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Ricoh's Caplio G3 Model S digital camera. Courtesy of Ricoh, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Ricoh Europe announces Caplio G3 Model S
(Thursday, July 3, 2003 - 17:44 EDT)

A press release recently from Ricoh Europe has reannounced the Caplio G3 Model S digital camera, a model that has been available in Japan since shortly after it was announced in mid-February.

The camera - called the "Caplio G3 S" for short - will go on sale in Europe from the middle of this month. It is extremely similar to the existing Caplio G3 model, but with a number of changes:

  • Shutter response improved from 0.22 to 0.14 seconds inclusive of autofocusing
  • Magnesium alloy housing
  • Integrated memo function
  • Ricoh Gate La software allows images to be categorised in-camera, text commentaries added, and images searched for

European pricing for the Caplio G3 Model S is set at €329, roughly equivalent to US$378 / CAD$505 / £227 / ¥45,000, quite a bit lower than the Japanese price of ¥69,000 announced a few months ago... All price conversions ignore exchange rate fluctuations, taxes and duties Courtesy of Ricoh Europe, brief specifications for the camera follow:

Ricoh Caplio G3 Model S
Ricoh's Caplio G3 Model S digital camera. Courtesy of Ricoh, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Recording formats
Still picture: JPEG (Exif 2.2), according to "Design rule for Camera File system" (DCF), supports DPOF
Text: TIFF (MMR system, ITU-T.6)
Film scenes: AVI (Open DML Motion JPEG)
Sound: WAV (Exif 2.2)
Video signal standard Switchable PAL / NTSC
Storage media Internal memory 8 MB / SD Memory Card (3.3V, 8 / 16 / 32 / 64 / 128 / 256 / 512 MB) / Multimedia card
Recording element CCD 1/2.7" with 3.34 million square pixels (effectively 3.24 million pixels)
Still picture: 2048x1536 / 1280x960 / 640x480
Text recording: 2048x1536 / 1280x960
Film scenes: 320x240 / 160x120
Recording functions Still picture / Still picture + sound / film scenes + sound / sound / serial recordings (normal, multi-image S and M) / motif programs (portrait, sport, scenery, text, night scenes, high sensitivity)
Image quality settings Fine / Normal
Lens Luminous intensity 2.6–4.7; 6 glass lenses in 5 groups
Optical zoom: triple focal length range 5.5–16.5 mm (corresponds to 35–105 mm with miniature cameras)
Digital zoom: 3.4x
Still picture: 8, 4, 2, 1 to 1/2000 sec. (mechanical/electronic shutter)
Film scenes: 1/30 to 1/2000 sec. (electronic shutter)
Photographic range
30 cm to infinity
Macro: 1 cm to 60 cm (wide-angle), 16 cm to 60 cm (tele)
Light sensitivity Automatic / can be selected manually (corresponds to ISO 125/200/400/800)
Optical viewfinder Real image viewfinder
Monitor TFT-LCD 1.6" (approx. 80,000 pixels); light-transmitting, amorphous silicon
Integrated flash Automatic / constantly on / long-time synchronisation / off / red eye reduction
Focusing Auto focus / manual focusing / fixed focus (SNAP, infinity)
Exposure control Program automatic. Exposure metering: centre-weighted / spot / multi-field (TTL/CCD photometry)
Exposure correction Manually to ± 2.0 EV in 1/3 EV stages
Colour balance Automatic / Manual (daylight, overcast sky, incandescent lamps, fluorescent lamps, measurement of white area)
Time release Approx. 10 sec. or 2 sec. release time lag can be selected
Connections USB computer interface, audio / video output
Sources of current Choice between two alkaline-manganese batteries or NiMH rechargeable batteries (round cell size) or rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries (optional accessories)
Dimensions (L x B x H) 123.9 x 36.4 x 56 mm (without protracting parts)
Weight About 175 g (without batteries/accumulator, SD memory card, hand strap)

Original Source Press Release:

New: RICOH Caplio G3 model S: Ricoh is introducing a zoom digital camera with 3.24 megapixels, magnesium injection mould housing and the world's fastest shutter release reaction

Ricoh announces the introduction on the market of a new digital camera, the Caplio G3 model S - in short G3 S. Sales in Europe begin in July. The magnesium alloy housing for the Caplio G3 S which is an innovative, robust and light material has been created by an injection mould system. A striking feature is the extremely short shutter response time of 0.14 seconds with which the Caplio G3 S surpasses even traditional miniature cameras thus placing it in the top position in this camera category*.
* As from 1 February 2003 for all auto-focus digital cameras. Shutter response time is measured as the delay from the time the shutter release button is fully depressed until exposure starts in auto-focus function without using focus lock.

The Caplio G3 S is a refined version of its sister model Caplio G3 which itself was built on the success of the revolutionary Caplio RR30 and which had already set a new shutter response time record of 0.22 seconds in autumn 2003. With its well-rounded, elegant shape, the Caplio G3 S fits especially well in the hand of the photographer which is a contributing factor enabling fast and reliable reaction to sudden photographic opportunities.

The integrated memo functions are further useful features of the Caplio G3 S. More or less every digital camera user will have experienced frustration when searching for photos from the masses of images on the computer. The Caplio G3 S remedy is for the user to classify his shots in simple-to-create categories which can be supplied with texts. Using the "Ricoh Gate La" software, the text commentaries and categories can not only be created on the computer and transferred to the camera but can also be edited, searched for and printed. In addition, temporary texts can be entered with the aid of a display keyboard.

As regards power supply, the user of the Caplio G3 S can choose between two normal alkali-manganese batteries or NiMH rechargeable batteries of round cell size as well as an additionally obtainable lithium-ion battery with which hundreds of shots can be taken with one recharge. In addition, the camera can be operated with a power pack connected to a socket. The unique macro-setting up to a distance of 1 cm, the CCD image sensor with 3.24 megapixels effective resolution and the triple optical zoom range plus an additional 3.4 digital zoom ensure that impressive photos can taken in the most varying photographic situations.

In order to analyse fast movements, the Caplio G3 S provides the M-serial function by which the last sixteen serial images before releasing the shutter button are automatically combined to form a complete picture. Moving pictures with sound up to 120 seconds long can be recorded in AVI format.

The high sensitivity function of the Caplio G3 S simplifies the choice of trimmed area and image shaping when dealing with dark motifs by strongly brightening the monitor image. It is also advantageous that the files of the images shot can be transferred quickly and simply to a computer with a USB interface using the computer software provided with the camera.

" I am sure that there has rarely been so much attention given to details and performance characteristics in the course of the development of a digital camera. The Caplio G3 model S is the perfect tool for photographers who are only satisfied with the best" says Katsunori Nakata, General Manager of the marketing department of the Ricoh Personal Multimedia Products Company. "The magnesium injection moulded housing is just as much a reason for buying as is the phenomenal shutter reaction time compared with traditional miniature cameras. I also consider the new memo-functions which help the user to allocate data to his photos, to be a very valuable feature. We believe that the Caplio G3 model S will have an important influence on the way digital cameras will be made in the future and on their performance capacity."
Important features and data

Stable housing from magnesium injection mould
The housing of the Caplio G3 S is produced from a durable magnesium alloy using the injection mould technique; the camera therefore rates as one of the most robust models on the market. It is striking not only because of its unique shape and sophisticated finish but also because of its stylish appearance and comfortable handling.

The shortest release time lag with an auto-focus digital camera
Due to its very short release time lag of just 0.14 seconds, the Caplio G3 S removes the problem of slow reaction which is an obvious disadvantage of many other current digital cameras. The speed of the Caplio G3 S is based on the hybrid auto-focus system which combines the advantages of external sensors with precision measurement through the lens. Starting with the impressively short 1/2000 sec. and reaching eight seconds of long-time exposure, the camera offers a suitable shutter time interval for all motifs ranging from action photos to night photography.

CCD with 3.24 megapixels, triple zoom lens, digital zoom 3.4x
From beginners to experts, all users will get wonderful, colour fidelity shots with the high-quality CCD image sensor of the Caplio G3 S. The triple zoom range of the objective lens has advantages for picture creation. In combination with the digital zoom function, this gives an enlargement factor of 10.2 with which a small trimmed area from the motif can be brought into the picture in enlarged form.

Comfortable and reliable power supply
If the optional lithium-ion battery is used, the Caplio G3 S can take up to 3500 pictures* without a change of batteries. A further speciality is the choice between the lithium-ion battery, two alkali-manganese batteries or two nickel metal hydride batteries (round cell size) as energy sources. If photos are often taken close to a power connection, the power pack provided as an accessory can be useful.
*A maximum of 3500 photos in low-current mode (flash off, without zooming, LCD off, with VGA); up to 350 shots in normal conditions of use (with 50% flash and zoom use, LCD on, 30 sec. between shots, previews of all photos).

Macro photography up to a distance of 1 cm
One of the exceptional advantages of the Caplio G3 S is the close-up range of up to 1 cm. Whether blossoms, a diamond ring or miniature products - the smallest details that are scarcely visible to the naked eye, appear as an enlarged image therefore making photography an exciting experience. Going beyond the zoom area, the close-up range is between 1 cm and 16 cm; the integrated flash can even be used up to 16 cm.

Multi-shot serial shots
In the M and S serial image functions, the camera can take 16 photos in intervals of 0.13 sec. and can store these images put together as one picture. With the M function these are the last 16 shots taken before the shutter button is released. This is particularly useful if the chronological order of a movement is not foreseeable. With the S-function the images are recorded immediately after the shutter release button has been pressed. During projection the photos can be enlarged individually - the 16 images can be scrolled quickly forwards or backwards giving the impression of animation. Procedures involving motion such as teeing-off in golf are just some of the many movements that can be excellently analysed. With the standard serial image function normal photos are taken at intervals of 0.3 sec. if the shutter button is pressed.

Effective brightening of the monitor display
The Caplio G3 S with its high-sensitivity function has a further advantage over many other digital cameras when taking photos in conditions of low illumination. The choice of picture detail is has been enormously simplified by the brightening of the monitor image.

Simple file transfer
After installing the "Ricoh Gate La" software on a Windows computer, the switched-off Caplio G3 only has to be connected with a USB cable. The computer immediately begins to load the files at a fast maximum speed of three megabytes per second.

Optimal exposure metering
In order to determine optimal exposure, the Caplio G3 S sets the brightness of the image at 256 different positions. There is also a choice between centre-weighted and selective metering (spot). In tricky situations automatic series exposures can be made.

Compatible with SD memory cards
The Caplio G3 is equipped with 8 MB internal memory and also has a slot for Secure Digital Memory Cards. These are extremely compact memory cards that retain information without an energy supply and allow fast and simple downloading of image files. The camera also accepts multimedia cards.

Synchronised monitor connection
This function enables energy to be saved. The monitor remains switched off until the shutter button or a zoom button for the image preview (monitor live image) has been pressed. After the photograph has been taken, the monitor remains switched on for several seconds for image control.

Quick view by pressing a button
With many digital cameras, a change to the playback function must take place in order to check a photo immediately after it has been taken. With the Caplio G3 Quick View function, however, the last photo can be viewed by simply pressing a button. This quick view function can be used in all photographic functions.

Six different motif functions
The Caplio G3 offers six motif functions: portrait, sport, scenery, night scenes, text and high sensitivity. These motif programs ensure ideal results in any photographic situation.

Video and sound recordings possible
In cases where moving pictures are of more significance than photos, the Caplio G3 S can record film scenes up to 120 seconds long in AVI format. Photos can still be complemented by spoken commentaries of 8 seconds and the digital camera can even be used as a dictation machine.

Serial automatic for exposure and colour balance
In difficult exposure situations - for example with strong contrasts - automatic serial exposures from three slightly differently exposed images taken in direct succession - can help to create an ideal photo. A similar function can be used for colour balance whereby images are created with "normal", slightly warmer and colder colour rendition respectively.

Image memo functions
Most digital camera users find searching for photos in the masses of images extremely stressful. With the Caplio G3 S in playback mode, the user can annotate the images with useful text entries. With the aid of the ListEditor, software texts can be created in advance; alterable examples and categories are provided for this purpose. This new function makes administration and classification of the images easy and comfortable.

The design concept of the Caplio G3
The architect and industrial designer Masayuki Kurokawa developed the surface shape of the Caplio G3 S in cooperation with Ricoh designers. The practicability and at the same time attractive form of the magnesium injection mould housing was a result of exact observation of how items such as pencils, drinking vessels or traditional cameras were held in the hand. This resulted in the rounded-off form of the camera which fits very comfortably and firmly in the hand and is thus geared to meet the daily challenges to equipment that photographers have to endure.

Available from the middle of July 2003
Non-binding price recommendation: 329 Euro

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