micbinks - UK holiday, leisure & tourist attraction images

Product Review - Digital Compact Camera

Belinda and Mike - follow our tourist travels in the UK

Digital Camera Review Update of the Ricoh Caplio R7

Update Sept 2009 - one year on.  Living with our digital camera.

Ricoh Caplio R7 digital camera

Well, it's just over a year since we bought our little Ricoh Caplio R7 digital camera and we have to say we're very pleased with it.  So pleased in fact, that we bought another one!  No, we're not madly spending to single-handedly fix the economy, but as this camera model run ended we temptingly found old stock available at a hefty reduction and figured a second identical camera would be useful so we could each carry one.  (Erm, it's not quite identical - it's a different colour, Belinda wouldn't have it any other way!).

Anyway, back to the update.  Both cameras continue to work well and produce vivid images.  Let's start with the positives (not that there's really any negatives though!) starting with...

Camera settings
If you read our original review you may remember we said we initially left the focus and metering at the default multi-zone settings.  But this seemed to result in a number of shots where the auto-focus messed up when it shouldn't have.  So we tried the spot focus zone instead and this fixed the problem.  Also initially we set the image quality to the highest 8 mega-pixel (mpx) 'fine' setting.  We've retained this, but changed the aspect ratio from 4:3 to 3:2 (6:4) to better fit with standard print sizes and widescreen trends.  Finally, for low light situations we now simply use the high sensitivity scene mode – we found a quick flick of the mode switch is so much quicker than faffing with ISO and exposure compensation and risk missing that never-to-be repeated shot.

Ongoing operational quirks(?)
We're still getting the screen flicker for a while after changing an exhausted battery for a charged one.  This only happens if the battery discharges completely with the camera on, it causes the camera to shut down, the critical point being when the battery charge gauge turns red.  Yes, we know we should change the battery well before this point, but, well, you know... we'll get a few more shots in won't we?  Then we tend to forget the gauge and... opps, too late!

We highlighted some concerns surrounding what we thought to be the rather high JPEG image compression.  Although this doesn't seem to manifest itself with the - horror of horrors - dreaded JPEG jaggies, on closer inspection we have noticed some image noise in areas of high saturation, even in excellent lighting.  This only seems apparent with the 8mpx setting, we use a lower pixel setting for exclusive web images where it's unnoticeable.  Then again, perhaps we're being too fussy for a compact camera (yes you are Mike).

We've found the auto white balance copes well under mixed lighting and rarely has to be adjusted.  And although we still like the continuous shot mode, the downside is the hundreds of images generated to (groan) painstakingly pick through later!

So now we have two little Ricoh Caplio R7s accompanying us on our travels.  And they both make the same horrible whirring and grating noises from the lens mechanism which is, in fact, quite reassuring; after all, if the second one was quiet then we would be worried!

So this camera gets the thumbs up from us.  We'll report back in another year to let you know if all's still rosy.

 

Update Oct 2010 - two years on - yep, all's still rosy!
Both cameras continue to work just fine as tested and we've had no issues with either.  Well, that was a quick update!  We'll report back in another year to let you know if all's still rosy.

 

Update Oct 2011 - three years on - all OK.
Everything's just fine with both our Ricoh Caplio R7 digital compact cameras.  There's just one thing to report.  We notice that if the subject isn't focused when squeezing the button at the start of a continuous shot sequence all the subsequent images will be out-of-focus.  That can result in dozens (or potentially hundreds) of useless pics!  The way round this is to ensure focus by half-pressing the shutter release until the centre box on the display turns green on the subject, then fully press to start off the shots.  Yes we know this seems obvious but in the heat of the moment this isn't always remembered!  Doh!

We had the chance to compare our 8 mega-pixel compact against a more recent (decent) 14 mega-pixel one during a visit to IWM Duxford and can report it holds up well.  Our Ricoh Caplio R7 shows less picture noise on same shots despite having almost half the number of pixels!

 

Update Oct 2012 - now four.
All is still mostly working well with our Ricoh Caplio R7 digital compact cameras after four years of (mainly) summer use.  Erm, summer that is until the un-summer like intense rain of summer 2012, during which we took a holiday in Wiltshire.  However, this gave an opportunity (well, you've gotta look for a positive) to use the cameras in yucky weather and we're pleased to report the cameras survived, barring the frequent need to clear the lens and LCD screen of rain.

Ricoh Caplio R7 - blown pixel sampleWe're still discovering new things with this digital camera and one that manifested itself this period was that the 3:2 aspect ratio we have set as default isn't preserved on the high sensitivity scene mode (used in very low light); it changes to 4:3 which is mildly annoying.  Maybe a design quirk.  And another small annoyance we noticed is a duff pixel on the image sensor (not screen) glowing bright white - right where it's most noticeable in the near centre image area.  It's not too visible on bright scenes, but of course once you know it's there, you keep noticing it!

Right. That bright spot on this figurines forehead shows the blown pixel. Full pic is 4th in our Salisbury Cathedral collection.pixels!

 

Update Mar 2014 - still good at almost six.
Now, can our Ricoh Caplio R7 digital cameras really be six years old!  Oh yes, we're still using them (check our pics from Kent and Harry Potter tour last year) and both are still performing well, although strangely the colours appear more vivid on one than the other using identical settings.  Of course in those intervening years digital cameras have become even more advanced, particularly with mega-pixel count, optical zooms, GPS tagging and Wi-Fi enabling.  And mobile device cameras have improved to such an extent as to be snapping at the heals of digital compacts such as this by-now ageing Ricoh Caplio R7.

For our next move in the digital camera arena we're looking towards a so called bridge camera, or maybe a dSLR with HD video capability, although this could be too chunky/heavy (and pricey!) for our largely casual use. Hmm, decisions, decisions...

We'll probably wrap the updates for the Ricoh Caplio R7 now, unless anything significant happens.

 

Update May 2015 - the seven year itch.
OK, perhaps just one more update then.  At seven years of age both our Ricoh Caplio R7 digital compact camera still work fine, even the batteries still hold their charge well, although on one occasion a battery drained completely resulting in a loss of all settings.  What a faff, resetting everything from the default!  To prevent a reoccurrence we now switch to a fully charged battery in good time, and NEVER leave the cameras unused for months with a low battery.

Despite having two identical Ricoh Caplio R7's colour differences between them became apparent, appearing more vivid on one (noted in last update).  We thought: different white balance settings, but on checking each was set up identically.  So we did some side-by-side test shots and confirmed the issue, even when setting the white balance manually.  A minor annoyance perhaps, and certainly after optimising in photoshop for our site's travel pages (see our brightly lit shots from Pembrokeshire last year and the dark environment of the Bond vehicles exhibition) the images are back in line, but sure is strange they can be so different from identical models.  Maybe one's aged more than the other.

One of the cameras now has a permanent dark area, erm, caused when Mike inadvertently pointed it at the bright sun while snapping away at an air show - opps!  It only shows (on the top right of the frame) when zoomed in and has become less pronounced in time but there's a lesson here - never point a camera towards the sun!  Got that Mike?

But considering the camera's age we weren't too bothered, and it's given us the impetus to look around for our next camera which we'll probably get before 2015's summer season of trips out.  We're currently considering options - system camera, bridge camera or go the whole hog with a DSLR.  More megapixels, more zoom, more features - yum!  Update June '15 - we purchased the Nikon Coolpix P610, check out our Wye Valley / Forest of Dean holiday for photos taken with it.

That really is the wraps now for our Ricoh Caplio R7 updates!

See the main digital camera review.

 

You can find the Ricoh UK website at: www.ricoh-imaging.co.uk

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You can view our Gower holiday, Cotswold holiday and Cornwall holiday pics taken with this camera.