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Ricoh's Caplio RR30 digital camera. Courtesy of Ricoh Co. Ltd. with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Ricoh announces new compact digicam (UPDATED)
(Wednesday, August 21, 2002 - 00:24 EDT)

Our friends at the Japanese website digitalcamera.jp have today posted news of a new 3 megapixel, 3x optical zoom digital camera from Ricoh.

We don't yet have any information as to whether this camera, the Caplio RR30, will be coming to the US market, but in Japan there will be three different color variants available - the names translating roughly as "Excellent Silver", "Eternal Black" and "Dressy White". The camera, which will go on sale at a price of ¥54,800 (US$462 / €472 / £302 ignoring exchange rate fluctuations, sales taxes and duties) will reach the Japanese market on September 20th with a monthly production of 30,000 units.

Ricoh is claiming that its new camera has the shortest shutter lag (including AF time) of any current digital camera below 4 megapixels, at 0.22 seconds. Battery life is also listed as a major selling point, with up to 3,500 shots possible (without flash, zoom or LCD usage at 640 x 480 resolution, using the optional DB-43 battery, and with a shot-to-shot interval of 4 seconds). At 114 x 32.5 x 54.5mm, the Caplio RR30 doesn't meet our definition of "ultracompact", but with its long, slim shape reminiscent of Sony's P-series cameras, it is undeniably a camera that will be small and light enough to take most anywhere with you. It is powered by 2 AA batteries, and features USB connectivity. Courtesy of Ricoh Japan (and our best attempts at Japanese translation!) we have a list of specifications and highlights for the Caplio RR30 below:

  1. Substantially improved response efficiency
    • Shutter lag including AF time is the world's fastest, at 0.22 seconds from pushing the shutter button to the start of the exposure. The camera calculates exposure through-the-lens as normal, but has a hybrid AF system which combines TTL contrast detection with a dedicated AF sensor.
    • High-speed processing: 2.5 seconds startup time, 1.5 seconds shot-to-shot interval, 0.2 seconds multi-image mode, 0.5 seconds playback interval (at 1280 x 960 pixels, normal mode)
  2. Long battery life
    • Improved power management and high-capacity DB-43 Lithium Ion battery (¥5,000)
    • "Synchronised monitor" function automatically turns on the LCD for image framing only when the shutter button or zoom are operated, reducing battery usage and extending battery life
  3. Power sources include standard NiMH AA batteries, Lithium Ion battery or AC adapter
    • Thanks to the ability to use both standard NiMH AA batteries and the proprietary long-life Lithium Ion battery, you can take the camera away from a charger safe in the knowledge that when the battery runs out, you'll have no trouble finding another power source
    • Compatible with optional AC-4a AC adapter (¥3,500)
  4. Macro focusing mode with minimum focusing distance of 1cm
    • With a minimum focusing distance of 1cm, small objects such as flowers can easily be photographed without the need for addon macro converters and the suchlike
    • The built-in flash functions to a minimum distance of just 16cm, allowing optimal exposures
  5. Multi-image function including ability to capture images in a burst either immediately before or after shutter button is pressed
    • Ability to capture 16 small thumbnail images in one full-sized image at intervals of 0.13 seconds (M mode) or 0.2 seconds (S mode)
    • In M mode, images are captured immediately after shutton button is pressed. In S mode, you hold the shutter button and release it when you want to stop recording; the 16 most recent images recorded before the shutter button is released are saved. This is suitable for things like recording a golf swing where it is difficult to react to the motion starting in time, but the interval is slightly higher in this mode.
  6. High ISO capability for clear images even in low light
    • The camera has scene mode settings, including modes that will automatically adjust ISO sensitivity and LCD brightness to be appropriate for dim surroundings where you cannot use a flash (such as a museum or aquarium, for example)
    • Other scene modes include document mode (binary black and white mode for copying text etc.), sport, portrait and landscape
  7. Simple data transfer with the included software and USB connection
    • Using the included 'RICOH Gate L' software and the camera's USB connection, images can be quickly and easily transferred to a personal computer
    • If an image of identical name already exists in the intended destination, it won't be transferred and overwrite the existing image
    • File dates are retained when transferring images (Windows XP and MacOS excluded)
  8. Stylish, small, lightweight body in a choice of three different colors
    • Stylish, portable design with dimensions of 114mm x 32.5mm x 54.5mm (excluding projections), and a weight of 160 grams. With the lens retracted, the camera body has minimal projections, so it is less bulky
    • In addition to the standard color (dubbed "Excellent Silver") there are choices of two further colors ("Eternal Black" and "Dressy White")
    • File dates are retained when transferring images (Windows XP and MacOS excluded)
Ricoh Caplio RR30 Accessories
Name Model Price
SD Memory Card (32MB) FM-32SD Undecided
PC Card Adapter FM-SD53 Undecided
Rechargeable Battery DB-43 ¥5,000
Rechargeable Battery DB-40 ¥4,500
Battery Charger BJ-2 ¥5,000
AC Adapter AC-4a ¥3,500
* Sales tax not included in price estimates

Ricoh Caplio RR30
Ricoh's Caplio RR30 digital camera. Courtesy of Ricoh Co. Ltd. with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Record Modes
<Still Image> Compression: JPEG (Exif v2.2), complies to DCF*1 and DPOF
<Document Mode> TIFF (MMR system ITU-T.6)
<Movie> AVI (OpenDML MotionJPEG compliant)
Compression <Still Image> JPEG compliant / <Document Mode> MMR system / <Movie> JPEG compliant
Video Output mode NTSC / PAL changeable
Record Medium
SD Memory Card (3.3V)*2 / MultiMediaCard
Built-In Memory (8MB)
Image Sensor 1/2.7" primary color CCD (3,340,000 total pixels)
Effective Pixels 3,240,000 pixels
Image Sizes
<Still Image> 2048x1536, 1280x960, 640x480
<Document Mode> 1280x960
<Movie> 320x240, 160x120
Record Modes Still Image / Multi-Image / Multi-Image S / Multi-Image M / Scene (Sport, Portrait, Landscape, Night, Document, High Sensitivity)
Image Quality Fine (F) / Normal (N)
Record Quantity (8MB)*2
<Still Image> 2048x1536 Fine: 4 / Normal: 8
  1280x960 Fine: 8 / Normal: 14
  640x480 Normal: 41
Record Time (8MB)*3
<Movie> 320x240 20sec
  160x120 70sec
File Size
<Still Image> 2048x1536 Fine: 1.12MB / Normal: 568KB
  1280 X 960 Fine: 614KB / Normal: 307KB
  640x480 Normal: 72KB
Lens 6 elements in 5 groups F:2.6 ~ 4.7
3x zoom f:5.5 ~ 16.5mm (35mm equivalent 35 ~ 105mm)
3.4x digital zoom
Still Image: 8, 4, 2, 1 ~ 1/2000 second (combined electronic and mechanical shutter)
Movie: 1/30 - 1/2000 second (electronic shutter)
Focus Distance Approx. 0.3m - ∞ (In macro mode: Tele - 0.16m - 0.6m / Wide - 0.01m - 0.6m
ISO Sensitivity Automatic (ISO 125), ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800
Viewfinder Real-image optical zoom
Liquid Crystal Display 1.6" transmissive amorphous silicon TFT LCD with approx. 80,000 pixels
Flash Auto (fill flash) / On / Slow Synchro / Off / Red Eye Reduction
Focusing Auto / Manual / Fixed (snap / ∞)
Metering TTL-CCD photometry (Multi [256 segment] / Center weighted / Spot)
Exposure Compensation Manual (±2.0EV in 1/3EV steps)
White Balance Auto / Outdoor / Cloudy / Incandescent / Fluorescent / One Touch
Self-Timer Operation time: Approx. 10 seconds / Approx. 2 seconds
Time Lapse Photographing nterval: 30 seconds - 3 hours
PC Connection USB (Compatible with Windows 98 / 98SE / 2000 / Me / XP, Macintosh MacOS 8.6 ~ 9.2.2 / MacOS X 10.1.2 ~ 10.1.4)
Video Connection Video Out
Power Source Proprietary Lithium Ion rechargeable or NiMH AA x 2
Battery Life
Using DB-43 battery*4: Approx. 3,500 continuous photos, or 350 photos in normal use
Using AA alkaline batteries*5: 70 - 80 photos in normal use
External Power Source / Voltage Proprietary AC adapter AC-4a (optional); input 100V, output DV3.8V
Dimensions 114mm (W) x 32.5mm (D) x 54.5mm (H) excluding projections
Weight Approx. 160g (excluding battery, SD Memory Card and strap)
Included Accessories Video cable, USB cable, 2 x AA alkaline batteries, CD-ROM (software for the RR30), hand strap
Temperature Range 0°C ~ 40°C
*1DCF is an abbreviation of the JEITA standard "Design Rule For Camera File System". (Compatibility with other equipment complying with DCF is not guaranteed).
*2 For memory card compatibility, please check the Ricoh website
*3 Standard record quantity as for still images

*4 Quantity based on Ricoh's standard measurement conditions. Times may differ depending on working conditions.

Continuous use: 640x480, flash off, zoom not used, LCD display off (power conservation mode)
Normal use: Photos at 30 second intervals, 2:1 flash use, zoom used

*5 Normal use: Photos at 30 second intervals, 2:1 flash use, zoom used, LCD display off (power conservation mode)

UPDATED 2002-08-21 17:40ET: Added a higher quality product image, as well as the official English-language press release for the German announcement of the camera.
Source: Ricoh Co. Ltd.

Original Source Press Release:

Ricoh Introduces Revolutionary 3.24-Megapixel Digital Zoom Camera Featuring Ultrafast Shutter Response and Long life battery Support

Tokyo, August 22, 2002 - Ricoh has announced the release of the Caplio RR30 digital camera.

This revolutionary new model eliminates the key banes of digital photography. Users can quickly capture action opportunities because the shutter response is the world's fastest in this camera's class* - at just 0.22 second. The Caplio RR30 is also a perfect travel companion, with an optionally available lithium ion battery that allows hundreds of shots between charges. The Caplio RR30 is one of a handful of digital cameras that can additionally operate with two AA alkaline or nickel metal hydride batteries, and also comes with an optional AC adapter.

* As of July 20, 2002, for compact digital cameras with resolutions of four megapixels or less. Speed measured as time between depressing shutter release button and starting exposure in auto focus mode without using focus lock.

The new model's CCD delivers an effective 3.24 megapixels of high resolution, complemented by 10.2x zooming from a 3x optical zoom lens, combined with 3.4x digital zooming. For those seeking up-close detail, the Caplio RR30 allows 1cm macros.

Apart from a regular continuous shooting mode, two new continuous shooting modes record the first or last 16 frames of a subject to one file in around two seconds. This is perfect for those seeking to analyze everything from a golfer's swing to a sprinter's gait.

The Caplio RR30's high-sensitivity mode provides incomparably better illumination of subjects in the dark to aid framing and shooting. Another key advantage of the Caplio RR30 is that it can plug in to USB cable-equipped personal computers with the provided imaging software installed, for instant image transfers.

Katsunori Nakata, general manager of the Marketing Office at Ricoh's Personal Multimedia Products Company, says of the new model that: "We listened closely to existing digital camera users before developing this new model. And we responded with innovation.

The Caplio RR30 makes digital photography a reliably complete and user-friendly experience, such as through the long battery life and ultrafast shutter response. On top of that, the Caplio RR30's 3.24-megapixel resolution, 10.2x zoom, and a host of other handy features make it equally suitable for the consumer market and business users, such as web writers, columnists, magazine editors, and public relations officers. The Caplio RR30 has everything you need to truly enjoy digital photography."

Main Features

Ultrafast Shutter Response
People who have used digital cameras before have likely suffered the frustrations of action shooting. All too often, the subject has almost disappeared before a shot is captured. This is because shutter responses on such cameras are so slow. But the Caplio RR30 eliminates this problem. The release time lag is just 0.22 second.

The Caplio RR30 achieves such speed with its hybrid autofocusing system, comprising both external and through-the-lens focusing. The shutter speed ranges from an amazing 1/2,000th of a second to a full eight seconds. All these capabilities allow users to comfortably handle everything from portrait to action photography.

Diverse Power Sources
When on road, users can always switch to two AA alkaline or nickel metal hydride batteries in the unlikely event that the optional lithium ion battery runs out. Few other digital cameras offer such dual battery capabilities. With the lithium ion battery, up to 3,500 shots* are possible between recharges. An optional AC adapter is available for those wishing to take advantage of a nearby power source.

"* A maximum 3,500 shots under continuous counting mode (flash off, without zooming, LCD off, with VGA); up to 350 shots under normal usage conditions (with 50% flash and zoom usage, LCD on, 30 seconds between shots, reviews of all photos).

1cm Macro Photography
The Caplio RR30 builds on the Ricoh tradition of offering crisp macros as close as 1cm from a subject, so it can, for example, capture the full richness of settings in an engagement ring. The camera also offers macros across the zoom range up to 16cm away, while the built-in flash can be used for shots as close as 16cm.

Multi-Shot Shooting
One of the key attractions of the Caplio RR30 is that it is a perfect tool for people wanting to analyze action. Golfers, for example, might want to analyze their swings. The Caplio RR30 has two handy streaming shot modes for such people. In S- continuous Mode, it can take a stream of 16 shots in one file at 0.13-second intervals-for two seconds of footage-with just one press of the shutter button.

In M-continuous Mode, with the shutter button held down the camera memorizes the last 16 shots in one file, taken at 0.13 second intervals. This is very convenient if users are unsure exactly when a particular action may start or finish.

High-Sensitivity Display
The Caplio RR30 does away with another familiar drawback of digital cameras: poor display visibility in nightclubs and other dim environments. Its high-sensitivity mode provides incomparably better illumination of subjects in the dark to aid framing and shooting.

Simple Image Transfers
The Caplio RR30 makes child's play of image transfers. Just turn the camera off. Link via a USB cable to a Windows PC or Mac OS computer preinstalled with RICOH GATE L software installed. The computer will then instantly start importing at 3 megabytes per second. Mac OSX users can import images with iPhoto. Windows XP users can take advantage of the Windows Image Acquisition driver interface.

Hybrid Autofocusing
The Caplio RR30 incorporates a hybrid autofocusing system, comprising both external and through-the-lens focusing. The external system operates constantly, thus advancing shutter speeds and enhancing shooting in dark environments. The through-the-lens setup is handy for ensuring crispness in closeups and macro photography.

Handy Exposure Options
A 256-point light sensor scans the subject area to average and determine optimal exposure settings. The camera also offers center-weighted and spot metering and incorporates auto bracketing.

Synchro Monitor Mode
In this mode, the camera conserves power by keeping the monitor off before shooting. The monitor goes on when the shutter button is depressed to preview a shot or operate the zoom, and remains on for several seconds after a picture is taken.

Compatible with Secure Digital Memory Cards
The Caplio RR30 has an internal 8M memory and can also use optional Secure Digital memory cards. These ultracompact solid-state devices do not need a power source to store information and permit fast and simple downloads of images. The camera is also compatible with Multimedia cards.
Shutter speeds from 1/2000 to eight seconds

The shutter range is from an amazing 1/2,000th of a second to a full eight seconds. All these capabilities allow users to comfortably handle everything from portrait to action photography.

Diverse Scene Modes and Video Captures
To remove the fuss from photography, the Caplio RR30 offers six preset scene modes. These are the portrait, sports, landscape, night scene, text, and high-sensitivity modes. Another handy feature of the Caplio RR30 is that it can capture silent video.

Quick Reviews at the Press of a Button
Most cameras require users to switch modes if they want to review results. With the Caplio RR30, however, users can take advantage of the Recview capability when in any shooting mode, simply depressing a button to instantly replay the most recent image.

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