If you're looking for an inexpensive point-and-shoot camera for 'happy snaps', Ricoh's Caplio RR770 is a decent choice. It'll do a fairly nice job of capturing people and scenery in most types of lighting situations, and it'll only cost you $179.
- Vibrant colours, especially in bright daylight conditions; relatively good performer in cloudy and indoor lighting conditions; easy to use; inexpensive
- Noticeable noise and artefacts, some barrel roll and purple fringing
For $179, this camera is a good buy. It'll produce decent shots with good colours and acceptable detail, and it's very easy to use. It's recommended for anyone who wants an inexpensive, basic point-and-shoot camera.
Price$ 179.00 (AUD)
Its image quality isn't great, but it does a decent job of capturing images in bright, and even low, light conditions, especially considering its low price tag. At the end of the day, you'll get good value out of this unit, which has a 7.1-megapixel sensor with a 3x optical zoom and attractive 3in LCD viewfinder, all in a compact-sized body that can be slipped easily into a shirt or pants pocket.
In Auto mode, most captured images taken in broad daylight were vibrant with good colour saturation, although image noise was noticeable when the images were viewed at large sizes on a PC monitor. The lens shoots its best images when it's wide, but if you have a very steady hand and plenty of light, you should be able to get decent shots when using the optical zoom.
Some barrel roll was noticeable in shots of straight lines when the lens was wide, while the camera's level of chromatic aberration was a little less than we expected from a camera with such a low price tag.
Images weren't overly crisp, and the camera did struggle a little with diagonal lines -- such as those found on the Sydney Tower -- on a contrasting background, but most images were sharp enough for viewing on a 19in monitor's native resolution of 1280x1024. Definition was lost and artefacts became very noticeable when we zoomed in any more than that.
The 3072x2304 resolution of the camera's 7.1-megapixel shots is enough to make large photo prints, but the larger the print, the more the artefacts and graininess of the image will be noticeable. Album prints that are 4x6in will look much better.
As for user-friendliness, this camera has an abundance of it. Its menu system is very easy to navigate and its buttons are logically laid out and easy to identify. But, being an inexpensive point-and-shoot camera means that there aren't many settings that can be changed manually.
The shutter and aperture values are determined by the camera, depending on the mode you are using, but the ISO, white balance and exposure compensation, as well as metering and shooting mode, can all be changed by the user. Portrait, night and landscape scene modes can also be selected using the rotary dial atop the camera, and the flash can be manually set for each shot, even in Auto mode.
A two-step shutter is employed, which has enough of a distinctive feel to allow for easy focusing, and the camera will take about one and a half seconds to bring a subject into focus in a lit environment. It can take pictures in burst mode, too, albeit slowly, and only for three continuous frames.
Physically, the camera is small, with the majority of its controls located to the right of the good looking 3in LCD screen. It has a tripod mount which is conveniently located to the left of the AA battery compartment (which also houses the SD memory card slot), so you can swap batteries or memory cards even while a pod is attached. A fresh pair of Duracell Ultra batteries allowed us to take around 150 shots (around a quarter of those with the flash enabled), plus a 2min video, during our tests. There is an auto-off mode to conserve power when the camera has been idle for over two minutes.
Overall, $179 won't buy you excellent picture quality, but the Caplio RR770 is good enough for everyday snaps in variable light conditions. It's a very decent and affordable camera for anyone who doesn't want to fiddle with settings.
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