a 'pear-skin' coating which means it's lightweight.

Features on the camera include a 3-inch LCD screen on its back, automatic exposure modes, nine setting levels and an ISO up to 3200.

All of these settings can be viewed at a glance by using the GXR's 'Direct' button.

As the module system means you change the sensor as well as the lens and megapixel stats depending on which module you use.

The LENS A12 50 mm F2.5 Macro camera unit features a 12.3MP CMOS sensor, while the Ricoh Lens S10 24-72 mm F2.5-4.4 VC camera unit has a 10MP CCD sensor.

Each unit comes with a soft case to protect it.

With a release date of December, the GXR body will cost £419. Depending on which lens/sensor unit suits you, the GR Lens will set you back £599 and the Ricoh Lens will cost £329.

Go to www.ricoh.co.uk for more details.