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The other controls on the back of the camera are well laid out and clearly labeled. A three-position slider switch selects between shooting still, movie clips or sound recording. The playback button lets you look at the pictures you’ve taken, and the “ADJ” button gives quick access to exposure compensation, and two other functions. White balance and ISO setting are the defaults, but they can be changed for other often-used menu adjustments. The D-Pad has double functions on all four directions, including instant review, flash modes, macro and scene modes. The R3 has an extremely impressive macro mode, able to focus down to just 1cm from the lens, possibly the closest macro distance of any consumer digital camera on the market.
Scene modes include all the usual suspects; portrait, sports, landscape and night landscape, but the R3 also has a few unusual features. The wonderfully clever skew correction mode allows you to photograph pages of text at any angle, it then automatically detects the edges of the page and corrects the perspective. A zoom macro mode allows super-macro photography of very small objects at close range by enlarging them using digital zoom. A high sensitivity mode helps with low-light shooting by enhancing the monitor display, although it does make it very slow and choppy. Unfortunately this last function doesn’t help with low light focusing, which is one of the R3’s few weak points. It has difficulty locking on to a subject in anything other than good light, and since it lacks an AF illuminator this is something of a handicap.
General performance is excellent. Shutter lag is virtually non-existant, and in good light the AF system is respectably fast, giving a claimed 0.09 second delay between pressing the shutter button and the picture being taken. In continuous shooting mode and maximum resolution the R3 can capture seven frames in just under three seconds. It also has modes called S-cont and M-cont, which record 16 frames in about 2.2 seconds, but then records them as one image. M-cont records until the shutter button is released, and then saves the final 16 frames. Because I was only using the camera for a couple of days I was not able to make an accurate assessment of battery duration, but the R3 has a larger-than-average 1150mAh Li-ion battery so Ricoh’s claim of 310 shots on a full charge under normal shooting conditions seems reasonable.
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