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Ricoh's RDC-i500 digital camera. Courtesy of Ricoh. Ricoh announces RDC-i500 digicam! (UPDATED)
(Thursday, March 22, 2001 - 10:16 EST)

New digital camera combines functionality from previous RDC-7 and RDC-i700 models with new features...

The Impress PC Watch website has noted the announcement by Ricoh Japan of a new digital camera due to ship April 20th on the Japanese market. The new RDC-i500 digital camera combines features from both the RDC-7 and RDC-i700 models from Ricoh, as well as some new functionality as well...

The camera is just a few millimeters larger in each dimension than the RDC-7, and is significantly smaller (31% by volume) than the RDC-i700. Weight is also close to the RDC-7, and much lower than the i700, although we don't know the exact weight of the battery to figure out the precise difference in weight thus far...

The RDC-i500 retains the same 3.34 megapixel CCD image sensor and 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution of the older cameras, although it does not feature the Pro modes from the RDC-7 (which used pixel-shifting and interpolation to increase image size/quality). It gets a new 2" LCD display, the same size as used on the RDC-7 but higher resolution than either of the previous cameras at 200,000 pixels. The maximum ISO rating is boosted to 800, and an Auto ISO mode will select between ISO150 and ISO200 - the ISO cannot manually be set below 200, however. Minimum shutter speed is increased from 1/1000 to 1/2000 of a second, and both Spot and Multi metering are added on top of the existing Center-weighted metering.

The SmartMedia storage on the RDC-7, and PCMCIA slot on the RDC-i700 are dropped, the 8MB of built-in memory being retained along with the Type-II CompactFlash slot that the i700 also featured. The RDC-i500's Type-II CF slot is Microdrive compatible, and can also accept modem and LAN cards for dialup/network connectivity (although since the i500 has only one flash slot, images must be transferred to the internal memory first if you wish to use the CF slot for a modem/LAN card).

The ability to send/receive emails, build web pages and Word/Excel documents, and FTP files in camera from the RDC-i700 is retained. However, the RDC-i500 loses the web browser functionality of the older camera, and since the smaller LCD display does not have a touch screen, it also requires email addresses to be stored in-camera by configuring it over a LAN or USB connection with a web browser. Finally, the RDC-i500 features a movie mode that records at 15 fps for up to 10 minutes if you're using a Microdrive, along with WAV audio, TIFF uncompressed or JPEG compressed images, and a "text" mode that also saves as a TIFF file.

Full specifications on the RDC-i500 are in our database, and can be compared to the RDC-7 and RDC-i700. Three sample images have also been posted on Ricoh's Japanese website. Specification highlights are as follows:

Specification Highlights - full specifications here
Ricoh RDC-i500
Ricoh's RDC-i500  digital camera. Courtesy of Ricoh.
Model Number: RDC-i500
Camera Format: Other
Retail Price: $940 (based on conversion of Japanese price)
Date Available: 2001-04-20
Image Capture
Image Sensor: 0.555" 3.34 megapixel CCD (3.24 megapixels effective)
Image Resolution: 2048x1536, 1024x768, 640x480
Focal Length (effective): 35 - 105 mm (3x optical zoom)
Digital Zoom: 1.3, 1.6, 3.2x in VGA mode only
Auto Focus: Yes
Manual Focus: Yes
Normal Focus Range: 24 cm to Infinity; 9.8 in to Infinity
Macro Focus Range: 1 - 24 cm; 0.4 - 9.8 in
Aperture Range: f/2.6 (wide) / 3.4 (tele) - ???
Optical Viewfinder: Yes (Real Image optical zoom type)
LCD Viewfinder: Yes (2 inch, 200000 pixel)
ISO Settings: 150, 200, 400, 800
White Balance Settings: Auto, Outdoor, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Manual
Manual White Balance: Yes
Shutter Speeds: 8 - 1/2000 second
Exp Adj Range: +/- 2.0EV in 1/4EV steps
Metering Modes: Center-weighted, Spot, Multi
Exposure Modes: Unknown
Self Timer (seconds): 10
Internal Flash: Yes
Flash Modes: On, off, auto, red-eye reduction, slow synchro
Flash Range Description: Unknown
Ext Flash: No
Image Storage
Flash Memory: Built-in, Type-II CompactFlash
Memory Included (MB): 8MB built-in (7MB available for photos)
File Formats: JPEG, TIFF, AVI, WAV
More Information
Weight: 295 g; 10.3 oz
Weight With Batteries? No
Size: 142 x 30 x 78mm; 5.6 x 1.2 x 3.1in
Notes & Features: Shutter speeds available above 1 second are 2, 4 or 8 seconds. Time lapse mode allows times from 30 seconds to 3 hours. Automatic exposure bracketing feature (3 shots). Files can be copied to/from built-in memory and CompactFlash card. Bundled with soft case, hand strap, lens cap, video cable, Lithium-Ion battery and charger, USB cable, software CD-ROM, and instruction manual. LCD monitor can be rotated 270 degrees. Has text capture mode (saves image as TIFF file). Can convert images in-camera to size suitable for emailing. Can send/receive emails with attached images/sounds, build and upload (FTP) web pages from camera. 50 emails can be stored in-camera. Has built-in web server for configuring the camera from an attached (USB/LAN) PC. Has utility for automatically creating a Word/Excel document with images inlaid. Can be connected to Internet via PHS phone, CompactFlash Ethernet LAN card or via a dialup PC. As well as auto/manual focus, has preset focus at 2 meters for taking portraits. Battery life is claimed as 50 minutes in record mode with LCD on, or 70 minutes in playback mode. Has second shutter button for portrait-mode on front of camera; if photo is taken with this button then it is automatically saved in portrait orientation. Menu language can be changed from choice of Japanese, English, German and French.

UPDATED 2001-03-23 11:06ET: digitalkamera.de reports that the Ricoh RDC-i500 will be sold in Europe. The camera will reach market in April 2001 at a price of €1,000 (US$893)...

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