Ricoh's Caplio 400G seems to rely upon novelty value to attract customers. It is dubbed as a water-resistant, highly durable camera and when looking at the cost, feature set and camera as a whole, it becomes clear there is not much else on offer. Unfortunately, even the water resistance is poorly implemented, making the 400G a less than desirable purchase.
- Reasonable features
- Big, poorly sealed, limited underwater function, weak sensor, expensive
A novelty camera that fails at its only gimmick.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
The camera is massive. Measuring 13 x 7 x 7.5cm, it feels like a camera pulled right out of last decade. It is cased in heavy plastic and appears at first glance to be a sturdy, underwater-ready model. However, the 400G is designed to shoot at a depth of just 1 metre for up to half an hour, which doesn't feel like enough for any real underwater usage. It can be used in a shallow pool for example, but is unsuitable for any sort of deep water or diving shots. Being able to submerge the camera in water is a nice touch, but with those limitations it just feels like a gimmick.
After our underwater tests, we found the camera was still leaking water six hours after being dried off. Its construction may be suited to gritty, outdoors use, but there are other, equally sturdy cameras that are much better value for money.
The underwater photos themselves were also less than impressive. The camera comes with no underwater shooting mode, which is very strange for a model billed as an underwater camera. Thus, the pictures were very blurry and lacking in definition. There are six preset modes which cover a bare range of circumstances, including portrait, night mode and landscape.
The regular pictures we took came out slightly better. For a 3.2 megapixel model, the 400G produces some very good images, a little blurred, but great colour and reasonable detail. For the price of this camera, however, you can get a solid 6 or seven 7 model with far superior performance.
The limited underwater use really isn't enough to justify the purchase of this model, especially as other cameras come in "weatherproof" designs, or with optional underwater cases. It is also worth noting the manual doesn't seem to mention anything about the water-resistant qualities of the camera, or instruct you in its use underwater, which made the situation even more frustrating for us.
We were hoping the camera would salvage some dignity with a decent set of features and this is one area in which it did a reasonable job. The camera has very basic white balance, exposure and sharpness controls, as well as simple continuous shot function and a 3X optical zoom. We did like the manual shutter speed control, which extended from 1/2000th to eight seconds. This is a nice range for such a low-megapixel model, and gives that extra little bit of control.
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