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Ricoh's RDC-i700 Model G digital camera. Courtesy of Ricoh, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Ricoh's RDC-i700 gets another new talent
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 05:37 EST)

In a fast-paced market where product life-cycles can be as little as six months, Japanese electronics manufacturer Ricoh has undeniably done a good job of identifying niche markets to extend the life of its RDC-i700 digital camera.

An unusual model that couples 3 megapixel resolution and a 3x optical zoom lens with a huge 3.5" LCD touch-screen, the ability to support a range of peripheral cards such as modems and LAN cards, and basic Internet access capabilities, the RDC-i700 (which we reviewed in the middle of 2001 ) really doesn't have a direct rival from any other company. The sensor might not be the highest resolution and the lens might not have the best geometric qualities, but thanks to other its other features the camera still sells for a significant premium over other 3mpix, 3x zoom digital cameras - from $1475 to $2500 depending on the firmware and hardware bundled.

The RDC-i700 was first announced in September 2000, and went on sale late that month in Japan. Subsequent firmware tweaks and the identification of numerous niche markets by Ricoh has seen the camera still selling - and even still being updated - almost 2 1/2 years later. The RDC-i700 connected to ActivePhoto's wireless imaging service , it could stream video in real-time across the Internet, it could be used to FTP or email images, to browse the web or a corporate LAN, to automatically fill in document templates with captured images, and was well-suited to markets like insurance claims and freight tracking.

Today, Ricoh Japan has announced yet another update - the Ricoh RDC-i700 Model G. This latest incarnation, which should see the design through its third birthday, sees the camera getting the ability to use a PCMCIA Global Position System (GPS) card to identify the precise location at which images were captured - allowing that to be recorded in the image. Windows-only picture management software then allows images taken at certain locations to be found, or the positions of images to be mapped. The RDC-i700 isn't the first camera to have such a capability, but the new feature extends an already impressive repertoire of capabilities.

The Ricoh RDC-i700 Model G will go on sale in Japan from February 27th at a price of ¥208,000 (US$1773 / €1648 / CDN$2649 / £1126 ignoring currency fluctuations, duties and taxes), and with a monthly production of 300 units. Full specifications translated from the Japanese announcement follow:

Ricoh RDC-i700 Model G
Recording Format
Still Image Compressed: JPEG compliant (Exif Ver. 2.1); DCF compliant†; DPOF compliant; Uncompressed: TIFF-YUV
Text TIFF (MMR ITU-T.6)
Movie AVI (OpenDML Motion JPEG compliant)
Audio WAV (Exif Ver. 2.1)
Compression Still Image: JPEG baseline conforming, Text: MMR, Movie: JPEG baseline conforming
Image Sensor 1/1.8" 3.24 megapixel CCD
Video Output NTSC / PAL changeable
Recording Resolution
Still Image 2048 x 1536, 1024 x 768, 640 x 480
Text 2048 x 1536, 1024 x 768, 640 x 480
Movie 320 x 240
Recording Modes Still Image / Audio / Text / Burst / Movie
Image Quality Modes Fine / Normal / Economy / Uncompressed
Image Quantity (32MB CF card)
Still Image 2048 x 1536 - Fine: Approx 26; Normal: Approx. 52; Economy: Approx. 102
1024 x 768 - Fine: Approx 77; Normal: Approx. 149; Economy: Approx. 277
640 x 480 - Fine: Approx 193; Normal: Approx. 323; Economy: Approx. 646
Image File Size (32MB CF card)
Still Image 2048 x 1536 - Fine: Approx 1.12 MB; Normal: Approx. 568 KB; Economy: Approx. 280 KB
1024 x 768 - Fine: Approx 376 KB; Normal: Approx. 184 KB; Economy: Approx. 88 KB
640 x 480 - Fine: Approx 152 KB; Normal: Approx. 72 KB; Economy: Approx. 40 KB
Record Time (32MB CF card)
Movie 161 seconds (15 frames per second)
Sound 66 seconds
Lens
10 elements in 7 groups
F: 2.6 ~ 3.4
3x optical zoom
f: 7.3mm ~ 21.9mm (35mm equivalent: 35mm ~ 105mm)
Digital Zoom 1.28, 1.6 and 3.2x (at 640 x 480 resolution only)
Shutter
Still Image 8, 4, 2, 1 ~ 1/1000 second (mechanical shutter)
Movie 1/15 ~ 1/10000 second (electronic shutter)
Focusing Distance
Normal Approx. 0.24m - infinity
Macro Approx. 0.01m - 0.24m
ISO Sensitivity ISO 150 standard, 200 and 400 possible
Viewfinder Real-image optical zoom type
LCD Monitor Touch-sensitive 3.5" TFT Liquid Crystal w/ 200,000 pixels
Flash
Automatic / On / Off / Red-eye Reduction
Flash does not operate when set to Auto in Text mode
Focusing Automatic / Manual
Exposure Adjustment TTL Center-Weighted CCD-type Program AE
Exposure Compensation Automatic / Manual (+2.0 to -2.0EV in 0.5EV steps)
White Balance Automatic / Fluorescent / Cloudy / Incandescent / Outdoor
Self-timer Operation time: Approx. 10 seconds
Interval Mode Photographing interval: 30 seconds - 3 hours
Watermark Function Position: Right, Center, Left, Bottom Right, Bottom Center, Bottom Left
PC Interface RS232C / USB (Windows98 / 98SE / Me / 2000 / XP compliant)
AV Interface Audio / Video Out
Touch Pen Proprietary touch pen included
GPS Geodetic Survey System TOKYO97 / WGS84
Expansion Slot
1 x CompactFlash Type-II slot and 1 x PCMCIA Type-II slot
Compatible cards: Modem, Mobile Phone / PHS I/F, LAN, ISDN, ATA
Input / Output Terminal 1 x USB / RS232C port and 1 x AV output terminal
Battery Proprietary Lithium-Ion
Battery Life‡
Image Capture: Approx. 50 minutes
Image Playback: Approx. 60 minutes
Communication: Approx. 60 minutes
Battery Charge Time‡ Approx. 150 minutes
External Power Source / Voltage 5V AC Adapter (optional)
External Dimensions 157mm (W) x 93mm (D) x 33mm (H) excluding projections
Weight Approx. 450g (excluding battery)
Temperature Range 0°C ~ 40°C
.
DCF is the JEIDA-standard abbreviation of "Design Rule for Camera File System"
Battery Life and Charge Time based on Ricoh's standard measurement conditions. Actual values may vary.

Source: Ricoh Japan

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