So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Ricoh Australia Caplio R7
- Big zoom, stylish design, very fast
- Some colour and noise issues
Ricoh's R7 is a great compact camera for those after a speedy model with a big zoom and optical image stabilisation. There are units out there that take better pictures but this model is more than adequate in that regard.
Price$ 549.00 (AUD)
Ricoh's R series of cameras has always provided a stylish, sophisticated alternative to the slew of boxy, silver digital cameras that litter the market today and the Caplio R7 continues this trend. Sporting a 7.1x optical zoom, a wide angle lens and all the usual bells and whistles, it is a great happy snap camera for those looking to get a little more up close and personal.
Image quality is fairly good with the R7 producing some crisp shots. They were perhaps a little softer than we expected from an 8.1-megapixel sensor, but they did the job just fine and will be adequate for all but the largest print size. There was, however, some noticeable purple fringing evident in high contrast areas as well as some corner softening, both of which stem from chromatic aberration. Imatest confirmed these results, giving a slightly higher than average score for chromatic aberration.
In our colour tests, the R7 gave us some strange results. Shooting on the default incandescent setting returned extremely pale, washed out colours that weren't at all accurate. However, setting it to the custom mode corrected this somewhat. This time around we found that reds actually came out a little too dark, but most hues were accurate and the overall balance was pleasing enough.
Image noise was the one area that the R7 was a bit of a let-down. Even at ISO 100 our shots were a little on the grainy side, and while, like the haloing, it won't be a problem at most print sizes it really detracts from the overall clarity of the shots at higher magnifications. Fortunately it is a fairly fine grain meaning that even ISO 400 should be usable for regular 4x6in prints.
One of the most noteworthy features of the R7 is its speed; it is one of the quickest compact cameras we've ever used. Shutter speed is a minuscule 0.04 seconds and shot-to-shot time was an unbelievable 1.1 seconds. The unit took just over 1.5 seconds to power up and the burst mode operates at a speedy four frames per second. Even basic functions such as menu navigation are exceptionally fast.
Some other cool things about this model are the 7.1x optical zoom and the wide angle 28mm lens, both of which allow for a lot more creative shot taking. The optical zoom is also backed up by image stabilisation, which does a fairly good job of eliminating hand-shake.
The features list on the whole is definitely towards the robust side for a compact camera. Sharpness and colour can both be tweaked, along with white balance (using presets or custom mode) and ISO sensitivity. There is a nice array of focus options and the standard metering modes as well as bracketing and long exposure modes. We also particularly liked the time exposure option, which captures a shot at every designated period of time (ie: every five minutes).
As usual the design of the R7 just screams class. Ricoh always goes out of their way to produce sophisticated, suave cameras and the R7 continues the trend. Its matte black body with silver rims is entirely constructed from metal and is both attractive and sturdy. It is reasonably thick but not so much so that it won't easily slip into a bag or pocket.
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