Ricoh Caplio R7 Digital Camera Review

Matt Grayson examines the Ricoh Caplio R7. An 8Mp digital compact with 7.1x optical zoom in a slim-line body.

|  Ricoh Caplio R7 in Compact Cameras
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As the newest addition to the Ricoh R range, the R7 has a higher resolution, a new engine and a few friendly features to make your life more pleasurable.

Ricoh Caplio R7 Ricoh Caplio R7 Specification

  • Sensor: CCD - 8.15Mp
  • Image Size: 3264 x 2448 pixels
  • Lens: 28-200mm 4.6-33mm (7.1x zoom)
  • Focus: Auto/Manual - 1cm Macro
  • Exposure: Program AE, Scene modes
  • Metering: Multi-segment, CW, Spot
  • Monitor: 2.7in TFT LCD
  • Movie Mode: Yes
  • Storage: SD Cards, 24Mb Internal
  • Batteries: Li-ion Battery DB-70
  • AC Adaptor: Optional
  • Video Output: Yes
  • Size/Weight: 99.6x55x 23.3mm - 135g
  • Transfer: USB 2.0

Comparable models in specification are the Panasonic FX33 at £199 with 8.1Mp, 28mm lens only a 5cm macro but is slightly smaller. Alternatively, the Canon IXUS 860IS at £235 also with 28mm lens. Like the Panasonic, the zoom is only 3x optical but has a piggy-in-the-middle 3cm macro.

Ricoh Caplio R7 Modes and features
The front of the Ricoh compacts has always been sexy with the oversized lens barrel and square frame around the front element giving a cool styling reminiscent of pro video cameras. The 7x optical zoom lens, thin flash and AF assist beam are all that occupy the front of the camera.

Moving to the top and the shutter release is in a comfortable position if held in the way that it would be held when shooting using the screen. If held like a regular camera, the shutter release is a little too far to the right. The camera doesn't have a viewfinder, though, so it won't be held in the regular way, but it's interesting to know that the hand positions do change when using a different viewing format and Ricoh know this.

The small, flush power button sits quietly next to the shutter release which is wrapped by the zoom switch.

Ricoh Caplio R7 Microphone and speaker holes either side denote the video feature. Just on the edge of the top as your gaze slides idly down the back of the camera is the function switch. This is to decide whether the camera is set to take pictures automatically, select one of the twelve pre-set modes or one of the two My settings modes where the camera can be custom set to your specifications.

Moving to the back of the camera and the 2.7in screen takes up a lot of space as this is the only way to take pictures.

One cosmetic difference is the addition of the ADJ button which is for adjustments. This sits in between the screen and the thumb rest so looks like Ricoh expect it to be a popular button. It accesses Exposure Compensation, White balance and ISO but only in My mode, which suggests it's more of a Program/Manual mode.

Below that is the Playback button with the Display button next to it. The Display will rotate through Info, Info with Histogram, Rule of thirds grid, No info or Off. This final option makes me laugh as there's no other way to view the pictures you're taking.

The Main joypad for navigating the menu is a small affair with doubled up functions set to the up, down, left and right directions.

The lens is a wide angle 7x optical which equates to a 28-200mm in 35mm terms. This is a great size zoom on a small body and despite the noise, is very fast from bottom to top end.

Pressing up is access to the Mode feature of the R7 and in Auto mode will do absolutely nothing. Switching to Scene mode will access the scenes available which are the standard offerings seen on every other digital compact with a Black & white and Sepia filter, and a Skew correct mode which will straighten any documents that may have distorted edges from the wide angle view of the R7's 28mm lens.

Ricoh Caplio R7 Pressing left will access the Flash options, down will give you the Macro feature whilst pressing right is a quick review option which can only be accessed when the picture has just been taken and only the most recent picture can be viewed in this mode.

Finally, the Delete button is sat at the bottom of the camera and this also doubles up as the self timer.

One thing I like about the recording feature of the camera is the few bits of info the camera will store in the General area of the EXIF data. It will add a copyright icon and the cameras details ready for your own input.

It amuses me that on the side of the camera (see side illustration above), is a sticker that suggests the camera shouldn't be thrown away. Blindingly obvious, but what about when you no longer want it?

Ricoh Caplio R7 Build quality
The bottom has a plastic tripod bush which I'm surprised at with Ricoh as they normally excel in the quality department and the build is otherwise excellent.

The battery door, is small and wide which adds to the stability, but has a degree of movement to it when held and wiggled from side to side.

I decided to clean the screen before taking pictures of it. The mark on the right of the screen was already there from a previous tester and isn't a problem with the camera.

The start up time is fast enough at around two seconds, but the camera has to be the loudest in the world. I'm surprised at quite how loud it is in this day and age and certainly with this brand, I wouldn't expect this at all.

Ricoh Caplio R7 Flash options
A few options are available and include Flash off, Auto, Red-eye reduction, On, Flash synch, Soft flash.

The distance is approximately 20cm - 3m at wide angle and 25cm - 2m at telephoto which is on the lower side of standard.

Ricoh Caplio R7 Ricoh Caplio R7 Performance
The burst test of continuous shooting managed 21 images in 10 seconds which is slightly over 2fps. A good result and backed with the fact that it downloads without a buffer. This means the continuous shooting will carry on until the card is full.

The shutter lag test has given a result of around 0.008 of a second. A standard response compared to other compacts of the same class.

The colour test chart shows that Ricoh are singing on the same sheet as everyone else. primary colours are saturated and there's a good result from the tones too. skin tone is a little on the pale side, but acceptable.

Whilst taking the landscape image, I was shooting with the sun slightly off to the right of the frame. The screen suffered badly from purple banding with the light.

The shot taken in landscape mode is very similar to the auto shot but with a little more green to the grass and more detail in the cloud, suggesting a mild underexposure.

Looking around the camera, I don't think it's built to the standard you would expect from Ricoh, but the image quality is excellent. The screen shows soft images when taking the picture but shows them sharp in playback. The detail of the rust on the vane is excellent also.

Ricoh Caplio R7
Acceptable results all round, though the skin tone could be less pale.
Ricoh Caplio R7
The 1cm macro facility shows every dent in the toy car.
Ricoh Caplio R7
The wide end of the zoom gives a 35mm equivalent of 28mm. These images are merely to illustrate the zoom capability and have been manipulated in photoshop.
Ricoh Caplio R7
Whilst the 7.1x optical gives an equivalent of 200mm. Great for a compact. Unfortunately, this image is let down by the appearance of fringing.
Ricoh Caplio R7
Portrait using flash shows warming of the skin tones but a large shadow to the left of the subject.
Ricoh Caplio R7
No flash gives a cooler image in ambient light, but with no annoying shadows.
Ricoh Caplio R7
Shot on the Landscape mode of the Scene settings.
Ricoh Caplio R7
The same shot but in Auto. The green is less saturated and less detail in the sky.

Ricoh Caplio R7 Noise test
Noise doesn't start rearing its head until ISO200. Even then it can only be seen at full size image and is very mild. It gets steadily worse through the different steps, but pleasantly, only gets rainbow artefacts at ISO1600. Below this ratin, the noise is more akin to grain. ISO1600 shows pink blobs and white spots all over. The detail in the petals has all but gone.

Noticeably, the images change colour throughout the test even though they were took in succession at the same time using the same White balance setting.

Ricoh Caplio R7
The ISO64 test.
Ricoh Caplio R7
The ISO100 test.
Ricoh Caplio R7
The ISO200 test.
Ricoh Caplio R7
The ISO400 test.
Ricoh Caplio R7
The ISO800 test.
Ricoh Caplio R7
The ISO1600 test.

Ricoh Caplio R7 Verdict
With the motors being too noisy and the image being too soft on screen, the Ricoh Caplio R7 appears to be a desparate offering from Ricoh. It feels like they rushed it out of the factory before creases could be ironed out just to have a successor to the R6.

I'm disappointed with the R7 and amazed that this is a camera that comes from the same stable as the GR Digital and the GX100.

Gadget Granny says:
One of the cameras I got to play with this week was the Ricoh Caplio R7. It's got a good zoom which is great for me when I take the grandchildren birdwatching, but the noise of the camera is awful. It could scare the birds away!

I'm familiar with Ricoh and I thought the camera would be a bit more flash than it is. I like a camera that shines at me and this is a bit drab.

Ricoh Caplio R7 Plus points
Good optical zoom
Ergonomically designed
Extra info in the EXIF

Ricoh Caplio R7 Minus points
Noisy motors
Banding on the screen
Soft image on screen






The Ricoh Caplio R7 costs around £219 and is available from the ePHOTOzine shop here.


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Photographs taken using the Ricoh Caplio R7

Four Trees in the SnowA fine dining roomEwen's TrikeWestminster Palace & Cathedral and the London Eye.MACBRAYNESFish2#fish1#Alice In Wonderlandafter the raindaisy and friendRemembrancebird tablewedding cake yummyflower and moneySuper Baby

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So the banding on the screen is a quality control issue?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand the tripod mount is now plastic; I believe my Caplio R4's was not.
Also, my R4 came with a factory leather case as standard. Ricoh seems not to be including this anymore, even with GR and GX models!
No mention this time around about the effectiveness of the CCD shift mechanism?
Incidently, I have recently purchase a Fuji F40fd, as I find the R4 unsuitable for low light shooting conditions, but this is true of any non-SuperCCD compact right?

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Quote:So the banding on the screen is a quality control issue?

No, just annoying.

Quote:Correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand the tripod mount is now plastic; I believe my Caplio R4's was not.

That's what i reported in the build and handling area of the review.

Quote:Also, my R4 came with a factory leather case as standard. Ricoh seems not to be including this anymore, even with GR and GX models!

I suppose that's up to them.

Quote:No mention this time around about the effectiveness of the CCD shift mechanism?
Incidently, I have recently purchase a Fuji F40fd, as I find the R4 unsuitable for low light shooting conditions, but this is true of any non-SuperCCD compact right?

According to Wikipedia, the F-series compacts were the first digital compacts to have a printable quality result in low light situations.
However, since the advent of this technology, other companies are following suit. Smile
Sorry Matt,

yes you did mention the plastic tripod mount. I was switching between reviews of the R7, R6 and R4 and confused myself.
I recently tried out my Fuji F40fd at the Melbourne Motor Show with mixed results.
Yes, low light shooting was much improved - lower noise and greater sensitivity - but the Ricoh Caplio's 28mm wide angle of was sorely missed.
Also, the lack of antishake mechanisms resulted in a few blurred shots. And I found the F40fd's interface cumbersome compared to Caplio's.
It is interesting to compare 28-200mm Ricoh lens to what was available in 35mm film era compacts. The Pentax Espio 200 had 48mm-200mm lens, at f12, with no anti-shake mechanism! That meant iso/ASA 400 for daylight and 800 to 1000 for cloudy and overcast.
The lens also protruded out from the body, even when fully retracted, greatly compromising the camera's portability.
So a 35mm compact digital is probably not practicable, but I can't wait for the larger sensor CMOS (and Foveon) compacts just around the corner.
I, for one, am hoping the Ricoh has something special for the GX100 update.

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