Timing & Performance
The Ricoh R8 is responsive and reacts swiftly to user input in most situations. The 3rd generation Smooth Imaging Engine is doing a decent job in the R8. The camera takes just under two second to get ready for shooting. That's mostly owed to the extending lens and well within acceptable limits.
Focus speed is a bit of a weakness. It takes approximately 0.4 sec to focus at wide angle and 0.6 sec at the tele end of the lens which is mostly in line with the competition. In low light however these figures can increase significantly to about 1.1 sec and 2.0 sec respectively which might make you miss a crucial shot. No reason to complain about the shutter lag; 0.1 seconds is good-to-standard.
All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3648 x 2736 Fine JPEG image (approx. 3,500 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 4.0 GB Sandisk Extreme III card.
|Power: Off to Record||1.9|
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||3.0|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||2.1|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens retracted||-|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens extended||1.7|
|Record Review||Image displayed||0.5|
|Mode: Record to Play||1.1|
|Mode: Play to Record||lens extracted||0.1|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (16x)||1.8|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||0.5|
|Play: Thumbnail view||5 x 4 thumbnails||1.7|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||28 to 200 mm (7.1 x) full speed||1.1|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Wide angle, single shot focus||~0.4 *1|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Telephoto, single shot focus||~0.6 *1|
|Pre-focus Lag (S1>S2)||LCD live view||~0.1|
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD live view, wide angle||~0.6|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||~1.8|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||~1.6|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on ( red eye reduction on / off)||~2.8 / ~ 3.7|
|*1||Focus can slow down significantly in low light - to about 1.1 seconds at the wide end and 2.0 seconds at the tele end|
Continuous drive mode
The R8 has a standard continuous shooting mode which offers approximately 1.4 frames per second at maximum file size / quality settings (it accelerates slightly to 1.6 fps at lower settings). You can't see a preview when shooting bursts, but there is a brief review image displayed after each exposure. The maximum number of shots you can take in one burst is 999 if you use a fast card, enough for the vast majority of applications.
Apart from the standard mode there is also continuous S (Stream) which takes 16 shots in about 2 seconds when you press the shutter. The sequence of images is then grouped together and put out in one 10MP image file. Very useful to analyze deficiencies in your golf swing.
The third option is continuous M (Memory reversal). In this mode the camera captures continuously at the same rate as in Cont S. However, images are not written onto the memory card. You have to keep the shutter pressed and only once you release it the previous two seconds are recorded into a file the same way as in Cont S mode.
File writing / playback performance
We weren't able to measure file writing times on the R8 due to the lack of an activity indicator light but the camera takes around 0.5 seconds to display a 3.5 MB 10MP/Fine JPEG. That's not bad at all for a camera of this type - the R8 will certainly benefit from using faster cards. Image playback is very swift too at 0.5 sec.
Battery life is on the low side of average; approx 270 shots (CIPA standard) per charge is not too impressive but should get you through a normal day of shooting. Just make sure you charge the battery before you go out, the display indicates 'fully charged' for quite some time and then tends to drop down to 'empty' quite quickly. So don't let that fool yourself.