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Ricoh's Caplio G3 Model M digital camera, shown in both black and grey versions. Courtesy of Ricoh, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Ricoh announces the Caplio G3
(Thursday, February 13, 2003 - 18:18 EST)

Ricoh Japan has today announced three new digital cameras sharing an identical base, claimed to have the fastest shutter response time (including focusing) of any camera in their class..

Although only one camera, the Caplio G3, is announced in the English-language press release, the Japanese announcement adds a Caplio G3 Model M, and a Caplio G3 Model S. All three cameras share an identical body, 3.34 megapixel CCD imager and 35 - 105mm equivalent 3x optical zoom lens. The most notable feature is a shutter lag of 0.14 seconds from depressing the shutter button to the exposure starting, when the camera is in auto-focus mode with no focus lock. The speed apparently comes from a Hybrid AF system combining an external AF sensor, and TTL autofocusing.

So - what are the differences between the base Caplio G3, and the Model S / Model M? Well, as best we can tell the Model M has a magnesium coating on the body, where the other two cameras have plastic bodies. The Model S, meanwhile, adds the ability to tag images with text and audio clips, and voice-recognition software to process the audio clips when connected to a PC. Both the Model S and Model M are slightly heavier (15 grams) than the base Caplio G3.

Seven sample images shot with the Ricoh Caplio G3 can be seen on Ricoh Japan's website. The base Caplio G3 will be sold with a silver body, and cost ¥56,000 (US$464 / €429 / CDN$705 / £287). The Model M will be available in black or grey, and cost ¥62,000 (US$514 / €475 / CDN$780 / £317), whilst the Model S will have a silver body and cost ¥69,000 (US$572 / €528 / CDN$868 / £353). All price conversions are ignoring currency fluctuations, duties and taxes. The cameras will go on sale in Japan from February 21st; plans for overseas sale have not yet been announced

Ricoh Caplio G3
Ricoh's Caplio G3 digital camera. Courtesy of Ricoh, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins.
Recording Format
Still: JPEG (Exif 2.2) DCF "Design rule for Camera File system", DPOF support
Text: TIFF (MMR system, ITU-T.6)
Motion: AVI (Open DML Motion JPEG)
Sound: WAV (Exif ver. 2.2)
Video Signal Method NTSC/PAL switchable
Recording Media
Internal 8MB
SD Memory card (3.3V 8 / 16 / 32 / 64 / 128 / 256 / 512MB) / MultiMediaCard
CCD 1/2.7-inch CCD with 3.34 million square pixels (effective 3.24 million pixels)
Still: 2048x1536 / 1280x960 / 640x480
Text: 2048x1536 / 1280x960
Motion: 320x240,160x120
Recording Mode Still / Still+Sound / Motion+Sound / Voicememo / Continuous / S-Continuous / M-Continuous / Scene (Portrait, Sports, Landscape, Text, Nightscape, High-sensitivity)
Picture Mode Fine / Normal
Lens F: 2.6 - 4.7, 6 glass elements in 5 groups
Optical 3x zoom f = 5.5 - 16.5mm (35 - 105mm in 35mm camera format)
Digital 3.4x zoom
Still: 8, 4, 2, 1 - 1/2000 sec. (mechanical / electronic shutter)
Motion: 1/30 - 1/2000 sec. (electronic shutter)
Shooting Range
30cm(11.8in.) to infinity
Macro: 1cm (0.4in.) -60cm (23.6in.) Wide, 16cm (6.3in)-60cm (23.6in) Tele
ISO Sensitivity Auto / Selectable ISO (equivalent to 125 / 200 / 400 / 800)
Optical Viewfinder Real-image
Monitor Display 1.6" Translucent Amorphous Silicon TFT LCD (approx. 80,000 pixels)
Built-in Flash Auto / On / Slow Synchro / Off / Red-eye Reduction
Focus Auto Focus / Manual Focus / Fixed Focus (snap/infinity)
Exposure Mode
Programmed AE:TTL-CCD method
Photometric system: Center Weight / Spot / Multi
Exposure Adjustment Manual Exposure Compensation (+/-2.0 EV in 1/3EV steps)
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Overcast / Tungsten Light / Fluorescent Light / Manual (One Push)
Self-timer Approx. 10 sec. / 2 sec. Delay
Audio Out/Video Out
* Limited to PCs with Windows 98 / 98SE / 2000 / Me / XP pre-installed or Macintosh with Mac OS 8.6 - 9.2.2 / Mac OS X 10.1.2 - 10.2.1
Battery AA Alkaline x 2 (NiMH possible) or Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery (option)
Dimensions (W x D x H) 123.9 x 36.4 x 56mm, 4.9 x 1.4 x 2.2inch (excluding projection)
Approx. 160g (5.6oz.) without battery, SD memory card, hand strap
Caplio G3 Model M and Model S are approx. 175g (6.2oz.) without battery, SD memory card, hand strap
System Requirements
Platform Windows Macintosh
OS Windows 98 / Windows 98 Second Edition / Windows Me / Windows 2000 / Windows XP Mac OS 8.6 - 9.2.2 / Mac OS X 10.1.2 - 10.2.1†‡
CPU Pentium II processor or faster Power PC or later
Memory Space
Windows 98 / 98SE: 32MB or more (96MB recommended)
Windows 2000 : 128MB or more (256MB recommended)
Windows Me: 64MB or more (96MB recommended)
Windows XP: 128MB or more (256MB recommended)
Mac OS 8.6 - 9.2.2: 96MB or more (128MB recommended)
Mac OS X 10.1.2 - 10.2.1: 128MB or more (256MB recommended)
Hard Disk Space 10MB or more
Mac OS 8.6 - 9.2.2: 10MB or more
Mac OS X 10.1.2. - 10.1.4: 100MB or more
CD Contents
RICOH Gate La†* (Launcher Application)
USB driver
WIA driver (for Windows XP)
Mounter (for Mac OS 8.6 - 9.2.2 and Mac OS X 10.1.2 - 10.2.1)
Acrobat Reader (for Windows98 / 98SE / Me / 2000 / XP)
RICOH Gate La is not compatible with Mac OS X 10.1.2 - 10.2.1
‡ DU-10 is not compatible with Mac OS 8.6 - 9.2.2 / Mac OS X 10.1.2 - 10.2.1
* No camera control function
Optional Accessories
FM-SD53 PC card adapter
DB-43 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery
BJ-2 Battery Charger
AC-4a AC Adapter
More Photos
Ricoh's Caplio G3 Model S digital camera. Courtesy of Ricoh, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins.
Ricoh's Caplio G3 Model M digital camera. Courtesy of Ricoh, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins.

Original Source Press Release:

Announcing the Release of the Caplio G3

Ricoh Pioneers the World's Fastest Shutter Response on its Stylish 3.24-Megapixel Digital Zoom Camera

Tokyo, February 13, 2003. Ricoh is extremely pleased to announce the release of the Caplio G3 digital camera.

With a blazing 0.14-second shutter response time, the new 3.24-Megapixel Caplio G3 has done what no digital camera has done before - exceed the speed of a conventional 35mm camera - a major milestone that makes it the world's fastest in its class. *

*As of February 1, 2003 for all auto-focus digital cameras. Speed measured as time between depressing shutter release button and starting exposure in auto-focus mode without using focus lock.

Building on the runaway success of the revolutionary Caplio RR30, which in the autumn of 2002 had the world's fastest shutter response at just 0.22-seconds, the Caplio G3's ability to capture action opportunities quickly and reliably is further complemented with a stylish body shape that was designed to fit comfortably in the photographer's hand.

The Caplio G3 also boasts the choice of an optional long-lasting lithium-ion battery that enables hundreds of shots to be taken between charges, two convenient AA alkaline or nickel metal hydride batteries, or an AC adapter to power the camera. Its impressive 3.24 effective megapixel CCD that features a 3x optical zoom lens and a 3.4x digital zoom and industry-leading 1-cm macros provide users with high-resolution images and an excellent range of shooting possibilities.

For action sequences, M-continuous mode allows the capture of the last 16 frames taken of a subject to one file, which is ideal for analyzing a golf swing. Users can also record up to 120 seconds of AVI video with sound.

The Caplio G3's high-sensitivity mode provides exceptional illumination of subjects in the dark, which aids framing and shooting. Moreover, with the imaging software provided, making instant image transfers from the Caplio G3 to USB-equipped personal computers is fast and easy.

"The Caplio G3 is a digital camera that makes all of us at Ricoh extremely proud. It's lightening fast, fits comfortably in user's hand, has a wonderful amount of functionality and most of all it's so simple to use!" says Katsunori Nakata, general manager of the Marketing Office at Ricoh's Personal Multimedia Products Company. "It's ideal for both personal and business users alike and a very positive contribution to the marketplace. We believe the Caplio G3 will significantly elevate the standard on how digital cameras will be made in the future."

< Main Features >

World's shortest release time lag
The Caplio G3 makes action photography a visible reality with the world's shortest release time lag of just 0.14-seconds - effectively eliminating the problematic slow shutter response time found on the vast majority of digital cameras today. The Caplio G3 achieves such speed with its hybrid auto-focusing system, comprising both external and through-the-lens focusing. From a jaw-dropping 1/2000th of a second to long exposures of 8 seconds, the shutter speed gives users the ability to capture a fantastic range of shooting possibilities.

Convenient and dependable power sources
Using the optional lithium-ion battery, the Caplio G3 can take a remarkable 3,500 shots* between recharges. An optional AC adapter is also available for those wishing to take advantage of a nearby power source; and the camera also has the rare ability to switch to two AA alkaline or nickel metal hydride batteries if the occasion calls for it.

*A maximum 3,500 shots under power-save 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 G3 makes macro photography exciting and addictive by capturing macros as close as 1cm from a subject. Get in super close to flowers, a brilliant engagement ring, even your clients' products and seize the smallest of details, even those practically invisible to the human eye.

The camera also offers macros across a zoom range of up to 16cm away, while the built-in flash can be used for shots as close as 16cm.

Multi-shot shooting
In M-continuous mode, with the shutter button held down the camera memorizes the last 16 shots, taken at 0.13-second intervals, in one file. This comes in handy when users are uncertain about the start or finish of a particular action. In S-continuous Mode, it can take a series of 16 shots - at 0.13-second intervals, for two seconds of footage - in one file with just one press of the shutter button. When reviewing the 16 shots during playback, each frame can be enlarged individually and quickly skimmed back and forth delivering a sense of animation to the viewer. All this makes it a useful and enjoyable tool to analyze golf swings and other action sequences. In normal continuous mode, the intervals are 0.3 seconds while the button is being pressed.

High-sensitivity display
The Caplio G3's high-sensitivity mode makes visibility in dim environments superior to most digital cameras on the marketplace today by illuminating subjects in the dark to aid in framing and shooting.

Simple image transfers
After installing the RICOH GATE L software into a Windows PC or Mac OS computer, simply turn off the camera and link the Caplio G3 up via a USB cable. The computer will then instantly start importing at an impressive speed of 3 megabytes per second. Mac OS X users can import images with iPhoto while Windows XP users can take advantage of Windows Image Acquisition.

Practical exposure options
The Caplio G3's 256-point light sensor scans the subject area to determine optimal exposure settings and also offers center-weighted and spot metering that incorporates auto-bracketing.

Compatible with Secure Digital memory cards
The Caplio G3 has 8MB of internal memory and can also use optional Secure Digital memory cards. These especially compact 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.

Synchro monitor mode
In Synchro monitor mode, the Caplio G3 conserves power by turning the monitor off before shooting. The monitor comes on when the shutter button is pressed to preview a shot or operate the zoom, and remains on for several seconds after a picture is taken.

Quick reviews at the press of a button

Most cameras require users to switch modes if they want to review results. With the Caplio G3, however, users can take advantage of the "Quick review" capability in any shooting mode by simply pressing a button to display the most recently taken image.

Six distinct scene modes
The Caplio G3 offers six distinct scene modes: portrait, sports, landscape, night scene, text, and high-sensitivity, all of which help to optimize results depending on the shooting situation.

Video- and sound-recording capability
Another great feature of the Caplio G3 is that it can capture 120 seconds of AVI video with sound. This is perfect for times when motion paints a much brighter picture than stills. It also has sound-recording capabilities that enable the user to leave a 8-second "voice memo" stamp to photos taken, which also allows it to act as a convenient voice recorder.

Auto-bracket and white balance bracket
When challenging lighting situations arise, such as in heavy sunlight, the handy auto-bracketing function allows the user to take three individual shots, at different exposure settings, at one time. The same functionality applies to the white balance bracket setting by applying tones of red, normal white and blue to three separate images.

< Caplio G3 design concept >

Architect and industrial designer Masayuki Kurokawa, in collaboration with in-house designers at Ricoh, developed the Caplio G3's design concept. The Caplio G3's unique body shape was born from close observations on how we hold objects such as pens, soda cans, round stones, and regular 35mm cameras. This examination led directly to the rounded shape that the camera was granted, thus making it extremely comfortable to hold.

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