Compared to... Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3

Its compact dimensions and versatile zoom range put the Ricoh R8 in direct competition to Panasonic's well established TZ range. Both Ricoh and Panasonic feature a long zoom lens with a very useful 28mm wide angle. Panasonic has just announced the TZ4 (8 megapixels) and TZ5 (9 megapixels) but unfortunately we don't have these brand new models available for review yet. So for the purpose of this comparison we have chosen the TZ3 which has been on the market for a little while and offers a slightly lower resolution at 7MP. We have included samples for the lowest standard ISO settings and at ISO 400 and 800.

Studio scene comparison (R8 @ ISO 64, TZ3 @ ISO 100)  

  • Ricoh R8: Program mode, ISO 64, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation

  • Panasonic DMC-TZ3: Program mode, ISO 100, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.33 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Ricoh R8
Panasonic DMC-TZ3
ISO 64, 1/52 sec, F4.2
ISO 100, 1/80 sec, F4.4
3,518 KB JPEG
3,396 KB JPEG

Looking at the images it is apparent that the Ricoh makes good use of its 3MP advantage over the Panasonic and, in combination with its excellent lens, produces visibly sharper, more detailed output at base ISO. The TZ3 in turn produces slightly cleaner output. On the downside there are visibly more sharpening, noise reduction and compression artifacts in the Ricoh image. In any case, it will be difficult to spot the differences on a normal size print or screen but at a pixel level they are quite obvious.

Edge to edge sharpness is excellent although our R8 has a soft bottom right corner at this particular focal length (50mm equiv.). All in all both cameras produce perfectly usable 'out of the box' shots at base ISO.