The 5.1 megapixel Ricoh Caplio GX is a remarkably capable and reasonably priced compact camera with a number of welcome surprises.
- Uncompressed image capture, bright LCD, time lapse shooting
- Huge lag to write uncompressed shots, only 6 scene modes
A very interesting take on the standard point-and-shoot camera.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
The camera is capable of offering 2592 x 1944 pixel images, suitable for printing at high-resolution A4 size. It can capture images in uncompressed format. Do not expect to be able to take photos quickly in uncompressed mode, however. It takes about 15 to 17 seconds to process uncompressed pictures at maximum size, with each picture just over 10MB. That said, the Caplio GX is fast to start up (1 to 2 seconds) and quick at processing images if they are compressed (2 to 3 seconds).
Images are saved as either JPEG or TIFF (uncompressed) to the camera's 16MB internal memory, or to an optional SD Memory Card (not supplied with the camera). Movies are captured in AVI with WAV sound for up to 80 seconds. There is the added bonus of being able to zoom while shooting in movie mode.
The Caplio GX offers six different scene modes to choose from, in addition to full manual control. This will keep everyone happy, from the point-and-shooter through to the control freak.
The Caplio GX's 28mm to 85mm equivalent optical wide lens gives an angle view of 75 degrees, compared to just 62 degrees in conventional 35mm cameras. Ricoh's lens design has seven groups of nine glass elements that help to supply peripheral light in wide-angle operation. Our test pictures were all sharp with clear colour.
Outdoor photos all had reasonable colour and exposure accuracy in auto-mode and landscape mode. This camera is capable of capturing large amounts of blue sky, ocean or greenery without distortion or fringing. The camera's auto exposure works well in situations with difficult mixed light, picking up details in both shade and sun. The wide lens takes crisp macro shots as close as 1cm.
The Caplio GX offers an increased sensitivity mode which, again, is lacking in many other digital cameras of its class. This mode will light up the LCD screen so that it is easier for you to view your subject and compose your picture in dark or dimly lit places.
For advanced users, the Ricoh offers greater manual control than other compact cameras in its class. Shutter speed and aperture can both be set. Exposure compensation can be set in 0.3 increments as much as +/- 2 EV. Exposure bracketing will take three consecutive shots in 0.5 increments. White balance can be set to sunny, cloudy, fluorescent, tungsten or auto.
You can manually determine the white balance. To aid in determining white balance under multiple light sources, there is a white balance bracket which can record three images: a reddish one, a bluish one and an image at the current white balance.
You can choose between multi, centred and spotlight metering methods. You can use auto (centre) focus, manual focus, or you can select a focus area anywhere within the frame using arrow keys. ISO can be set at one of seven levels: Auto, ISO 64, ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800 and ISO 1600.
The Caplio GX features a hot shoe to attach an external flash, an optional composition grid displayed on the LCD screen, an optional histogram indicating image brightness and light distribution.
There are three continuous shot modes. Continuous multi-shot will take up to nine pictures consecutively, while the shutter button is held down. Stream multi-shot will take 16 consecutive shots at intervals of 1/5 second. Images are grouped together as a set and recorded as one image file. Memory reversal multi-shot enables the camera to memorise the scene while the shutter release button is held down. This is great for an event where the exact timing is not known. Another bonus is the timed interval automatic shoot; where the camera is set up to automatically shoot in intervals of 30 seconds up to three hours.
The Caplio supports the PictBridge standard, allowing for direct printing. There are three different power options (direct AC, AA batteries and rechargeable DB-43 battery) which makes the camera easy to travel with.
The drawbacks are that there is no lock to prevent accidentally turning the camera on, and the zoom control is slightly staggered.
The Ricoh Caplio GX offers a huge amount of creativity and flexibility, is easy to use and offers high quality photos.
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