Ricoh Caplio R4 Review
Review Date: July 13th 2006
The Ricoh Caplio R4 is a very compact 6 megapixel digital camera with a massive 7x optical zoom lens that is equivalent to 28-200mm on a 35mm camera. Most cameras of this size offer a 3x or at best a 4x optical zoom, but Ricoh have squeezed a 7x zoom wide-angle lens into a body that is only 26mm thick. To help compensate for the effects of handshake, Ricoh have included a Vibration Correction system that should ensure sharper photos at slower shutter speeds than normal. Other highlights of the Ricoh Caplio R4 include a large 2.5 inch LCD screen, ISO range of 64-800, 1cm macro mode and the usual fast responsiveness that you always get from a Ricoh camera. There are few changes from the previous R3 model, mainly a higher-resolution LCD screen and the addition of one extra megapixel. So is the Ricoh Caplio R4 worth considering if you're looking for a point and shoot digicam? Carry on reading our review to find out.
The recommended retail price of the Ricoh Caplio R4 in the UK is £250 and in the US it is $399.
The Ricoh Caplio R4 has a 6.18 megapixel, 1/2.5 inch CCD that delivers 6.04 effective megapixels. There are a range of different image sizes on offer (2816 x 2112, 2784 x 1856, 2048 x 1536, 1280 x 960, 640 x 480), which can be recorded as either Fine or Normal quality JPEGs. The camera's 7.1x optical zoom lens is equivalent to a 28-200mm lens on a 35mm format camera. There is also a 3.6x digital zoom should you feel the need to use it. The Ricoh Caplio R4 has a Vibration Correction function that helps to deliver sharper pictures free from handshake. The camera has 26Mb of internal memory and also supports SD Memory Cards and MultiMedia Cards (not supplied).
The Ricoh Caplio R4 offers Auto and Program exposure modes plus 8 different scene modes (Portrait, Sports, Landscape, Night Scene, Skew Correction, Text, Zoom Macro, and High-sensitivity). The maximum aperture is f3.3 (wide) – f4.8 (tele), and the shutter speed range is 8 secs. – 1/2000 sec. There are 5 ISO speeds ranging from 64 to 800 and an Auto option. There are 6 different White Balance presets to choose from (Daylight, Overcast, Tungsten Light, Tungsten Light 2, Fluorescent Light, One Push), plus an Auto setting. White balance bracketing applies three different color tones to the images. The camera offers exposure compensation in ± 2 in 1/3 EV steps and auto-bracketing is also available (-0.5 EV, ±0,+0.5 EV). The Ricoh Caplio R4 offers 3 different exposure metering options - Intelligent Multi (256 segments), Center Weighted and Spot.
The Ricoh Caplio R4 has a normal shooting mode, Self-timer (2 secs. or 10 secs.) and 3 different Continuous modes (Continuous, S-Continuous, M-Continuous). Sharpness can be adjusted in 3 levels (Soft, Normal, Sharp). There are also 4 different colour effects available (Vivid, Normal, Neutral and Black and White). The Macro setting allows you to focus on subjects that are as close as 1cm. The camera offers 4 focusing systems - Autofocus, Manual Focus, Fixed Focus (Snap) and Infinity. An AF assist lamp helps to achieve focus in low-light situations. The built-in flash offers 5 different modes (Auto, Red-eye Reduction, On, Slow Synchro, Off). The flash range is 20cm - 2.4m at the wide-angle lens setting and 14cm - 1.8m at tele-photo.
To compose your images, you can use the LCD monitor - there is no optical or electronic viewfinder. The Ricoh Caplio R4 has a 2.5 inch translucent amorphous silicon TFT LCD which has 153,000 pixels and offers 100% scene coverage. The Ricoh Caplio R4 can record movies with sound at 320 x 240 pixels or 160 x 120 pixels, both either at 30 fps or 15 fps. Video is recorded in the AVI format. The length of the video is only limited by the size of the memory card that you are using. You can also record an unlimited voice memo. A histogram is available in both shooting and playback modes. The Ricoh Caplio R4 supports the DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) and PictBridge printing standards, and it connects to a computer via USB 1.1.
The Ricoh Caplio R4's dimensions are 95 (W) x 53 (H) x 26 (D) mm, and it weighs 135g without the battery and storage card fitted. The camera is powered by a rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery (3.7V, 1150mAh), which has an approximate life of 330 shots. There is a plastic tripod mount in the left-center of the bottom of the camera.
Finally, the standard box kit contains a USB cable, AV cable, Wrist-strap, Lithium-ion Battery, Battery Charger, Instruction Manual and a CD-ROM containing Ricoh software. Note that you can only store 11 images at the highest quality JPEG setting on the 26Mb internal memory. You will therefore need to invest in some memory cards to store your images on.
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Ricoh Caplio R4 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.