For those of you who may have been awaiting my verdict regarding the Ricoh Caplio GX100, the verdict is in. Its great! I have been a fan (and proud owner) of the Ricoh GR digital, which is still my 'carry around camera' but the GX100 has a couple of features the GR does not, and I have enjoyed using them.
It has wider lens, the 35mm equivalent of a 24mm, but its 3x zoom is very handy. Yesterday I tool this little baby to a local flea market and found it perfect for those 'still lifes' that present themselves. Its interesting how life often presents itself in a natural symmetry.
There is one thing Ricoh know how to do. They sure know how to make a compact digital that is out of the box. But I mean that in a good way. This is certainly true of the Caplio GX 100. I have been a very outspoken fan of the Ricoh GR digital, but the Caplio GX100 is another reason to just love how they design a compact digital camera.
On the surface, the Ricoh Caplio GX100 is a 10 megapixel compact with a 3x optical zoom. So far, it is not unlike many other compacts. But, as easy as it can be to use, it also allows the creative photographer lots of room to move. This is however only one feature where it stands apart from other compact digital cameras. The Caplio GX100 has been designed to produce incredibly high quality images and its design bears that out.Apart from being incredibly sharp, the 3x optical zoom also excels in that it is the 35mm equivalent of a 24-70mm. This extra width is more practical, allowing for wonderful wide angle landscapes and dynamic, creative images. Then it can offer you portraits at the 70mm setting. More than that however, there is the optional 19mm wide conversion lens that makes the dynamics of super wide angle images possible.
The 10 megapixel resolution would be concern for many who would immediately worry about image noise. However the image processing engine in the camera seriously removes this concern. The images are sharp, colourful and perfectly exposed. The 11-element lens, as we have said, is incredibly sharp and its 7 bladed aperture means beautifully blurred backgrounds, ideal for highlighting the subject. It is this kind of design and forethought that really does set this camera apart.
The Caplio GX100 can be as easy to use as any point-and-shoot, or allow you complete control over the exposure – without having to sort through endless menus. The mode dial on top offers you the choice of Manual, Aperture Priority or Program, with Scene, My1 and M2 and movie also available. My1 and My2 allow you to quickly revert to your preferred operating and creative settings. The dial on the front of the camera allows you to quickly change aperture and the Adjust lever on the rear allows you to change shutter speeds. For low light shooting, the camera is fitted with Vibration Correction – the real thing, not some phoney preventative measure like other cameras. The camera moves the CCD to compensate for any camera movement, and let me tell you – it works brilliantly.
The GX100 has no viewfinder. Rather, it has a large, bright 2.5 inch screen. But, for those who love a viewfinder or have reason to need one, there is an optional external viewfinder available. It even accepts an external flash.Quite simply, this is an incredibly well thought out camera, designed for the discerning photographer who wants a creative tool by his side while having the option to point and shoot at family gatherings if the need arises. It is a class act from the ground up.
The lens is also very very sharp. And, for a 10MP compact, there is not much noise at all. Compacts with this kind of megapixel rating often negate the resolution offered by the amount of pixels with high levels of noise. Mind you, I was able to shoot at 100 ISO, and the vibration reduction mode has been fantastic in low light conditions. Nonetheless, this lens is very sharp, and the colour, white balance and exposure has all been very pleasing indeed.
If you are looking for a compact to carry around that gives you control and great pictures, consider this one very seriously.
I want to keeeeeep ittttt!