gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Ricoh Caplio R6

The Ricoh Caplio R6 is, in my humble opinion, one of the best looking low-end cameras on the market. Available in Black, Red and Silver with the former two very tastefully combining their primary colour with silver accented styling it’s almost certain to impress. Of course looks aren’t everything; the Caplio R6, successor to the R5, packs some admirable specifications in its stylish, diminutive body. Ricoh have cheated somewhat, however, to get the “thinnest-point” thickness claim of their camera down leaving the Caplio R6 with a number of irksome protrusions.

Before I go into more detail on the bad let’s just get through the good side of the Caplio R6. Ricoh have packed a 7.1x Optical zoom lens into this 7.2 megapixel beauty; this makes the compromise of a digital zoom almost entirely irrelevant.

The Caplio R6 comes brimming with features designed to counter the shaky-handed, half-arsed, amateur photography it’s destined to end up being used for (I’m certainly no professional myself). However, despite its much touted CCD-shift vibration correction, face recognition and auto high sensitivity mode almost every single one of my landscape, indoor, extreme zoomed and macro shots came out blurred. It would be unrealistic to expect the Caplio R6 to miraculously make you a good photographer but every time I see functions like this I cross my fingers and expect just that. Rest assured though that, with the ability to shoot at an excessive 7.2mp, the blur will melt away when you scale images down to a crisp and manageable couple of megapixels.

Software-wise the Caplio R6 shines. It starts up and shuts down incredibly quickly, delaying only to expand/contract the lens. You can shoot in one of 3 main modes which are bizarrely indicated with the words “My”, “Scene” and a small Camera icon which seems just slightly inconsistent but probably entirely irrelevant.

“My” as you might guess is a custom mode supporting two user presets unimaginably titled “My Setting 1” and “My Setting 2”. If you like to shoot in a certain way these will prove useful, however the presence of only two available custom settings groups will be a let down for any avid tweaker or photophile – particularly when the camera is loaded with 54mb internal memory which could theoretically store thousands of such groups.

“Scene” allows you to choose from 12 pre-set modes which includes a sports mode, night mode, black & white, sepia, text, skew correction and video recording which supports 160×120, 320×240 and 640×480 resolutions at either 30 or 15fps. Perfect for all your YouTubing needs. These modes can be switched between as just icons or as a list with descriptions.

Finally the camera icon yields a basic camera function with easily accessible flash/macro options, this is the place to start if you just want to shoot photos without delving into the complexity of the camera.

With its combination of great looks and great functionality the Caplio R6 is an almost perfect camera for the average joe. It’s not badly priced at just over £150 either. The downsides are few, but what really annoys me is the protruding LCD. The LCD screen on the back of the camera protrudes by about 3mm, getting in the way of the left/flash button and the 4 main buttons on the back of the camera. If the camera had simply been 3mm thicker it would both look better and be more comfortable to use the controls. It seems Ricoh’s insistence on keeping the thickness of the camera down for its specifications has got in the way of practicality here and brings my opinion of an otherwise fantastic camera down.

Monday, September 24th, 2007, Digital Photography, Featured.