Ricoh G600 review

Started Feb 2, 2010 | User reviews thread
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schaki
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Ricoh G600 review
Feb 2, 2010

From the field - Some that studiotesting not always cover

I'm going to compare it to the 400G which I had.

Operation is imo very quick actually, once I got used to it. The same goes for the 400G

*Noisiness - General.

The G600 is extremely silent except for the buttons (everyone except the power and shutter release) which clicks a little loud for my taste. The 400G is dead silent on that criteria

*AF and zoom noise and general focusing.

G600: Noiseiness. Very low, I can't hear it or the zoom work unless I put my ear next to it. The same goes for the AF and I can barely hear the shutter.

400G: I can hear the zoom and shutter work, but it is silent enough to not make any sense. The same goes for the AF (except in macro mode) which make a reasonable low rattling
noise and the shutter is only highly marginally more loud than the G600.

*Performance

G600: AF is quick in daylight and less so indoors/low light. Even though it use to find focus. Sometimes it don't lock and need to be refocused one or two times.

Macro: G600 I think it is quick and accurate. Unlike the 400G, It have a cross which can be moved around. Very useful and really should be available in normal AF too.

400G: AF is quick in daylight and indoors/low light. As with the G600, It may need one or two attempt to lock.

Also worth to mention: Sometimes it stalls when I do the halfpress and won't focus immediately, even though the light is good. I don't know what is causing that. Maybe because I didn't use the special battery but Sanyo Eneloops AA? I had the latest firmware installed.

Macro: Marginally slower than the G600 and almost as accurate. No cross which can be moved around as far as I know though.

*IQ and lens performance

G600: I have so far only used it at iso 100 except for a few iso samples. But I think that it is noisy already at iso 100 and it do not look very impressive I think. Also colored noise in dark parts of the images.

There is also CA/purple fringing in high contrast around edges (Actually a little worse than the 400G, though I compensate equally with slight underExposing, also to save highlights). There also seems to be a fair bit of some kind of barrel distortion and slight softness.

400G: I used it mostly at Iso 125 (lowest iso) and the noise when it shows up may look like some kind of dirt and a little colored in darker parts.
My impression is that 400G is a little sharper, not that much barrel distortion.

It seem have equally good/bad DR as the G600 and both require slight underexposing not to blow highlights.
Lens:

My general impression is that 400G is having a shorter but overall optically better lens performance. 28-85m f2.6- (dont rembember but may have been 5.2 on the long end?) VS 28-140mm f3.5-5.5.

That extra reach may come in handy sometimes, even though I didn't think very often that 85mm is a bit short and rather would swap that for a lens which is faster on the wide end instead. But that's just me.

*The LCD.

G600: Big and very good actually, I haven't used it in sunlight yet though.

400G. Small but OK even for manual macro-focus. Not very impressive in sunlight but atleast there is a viewfinder.

I can also mention that the G600 at least have nice contrast and clarity.

Problems:

AWB not very good indoors. Bad looking noise already at iso 100, especially in the shadows.
Barrel distortion. In Ricohs defense, I can say that they are probably not responsible for that zoom, but rather Pentax or Sanyo. see this thread:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1013&message=35542030

I chose to give it only 2.5 for IQ. Not because it is exactly that bad, but obviously it have gone slightly backwards since the two previous models and that's not what one could expect to happen.

AF is painfully slow in low light and fails to lock sometimes.

All buttons except the shutter and power-button clicks too loud and the result is non discreet operation.
On occasions I've had to help the camera with exposure-compensation - Click click click, and people around sometimes takes unwanted notice and an opportunity have been lost. A pity as it otherwise is a pretty silent camera.

I always liked the silent operation that the Ricoh 400G provided me with.

Limited dynamic range.

Update: I've now sold the G600. I didn't like the loud buttons, slow AF in low light or how the noise looked (not good in general and not for B&W in which the 500G/SE gets close to the GRD1)
The G600 is not all bad though. Overall it just didn't suit my needs. And as mentioned, the development have gone backwards on quite a few points compared to the 500G/SE and 400G.

I can only hope that Ricoh is going to bring the line (IQ and performance-wise) back on the right path again with the G700. Unfortunately I am probably not going to be able to spend my money on that camera, unless it turns out to be a good carry anywhere that might suit me as my "main compact camera"

However, I think that Ricoh is on the right trail with G600's slimmed body, but some quirks really should be ironed out in the next model.

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