The Ricoh Caplio R2 is equipped with a 5 Megapixel image sensor. The obtained resolution is more than sufficient to print enlargements. The photos are stored in JPEG format and it is possible to choose from 2 types of qualities, the so-called compression. The heavier the compression, the smaller the file becomes which in the end saves memory capacity, but more loss occurs, especially concerning the details of the image. If you want the best, you ought to select the lowest compression, Fine, and use a memory card with a high storage capacity. Certainly if you have the intention of getting a print of the image or if you want to edit it, a Fine setting is recommendable. Starting up the camera takes place as quick as lightning. Also capturing an image can be carried out really fast. Ricoh has definitely proved with their latest line of digital cameras that they don't encounter any problems getting fast focus responses from their digital cameras. However, nowadays more and more camera manufacturers equip their products with new or existing techniques in order to increase the speed of focussing as well as the speed of processing the images. So Ricoh is not the only one expanding on this field, and if we look at the image processing and the maximum buffer capacity for continuous shooting, some work still has to be done here. The new 8 Megapixel Ricoh Caplio GX8 will soon appear on the market; perhaps this model will surprise us with new or improved features, who knows?
Ricoh Caplio R2 - Large LCD monitor
The Ricoh R2 is equipped with a large LCD monitor. This is a vast improvement compared to the Ricoh Caplio R1. Composing an image and capturing it when viewing it on this large sized monitor is a lot more enjoyable. The monitor's brightness can be adjusted by pressing the button DISP. The brightness level will then rise to the maximum. Besides activating the grid function, that always comes in useful when capturing images in which straight lines are involved, it's also possible to activate a histogram rendition. Once activated a small table will show up on the right bottom side, which shows you the amount of pixels on the vertical axis and the brightness on the horizontal axis. By means of this histogram function you can evaluate the brightness of an image to prevent over exposure. It's a nice function for the photographers amongst us, but it probably won't be used a lot by the crowd.
Ricoh R2 digital camera - Shooting scenes
The camera doesn't feature aperture or shutter priority, which in itself is a pity. I consider the Ricoh Caplio R2 a digital camera that can't do without those functions. The R2 offers an abundance of setting possibilities. Functions like the aperture and shutter priority would have completed it. Besides the automatic programs the Caplio R2 has a number of built-in shooting scenes. Activating this mode lets a colourful rendition of these scenes appear on the monitor. So besides the automatic programs you can choose from some six shooting scenes: Portrait, Sports, Landscape, Night landscape, text and high sensitivity. The sensitivity can be set through the ADJ function button, and contains values from 64 to 800 ISO. These ISO sensitivities are functional up until 400 ISO; at that point noise is strongly visible. I think that it should be possible nowadays to achieve high ISO sensitivities with a better signal/noise ratio. Fujifilm sets a strong example with its new 5th generation Super CCD HR sensor. Ricoh doesn't stand alone in their continuous battle against noise. Most manufactures use similar CCD sensors at which noise and high ISO settings standard seem to be on par. This new generation sensors proved that it is possible.
Ricoh Caplio R2 camera - Macro function
The Ricoh Caplio R2 also offers a macro function. A strong feature, because shooting in wide angle lets you capture an image as close as 1cm! You have to make sure there is sufficient light. Using the flash is no option. The macro image looks good if well exposed. Towards the corners some blur is found but all in all it is a good image. The internal flash of the camera is standard disabled. You might disagree with this fact because we're talking about a digital camera here that is developed for automatic use. However, if you set the internal flash to automatic, the camera will remember this selection, also after deactivating the camera. There might be one disadvantage, if you activate the macro function, the automatic flash will still be activated and cause over-exposed and shaded areas in the image. Wouldn't it be more logical to standard set the camera to automatic flash, to disable it in macro mode with an option to activate it?
Ricoh R2 camera - AF Target selection
One function that comes in handy when taking a macro image is the possibility to use the AF Target selection. It enables locking the focus without having to move the camera. When using a tripod this is of great ease. The AF Target selection shows a cross in the centre of the monitor that can be moved to the part of the subject that you want to focus on, very useful.
Ricoh Caplio R2 digital camera - Video recording
Besides capturing still images, the Ricoh Caplio R2 is also capable of recording video clips (with sound). I'd expect a minimum of VGA resolution here, but Ricoh sticks to the 320 x 240 resolution. Many consumers enjoy recording a small video clip or at least like to have the possibility, because it is a great function. The fact that VGA resolution is not possible, or even an 800 x 600 resolution, is a missed opportunity in my opinion. The speed of recording a video clip is carried out in 15 or 30 images per second.
Ricoh Caplio R2 - Focus
Automatic as well as manual focus is possible with the R2. Focus can be set to MF through the camera's menu, where after a clear MF icon appears on the monitor. At the bottom of the monitor a small bar appears. Pressing the OK button changes the function of the zoom button to a focus button. The option of enlarging the image comes in handy and makes focussing easier. The Ricoh Caplio R2 features three types of light metering methods: Multi (256 segments), Centre Weight, and Spot metering. The first one, multi, covers most situations. The images look great, bright colours and excellent exposure. The clarity is outstanding, the only times when the Ricoh Caplio R2 could use a hand, is during the making of images with high ISO sensitivities and during taking images in difficult light circumstances. The white balance setting not only features an automatic white balance but also offers settings like Daylight, Overcast, Tungsten Light, Tungsten Light 2, Fluorescent Light, and a manual setting. The automatic white balance performs greatly, only when making images indoors with overall artificial light, you'd better use one of the intended settings for those circumstances.
Ricoh R2 digital camera - Settings
The Ricoh Caplio R2 offers a great deal of settings for an automatic digital camera. You can easily work with the Ricoh. The photo quality is superb and sufficient space is left to edit the high resolution images of 5 Megapixels and to print out a photo realistic print. Although I have a strong feeling that Ricoh could have gotten more out of the Ricoh Caplio R2. More possible settings like aperture and shutter priority and a raise of the video clip resolution are some of the examples with which Ricoh could have lifted the Caplio R2 to a higher level. If the same target group will be reached or a broader one, is a task for the Ricoh marketing department. The possibilities of the Caplio R1 offer the user every freedom for effortless photographing. The results are extremely good, the images turn out exactly what we'd expect from a 4 Megapixels digital camera: true-to-life photo-realistic prints.