Ricoh Australia Caplio R40
- Well balanced shots, Wide angle lens, Looks great
- Nothing of note
The R40 is a great compact model. It doesn't offer anything really innovative, but the solid image quality combined with a wide angle lens and a larger than normal zoom make it a nice choice
Price$ 449.00 (AUD)
Another solid entry by Ricoh into the compact camera market, the Caplio R40 is a similar product to the R4 we looked at recently. The big differences are a new colour scheme and a wide angle lens which Ricoh has combined with their trademark style and sophistication to make a very reasonable compact model.
Like most other Ricoh models, the R40 performed very well across our entire range of image tests. Commanding the position of one of the more high-end compact camera manufacturers, Ricoh's cameras tend to have no obvious weaknesses, and they continue this trend with the R40.
Imatest awarded it a score of 1317 for sharpness, which is a great result. Most six megapixel sensors struggle to get higher than 1250 and anything over 1300 is excellent. Combine this with a relatively low chromatic aberration score of .096% and you wind up with crisp, well defined pictures which keep blurring to a minimum. We had no complaints about the clarity of the R40's shots.
This result was well complemented with a fairly impressive colour checker score of 9.78. While some cameras like the Canon have scored down near 6 on this test, anything below 10 we consider to be very good. The R40 was extremely accurate when it came to the greyscale spectrum and many shades of green and magenta, but was not so precise when it came to reds and blues. This did come across to some extent in our outdoors shots, with strongly emphasized patches of sky blue, but we were still impressed with the overall colour balance.
Imatest also revealed the R40 produced very low levels of image noise. Achieving a result of .57% in our test, it performed extremely well. Rarely do cameras score lower than .5% in this test, and we found our shots were clean and smooth, with no hint of fuzziness. At higher ISO settings it did not fare quite as well, scoring 1.75% at ISO 800, but this is fairly average for a compact model at high sensitivity so we can't really complain.
As usual, Ricoh has done an excellent job designing this camera. It follows the traditional slim, elongated design of their previous units that we feel make it look great. With a white gold colour scheme, and silver rims, it has a very original look that helps it stand out from the crowd. The body is almost entirely metal, and is quite sturdy, yet it is light enough to sit comfortably in a pocket.
Everything is laid out in the standard Ricoh configuration and is, for the most part easy to access. They have opted for a single menu, which can be a little confusing when trying to locate something basic like white balance, but thankfully on this model there is also an 'Adjustment' button, which takes you to a sub-menu containing just ISO, white balance and exposure compensation. Nice job Ricoh.
Performance and Functionality
The chief selling point of the R40 is its wide angled lens. The equivalent of a 28 - 160mm film lens, it combines well with the 5.7X optical zoom to create a very versatile camera which is suited to anything from sports photography through to landscapes.
Sadly though, the camera doesn't really have the speed to complement its other features. With a shutter lag of about 1.2 seconds, a power up time of two seconds and shot-to-shot time of 1.8 seconds, it was a little below average in this regard. While this won't have a huge impact, it does make this camera a little less suited to higher speed photography.
It comes with the usual array of compact features, including custom white balance, focus modes and bracketing. ISO level extends up to 800, which is good but not exceptional. The continuous shot mode was decent, operating at two frames a second for a theoretically unlimited period of time, but we found the buffer filled up and it slowed down after about eight shots. The nine scene modes also left us less than satisfied, with some recent models having offered as many as 30.
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