Ricoh is not one of the best-known digital camera makers, but it has released several effective and novel models and now has a considerable range, from fun compact cameras to high resolution semi-pro tools. The Caplio GX is towards the upper end of the range and sports a 5.1-megapixel CCD and 16MB of internal memory.
The black-cased camera is about the same size as a 35mm compact, light to hold and with a 46mm LCD screen set into its back. The 9-element, 28-85mm, wide-angle lens is accompanied by a 12x zoom (3x optical and 4x digital). With the high resolution of the CCD, this level of digital zoom is usable and provides good magnification. The camera’s macro mode enables focusing down to an impressive 1cm.
Controls are easy to use, with a diamond of five buttons on its back and a supplementary finger wheel to speed option selection through the clear and well-designed menu display. For the more adventurous photographer, you can opt for manual exposure and aperture priority modes, and there’s a flash hot-shoe on top, to supplement the camera’s built-in flash.
One of the Caplio GX’s main claims for attention is its quick response through what the manual calls Continuous Modes. When you switch to these, you’re offered three different sub-modes for taking multiple pictures within a short period of time.
In continuous mode you can take up to nine discreet shots – depending on the selected resolution – which are captured sequentially for as long as you press the shutter release. In stream mode, one press of the shutter release takes 16 consecutive shots at intervals of 1/5 of a second and saves them as a single image.
Finally, in memory-reversal mode, when you release the shutter button shots are recorded from the previous three seconds of capture. All three methods work well and make the camera particularly useful for capturing sports events and other live-action.
There are a couple of less helpful features, too, though. For a start, there’s no rechargeable battery and charger included, so you’re reliant on changing a pair of alkaline AA cells every so often. There’s no mains power supply, either, though an adapter is available as an optional extra. This has to be inserted into the camera’s battery compartment, in place of its normal batteries – not a very neat solution.
Finally, since the Caplio GX comes with a meagre 16MB of internal memory, rather than a memory card, you have to use a USB cable to connect it to your PC or a direct-print printer. These days, with all the card readers built into desktop and notebook PCs, swapping a memory card is usually more convenient. An SD card slot is included, if you want to boost capacity beyond 16MB (which you will).
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