The Ricoh Caplio GX8 is a beautifully shaped camera. The height is relatively limited, which makes the camera look oblong. Ricoh used an aluminum alloy for a base, on the outside a lot of plastic seems to be applied. The colour black looks good on the camera and the matte finishing touch gives the camera a classy look. The left side contains a bulge serving as a handgrip, which is just right. The Secure Digital memory card and the battery are hidden in the hand grip of the Ricoh Caplio GX8. The compartment is covered by a brilliantly thought-out cover which opens in two parts. To get access to the memory card you have to push the cover until the first click. If you push it further, you can turn the cover and change the batteries. This is a different approach, but it feels really good and firm. On the other side we find two connections, one for the A/C power and the other for the USB connection. They are both not covered. At first instant you might consider that as a disadvantage concerning dust and dirt, but on the other hand, practise proved that it might not be a problem at all and it makes the interfaces directly and quickly accessible.
Ricoh GX8 - Lens with 3x optical zoom
The lens dominates the front of the camera. The 3x optical zoom lens is protected by blades which means that you will never loose your lens cap. When activating the GX8 the lens extends a little, but the balance remains perfect. Around the lens we find a ring with thread for placing a lens adaptor. That way you can enhance the wide angle range of the Ricoh Caplio GX8 even further. Above the lens the optical viewfinder, the metering cell and the built-in flash are positioned. The difference with the Caplio GX only shows in the text up front, other than that the cameras are similar.
Ricoh Caplio GX8 - Well-organized and ergonomically
It is also very quiet on top of the Ricoh Caplio GX8 which makes the camera incredibly tidy. The handgrip contains a command dial, standard on nowadays cameras. And why not if it works perfectly? It offers you the freedom to quickly change a setting with the camera in your hand. The command dial on the GX8 is rather small of size and it lies quite sunk in which not always benefits the operation of it. The choice dial takes up a central position. It lets you set shooting modes, turn the camera to play mode or adjust some basic settings. There is no abundance of symbols; the Ricoh Caplio GX8 only contains a few. This keeps the camera nicely neat and well-organized, but you have to perform an extra action to get the required result. For example, in order to use the icon programs you have to turn the choice dial to Scene, and select the required icon through the screen on the back. The aperture priority however is directly accessible, but on the same spot we also find the manual setting.
If you want to adjust the shutter speed, then again you have to press another button. It takes time to get used to it; it's just a slightly different way of operation compared to the competing lads. By the way, the shutter speed priority is lacking on the GX8. A hot shoe however is available, which is rather luxurious for a camera in this class.
Ricoh GX8 digital camera - Operation
Also the back of the Ricoh Caplio GX8 is nice and quiet, no distraction from too many useless buttons and symbols. The 1.8-inch monitor is placed completely on the left. Above it we find a small optical viewfinder with leds, showing the status of the auto focus and the internal flash. Next to the monitor a row of very clear buttons is placed. They are comprehensible, but rather small which makes it hard to press them at times. It does prevent you from pressing them accidentally and changing something unintentionally. The top one is the on/off button, carrying a clear green spot. The ADJ adjusts the sensitivity, quality, white balance and brightness. The menu button is the only button with dual functions: when recording it serves for activating the self-timer, when put to play mode it serves as the recycle bin. The DISP lets you change the information shown on the screen. Completely on the right we find the navigation buttons for scrolling through the menu for example. Some three have another function when photographing, you can review a picture straight away, activate macro mode or change flash settings. It's all rather obvious. On the right top the zoom button is positioned, which has an excellent response. Still it remains difficult to frame precisely with a button like that. Nothing can beat the real zoom ring, maybe on the next generation? The Ricoh Caplio GX8 design is extremely appealing. Very well-organized and it has a classy style.