Ricoh Caplio GX
Review Date: July 19th 2004
The Caplio GX has a 5.13-megapixel CCD that includes a vastly improved image processor, making colours look sharper and cleaner than previous Ricoh models. The largest image size available is 2592 x 1944 pixels, big enough to print A3-size high resolution photos, and there are a total of 8 different file quality settings.
It has a 3x optical zoom plus 4x digital zoom that delivers a combination of 12x zoom (equivalent to a telephoto range of 28-336mm on a regular 35mm camera). The Caplio GX's 28mm-85mm optical wide zoom lens gives an angle of view of 75 degrees, compared with just 62 degrees in conventional 35mm digital cameras. The lens design has 9 glass elements placed in 7 groups that help to supply a substantial amount of light to the edge of photos even in wide-angle operation. In addition, 4 aspherical lenses and 4 high refractive index- low dispersion lenses work to make corrections for aberration in all zooming areas in a controlled and balanced manner.
The Caplio GX features a convenient electronic dial intended for the index finger to manually control a variety of settings that include aperture, white balance, ISO sensitivity and exposure levels. The control dial you to select a specific f-stop with aperture-priority AE (automatic exposure) or manual exposure. This functionality helps the Caplio GX to meet the creative demands of serious photographers that require certain images to have a particular "depth of field" or other desired elements. Furthermore, its sleek, compact design is only 29mm thick and carries the trademark rubber handgrip that contours the right side of its lightweight 205-gram aluminum die-cast body.
The Caplio GX has a start-up time of just 1.2 seconds. The shutter response is the world’s fastest in its class at just 0.12 seconds (May 2004). This time is calculated from the time the user presses the shutter button, rather than the time when focus lock is achieved.
The Caplio GX is able to capture objects of 18mm(H) x 24mm (W) at a distance of just 1cm. Keep the camera still at this distance and take advantage of its auto-focus target functionality that allows your to conveniently pan around the image in order to find the desired focus point. There is also a built-in flash for shots as close as 15cm that highlights objects while protecting against any unwanted whiteout effects.
The Caplio GX has added 64 and 100 to its ISO speeds for a total ISO light-sensitivity range of 64-1600. The Caplio GX comes equipped with six scene modes (portrait, sports, landscape, night scene, text and high-sensitivity) that are intended to help the photographer capture various shooting situations in their best light. In high-sensitivity mode, the screen automatically illuminates subjects to aid in framing the picture in dim lighting environments. In tricky lighting situations, the convenient auto-bracket function allows you to take three individual shots at one time at three different exposure settings. White balance bracket, on the other hand, applies tones of red, normal white, and blue to three separate images.
The Caplio GX has various continuous modes. In M-continuous mode, with the shutter button held down the camera memorises the last 16 shots in one file for two seconds of footage. In S-continuous mode, it can take a series of 16 shots in one file for two seconds of footage with just one press of the shutter button.
The Caplio GX allows you to take up to 400 shots between recharges when using the optional rechargeable lithium-ion battery, or you can take advantage of a nearby power source and use the optional AC adapter. The Caplio GX also has the ability to switch to two AA alkaline or nickel metal hydride batteries and a synchro monitor mode that conserves energy by turning the monitor on automatically only when the shutter button is pressed to preview a shot or operate the zoom.
The Caplio GX captures up to 120 seconds of AVI video action clips in a video size of 320x240 or 160x120 and can add "voice memo" stamps of up to eight seconds to photos. The Caplio GX can also be used as a multipurpose voice recorder.
The Caplio GX comes equipped with an 16mb internal memory chip and can use optional Secure Digital memory cards or Multimedia Cards. Transferring files to a PC is extremely easy. Simply turn off the camera and link the Caplio GX up via a USB cable. The Ricoh Gate software installed on the computer will then instantly start transferring images to an automatically created folder at a rate of three megabytes per second.
The Caplio GX kit that I reviewed contained very little in the way of accessories. In addition to the camera, there is a USB cable for downloading photos to your PC/MAC, a CD containing the Caplio GX software, a Video cable, 2 Alkaline batteries and a User Guide. There is no memory card supplied, which is very annoying as you can only fit a couple of images on the camera's built-in 16mb memory at the highest quality setting.