Ricoh R10 Review
The R10 is a top of the line consumer point and shoot from Ricoh. This camera is full of useful features, such as a 7.1x wide angle optical zoom lens (28mm-200mm), a 3" 460,000 dot HVGA LCD screen, CCD-shift image stabilization, electronic level and some very nice in-camera editing functions. Capturing the images is a 10-Megapixel imaging sensor. It also features some very nice shooting options, such as AE/AF target shift and a 1:1 shooting ratio that really allows you to use your creativity.
From the first time you pick up the R10, you can feel that it fits comfortably into your hand with the help of the small grip on the right side. The layout of the controls makes one-handed operation very easy. With the zoom control coupled around the shutter release, you are easily able to adjust the zoom with your index finger. Sitting right on the corner is the mode dial which is easily rotated with the thumb, but it does help to hold the camera with your other hand for this. On the back, the play button and 4-way controller lay conveniently under your thumb allowing you access to these functions easily during one-handed operation as well. The other buttons on the back are your menu, timer, DISP and the new Fn (function) button. This new button allows you to set a variety of the cameras settings to that button for easy one-touch changes.
Taking up the majority of the back of the camera is a 3" HVGA LCD screen. With 460,000 dots, twice as many as most digicams, this screen is incredibly sharp allowing you to see details that most cameras don't. The high contrast screen makes it easy to see in all lighting conditions, including direct sunlight. It is also very easy for you to view your images and show them to other people with the wide viewing angle. There is also an auto-rotate feature that rotates your image based on the orientation of the camera.
Performance from the Ricoh R10 is good. When you turn on the camera, you are able to capture your first image in just 1.9 seconds. When the camera is pre-focused, there is virtually no shutter lag, and when allowing the auto-focus to work as you shoot, the shutter lag is 4/10 of a second. In single shot mode, the camera can capture 5 images in 6 seconds without the flash and 5 images in 10.7 seconds with it. There are also a couple of burst shooting modes available. The flash is not available in any of the burst modes. In normal continuous mode, the camera was able to capture 10 images (10-Megapixel fine quality) in just 5.6 seconds, over twice as fast a single shot mode. The other two modes capture 16 shots, either the first or last 16 in 2.1 seconds, and combine them into one repeating image. All of our tests were completed using a Sandisk Extreme III 1GB SD memory card, auto mode, flash off, ISO auto and all other settings at the factory defaults, unless otherwise noted. All times may vary depending on lighting, camera settings, media, etc.
The quality from our outdoor images is excellent. Our images are crisp and well exposed while the colors look natural. The 7.1x optical wide zoom lens gives you a great deal of versatility. On the wide end, you have a 35mm equivalent of 28mm, which gives you the ability to take excellent landscape shots. Amazingly for a 28mm lens, there is hardly any barrel distortion. There is, however, a little edge softness. The telephoto end has a range of up to 200mm, which makes it outstanding for bringing distant subjects right up close or singling out an individual in a group portrait.
Our indoor image quality is also very good. The auto white balance does an excellent job of producing the same colors between the available light and flash shots. When shooting with ISO settings from 200 and down, the images show an incredible amount of detail. At ISO 400, you start to lose some of the fine detail and a little noise starts to show, but the amount of noise is very acceptable for the ISO setting. The built in flash only has a range of up to approx. 10 feet at wide-angle and under 7 feet at the telephoto end (ISO Auto/400). This is not enough to light up any more than a small room, meaning you have to be pretty close to your subjects for the flash to be effective.
The R10 also has a very impressive macro shooting mode. It is able to focus on its subject from as close as 1cm. The amount of detail that is captured in the images is amazing. Even when using the flash from just a few centimeters away, images come out very well with nothing in the image over-exposed or blown out.
With the ability to shoot video at either 640x480 or 320x240 at 15fps or 30fps with sound, when you come across a situation where a photo just isn't enough, then you have a few good options for taking video. The image quality is good, however, there is a little noise throughout the video. The mic on the camera is very sensitive and picks up a lot, which includes background noises and wind, if you are outside. Remember that the built in microphones on digicams will always pick up the sounds closest to the camera, no matter where the camera is facing or how much of the zoom you are using, so don't expect to pick up a lot of sound detail from any large amount of distance, especially with large 7x zoom.
Powering the R10 is a 3.6V, 1000 mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery. Ricoh lists that it is able to capture up to 300 images on a single charge, when the LCD Auto Dim is on. I was able to capture well over 100 images, and several videos while completing all of our tests on a single charge. In fact the battery icon had just lost its first little section as i was completing the tests. Also included in the box is an external charger, which makes it easy to keep a second battery charged and on hand at all times. We always recommend a having a backup charged battery so that you will always be ready.
Bottom Line - With excellent image quality and performance to match, the Ricoh R10 is a very capable and user friendly point and shoot. Featuring a 7.1x wide optical zoom lens, 10-Megapixel imaging sensor, 3" LCD screen and full auto shooting modes, it is extremely versatile and can be used by anyone in the family or office. With a MSRP of US$379, it is a little more expensive than a lot of the cameras in its class, but worth the money when you are looking for a top quality camera.
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