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Dennis Hissink : May 24th 2004 - 00:15 CET

Ricoh Caplio GX digital camera preview

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RicohRicoh Caplio GX Preview : Some days ago Ricoh surprised us all with the release of the Caplio GX camera. This compact, black finished 5 Megapixel camera has an useful 28-85mm wide angle zoom lens which will be appreciated with the digital photography enthusiast among us. We received the new Caplio GX some days ago for a short term so we are able to give you a first look of this new Ricoh model. The camera has a firm and compact rubber handgrip with a built-in memory slot and battery compartment. These two compartments are covered with a multifunctional cover. This battery/card cover slides open in two steps.
Ricoh Caplio GX digital camera previewRicoh Caplio GX - Battery
When you first slide the cover towards the face of the camera the memory slot comes available, lift the cover and the battery compartment exposes. Smart thinking and functional. There a more ways to power the camera; the use of 2 AA batteries (included) or the use of a rechargeable DB-43 battery (sold separately). Furthermore when you shoot images in your home studio or view images for a long time you might want to use the optional AC adapter that can also be inserted into the battery compartment. When you use the regular AA alkaline batteries approximately 70 shots can be taken while the use of the optional DB-43 rechargeable batteries guarantees you a number of approximately 400 shots. The recorded data is stored in either the camera's internal 16MB memory or on a Secure Digital card.

Ricoh Caplio GX - Features
The start-up time of the Caplio GX is very fast. It takes about 1.2 seconds to wake up the GX and with an amazing fast shutter response of only 0.12 seconds even the most demanding photographer will be impressed with the fast response of this new Ricoh model. The Caplio GX uses a hybrid auto focusing system technology that proofs to be very responsive. The trigger happy photographers among us will be glad to see that Ricoh is capable of producing a compact high resolution camera that is able to capture action shots with a blink of an eye. The GX can handle three 5 Megapixel JPEG Fine resolution shots in a row (1.68MB/image F compression) and 5 when the 5 Megapixel resolution image is compressed in normal quality (984KB/image N compression). The 3x optical high-quality zoom lens is zooms fast and needs about 15 steps to zoom from wide (28mm) to tele (85mm). Despite the announcement of having only a 4-step-zoom we can report that this is a fact, but it is a feature called Step Zoom. When disabled the optical zoom zooms in about 15 steps as mentioned before. The zoom lens has a bright f2.5 wide and f4.3 tele.

Ricoh Caplio GX - Scene setting
Those, who would like to shoot automatically but wishes to shoot certain scenery can use the Scene setting. The Caplio GX has 6 built-in scenes each of them specialized in certain details of the scene. The scenes are: Sports, Portrait, Landscape, nightscape, Text mode and a High-sensitivity mode. The world of macro photography is a very interesting world of unexpected objects in a square metre. The GX's Macro function makes it possible to capture an object from a shooting distance of only 1 cm! Ok, this image will be captured in wide angle, but using the tele will result in a distance of 8cm! A handy feature in the Macro mode is the AF target shift function. The AF target shift function allows you to lock the focus by using the arrow buttons on the back of the camera without moving the camera and it allows to shift the focus cross at the center of the LCD display to the subject with the arrow buttons for focusing. It is possible to use the built-in flash for macro images upon a distance of 15cm without overexposure the captured scene. To use this capability the ISO has to be set on Auto. Because the camera has a hot-shoe on top of the camera it also possible to make use of an external flash gun.

Ricoh Caplio GX - Aperture range
The Caplio GX has a choice of 256 segments, center-weight or spot metering. A histogram is also one of the features the GX provides. When turned on it appears in the lower right corner of the LCD display. The camera features a priority mode and a full manual mode. Shutter speed can only be set in Manual mode and can be selected from 1/2000, 1/1000, 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, /1/30, 1/15, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15 and 30 seconds. The aperture range is selectable in three steps; Step-Zoom disabled results in f2.5, f4.7 and f8.1 in wide, and in tele from f4.3, f8.0 and f14. When the optical zoom is used these three values increase depending on the zoom range. But when Step-Zoom is enabled things have different values. The aperture range is still selectable in three steps, but step 1 (28mm) results into an aperture range of f2.5, f4.7 and f8.1, step 2 (35mm) results into f2.7, f5.0 and f8.8, step 3 (50mm) results into f3.2, f6.0 and f11 and finally step 4 (85mm) results into f4.3, f8.0 and f14. So, the aperture range is selectable in a full, half and open value.

Ricoh Caplio GX - White balance
The white balance features 6 settings; auto, daylight, overcast, tungsten, fluorescent and manual. The ISO value is selectable and can be set from 64, 100, 200, 400, and 800 to 1600 ISO. One feature which is sometimes requested by future buyers but seldom answered by salesman is the date imprint function. It is often known that digital cameras are capable of capturing the date with the image, but is it actual shown on the image or is it captured within the Exif? The Caplio GX has a date imprint function that is capturing date or time with the image. When viewed the image shows the date, so it's imprinted, sometimes a handy feature.

Ricoh Caplio GX - Video clips
Beside able to capture still images the Caplio GX captures video clips and sound as well. The clips are captures in 320x240 pixels and a maximum length of 80 seconds, or 160x120 pixels and a maximum length of 300 seconds. When capturing movies only digital zoom can be used. The length of voice memos depends on the capacity of the memory card.

Ricoh Caplio GX - Conclusion
Our overall impression of the new Caplio GX is positive. The camera handles well and more over it is fast! The camera responses fast with a very fast shutter response and a fast start-up time. When capturing images you will not even notice you are handling a digital camera as to the responsiveness. The wide angle is very much welcomed and the technology of the lens (technique from the GR-series) that has been used completes the Caplio GX camera. Ricoh is back on the high resolution track with the introduction of this model. I am pleased with this camera and hope to see more models like the GX in the near future.

   Ricoh Caplio GX digital camera specifications
   Ricoh Caplio GX digital camera introduction
   Ricoh Caplio GX digital camera review
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