Ricoh WG-M1 Review
The Ricoh WG-M1 is an action camera that's capable of recording full HD video (1280 x 960 pixels), which are captured at a 137-degree ultra-wide angle of view. Although primarily designed to capture video, it's also possible to record stills. The camera has an f/2.8 lens and can capture three different angles of views with 14 million pixels. As it is designed to be used in a variety of “action” type of environments, it has several rugged credentials. It's waterproof down to 10 metres, shockproof from 2 metres and freeze proof down to -10 degrees celcius. The Ricoh WG-M1 costs around £159.99 / $199.95.
Ease of Use
As the Ricoh WG-M1 is an action camera, it doesn't have the same kind of design as a standard compact camera. Rather, it is a sort of square design, with the colour LCD on the top of the camera.
This makes for quite an unusual way to compose an image, as effectively you're looking down on what you're composing. It's something you get used to with time, but, thanks to the ultra wide angle view, it's more designed to be capture the whole scene in front of it without worrying too much about precise composition.
As the Ricoh WG-M1 is designed to be used when you simply want to record whatever exciting action is happening, there aren't too many buttons and dials which you need to get to grips with.
On the bottom of the camera is a thread for attaching the camera to a tripod or to the mount which you can use to stick the camera to handlebars etc. As the supplied mount is flat, it's not quite as easy to stick it to a curved helmet though, which bike users may want to consider.
|Front of the Ricoh WG-M1|
There are just five buttons on the Ricoh WG-M1. On the left hand side, you have the on/off button, which you need to hold down for 2-3 seconds for the camera to switch on or off. When the camera is on standby, you can press this button lightly just once to switch the screen back on to use the camera again. Just next to this button is a larger record button which can either be used for taking stills or recording movies. Not only is the button larger, but it's also textured and raised from the body, making it easy for you to tell which button is which when you can't see the camera.
If you look down at the Ricoh WG-M1 from the top - where the screen is - you will also see that there are markings which indicate where each of the buttons is, and what they do, which can be useful for navigating through them when you can't move the camera, or yourself, to a better viewing angle.
On the right hand side of the camera are the buttons you need for more advanced control of the camera, although there's not a huge amount of settings you can change.
The middle button of the three here is a circular “OK” button. Pressing this allows you to switch between stills recording and video recording. Either side of this central button is a playback button, and a menu button. The menu isn't particularly extensive, but it takes some getting used to when navigating it since you only have three buttons to use it.
|Top of the Ricoh WG-M1|
You can change the angle of view in the main menu from wide, mid, narrow and when in video record mode, to water for a flatter view. When you're in video recording, other options you can change include the size of the movie being recorded, white balance, the ability to shoot a time lapse movie, applying wind cut filter for sound, and activating loop recording.
In order to save power, the screen will turn off after 30 seconds, and that includes if you're recording a video, and you'll need to press the On/Off button down lightly to reactivate the screen. This can be a little annoying if you're trying to keep an eye on what you're filming, and there seems to be no way to stop it from doing this from within the menu. On the plus side, this approach is fine if you're recording something for a long period of time and aren't intending to look at the screen. A red light near the on/off button will flash while a video is recording to alert you to the fact that it's still going.
Going back to the menu, there are a few things you can alter in Stills mode. You can change the size of the image created (the largest being 14 million pixels, the lowest being 5 million pixels), you can activate burst shot if you want to shoot lots of images in one go, again you can change the field of view and white balance, too. Aside from that, it's not possible to change other settings, such as exposure compensation, aperture and the like.
|The Ricoh WG-M1 In-hand|
To change the battery and/or memory card, you need to open a door which has a double lock mechanism to stop water from entering and damaging the camera. As the first lock is quite stiff, it's extremely unlikely you'd be able to accidentally knock it open and therefore open the door by accident - handy when you're using the camera in extreme conditions.
There's a Ricoh WG-M1 wireless app which you can download for iOS or Android which allows you to remotely control the camera. You can control a few things, such as the field of view, white balance and of course firing off the shutter release. Although there's not a huge amount you can control, there's not a huge amount which is controllable via the camera anyway, so it's not surprising. It's useful to be able to control the camera remotely if you're attaching it to a drone, kite, or something else which means you can't alter settings or press the record button yourself.
You can also view images in playback and download them to your smartphone which is useful for uploading images to social networking sites and/or email quickly.
Operational speeds are pretty quick, with shot-to-shot times being good enough to allow you to shoot quite a few shots in succession.
The strengths of a camera like this tend not to lie in still image quality, and while it is possible to take still images with it, how often the average user of the camera will be doing that is debatable.
However, that said, images from the camera do display a good amount of vibrance and brightness, so if you do want to use it to capture stills and are happy to live with its limits, then you may still be reasonably pleased.
As light drops, image quality becomes less desirable, with but again this is not really the sort of camera that you’re likely to be using in particularly dark conditions, so the importance of that is again limited.
When you’re using the camera in its widest angle of view setting, it’s possible to see some of the black casing around the edges of the frame, which is something to bear in mind.
Although you can set the white balance setting yourself, the automatic setting does a pretty job of providing accurate colours. Although you can’t alter exposure compensation, again the camera does a pretty good job by itself.
Moving on the video capability of the camera, the WG-M1 can produce high quality video footage, with the different angles of view useful depending on what you want to photograph. Sound quality is also quite good, sounding reasonably clear and picking up a good array of sounds.
This is a selection of sample images from the Ricoh WG-M1 camera, which were all taken using the 14 megapixel JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.
1/4237s · f/2.8 · ISO 100
1/141s · f/2.8 · ISO 100
1/336s · f/2.8 · ISO 100
1/1763s · f/2.8 · ISO 100
1/313s · f/2.8 · ISO 100
1/772s · f/2.8 · ISO 100
1/1031s · f/2.8 · ISO 100
1/240s · f/2.8 · ISO 100
1/449s · f/2.8 · ISO 100
1/192s · f/2.8 · ISO 100
1/120s · f/2.8 · ISO 146
1/4566s · f/2.8 · ISO 100
1/2583s · f/2.8 · ISO 100
1/6060s · f/2.8 · ISO 100
1/3663s · f/2.8 · ISO 100
1/1366s · f/2.8 · ISO 100
1/30s · f/2.8 · ISO 800
1/30s · f/2.8 · ISO 472
1/1848s · f/2.8 · ISO 100
1/25s · f/2.8 · ISO 789
1/50s · f/2.8 · ISO 277
1/757s · f/2.8 · ISO 100
Sample Movie & Video
This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 10 second movie is 20.8Mb in size.
Front of the Pentax WG-M1
Top of the Pentax WG-M1
Front of the Pentax WG-M1
Side of the Pentax WG-M1
Side of the Pentax WG-M1
Rear of the Pentax WG-M1
Top of the Pentax WG-M1
Top of the Pentax WG-M1
Front of the Pentax WG-M1
Top of the Pentax WG-M1
Although GoPro pretty much seems to have the monopoly on these kind of cameras, that’s not to say that there aren’t other viable alternatives on the market, and the Ricoh WG-M1 is one of those.
It’s reasonably priced and for that you get a decent range of specifications, while it’s useful to be able to see what you’re filming on the screen rather than the guesswork which is associated with some action cameras which are currently on the market.
The Ricoh WG-M1 is very easy to use and get to grips with as there’s only a few controls, and the fact that the buttons are both large and textured makes it easy to use underwater, or with gloves, or when your view of the camera is diminished.
On the downside, the menu system is a little more difficult to navigate, but it’s something you do get used to after a while.
It also feels sturdy and well put together, so you can have confidence when you’re using it in a variety of different action situations.
Although this is not really a camera that is recommended as your only stills camera, it can take reasonable shots with some noticeable drawbacks, which are good enough for grab shots or when you can’t use your standard camera (such when you’re in water for example). The video the Ricoh WG-M1 produces, arguably more important for a camera like this, is of high quality though, so you should be pleased with that.
The inbuilt Wi-Fi is useful for a couple of reasons - it’s pretty handy to be able to control the camera remotely, and if you catch something that’s pretty unusual, being able to share it with your social networking without having to wait until you get home is ever more increasing these days.
On the downside though, the mount which comes with the Ricoh WG-M1 is flat, which makes it difficult to attach to certain things, such as curved helmets - which seems like a bit of an oversight to what is otherwise a great offering for action enthusiasts.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||4|
Listed below are some of the rivals of the Ricoh WG-M1.
Canon PowerShot D30
The Canon PowerShot D30 is an action compact camera that's waterproof to an impressive 25m, as well as being dust, freeze and shock proof. The Canon D30 also offers12 megapixels, a 5x zoom, 1080p HD video, built-in GPS and a 3-inch screen. Read our in-depth Canon PowerShot D30 review now...
Fujifilm FinePix XP80
The Fujifilm FinePix XP80 is a tough water, freeze, shock and dust proof compact camera. The XP80 offers a 16.4 million pixel 1/2.3 inch BSI-CMOS sensor, built-in wi-fi, 10fps burst shooting, 1080i HD movies, a 5x zoom lens and a 2.7 inch LCD screen. Read our Fujifilm FinePix XP80 review now...
Nikon Coolpix AW130
The Coolpix AW130 is Nikon's latest all-action compact camera. The 16 megapixel Nikon AW130 features a 5x zoom lens, 3 inch OLED 921K-dot screen, built-in GPS. NFC and wi-fi, 8fps burst shooting and can record full 1080p video. Read our Nikon Coolpix AW130 review to find out if it's the right tough camera for you...
The Olympus TG-4 is a new flagship water, freeze, shock and dust proof compact camera for 2015. Boasting a 25-100mm equivalent f/2.0-4.9 lens, the 16 megapixel TG-4 also offers Raw file support, built-in wi-fi and GPS connectivity, 1080p HD movies, a 4x zoom lens and a 3 inch OLED screen. Read our Olympus TG-4 review to find out what this tough camera is capable of...
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 is a new freeze, shock, water and dust proof camera. The well-appointed Panasonic FT5 also features built-in GPS, wi-fi and NFC functionality, a compass, altimeter and barometer, 4.6x zoom, 1920x1080 full-HD movie recording and a 16 megapixel sensor. Read our Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 review to find out if this is the best do-it-all camera for your family....
Ricoh WG-30 Wi-fi
The Ricoh WG-30 Wi-fi is a shock, freeze, dust, water and crush proof compact camera with built-in wi-fi connectivity. The Ricoh WG-30 Wi-fi also offers a 16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, a 5x zoom lens, Full HD movie recording and built-in macro lights. Read our in-depth Ricoh WG-30 Wi-fi review now...
Ricoh WG-5 GPS
The Ricoh WG-5 GPS is a new shock, freeze, dust, water and crush proof compact camera. The Ricoh WG-5 GPS offers a 16 megapixel Backside Illumination CMOS sensor, a 4x zoom lens with f/2 aperture, Full HD movie recording and built-in LED macro lights. Available for £259.99 / $379.95, read our in-depth Ricoh WG-5 GPS review now...
Reviews of the Ricoh WG-M1 from around the web.
Pentax enters the race for the best action cam with the Ricoh WG-M1; a brute, brawny model with little regard for the minimalist rulebook revered by its competitors. Its technical features are pretty standard: it has a Full HD mode, Wi-Fi compatibility and an integrated screen, but it can also be submerged to a depth of 10 metres/33 feet without the need for an additional chamber.
Read the full review »
|Camera Type||Action camera|
|Effective Pixels||Approx. 14 megapixels|
|Still||(4:3) 14M : 4320x3240, 5M : 2592x1944 (16:9) 10M : 4320x2432|
|Movie||1920x1080(30fps), 1280x960(50fps), 1280x960(30fps), 1280x720(60fps), 1280x720(30fps), 848x480(60fps), 848x480(120fps)|
|Sensitivity||Sensitivity (Standard Output Sensitivity): Automatic (ISO 100-800)|
|Shake Reduction||Motion Blur Reduction: Electronic image stabilization (movie only)|
In 35mm format equivalent: approx. 16.8mm
|Aperture||Maximum Aperture: F2.8|
Field of view: Wide, Medium, Narrow, Underwater
Maximum field of view:
Still image : approx. 160°(4:3 wide)
Fix focus length
In air (Lens protector O-LP1531, Underwater lens protector O-LP1532) : 60cm-∞
Underwater (Underwater lens protector O-LP1532) : 80cm-∞
Built-in 1.5’’ LCD screen
|Exposure Control||Metering System : AiAE, Face AE (not switchable)|
Shooting modes: Still, Movie, Time Lapse, Loop recording, Motion detection
Drive modes: Still: Single, Burst Shot
|Face Recognition||10 people's faces|
|White Balance||AWB, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Underwater|
|Options||Playback modes: Photo playback, Movie playback|
|Internal||Built-in memory: approx. 100MB|
|External||Micro SD / micro SDHC Memory Card|
Still: JPEG (conforms to Exif 2.3), conforms to DCF2.0
Movie: MOV/H.264, 30fps/50fps/60fps/120fps
Audio: PCM system, stereo sound
|Features||Water proof: 10m : Equivalent to IPX8 / JIS Class 8 waterproof Shock proof: 2.0m : Conforming to Method 516.5-Shock of the MIL-Standard 810F Dust proof: IP6X / JIS Class 6 dustproof capabilities Freeze proof: -10°C Charging time: Approx. 200 minutes Recording time : 848x 480 (120fps): Maximum recordable time : 60 seconds
Maximum playback time : 4 minutes Lens protector / Underwater lens protector: In order to guarantee the waterproof and dustproof performance, please make sure to attach the lens protector to the camera all the time. Waterproof performance is guaranteed only when the camera is equipped with the underwater lens protector O-LP1532. Burst Shot: Approx. 10fps (number of possible shots fixed) Color model: Orange / Black Verified memory card: SanDisk SDHC 8GB Class4 Others: "*Turn on : When the power is off, press and hold Power Button for more than 2 seconds to turn on the product; or press and hold Playback Button for more than 2 seconds to turn on the product and enter playback mode. *Turn off : When the power is on, press and hold Power Button for more than 2 seconds to turn off the product. *The maximum length is 25 minutes for movie."
|Language||English, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Japanese, Korean, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Indonesia, Vietnamese, Italian, German, Dutch, Russian, Polish, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Greek, Turkish, Hungarian, Croatian, Czech, Arabic, Hindi|
Interfaces: USB2.0 (Hi-Speed compatible), HDMI port (Type D)
Standard : 802.11b/g/n
|Source||Rechargeable lithium-ion battery DB-65|
Still : Approx. 350 pictures (using the rechargeable lithium-ion battery)
Movie recording : Approx. 150 minutes (using the rechargeable lithium-ion battery)
Playback : Approx. 400 minutes (using the rechargeable lithium-ion battery)
Approx. 190g (including battery, microSD memory card, and Lens protector O-LP1531)
Power adapter GAC-03 EU
PENTAX USB cable I-USB152
RICOH rechargeable LI battery DB-65 EU
Carabiner strap O-ST153
Lens protector O-LP1531
Underwater lens protector O-LP1532
WG Flat Adhesive Mount O-CM1531
RICOH battery charger BJ-6 EU 171874
Power adapter GAC-03 EU 38669
RICOH HDMI cable HC-1 W/W 173611
WG flat adehesive mount O-CM1471 37030
WG handle bar mount O-CM1472 37031
WG suction cup mount O-CM1473 37032
WG repair parts 1 O-CM1474 37034
WG repair parts 2 O-CM1475 37035
WG repair parts 3 O-CM1476 37036
WG Flat Adhensive Mount2 O-CM1532 37041
WG Wrist Strap Mount O-CM1533 37042
WG Peg Mount O-CM1534 37043
WG Magnet Mount O-CM1535 37044
WG Helmet Strap Mount O-CM1536 37045
WG Grip Adapter O-MA1531 37046
WG Angle Adapter O-MA1532 37047