Ricoh Caplio R3 review
Nice truly pocketable camera, ideal for travel. Camera, charger and a bunch of 1 gig SD cards makes a nice small package.
Construction seems a little flimsy (particularly the battery door) but no problems so far.
Very fast to turn on and shoot, no more lost shots waiting for camera to "warm up".
The 28mm equivalent wide angle is absolutely essential for a serious traveller for many shots.
Image quality out of box needs some help, I've set mine to biggest jpeg, Softest sharpening, Lowest Contrast, -0.3 stops underexposure. Also set it to 3:2 ratio as most images will be 4"x6" printed. That allows over 500 images on a 1 gig card.
Battery life of at least 300 shots, never saw flat warning as we re-charge each night.
All shots always look much better when PSP X Smart Photo Fix is applied with some judicious fine-tuning.
Used from ISO 64 to 800 without hesitation in order to get shots we needed, Neat Image or similar cleans them up well.
Rear LCD worked OK in full sunlight, it could be brighter but that will need the next evolution in LCD technology.
Overall, a great little camera, I would buy another one right now without waiting for any improvements that may come with the R4.
Months later.... the R3 is still an extremely useful camera for my wife and I. The only added comments are about the flash. Our R3 really was bad with flash, but a warranty fix for the worn shutter button and 'recalibration' of the flash fixed the flash so that it works exactly as the manual specifies. The flash range is very limited so read the book and understand that. Flash needs Auto ISO to be reliable within its limited range.
For more Ricoh info see my web pages.....
(remove the space in 'h ttp' to make the link work)
Tends to blow highlights a bit, hence the 0.3 stop underexposure setting. Soft helps keep the jpeg clean, and Colour = Neutral helps avoid highlight overload.
After a few thousand shots the "chrome" shutter button is showing definite wear signs where the finger touches it, not a problem as we have 11 months of warranty left to fix that.
Slight barrel distortion at widest but not enough to warrant fixing every shot.
Image noise seems a bit higher than other cameras I've tried but it cleans up well to make a nice 4"x6" print. But careful side-by-side tests with the later R4 camera with both at ISO 64 show that the R3 is less noisy than the later camera.
Added later..... In low light AF can be unreliable, use Manual Focus to fix that. Be aware that the menu choice of "Infinity" is actually about 30 metres so at max tele the distance will be out of Focus.