Ricoh Caplio RR1

This 4-megapixel CCD camera has the capacity to take greatly detailed images at resolutions up to 2272x1704. It isn't limited just to stills: its rich feature set gives it the versatility to bring you both sound and video recording capabilities as well as continuous shooting. It also has a mode that allows you to shoot text or documents and record little anecdotes or descriptions to accompany them.

It has 8MB of internal memory and can be expanded with one 3.3V SmartMedia card of up to 128MB capacity. It comes with one 64MB card as standard, for a total of 72MB of storage, which will provide you with a maximum of 49 shots at the camera's highest setting (2272x1704 in Fine mode) and 1496 shots at the camera's lowest setting (640x480 in Economy mode). It will also give you around five and a half minutes of video recording time at a resolution of 288x216.

In our tests, the Caplio produced excellent images at all resolutions. The highest setting, in particular, yielded close-up and scenery shots that were rich in detail and in colour.

In terms of portability, the Caplio is 13.5cm in length, 7.5cm wide and around 2.5cm thick. It sports a flat rectangular shape with a flip-top 2in LCD panel, and the lens cap as well as a carry strap can be attached. The LCD panel rotates 180§, so self-portraits taken at an arm's length can be previewed. A somewhat clunky dial next to the optical viewfinder is used to set the camera's mode, and the zoom lever is in the same vicinity as this dial. I found zooming to be rather inconvenient when using the viewfinder to take pictures, due to this proximity. Most other controls are well spaced on top of the unit, as well as under the LCD rest, and include buttons that can quickly change image quality and flash settings, among other things.

The camera features an optical 3x zoom (35-105mm) and can digitally zoom up to 3.6x in certain settings. Auto focus is provided, too, and for close-up shots, Macro mode will allow you get as close as 1cm to your object.

Connectivity to a computer is by way of a USB cable and the Caplio reportedly supports both Windows (98, Me and 2000, but not 95 or NT) and Macintosh platforms (OS 8.6, 9.0.4 and 9.1, but not OS X). An A/V out port is also provided. A rechargeable lithium ion battery is the power source and takes just under two hours to charge fully, according to the manual.

The manual itself is comprehensive and easy to follow, taking you through the setup procedures and all the available shooting functions and advanced settings that the camera offers to get you happy snapping in no time.

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