|Ricoh's Caplio R1 is a pleasant surprise. It is a fine camera to work with, a perfect combination of user's convenience and a sleek, stylish design. The camera is equipped with a very interesting optical zoom range, a range that a compact camera (only 25mm thick) like the Caplio R1 distinguishes from his competitors. The wide angle of 28mm is a welcome focal range and will certainly be appreciated by the target group of this camera. Just like the previous models of Ricoh, the owner of the R1 can call himself the owner of a truly super-fast responding digital camera. The way Ricoh improved the focus and carried it out in the R1 is excellent. The speed and precision of the auto focus and not in the least the world's fastest shutter release responding time are valuable features that puts Ricoh on a lonely top.
It is obvious that this model is targeting at the photographer searching for convenience and a compact stylish designed camera. However, I see possibilities to use the same concept to bring an enhanced digital version of this camera on the market. If Ricoh sees the oppportunities for a camera like the R1 but then fully equipped with settings like Aperture and Shutter Priority or even a hot shoe for an external flash, I can picture a very attractive digital camera in front of my eyes, perfect for us, photographers! I am describing Ricoh's GX camera but this model has a different appearance concerning the housing than the R1. For now we will have to settle for the possibilities the R1 offers, and they are sufficient for the target group. The housing of the camera is high quality. A small minus point is the cover on the battery/memory compartment. Opening it you can already feel it is somewhat loose and closing it the cover has to be lifted before shutting it.
Some disadvantages are the high noise values using the high ISO settings. It is a fact that at this moment high ISO values are inevitable on digital cameras, but for some images you can ask yourself what is the actual use of 800 ISO? The multi media experience of the recorded video clips is rather limited. Ricoh must take the step to a higer resolution, at least 640 x 480 pixels. The R1 comes off badly with the maximum resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. Also because the target group of this type of digital cameras highly appreciate the making of video clips.
The division of the buttons and the limited amount of them is praise-worthy. The camera can be operated with ease and is well organized. The size of the buttons is somewhat larger than the standard buttons we usually find on compact cameras. This is very convenient for those who's fingers' size doesn't run parallel with the size of the camera. The speed at which the camera lets itself operate is excellent. Precious moments like playing children won't get lost, even when the camera has to be switched from non-active to active. A feature that is appreciated and warmly welcomed by many consumers.
All in all, our experience with the Ricoh Caplio R1 was a very nice experience. It is an extremely pleasant digital camera to work with. Beside its good looks, the camera offers high quality images. If you are looking for a compact sized digital camera, a nice design and of course good quality pictures, you will find it in the Caplio R1. Beside that, the camera will definitely surprise you by the unprecedented speed of focussing and capturing images!
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