Ricoh WG-50

Ricoh WG-50

16MP, 1/2.3" BSI-CMOS sensor | 28-140mm equiv. F3.3-5.5 lens | 1080/30p video capture

What we like:

  • Versatile zoom range
  • Good rugged credentials
  • Built-in macro ring lights

What we don't:

  • Lacks image stabilization
  • Low resolution LCD has 16:9 aspect ratio, which is poor for stills
  • No wireless connectivity
The Ricoh WG-50 is a modestly-priced midrange rugged camera with a 16MP BSI CMOS sensor and 28-140mm equivalent F3.3-5.5 zoom lens. It has a distinctive design, complete with six LEDs around the lens for macro shooting. The WG-50 lacks optical image stabilization, which is a shame.
The WG-50's body is mostly composite and is able to dive 14m / 45ft underwater or be dropped from 1.6m / 5.2ft, which is respectable. The LCD is low resolution and the default brightness level is way too high (making photos look overexposed). The decision to use a 'widescreen' 16:9 screen is good for video but means a quarter of the screen area goes unused if you shoot full resolution images. There are two doors on the body which hide ports, the memory card and battery, though unlike other cameras in this class they only have one lock, which doesn't inspire confidence. The WG-50's menu system looks dated, there's no GPS and the camera lacks Wi-Fi.
The lack of both image stabilization and Wi-Fi are surprising (in a bad way)
Autofocus is fairly slow by modern standards, especially in low light, and the AF tracking feature was unreliable. The camera can shoot continuously at 8 fps (for up to 10 shots) and faster at much lower resolutions. Battery life is rated at a respectable 300 shots per charge.
Image quality from the WG-50 isn't great, thanks to a relatively soft lens and noise reduction. We have found that the camera's metering system often overexposes, so exposure compensation has to be used frequently. Low light photos aren't great, either, since the lens is slow and the sensor is small. As with most of the camera in this class, there's no Raw support.
The camera's 1080/30p video is taken from a crop of the sensor and offers very limited control. Videos look a bit soft and wobbly, and the electronic shake reduction doesn't work terribly well. High speed (60 fps) video is available at 720p resolution, which feels a little outdated. There are no video controls to speak of and there's no way to turn off continuous AF, which can result in undesirable focus hunting.
Overall the Ricoh WG-50 is a sensibly sized rugged camera with reasonable specs and a competitive price tag. Its image quality is, at best, on par with modern smartphones, which means that its main advantage is its rugged capabilities and zoom lens. The lack of both image stabilization and Wi-Fi are surprising (in a bad way) at this point, which is why we'd recommend others cameras in this class.

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