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A little over a year ago I reviewed the Ricoh Caplio R3, and was impressed by its unique and powerful specification and outstanding value for money. Since then it has been joined in the Ricoh line up by two more cameras featuring the same high-powered compact zoom lens, unsurprisingly named the R4 and the R5.
The Caplio R5 was announced in August this year, and is now the flagship of Ricoh’s zoom compact range. It has a specification unmatched by any other compact camera on the market, offering 28-200mm-equivalent optical zoom, 7.24 megapixel resolution, 2.5in 230,000 pixel monitor, 1,600 ISO sensitivity and moving sensor image stabilisation. This is all contained in a package measuring 96 x 55 x 26mm and weighing just 140g. It has a current high street price of £249.99, but is available online for around £239. This is a little on the expensive side but compares reasonably well with what is probably its closest match, the 6x zoom Canon PowerShot A710IS.
Even though it is the specification that will sell it, the R5 is also a stylish and attractively designed camera. It is available in black, red or the silver version seen here. The body is all aluminium, and the build quality and the finish are of a very high standard. Because it is so light it doesn’t feel as solid as some other high-spec compacts, but this is only comparative.
It’s not the slimmest camera in the world, but considering the size of the lens that somehow folds completely flush with the body, 26mm is quite an achievement and far from bulky. It’s certainly small enough to slip into your pocket or purse.
The overall shape of the camera is little changed from the R3, with a straight-edged rectangular profile. Like the R3 however the body is subtly sculpted at the right hand end providing a comfortable grip and an easy shape to hold.
The control layout has been altered slightly from the R3, with some positive and some negative results. The zoom control has been moved to the left of the thumb rest, which does make the camera easier to hold, but it has also been made much smaller and less sensitive, which on a camera with such a huge zoom range is perhaps not the best idea.
Another small but significant change is the removal of the on/off button for the image stabilisation system. This has now been replaced with a menu option, and the system is on by default. This makes a lot more sense, since there’s little point in having such a system on a camera like this if it’s not switched on.