• Recommended by TR
Ricoh Caplio R7


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I've been following Ricoh's digital camera development with interest for a number of years. The first digital camera I ever owned was a Ricoh RDC-5000 back in 1999. It was one of the first 2.3-megapixel cameras to be launched, and at the time it was the most compact and powerful digital camera on the market. Of course by today's standards it resembles a housebrick with a lens, and could eat a set of four AA batteries in about 20 minutes, but even then it had some innovative features that we now take for granted, such as a metal body, an automatic lens cover, a USB port and 4cm macro focusing. Ricoh has continued to innovate and improve over the years, and its products have seldom been far from the cutting edge of digital camera design. Models such as the Caplio R3, the R5 and the excellent R6 launched earlier this year have all scored high marks in reviews, although they never seem to get the market share they deserve. It must be down to poor advertising, because in terms of quality and capability Ricoh's cameras are a match for the very best of the competition.

The Ricoh Caplio R7 is the latest in the range, and was launched in August this year. It is an 8.15-megapixel compact camera featuring a 2.7-inch monitor with 230k pixel resolution, moving-sensor mechanical image stabilisation, and a flush-retracting 7.1x optical zoom f/3.3 - f/5.2 lens with a zoom range equivalent to 28-200mm. Despite this specification the camera is exactly the same size and weight as the Caplio R6, measuring 99.6 x 55 x 23.3mm and weighing 161g including card and battery. From the front at least the body design is also the same as the R6, which is no bad thing since it is very attractive. There are a few tweaks on the back however, with a new larger rubberised thumbgrip and a slightly different control layout to accommodate a couple of new features.

There are relatively few cameras on the market that can match the R7's specification, but one that springs to mind immediately is the Panasonic Lumix TZ3, which offers a 10x zoom lens and 28mm wide-angle, but is only 7.1 megapixels, is larger and heavier and has a smaller monitor. It is also around £235, while the Ricoh R7 is currently selling for around £220. Other than that it's pretty much in a league of its own. There are other cameras that have longer zoom ranges, but none that combine longer zoom with 28mm wide-angle, image stabilisation and an almost ultra-compact shape.

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Patrick Hansell

June 13, 2009, 3:56 am

I bought this Ricoh camera after reading this review, and a few others all saying the same sort of thing.

First impressions were pretty good. Took decent photos straight out of the box. In fact, i have to say that as far as the actual photos it takes go, i cannot fault it. Photos are consistently sharp with vibrant colours.

Upon receipt i was slightly disappointed to find that the zoom lever wobbled slightly and generally didn't feel as solid as it's chromed appearance might have you believe. The rest of the controls all felt pretty solid and were easy to use though.

However, when i took the camera on holiday only 1 week after receiving it, the lens jammed half way out. I put this down to a grain of sand, but after forcing the lens to retract again could not see anything. Whenever i turned the camera back on, the same thing happened.

When i got back home, I sent the camera back and received a brand new one under warranty. I was rather alarmed to find that after just 1 more week, this camera suffered exactly the same fate. As it had been nowhere near the beach (or anywhere else sandy), i can only presume that this is down to a design fault in the lens, by which dirt is let down the side of the lens or perhaps a flaw in the mechanical side of the zoom. The camera did eventually start up again and i have been using it since, but it still occasionally does this jamming thing.

Overall, I would not recommend this camera as it has proved to be unreliable, even if the photos it produces are very good. What is the good of it if it refuses to turn on at just the right moment?


September 12, 2009, 12:28 am

Avoid! Our camera lasted almost 10 months before the lens jammed... We returned it to Jessops, and after a long wait we received a replacement unit. 7 months later, exactly the same problem occured again. We returned it again, and Jessops said that this is a known problem with these cameras, and that is why they no longer stock Ricoh products! They have offered us a full refund! So, "Well done Jessops! But not so well done Ricoh..."


November 25, 2009, 5:13 pm

I also had the same problem. First time was after 6 months. Sent it back and it was fixed under warrenty. Then happened a second time. Its a shame because it takes excellent photos, this is definitely the last time I will touch one of their cameras.


December 2, 2009, 6:35 pm

I have had this camera for 2 years - purchased after reading the excited reviews on this website. The same exact thing happened only a few months into owning it. It happens every so often, and I never got it fixed as I heard it was a recurring issue with this camera and to be without it for months while it was being fixed, just to have the same problem happen seemed silly. The photo quality is great, but the frustration in dealing with the lens jam leads me to have to not recommend.


February 10, 2010, 8:37 pm

Great camera with excellent daylight photo quality, but for night shots its a hit & miss. I have had my camera for 2+ years and have shot well over 4,000 images without any problems what so ever "maybe I have been lucky" and if the lens packs up I will add another comment.

Phil if you are reading this dont be put off.

Mark 38

April 9, 2010, 6:00 pm

too have had the same problem as everybody else i.e. repeatedly sticking lens. At the moment I am still arguing with Jessops, who claim not to have experienced this before. NeoDoug1 was luckier than me! In any event despite good pictures this is a camera to avoid.


December 14, 2012, 1:07 pm

Me too. My first one jammed, and was replaced. Now the replacement has suffered the same problem. My nect compact will be a Nikon.

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