Ricoh R8 Concise Review
11 Conclusion & samples
Conclusion - Pros
- Very compact body for the zoom range
- Good lens with a very versatile zoom range
- Sharp and detailed results at low ISO (although some artifacts visible 'up close')
- Effective macro mode
- Good responsiveness and overall speed (although focus slows down a lot in low light)
- Superb user interface and menus - intuitive and customizable
- Excellent high resolution screen
- Good build quality and attractive design
- AF/AE target very useful for macro work
- In-camera levels and white balance correction
- Good flash recycling times
- Good resolution and little distortion even at the wide end
- Many manual controls
- 'Time Exposure' and 'Fixed min. Aperture' options (although real 'A' and 'S' modes would be preferable)
Conclusion - Cons
- Very slow focus and focus hunting in low light
- Face Detection unreliable and only available as a shooting mode
- Ineffective image stabilization system, not available in movie mode
- Zoom and focus pretty noisy
- White balance under artificial light not brilliant, very unreliable at ISO 400 and higher
- Heavy purple fringing on high contrast edges
- The usual small sensor highlight clipping
- Noise reduction smears very fine detail even at base ISO
- Generally slightly over-processed appearence when viewed up-close (lots of sharpening and artefacts)
- Poor flash performance, flash not adjustable
- Some corner softness at wider focal lengths
- Very basic video mode, Image stabilization not available in video mode
- High video compression with visible artifacts
I can honestly say that I very much enjoyed using the Ricoh R8 while working on this review but I'll also quote Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who once wrote: 'There is strong shadow where there is much light'. So, if you are thinking about purchasing an R8 I recommend you make an effort and read this entire review to make sure the camera matches your requirements and does not shade your photographic ventures with one of its shortcomings.
Ok, let's get started with the light then and there is plenty of it on the R8. The camera is beautifully built to start with and the minimalist design makes the R8 stand out visually from the usual Ixus/Lumix/Coolpix mish mash.
The user interface - controls and menus - is superb. It allows for quick access to the camera's rich feature set, it is intuitive and most importantly is customizable. This ensures easy modification of the shooting parameters which are most crucial to you - you can even save two sets of settings and access them via the mode dial on the camera's top plate. The R8 generally also reacts pretty swiftly to your input, it is fairly responsive although in low light the focus can get almost painfully slow, especially at the long end of the lens.
While it can certainly be classified as a compact camera the R8 is not a point and shoot and to leave no doubt about that Ricoh has not included a 'Full Auto' mode. Even when the mode dial is set to the green camera symbol (which on most compacts indicates the 'Auto Pilot') you still have quite a number of parameters to play with (there are some scene modes though). It is certainly useful to have some basic understanding of photographic controls (or at least to read the manual) when working with the R8.
The feature list also includes some interesting stuff such as a movable AF/AE spot (very handy for macro work on a tripod), in-camera levels and white balance adjustment and a manual focus mode. You don't get proper 'A' or 'S' modes although there is a 'Time exposure' option for long exposures and an option to set the minimum aperture (or more likely maximum defraction, the usefulness of this setting on a compact camera with only two aperture settings is certainly questionable).
The Ricoh engineers deserve some credit for designing a lens that covers a very versatile zoom range and still fully retracts into a fairly compact camera body. Is is even more remarkable that the lens produces sharp output at all focal lengths with only some corner softness at the wide end. The lens contributes a good deal to the R8's good results at low sensitivities. Images are detailed and usable 'out of the box' and produce excellent prints at standard sizes, especially daylight shots.
Let's move to the shadowy bits of this review then. There are a few of them, flash performance probably being the darkest one. If you are looking for a camera to take flash pictures at the pub or at parties you better stop reading now and start looking for alternatives. The R8's flash performance is pretty poor to say the least. The flash is quite underpowered to start with but even when subjects are actually positioned within its reach the flash exposure gets it wrong more often than not. Unfortunately the R8 does not offer any flash compensation either, so the only solution for this problem is to play with subject distance and ISO and hope for the best. Not ideal if you only have one opportunity to nail your shot. To add insult to injury flash white balance is pretty unreliable as well. We were also slightly disappointed by the obvisous heavy noise reduction at lower ISO settings (though unless you're pixel peeping it's not a massive problem; as mentioned, at normal print sizes / low ISO the images look very good).
Everybody, including Ricoh, knows that in 2008 you cannot sell a camera that hasn't got a Face Detection feature. At DPReview we have never really been too sure how valuable this is, but on the R8 the feature does not even serve as a novel party trick. The detection rate is pretty low and decreases even more in low light. On the other hand the camera detects quite a few faces where there definitely aren't any to be found. Annoyingly Face Detection on the R8 has not been implemented as a function but as a mode. You have to set the camera to Face Detection scene mode and by doing so lose a lot of control over other features.
Movie mode is another weak point, it is very basic, the output is heavily compressed and image stabilization is not available when filming. The latter is not that much of a loss though, the effectiveness of Ricoh's IS is way below of what we've seen on other manufacturers' cameras anyway.
So, coming back to the introductory paragraph of this conclusion, you see lots of light but also some quite dark shadows when looking at the Ricoh R8. If you want a point and shoot to take pictures in full auto mode, if you take lots of flash pictures of your mates on nights out or if your mode dial is set to 'video' all the time forget about the R8. You'll find much better alternatives in one of the more established manufacturers' catalogues. If you however are looking for a compact camera with a true wide angle and a long zoom range that offers good image quality at low sensitivities and a large number of parameters to play with go and get one now, you'll enjoy working with it.
All in all, depending on your photographic requirements, the R8 can be a very powerful tool that is well deserving of our 'Recommended' badge and if the Ricoh engineers manage to sort out some of the flaws described above we will be very much looking forward to the announcement and review of the R9.
Great for: a pocketable 'walkaround' camera for use in daylight
Not good for: low light, indoors (social snaps), movies, producing big detailed enlargements.
|Detail||Rating (out of 10)|
|Ergonomics & handling||8.5|
There are 34 images in the samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.
Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution. A reduced size image (within 1024 x 1024 bounds) is provided to be more easily viewed in your browser. As always the original untouched image is available by clicking on this reduced image.
Ricoh R8 Review Samples
|Patrick Finds Inner Peace by ecastellon|
from Your best photo of the week!
|Forks by Kukla|
from Arranged everyday objects
Calumet UK and Wex Photographic, two of the biggest photography retailers in the United Kingdom, are going to officially merge tomorrow.
macOS High Sierra came out today, but if you use a Wacom tablet you need to wait a few weeks before you upgrade. According to Wacom, they won't have a compatible driver ready for you until "late October."
Do you think a $3,000 Canon 80D video rig can compete with an $80,000+ Arri Alexa setup? Well it can't, but check out this video anyway to see how the rigs compare.
Seven simple rules to make sure you get the most out of your next photography outing.
Vitec, the company that owns popular accessory maker Manfrotto, has just acquired JOBY and Lowepro for a cool $10.3 million in cash. The acquisition adds JOBY and Lowepro to Vitec's already sizable collection of camera gear brands.
A master drone pilot has captured one of the most incredible (and highly illegal) drone videos we've ever seen by flying around, inside, onto, and under a moving train.
Intel just debuted their 8th generation desktop CPUs, and the lineup packs a performance boost for 'content creators' that photo and video editors might be intrigued by.
Canon is developing a 'Free Viewpoint Video System' that will turn real life sports games and events into immersive 3D interactive experiences. It's video game-like camera control IRL.
A veteran photojournalist, Rick Wilking secured a spot in the path of totality for the August solar eclipse. While things didn't quite pan out as predicted, an unexpected subject in the sky and a quick reaction made for a once-in-a-lifetime shot.
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.