Ricoh Australia Caplio R6
- Stylish design, 7.1x optical zoom, Wide-angle lens, Great burst mode
- Some colour representation issues, Slow shutter speed
The Ricoh Caplio R6 is a solid compact camera that captures above average pictures and manages to cram a big, wide angled zoom lens into a relatively compact package.
Price$ 549.00 (AUD)
Carrying the svelte Ricoh design that has won their past products such acclaim, the Caplio R6 is the latest iteration in their flagship compact camera range. Sporting a 7.2 mega pixel sensor, with 7.1x optical zoom and a 28-200mm lens, the R6 has a lot to offer slightly more experienced photographers. However, despite its positive attributes, our tests revealed a few image quality issues which stopped it from scoring higher.
As with previous models in the R series, colour reproduction was an area of concern. We tested a number of different white balance settings, including both incandescent presets and the custom mode and the best score we could get out of the R6 was 11.8 in Imatest's colour checker test. This is a relatively poor result by modern camera standards which was only further blemished in the colour reproduction test. In this test the camera suffered across the majority of the spectrum, with blue being the most obvious example of error. Surprisingly, reds were almost accurate, which is almost never the case with compact models.
Fortunately, in the rest of our tests the R6 performed more to expectation. It's score of 1532 in Imatest's sharpness test is quite good and shows this model is competitive with other, similarly priced units. In general we were satisfied with the clarity of our shots, which showed crisp, clean edges with minimal fringing.
Meanwhile, the R6's chromatic aberration score of 0.113% is also roughly average. There was a little blurring evident towards the edges of our test shots, but it wasn't particularly bad and there was minimal haloing in high contrast areas (something that has plagued some other recent units). Overall, we were happy with the crispness of our pictures.
Our final test is for image noise, and again the results were satisfying, with the R6 scoring 0.80%. There was slight fuzz visible in our test shots, but it wasn't distracting unless we zoomed in considerably. The level of noise scaled how we anticipated it would with shots being usable up to about ISO 400, at which point they lost a lot of clarity. However, we should note that even at the highest supported, the noise produced was quite soft. As such, if you are shooting with standard 4in x 6in prints in mind, you may be able to use higher settings.
While image quality has always been relatively strong from Ricoh cameras in the past, the key thing about them has ultimately been their stylish design. Everything about the package screams sophistication including the carry bag, leather holster and the brushed silver and black chassis. The unit feels sturdy, with an all metal construction and the slightly curved, elongated design looks great. Fashion conscious buyers and regular consumers alike will be pleased with the R6's design.
The controls are all well laid out in standard Ricoh fashion. Once again, they have chosen to forgo a function wheel for a slightly more minimalist and intuitive layout. Most functions are operated via the five-way directional pad, with a smattering of other keys providing shortcuts to various functions.
It achieved mixes results in our speed tests. While the 0.11 second shutter lag was a little be of a let down, the one second shot-to-shot time was excellent and the two second power up was similarly impressive.
The features list is reasonable including a very impressive 3.7 shot per second continuous shot mode. This is one of the speediest burst modes we've ever seen on a compact and when combined with the 7.1x optical zoom and Ricoh's anti-blur technology, it places a lot of power into the hands of the user. However, you should note that with the anti-blur switched on, we experienced some very mixed results with regards to image quality. Some shots were over-sharpened, some under-sharpened and others had a somewhat soft look. The rest of the features include ISO sensitivity up to 1000, manual and preset white balance modes and the usual variety of focus and metering modes. Advanced photographs will find the feature set a little lacking, but novices and amateurs who are merely after a stylish point and shot for parties, holidays, sporting events and such will be thoroughly satisfied with this unit.
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