Ricoh Caplio GX200 – the Swiss Knife of cameras

Sunset

Sunset

Would you like to test our Ricoh P&S? I have heard so many good things about their Ricoh GRD II that it does not take too much encouragement to say “YES”..

I was supposed to get my hands on the P&S before my PMPE trip to Siem Reap but it was not meant to be. I would have given that pocketable camera a real work over.

Building on their success and reputation of the Ricoh GRD II, they came out with their top of the range, the Caplio GX200 targeted to be in the same playground as the Canon G10, Lumix LX3 and Leica D-Lux 4. Can David take on Goliath?

For those who wants to know more about the technicalities of the camera, you can refer…here

The Caplio GX200 is a 12 mp camera capable of recording in RAW and Jpeg mode. It also comes with an old school electronic viewfinder that can be adjusted for both horizontal and top down viewing (really cool stuff)

The zoom lens has a range from 24 to 72mm (35mm equivalent). This should cover most of the average shooting requirement.

The size is compact and can be stuff into the trousers pocket, a plus point over its competitors.

I was overwhelmed with number of things this camera can do. The range covers a lot of genres of photography and simple movie recording that is good for YouTube posting. It took me 2 days of reading the manual to sort out what I wanted to do with this camera.

This is the Swiss Knife of cameras; it works fine in small packages and can do its work effectively. How many of you carry a Swiss knife in your pocket or at least carry it on your overseas trip? It is indispensable for the little things that cropped up unexpectedly.

Shadow of Palm tree

Shadow of Palm tree

Market

Market

In the end, I have sorted out the genres of photography that I wanted to test this camera.

  1. Landscape
  2. Portraits
  3. Street
  4. Macro

Some of the nice features that I like about this camera are the ability to set 4 programmable modes that can suit the genres of photography that you are interested to pursue.

Useful tools can be set in each genre to assist the photographer

1. Landscape mode

a. Leveling device
b. Color, sharpness, contrast adjustments
c. Infinity focus mode.
d. ISO 64

2. Portrait mode

a. Spot AF
b. Color, sharpness and contrast adjustments
c. Image settings – soft or use their scene mode
d. Control on the output of the flash.
e. There is a hotshoe that an external flash can be attached.

3. Street mode

a. This is one of the most difficult genre of photography that most P&S cameras and DSLR’s failed. I was pleasantly surprised that the designers of this camera actually did something about it.
b. Focusing mode – snap or manual (almost equivalent to hyperfocus if a small aperture setting is used.
c. High ISO setting. In RAW mode, files taken at ISO800 are very useable. In Jpeg mode, files are clean up to ISO400
d. There is very little shutter lag if you set it in this mode.
e. Couple this with the electronic viewfinder, one could take candid street shots.

4. Macro mode

a. One of the strengths of a P&S is their good DOF for macro shots.
b. One can focus as close as 1 cm from the object.
c. The lens is reasonably sharp for this type of work.
d. This camera is also great for miniature product shots. An ideal camera for my daughter’s type of product photography.

Gardens - Mid Valley, KL

Gardens - Mid Valley, KL

Vendor

Vendor

Minature

Minature

Food Vendor

Food Vendor

Conclusion

Like I have said before, this is the Swiss knife of cameras, a very good second camera to own to accompany the DSLR or Rangefinder set-up that you have. Surprisingly, a lot of users of rangefinders (including Leica, Zeiss Ikon and Bessa) actually go for this P&S and the GRDII as a back-up to their equipment. There will be days that you do not want to lug those heavy equipment around and yet you would want the flexibility of a small package that would be able to do what your bigger equipment is able to do.

Would I get one? Yes, I have been studying the amazing photos taken by Alex Majoli, who covered the conflict in Iraq and a lot of assignments using a P&S…….here

Quote: “We should think of a photographer as a Samurai who makes rituals, moves and gestures in order to develop his techniques and his instinct.” – Alex Majoli.

Maxby’s Mother of all Camera Brand Reviews for 2009, rating– “EXCELLENT”.

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