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Ricoh GX200 review

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Our Score:

8

Ricoh's follow up to last year's GX100 continues the company's commitment to designing quality compacts combining portability with manual control. Few people carry a DSLR everywhere, so cameras such as this, or Sigma's DP-1 are an ideal pocket alternative.

Like its predecessor the GX200 has Raw shooting, a 3x zoom lens and a purist sensibility.

New to this model is a 1/1.7inch 12MP CCD sensor, with mechanical sensor based image stabilisation. The lens, while maintaining the useful 24-72mm zoom range with a maximum f/2.5-4.4 aperture, has been redesigned to match the resolution of the sensor. Ricoh has also announced a 135mm (equivalent) tele-converter and 19mm wide-angle lens which attach to a bayonet around the outer rim of the lens. These are available at £99.99 each, while a lens hood and adapter are available for £34.99.

As with the GX100 the new model accepts the VF-1 viewfinder. This electronic viewfinder sits in the hot shoe and gives a 100% view of the scene, menus and so on, and I have to say is probably the best EVF I've ever used, and I'm not a fan usually. However it's fast, clear and colourful and is difficult to criticise. The rubber eyepiece rotates for dioptre adjustments, which is useful for those like me who's eyesight isn't what it once was .

If you prefer to use the monitor for composition, the GX200 is bound to impress. Now sized at 2.7 inches and doubling the resolution to 460,000 dots, the screen really is a corker, producing clear and sharp images and a wide viewing angle. It keeps the electronic spirit level of the older model, a unique feature to maintain straight horizons, whether shooting horizontally or vertically.

Some previous Ricoh cameras have been criticised for their high noise levels, especially at higher ISO settings. To this end Ricoh has incorporated a new processor, the Smooth Imaging Engine III, which the company claims reduces noise without sacrificing colour saturation or image resolution. More noise reduction can be switched on or off as you need it in the menu.

Sean Groarke

June 25, 2008, 11:04 am

Interesting review (as ever!)





Very valid conclusion that the 12MP sensor crammed in to this camera almost inevitably leads to very dodgy pictures at higher ISO values. Yet Ricoh pitch this as an "enthusiasts" camera. Well let me tell Ricoh something: a real enthusiast will know enough to know that they are simply pitching yet another "Ooooh look how many megapixels I've got" camera to people who don't know better.





Here's an interesting thought: imagine this camera had a state-of-the art 8MP (or 6MP or whatever) sensor. All other things being equal, would the overall "Picture Quality" have been better? I say "Yes". Until Ricoh (and others) grasp this, they won't sell their stuff to *real* enthusiasts...





We all say the megapixel wars are over. But no one appears to have told that to the manufacturers!

monto

June 25, 2008, 1:15 pm

I've used a Canon G6 for four years now (without ever really liking it - it can't focus indoors, and ISO 200 is only just about usable...) so the combo of decent image stabilisation and pocketable size, with usable ISO 400 seems fine to me. Shows how far things have come... That said, I've recommended Fuji F31s and F40s to everyone I know, so when the Canon (or Ricoh) is out of its depth I just grab a Fuji from someone ;-)

Lance Uppercut

June 25, 2008, 1:18 pm

Blurry out of focus pictures of the camera?

Andy Vandervell

June 25, 2008, 1:36 pm

Yes, it hasn't gone unnoticed. ;)

Kai Griffin

June 25, 2008, 1:52 pm

I think you missed the big upgrade here: the RAW processing speed has gone from 5 seconds per image to 5 RAW images per second. Frankly, the JPEG image processing engine is irrelevant (not least because it's so poor), because you can now shoot excellent quality RAW files without the speed handicap of the old GX-100. This is big news!

sedentary male

June 25, 2008, 3:41 pm

I like this model for various reasons. I did seriously consider the Sigma DP1 but appeared to be a very tempremental beast with unreliable white balance, generally very slow shutter lag & AF, very long read/write and processing times, prone to lens flare, low res LCD, colour castes, longwinded menu, poor flash, no historgram, can't shoot RAW and JPEG, bad/no macro, highest ISO 800 and so on.


The Canon G9 on the other hand has an excellent feature set Raw+JPEG, rugged, solid construction and excellent build quality, it doesn't have that killer 'wide' 28mm or 24mm as with the GX200 and tilting viewfinder which is useful if you are stuck in a wheel chair. The GX200 is a high-end F2.5 24mm ultra-wide-angle zoom in a pocketable compact body, manual shooting (aperture, shutter priority and SNAP mode, lovely jubly), electronic view-finder (wheel chair, hello), 460K LCD and continuous RAW capture to 5 frames !!! WOWzer. The electronic level could prove useful too. My Settings options great for registering different shooting settings. Manul flash adjustment, at last! along with "1st Curtain" or "2nd Curtain." D'uh, what's that for? (better google it),what else!?!?

Luan Bach

June 25, 2008, 3:55 pm

𧸖 ? Isn't that more expensive than a Nikon D40 kit ? The D40 won't be that much larger and will have far better image quality.

byline974

June 25, 2008, 7:36 pm

Noticed that some of the sample photographs, including both black-and-white ones, were taken in Budapest, Hungary. Just curious, did you happen to be in Budapest for a couple of days while doing the review, or was the test unit provided by Ricoh Hungary?

Jamie Harrison

June 25, 2008, 7:52 pm

I happened to have a weekend break in Budapest just after I received the camera, so took advantage of the better weather just for you!

teddie

June 25, 2008, 11:40 pm

Jamie, how long is the delay between capture of RAW images in single shot mode? How long is the wait after a 5 frame RAW burst?





THanks



Jamie Harrison

June 26, 2008, 6:35 pm

It shoots at around 1fps in single shot and continuous. The delay after the burst is around 20 seconds (using a standard Sandisk SD card. In JPEG mode it's still around 1fps with continuous shooting to card capacity.

Caer

July 3, 2008, 1:44 am

Luan Bach said:


"𧸖 ? Isn't that more expensive than a Nikon D40 kit ? The D40 won't be that much larger and will have far better image quality."





Not that much larger? I don't think you appreciate how small and light the GX200 is compared to the D40. You can put it in a shirt pocket (bit of a squeeze, but still).





Jamie Harrison said:


"The delay after the burst is around 20 seconds (using a standard Sandisk SD card."





Apparently, if you use a fast card the buffer-full delay is about 8 seconds.

Marty Said

July 5, 2008, 10:25 am

Ok - so what are the better alternatives to the GX200 if you want to have something to throw in your pocket???

holger3ac

July 16, 2008, 3:08 am

I cant wait to get my hands on this one! I already own a GX100, and even though is slow as a turtle in RAW mode, the flash sucks and noice over 400 ASA is terrible, its still one of my favorite cameras. Why? Its small, well buildt and a compact with a 24 mm lense is a real gemstone in all the rubble you find out there. I already had a Canon G9 when I got the GX 100. Its been collecting dust ever since. The G9 its a nice camera, but the access to manual controls in the Ricoh is ultra fast. I carry the GX 100 around my neck like a real tourist, and exposure control with the small multi function button is working like a charm, a detail I really enjoy when I use it walking the streets. The only thing thats really bugging me is the terrible delay between shots in RAW mode. Its seems the GX200 has solved that problem really well. I huge nice chip would have been really nice, but this little baby on 400 asa will solve most of my problems, anyway.

Ted Orland

August 4, 2008, 10:46 pm

I'm specifically interested in a camera that can shoot in square format, and the GX-200 (and GX-100) are the only cameras I've found that can do that.


Does anyone know of another digital camera that shoots square format?


Also, do the electronic and viewscreen on the GX-200 display a square image, or simply provide dotted crop-lines or something like that on a full screen image?

Image4u

October 18, 2008, 7:01 pm

sedentary_male said on 25th June 2008


The 1st curtain flash is on the start of the release time of the shutter, the 2nd curtain flash is on the end of the (long) release time: so on the second curtain flash there is first a movement bij the available light before the flash goes off.



Mike Bell

December 1, 2008, 3:08 pm

Having looked at a number of reviews of high end compacts the GX200 seems to tick all the boxes as far as I'm concerned. I agree with the comments about pixel cramming and wonder when the technicians will start to win the battle with the marketing departments.





One thing I don't understand about all digital camera reviews is the obsession with high iso performance. In over 40 years of film photography I can count on the fingers of one hand the times I bought film with a speed greater than 200. When I did I accepted the inevitable increase in grain as a reasonable trade off.

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