Ricoh has today announced the Caplio G3, a three megapixel, three times optical zoom digital camera with SD/MMC storage (and 8 MB of internal storage). The big selling point of the Caplio G3 is (Ricoh's claim) the fastest focusing speed and shutter lag of any digital camera in this class. The G3 will be available in three variations: the base G3 (black, plastic body), G3 model M (black, magnesium body), G3 model S (silver, plastic body, supplied voice software). Personally I think it's a little confusing for Ricoh to choose a product name identical to Canon's well known PowerShot G3.

Click here for sample images from the Caplio G3 (Ricoh Japan)

Press Release:

Announcing the Release of the Caplio G3

Ricoh Pioneers the World's Fastest Shutter Response on its Stylish 3.24-Megapixel
Digital Zoom Camera

Tokyo, February 13, 2003. Ricoh is extremely pleased to announce the release of the Caplio G3 digital camera.

With a blazing 0.14-second shutter response time, the new 3.24-Megapixel Caplio G3 has done what no digital camera has done before - exceed the speed of a conventional 35mm camera - a major milestone that makes it the world's fastest in its class. *

* As of February 1, 2003 for all auto-focus digital cameras. Speed measured as time between depressing shutter release button and starting exposure in auto-focus mode without using focus lock.

Building on the runaway success of the revolutionary Caplio RR30, which in the autumn of 2002 had the world's fastest shutter response at just 0.22-seconds, the Caplio G3's ability to capture action opportunities quickly and reliably is further complemented with a stylish body shape that was designed to fit comfortably in the photographer's hand.

The Caplio G3 also boasts the choice of an optional long-lasting lithium-ion battery that enables hundreds of shots to be taken between charges, two convenient AA alkaline or nickel metal hydride batteries, or an AC adapter to power the camera. Its impressive 3.24 effective megapixel CCD that features a 3x optical zoom lens and a 3.4x digital zoom and industry-leading 1-cm macros provide users with high-resolution images and an excellent range of shooting possibilities.

For action sequences, M-continuous mode allows the capture of the last 16 frames taken of a subject to one file, which is ideal for analyzing a golf swing. Users can also record up to 120 seconds of AVI video with sound.

The Caplio G3's high-sensitivity mode provides exceptional illumination of subjects in the dark, which aids framing and shooting. Moreover, with the imaging software provided, making instant image transfers from the Caplio G3 to USB-equipped personal computers is fast and easy.

"The Caplio G3 is a digital camera that makes all of us at Ricoh extremely proud. It's lightening fast, fits comfortably in user's hand, has a wonderful amount of functionality and most of all it's so simple to use!" says Katsunori Nakata, general manager of the Marketing Office at Ricoh's Personal Multimedia Products Company. "It's ideal for both personal and business users alike and a very positive contribution to the marketplace. We believe the Caplio G3 will significantly elevate the standard on how digital cameras will be made in the future."

Main Features

World's shortest release time lag
The Caplio G3 makes action photography a visible reality with the world's shortest release time lag of just 0.14-seconds - effectively eliminating the problematic slow shutter response time found on the vast majority of digital cameras today. The Caplio G3 achieves such speed with its hybrid auto-focusing system, comprising both external and through-the-lens focusing. From a jaw-dropping 1/2000th of a second to long exposures of 8 seconds, the shutter speed gives users the ability to capture a fantastic range of shooting possibilities.

Convenient and dependable power sources
Using the optional lithium-ion battery, the Caplio G3 can take a remarkable 3,500 shots* between recharges. An optional AC adapter is also available for those wishing to take advantage of a nearby power source; and the camera also has the rare ability to switch to two AA alkaline or nickel metal hydride batteries if the occasion calls for it.

* A maximum 3,500 shots under power-save mode (flash off, without zooming, LCD off, with VGA); up to 350 shots under normal usage conditions (with 50% flash and zoom usage, LCD on, 30 seconds between shots, reviews of all photos).

1 cm macro photography
The Caplio G3 makes macro photography exciting and addictive by capturing macros as close as 1cm from a subject. Get in super close to flowers, a brilliant engagement ring, even your clients' products and seize the smallest of details, even those practically invisible to the human eye.

The camera also offers macros across a zoom range of up to 16cm away, while the built-in flash can be used for shots as close as 16cm.

Multi-shot shooting
In M-continuous mode, with the shutter button held down the camera memorizes the last 16 shots, taken at 0.13-second intervals, in one file. This comes in handy when users are uncertain about the start or finish of a particular action. In S-continuous Mode, it can take a series of 16 shots - at 0.13-second intervals, for two seconds of footage - in one file with just one press of the shutter button. When reviewing the 16 shots during playback, each frame can be enlarged individually and quickly skimmed back and forth delivering a sense of animation to the viewer. All this makes it a useful and enjoyable tool to analyze golf swings and other action sequences. In normal continuous mode, the intervals are 0.3 seconds while the button is being pressed.

High-sensitivity display
The Caplio G3's high-sensitivity mode makes visibility in dim environments superior to most digital cameras on the marketplace today by illuminating subjects in the dark to aid in framing and shooting.

Simple image transfers
After installing the RICOH GATE L software into a Windows PC or Mac OS computer, simply turn off the camera and link the Caplio G3 up via a USB cable. The computer will then instantly start importing at an impressive speed of 3 megabytes per second. Mac OS X users can import images with iPhoto while Windows XP users can take advantage of Windows Image Acquisition.

Practical exposure options
The Caplio G3's 256-point light sensor scans the subject area to determine optimal exposure settings and also offers center-weighted and spot metering that incorporates auto-bracketing.

Compatible with Secure Digital memory cards
The Caplio G3 has 8MB of internal memory and can also use optional Secure Digital memory cards. These especially compact devices do not need a power source to store information and permit fast and simple downloads of images. The camera is also compatible with Multimedia cards.

Synchro monitor mode
In Synchro monitor mode, the Caplio G3 conserves power by turning the monitor off before shooting. The monitor comes on when the shutter button is pressed to preview a shot or operate the zoom, and remains on for several seconds after a picture is taken.

Quick reviews at the press of a button
Most cameras require users to switch modes if they want to review results. With the Caplio G3, however, users can take advantage of the "Quick review" capability in any shooting mode by simply pressing a button to display the most recently taken image.

Six distinct scene modes
The Caplio G3 offers six distinct scene modes: portrait, sports, landscape, night scene, text, and high-sensitivity, all of which help to optimize results depending on the shooting situation.

Video- and sound-recording capability
Another great feature of the Caplio G3 is that it can capture 120 seconds of AVI video with sound. This is perfect for times when motion paints a much brighter picture than stills. It also has sound-recording capabilities that enable the user to leave a 8-second "voice memo" stamp to photos taken, which also allows it to act as a convenient voice recorder.

Auto-bracket and white balance bracket
When challenging lighting situations arise, such as in heavy sunlight, the handy auto-bracketing function allows the user to take three individual shots, at different exposure settings, at one time. The same functionality applies to the white balance bracket setting by applying tones of red, normal white and blue to three separate images.

Caplio G3 design concept

Architect and industrial designer Masayuki Kurokawa, in collaboration with in-house designers at Ricoh, developed the Caplio G3's design concept. The Caplio G3's unique body shape was born from close observations on how we hold objects such as pens, soda cans, round stones, and regular 35mm cameras. This examination led directly to the rounded shape that the camera was granted, thus making it extremely comfortable to hold.

Ricoh Caplio G3 Specifications

Sensor 1/2.7" CCD, 3.34 million pixels
Effective pixels 3.2 million (JCIA standard)
Lens  • 3x optical zoom
 • 35 - 105 mm equiv.
 • F2.6 - F4.7
Digital zoom Yes, up to 3.4x
Focus range  • Normal: 30 cm (11.8 in) - Infinity
 • Macro: 1 / 16 - 60 cm (0.4 / 6.3 - 23.6 in)
Still sizes  • 2048 x 1536
 • 1280 x 960
 • 640 x 480
Movie sizes  • 320 x 240
 • 160 x 120
Image modes  • Fine
 • Normal
Record modes  • Still
 • Still & sound
 • Motion & sound
 • Voice memo
 • Continuous (S-Continuous, M-Continuous)
 • Scene (Portrait, Sports, Landscape, Text, Night scape, High sensitivity)
Sensitivity  • Auto
 • ISO 125
 • ISO 200
 • ISO 400
 • ISO 800
Shutter speed  • Still:  8 - 1/2000 sec
 • Movie: 1/30 - 1/2000 sec
Exposure comp. +/- 2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps
Metering  • Center weighted average
 • Spot
 • Multi spot
White balance  • Auto
 • Daylight
 • Overcast
 • Tungsten light
 • Fluorescent light
 • Manual one-push
Self timer 2 or 10 sec delay
Viewfinder Optical
LCD monitor  • 1.6" TFT LCD
 • 80,000 pixels
Connectivity  • USB 1.1 *1
 • AV out (audio & video)
Power  • 2 x AA batteries
or  • Lithium-Ion battery (optional)
Dimensions 124 x 36 x 56 mm (4.9 x 1.4 x 2.2 in)
Weight (no batt) 160 g (5.6 oz)

*1 Limited to PCs with Windows 98/98SE/2000/Me/XP pre-installed
or Macintosh with Mac OS 8.6-9.2.2/Mac OS X 10.1.2-10.2.1

Ricoh Caplio G3 variations

Ricoh Caplio G3 Ricoh Caplio G3 Model M (magnesium body)
Ricoh Capliio G3 Model S