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    Not yet available in the U.S., I had to order this camera from Hong Kong. Short answer so far: I’ll be sticking with the Lumix FX-7, and I’ll recommend the Casio Z55 for friends who want to point and shoot. I need to do some more experiments with the Ricoh (and I might just not be talented enough to make it shine), but so far, I am thinking that I might use it only for macro zoom shots. I’ll post some examples (ear, flower).

    Tempting features of this Ricoh Caplio R2:
    • 1cm Macro Zoom (the key feature for me)
    • 800 ISO (nice in theory, but too noisy for me)
    • Wide angle 28-135mm optical 4.8x zoom lens
    • 500 shots per battery charge (similar to Casio)
    • Fast start up and < half second shutter release time lag (like Casio). It does not have a fast focus time for macro shots I discovered.

    All three cameras are equal on these critical elements (for me):
    • Small size (1” thick pocket cameras)
    • 2.5” LCD (essential in my opinion)
    • 5MP (the sweet spot for resolution vs. photons/pixel IMHO)

    I hesitated to get this camera because of the minimum fstop of 3.3 which does a very poor job in low-light indoor shots (like some Sony Cybershots). The Casio has the best out there at 2.6, and the Lumix has a standard 2.8. I find most of my photos depend on this parameter as I do not use tripods and try to avoid flash

    Sure enough, 95% of the photos I have taken in auto mode went straight to the trash. Adjustments to -0.3 or -0.7 EV in outdoor daylight shots came out OK. 400 and 800 ISO were noisy for indoor shots.

    And across the board, the lens is sensitive to stray light, with glare and purple fringing in many shots where the Lumix had no problems.

    One other nuisance, which could be easily fixed when they start exporting this camera: the factory default settings are horrible. So the out-of-box experience is a major disappointment. The camera powers up in 1MP mode with heavy image compression (could it be that they want the user to be impressed with the number of shots that can be taken with the built-in 27MB of memory?)

    So on a spectrum, nothing beats the Casio for ease of use and “auto” excellence. The Ricoh has the most interesting specs along several dimensions, but less than 5% of the photos I have taken so far are keepers. The Lumix is a happy middle ground, with some cool features like optical image stabilization, and a decent range of performance in auto mode. (note: I am only reviewing pocket cameras; clearly better cameras are out there if you are willing to go big)

    BillyWarhol, orsorama, Rettop, and 2 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. Ken Mitchell [deleted] 108 months ago | reply

      Good Shot. I'm in the process of researching @ the moment.Great Info.

    2. complexify. 108 months ago | reply

      Thanks for sharing your first impressions on the Ricoh.

      The camera powers up in 1MP mode with heavy image compression

      Yikes, it sounds like Ricoh's marketing dept. had a hand in designing the firmware. :) Reminds me of SanDisk's Shoot and Store line of "one-time-use" memory cards that are sold by the number of shots instead of megabytes (e.g., the "50 picture" card is only 32MB, as the fine print says the calculations are based on a 1MP camera!).

    3. *ivo* 108 months ago | reply

      Not to sound like a kiss-ass (and hopefully not cuz I hate that) but you do have talent. I think that's pretty evident on your flickr, and you've also been progressively getting better too! So there.

    4. permiegardener 108 months ago | reply

      i jeard good things about the speed of the ricoh, start up and cycle, but i appreciate finding out more about the lens performance, and noise on high asa settings.
      am consering the lumix long lens or a pentax reflex, they are amazing for low noise high speed, and fit my existing lenses...

    5. BillyWarhol 108 months ago | reply

      hey steve - that ear shot rocks!

      so if that was taken with the ricoh - i'd say it's pretty good***

      i've got my eye on a new BenQ - that co. seems to have come out of nowhere*

      it's got a nice new type of 2.5" LCD screen - 1/2 the power usage but twice the image of TFT*

      & the price is incredibly low*
      $299 Cdn Pesos* ;))

      so that's like FREE in America!!

      ;))

    6. lotusutol 108 months ago | reply

      glad i got stuck with my lumix then, though the casio was my first choice (not approved by man-of-the-house!) ah well =)

    7. Victor1 104 months ago | reply

      Coolest digital I've ever... owned! Delightfully well thought out, maybe a bit less sensitive sensor wise, but...lightweight, takes AA batts + lithium and is basically sexy! Thanks Steve.

    8. _sarchi 103 months ago | reply

      Steve Are there WiFi remote gadgets yet? Just wondering! have'nt seen any hacks myself which do common good..

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