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Ricoh WG-5 GPS Review

We review the waterproof Ricoh WG-5 GPS - a tough compact camera with GPS built in.

| Ricoh WG-5 GPS in Compact Cameras


Ricoh WG-5 GPS Review: Ricoh WG5 Orange (2)

The Ricoh WG-5 GPS updates the WG-4 and is this years version of their tough camera, with an improved shockproof rating of 2.2 metres, and is waterproof to 14 metres as well as being crushproof and dustproof. The camera features a bright f/2.0 aperture lens, as well as built in GPS. Another version is available without GPS. 

Ricoh WG-5 GPS Features

Ricoh WG-5 GPS Review: Ricoh WG5 Orange (3)

Like the WG-4, the WG-5 GPS has a 16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, along with a 4x optical zoom lens, equivalent to 25-100mm in 35mm terms. The lens is bright with an f/2.0 aperture at the wide-angle end of the lens to allow as much light in as possible. The camera also features shake reduction (SR), with sensor shift based image stabilisation. 

The camera has a rugged design, being waterproof to 14m, shock resistant from 2.2m, is freezeproof to -10 degrees C, crushproof up to 100kgf, as well as being dustproof. Six LED macro lights surround the lens, to enable close-up macro photography illumination, with the camera focusing as close as 1cm away from the subject. 

As you'd expect with a point and shoot camera, there are auto picture modes which automatically selects the best camera settings for the detected scene. There are a number of other scene modes such as HDR, digital microscope, time lapse and more. When you've finished shooting you can edit your pictures in playback using a range of filters. There is an electronic spirit level to help keep your pictures straight.

New "Mermaid shooting", landscape, Vibrant film, and reversal film modes have been added. Underwater modes are said to be improved thanks to improved white balance optimisation. There are a range of accessories available for the active photographer, including bike mounts, dash mounts, helmet mounts and more.

Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD at 30fps. Optical zoom is available during recording and you can also record high-speed videos at 120fps. The WG-5 GPS can be connected to a HDTV for playback via HDMI. The WG-5 GPS model has built-in GPS, as well as a built-in LCD screen that displays the time and other information. 

Key Features

  • 16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor
  • 4x optical zoom f/2.0-4.9 lens (35mm equiv: 25-100mm)
  • Sensor shift SR (Shake Reduction)
  • 3 inch 16:9 wide 460k dot LCD screen
  • Waterproof to 14m
  • Shockproof to 2.2m
  • Freezproof to –10°C
  • Crushproof to 100Kg
  • Dustproof
  • Six LED macro lights
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • ISO 125 - 6400
  • 1cm minimum focusing distance
  • GPS, Electronic Compass, Pressure Sensor 

Ricoh WG-5 GPS Handling

Ricoh WG-5 GPS Review: Ricoh WG5 Orange (4)

The Ricoh WG-5 GPS has a rugged and unique design with tough rubber and plastics used to give the camera extra grip when used in inclement weather. The battery and memory card compartment has a double locking system, so that you don't accidentally open it when using it underwater. 

Supplied with the camera is a plastic ring that acts as a support for using the digital microscope mode, attaching to the front of the camera and surrounding the lens. Also on the front of the camera is a small LCD display which shows the time, and other information, without the need to switch the camera on. 

On top of the camera you'll find the on / off switch next to the shutter release. On the back there are W (wide) and T (telelphoto) zoom buttons for adjusting the optical zoom. Other buttons include movie record, playback, menu, green and a d-pad which is used for cycling through the menus and also gives access to the self-timer, flash, focus and shooting modes. The green button can be used to activate an easy mode, or set to be a function button.

Ricoh WG-5 GPS Review: Ricoh WG5 Orange (5)

The 3inch screen is bright and clear and has a decent resolution at 460k dots, although has a 16:9 aspect ratio, so when using the camera to take 4:3 aspect ratio photos, there are two large black borders on the left- and right-hand side of the image . The menu system is well laid out and easy to use.

Battery life is rated at 240 shots according to CIPA test results, this will reduce more quickly if you use the GPS frequently, and a spare battery is recommended.

Ricoh WG-5 GPS Review: Ricoh WG5 Orange (1)

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.175secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.25secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.8secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 1.3secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 2.2secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A

Focus and shutter response are both good, although continuous shooting is quite slow when shooting at full resolution. An additional high-speed shooting mode is available, and the camera can shoot at 10fps at a reduced resolution of 5 megapixels for up to 30 shots. 

Ricoh WG-5 GPS Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Ricoh WG-5 GPS Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Photos have good colour when taken on bright sunny days, and the camera is capable of taking a good macro shot being able to focus very close tot he subject. There is very little red-eye in the portrait photo with flash, although the camera has used a high ISO setting and detail is low, with colour also being slightly poor. 

Ricoh WG-5 GPS Lens test images

Lens Performance - The super macro mode can be activated in the normal shooting mode (at full resolution), and you can also switch on the 6 LED lights surrounding the lens. This is very useful as it can be difficult for light to get to the subject when it is so close to the lens, as the camera will focus on a subject that is less than 1cm away from the front of the lens. You can also zoom in and get even closer to the subject! There is some corner softness when using the wide-angle end of the lens, as well as purple fringing, and you need to be careful if the sun is in the frame due to flare and loss of contrast. Detail is reasonable, but noise can be seen in shadow areas, as well as in blue skies when shooting at ISO125. 

Ricoh WG-5 GPS ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is quite low at ISO125, and ISO200, with reasonable detail, although some noise can be seen when viewing images at 100%. Noise increases at ISO400, and at ISO800 noise becomes quite noticeable with a drop in detail. Detail drops again at ISO1600, although results may still be usable. ISO3200 shows a high level of noise although may still provide usable results if images are going to be resized. ISO6400 shows a lot of noise and is best avoided.

Ricoh WG-5 GPS White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights the auto white balance (AWB) has a warm colour cast, with the incandescent preset taking a good picture. Under the fluorescent lights, the AWB performs reasonably well, with a magenta cast when using the fluorescent preset.

Ricoh WG-5 GPS Digital filters

Digital Filters - You can select from several image tones when shooting (bright, natural, vibrant, slide film, and monochrome). When you have finished shooting you can enter playback to edit your pictures with a number of digital filters.

Video - The camera records full HD video and optical zoom is available and quality is good, however noise from the lens is quite loud when using the optical zoom.

Value For Money

The Ricoh WG-5 GPS is available for £233 which makes it reasonable value for money, although other cameras are available with both GPS and Wi-Fi for a similar price:

Olympus Tough TG-850, Tilting screen, £199
Nikon Coolpix AW130, 30m, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC, £255
Panasonic Lumix FT5, 13m, Wi-Fi, GPS, £206
Olympus Tough TG-3, 15m, Wi-Fi, GPS, £299
Canon Powershot D30, 25m, GPS, £209

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Ricoh WG-5 GPS Verdict

The Ricoh WG-5 GPS is a tough, action orientated waterproof camera, with a provided carabiner strap making it easy to attach to your clothing or belt. It also has a unique feature of a front LCD display which will light up and show you the time, even when the camera is off. Macro performance is impressive, with the camera featuring 6 LED lights to ensure your subject is well lit, making this camera particularly suited for macro photography. However, images quality offered by the camera is disappointing, with noise visible, even when shooting on bright sunny days. If you shoot images to share online then colour is good, and images should be good enough, although the lack of Wi-Fi may make other cameras more appealing.


Ricoh WG-5 GPS Pros

Fast f/2.0 lens
HDR built in
Good colour
Carabiner strap provided
Impressive macro mode
6 LED lights for macro photographs
Good range of digital filters for editing photos
Electronic level

Ricoh WG-5 GPS Cons

Awkward tripod socket position
Doesn't feature a panoramic mode
Noise in images
Doesn't feature Wi-Fi
Red LED flashes every time a photo is taken



Ricoh WG-5 GPS Specifications

Max Aperturef/2 - f/4.9
35mm equivalent25mm - 100mm
Optical Zoom4x
Image Sensor
Pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/2.3inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460k
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Snap
  • Infinity
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest4sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity125 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shootingNo Data
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
Video FPS30fps
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium-Ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating)240shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsRechargeable lithium-ion battery D-LI92, Power adapter D-PA135, USB cable I-USB7, Carabiner strap, Macro stand O-MS2, Software (CD-ROM) S-SW145

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Photographs taken using the Ricoh WG-5 GPS

ReflectionsPurple flowersLandscape in IcelandFlowerFrosty PansiesSnow on treesSnow

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