(Pocket-lint) - Sharing the same name as one of the most popular Canon cameras, this Ricoh version isn’t the all-powerful number that its namesake suggests. Instead the Caplio G3 is a entry level three mega pixel camera that offers a host of options and a very fast (0.14-second) shutter response time.
On the outside the Ricoh doesn’t win any design awards. The body seems flimsy and cheap, the LCD screen tiny and the optical viewfinder so small and in such a position that you crush your nose into the side of the camera and the jutting out corner of the LCD.
While Nikon, Pentax, Olympus and Canon are striving ahead with compact designs, Ricoh is yet to reach the same point in camera evolution. That said, all the buttons that you would expect to be on the back of a three mega pixel camera are present and all in the right place. On the top however it’s a different story and there were too many times when we selected the power down button rather than the shutter button in an attempt to take a picture.
Like Kodak models, Ricoh has opted for internal memory and provided 8Mb of internal memory and an SD/MMC slot for further expansion. The unit is powered by two AA batteries but there’s no DC for a charging option later down the line.
From the outside it doesn’t look good for the Ricoh Caplio G3, but then it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Here you can find a camera capable of producing very impressive 3.2 mega pixel images from a 1/1.8 " CCD sensor.
Zoom capabilities are offered via the 3x optical and 3x digital zoom that the camera houses and the macro mode allows you to get just 1cm away from the subject for that super close image - however at this distance you do have to use a tripod as the camera suffers from camera shake.
For those wanting the camera to do it all for them, there are six scene selections; portrait, sports, landscape, night scene, text mode, and high sensitivity. As you would expect most do what they suggest. The two you might not recognise are text mode and high sensitivity. Text mode allows you to take text focused shots, similar to a text setting on a scanner, while high sensitivity is ideal for when you want to take pictures in a dark place like a bar and need a little more brightness on the LCD display.
If you find you are always taking pictures in the dark, then the ability to change the ISO setting will be welcomed and unusually for a camera of this level you can change it up to a setting of 800 - a nice feature.
Images that we took were very impressive, held plenty of detail, and produced a good balance of colour. Even when we tried to confuse the focus (see tower bridge with trees in foreground) the camera coped well allowing still focusing quickly so we could get the shot done. We took our images on a cloudy dull day and even then the blue and gold on the bridge stood out clearly and vibrant. Skin tones were good and as mentioned before the macro mode was very clear if not a little affected by camera shake.
What you have here is a camera that while not looking great on the outside does produce the goods on the inside. The shots are good, in fact very good for a 3 mega pixel camera and the Ricoh Caplio G3's shutter speed is very fast allowing you to capture that photo quickly. It's a shame that it's marred by clunky design. That's not to say there is anything immensely wrong with the design it's just not the coolest thing on the block by a long way.