The R5 is powered by a chunky 3.7V 1150mAh Li-ion battery which Ricoh claims is good for 380 shots. I didn’t have time to test this claim, but I took a couple of hundred shots with it, about a quarter with the flash and it was still showing a full charge.
The multi-zone exposure system is also very good, coping well with a range of awkward exposures. Dynamic range is above average, and noise control is excellent up to 400 ISO and still good at 800. It is noisy at the maximum 1600 ISO, but not intolerably so. This means fast shutter speeds, and combined with image stabilisation makes the R5 a good choice for long-range action shots. It would make it good for low light photography as well if only the AF system was a little better.
Image files at the highest quality setting are around 2.5MB, giving 352 shots on a one gigabyte SD card.
This matches the output of the Canon A710 and is significantly less compressed than the Kodak Z710. In fact image quality overall is very good, with that remarkable lens producing images that are sharp and well detailed right across the frame, with only a little blurring in the very corners and surprisingly little spherical distortion at wide angle. As is often the case with small high-powered sensors, there is significant blue fringing alongside high-contrast edges, but it’s not too obtrusive in most shots. All in all, an impressive performance from a very useful camera.
Ricoh proves once again that it can match and often exceed anything its rivals can produce. The Caplio R5 has a unique specification, combining wide angle and long telephoto abilities, effective image stabilisation and a usable high ISO setting, with good image quality and outstanding performance. Its only weak point is its poor low light focusing ability.