The R6 is absolutely loaded with features, most of them genuinely useful. The three basic shooting modes are selected via a simple slider switch on the top panel. In the standard green mode you have access to the extensive list of menu options, including five focus options (multi-point, spot, manual, snap and infinity), three metering options, adjustable sharpness and colour depth, three continuous shooting modes, auto bracketing including white-balance bracketing, interval shooting, long exposure (up to 8 seconds), and the ability to record images at two different sizes simultaneously. As well as this substantial list, there is a user-programmable quick adjustment button with default settings of exposure compensation, white balance and ISO setting, as well as flash mode and the stunning 1cm-range macro mode selected via the D-pad.
In scene mode even more options become available, including all the standard options such as portrait, landscape, sports and night scene, but also high-sensitivity mode for flashless low-light shooting, a digital zoom macro feature for extreme magnification of very small objects, a skew correction mode for copying documents (also available in playback mode), and of course face detection portrait mode. The movie mode is also found in this menu, offering VGA shooting at 30 frames per second.
The third shooting mode is an option to set up two personalised custom settings, although with this many features available in standard mode it hardly seems necessary.
There are relatively few compact digital cameras around with a minimum focal length equivalent to 28mm, and fewer still that combine it with a 200mm-equivalent telephoto, giving the R6 great photographic versatility, capable of both wide-angle panoramic shots and pulling in distant objects. Ricoh’s CCD-shift anti-shake system is very effective, reliably providing at least two stops worth of extra stability when shooting hand-held at slow shutter speeds. I was able to take good sharp photos of a band in a dimly lit bar, at a shutter speed of 1/8th of a second without the flash, simply bracing my elbows on the back of a chair.