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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.
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