Ricoh WG-50 Review

 
Camera Reviews / Ricoh Cameras i Preview
16.00
Megapixels
5.00x zoom 1/2.3 inch
size sensor
image of Ricoh WG-50
Front side of Ricoh WG-50 digital camera Front side of Ricoh WG-50 digital camera Front side of Ricoh WG-50 digital camera Front side of Ricoh WG-50 digital camera Front side of Ricoh WG-50 digital camera
Basic Specifications
Full model name: Ricoh WG-50
Resolution: 16.00 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1/2.3 inch
(6.2mm x 4.6mm)
Lens: 5.00x zoom
(28-140mm eq.)
Viewfinder: No / LCD
Native ISO: 125 - 6400
Extended ISO: 125 - 6400
Shutter: 1/4000 - 4 seconds
Max Aperture: 3.5
Dimensions: 4.8 x 2.4 x 1.2 in.
(123 x 62 x 30 mm)
Weight: 6.8 oz (193 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 06/2017
Manufacturer: Ricoh
Full specs: Ricoh WG-50 specifications

Ricoh WG-50 Review -- First Impressions

by
Preview posted

Ricoh WG-50 Review -- Product Image

The Ricoh WG-50 is very closely based on the 2014-model year Ricoh WG-30, so if you've been trying unsuccessfully to pick up that discontinued model, you'll want to start shopping for the new version instead. In almost every respect, the Ricoh WG-50 is identical to its 2.5-year old predecessor. In fact, the biggest difference between the two is that, where the WG-30 had a Wi-Fi equipped sibling called the WG-30W, there's no corresponding WG-50W being offered in the US market this time around. (We wouldn't be too terribly surprised to see one crop up in overseas markets, though.)

The Ricoh WG-50 shares much the same waterproof body as in the WG-30 and WG-30W. The aggressively-styled exterior is waterproof to a depth limit of 46 feet (14 m), and it's also shockproof to survive a 5.2 foot (1.6m) drop. (Both of these numbers are just fractionally up from the 12m / 1.5m ratings of the WG-30 series, perhaps due to further testing rather than a change in the design.) Like the earlier cameras, the WG-50 is also crushproof to 220 pounds (100kgf), freezeproof to 14F (-10C), and dustproof (to IPX6 / JIS 6 standards). In other words, you'll give up before it does, most likely.

On the inside, the complete imaging pipeline (including the lens) is unchanged. The 16.0-megapixel image sensor is a backside-illuminated CMOS type, just as seen previously in the WG-30 series cameras. ISO sensitivity still ranges from a low of ISO 125-equivalent to a high of ISO 6400 equivalent. The sensor sits behind a 5x optical zoom lens which has a 28-140mm equivalent focal length range and maximum aperture of f/3.5 at wide angle, falling to f/5.5 by the telephoto position. As in the WG-30 series cameras, there's no mechanical image stabilization here. Instead, Ricoh provides only pixel-track SR combined with what it calls "Digital SR", another way of saying the ISO sensitivity is raised to attain a higher shutter speed.

Ricoh WG-50 Review -- Product Image

Like its predecessors, the Ricoh WG-50 will focus down to 0.4 inches (1 cm) in Digital Microscope mode. Since holding the camera so close will likely shade your subject, an array of six evenly-spaced LEDs around the lens will provide even illumination. Note that there's a significant catch to the Digital Microscope mode, though: Resolution is locked at just two megapixels with a 16:9 aspect ratio. (In other words, you're probably capturing a single Full HD video frame.)

The macro LEDs surrounding the lens are also used in a couple of other ways by the Ricoh WG-50. Perhaps the most interesting of these allows the camera to provide a "Self-Portrait Assist" function, helping you to center your face by showing which way the camera should be pointed. Turn it towards the LED that's blinking, and when they've all stopped blinking you know you're in the center of the picture.

What Ricoh calls its "Instant Illumination Enhance" function, meanwhile, flashes the LEDs right as the shutter is released, helping throw a little extra light on your subject at the moment of capture. (This differs from Digital Microscope Mode, which shines the LEDs before exposure as well.) You can also use the LEDs as a flashlight. And perhaps an even more unusual function is the ability to turn on the LCD panel to see the current time by holding down the OK button when the camera is powered off. Handy if your phone has run out of batteries and you don't wear a watch, we suppose!

Ricoh WG-50 Review -- Product Image

Speaking of the LCD monitor, it's a smaller and lower-res than average 2.7-inch panel with 230,000 dot resolution. That equates to a 320 x 240 pixel array, with red, green and blue subpixels side-by-side at each pixel location. It's the same display type used in the WG-30 series cameras, and an anti-reflective coating is included to help tame reflections.

As well as an Auto Picture mode capable of recognizing 16 different scene types, the Ricoh WG-50 has a variety of other shooting functions, some of them common, and some less so. Up to 32 faces can be detected within the image scene in just 0.03 seconds, and the system can also locate the faces of pets, taking these into account when determining focus and exposure. A Smile Capture function will automatically trip the shutter when your subject is smiling. There's also a four-shot Handheld Night Snap mode that overlays the images into a single frame that's sharper than a long exposure, but lower-noise than a single shot would have been.

Ricoh WG-50 Review -- Product Image

There's also an interval shooting mode, 12 digital filter functions, and five image tones. That's two more than in the WG-30 and WG-30W, with Ricoh having added vibrant and slide film tones to the existing bright, natural and monochrome modes. That brings things a little closer to matching the same looks offered by Ricoh's Pentax-branded DSLRs, although they still have some image tone (or "custom image", in Ricoh parlance) options that aren't offered in the WG-50, and refer to "reversal" rather than "slide" film.

An Underwater "Mermaid" mode which yields better color underwater by correcting for muted reds and low contrast in both stills and movies. Underwater photographers will also appreciate improved underwater white balance, and a new flash bracketing function which captures one shot with artificial illumination, and one without. That's a nice touch, since once you're underwater you don't want to be fumbling with trying to turn the flash on and off for each shot.

Ricoh WG-50 Review -- Product Image

The Ricoh WG-30 shoots Full HD video (that's 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution, aka 1080p) at a rate of 30 frames per second. There's also a high-speed movie mode which records 15-second clips at HD (1,280 x 720 pixel, aka 720p) resolution at 120 frames per second. Shake reduction and zoom are disabled in this mode, and you'll need to use a Class 4 or higher SD card. Unfortunately, Ricoh doesn't state the playback speed, and so we can't tell you the effective speed reduction factor, just that there's a slow-motion effect for videos shot in this mode. All movies use H.264 compression, and a Movie SR function attempts to stabilize them post-capture by warping the frame and sharpening edges.

Connectivity options include Type-D Micro HDMI high-definition video output, a Micro-B USB 2.0 port and twin IR remote control receivers on both front and back of the camera body, providing coverage whether you're in front of or behind the camera.

Ricoh WG-50 Review -- Product Image

Available from June 23rd, 2017, the Ricoh WG-50 is priced at US$280 in the US market. Only two body options will be offered, with a choice of either black or orange colors, the red and gray colors of the WG-30 series not having been carried through to the new model.

 

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