Ricoh 500G Wide Review

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Basic Specifications
Full model name: Ricoh Caplio 500G Wide
Resolution: 8.13 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1/1.8 inch
(7.2mm x 5.3mm)
Lens: 3.03x zoom
(28-85mm eq.)
Viewfinder: Optical / LCD
Extended ISO: 64 - 1600
Shutter: 1/2000 - 8 sec
Max Aperture: 2.5
Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.1 x 2.9 in.
(133 x 79 x 74 mm)
Weight: 15.9 oz (450 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 05/2006
Manufacturer: Ricoh
Full specs: Ricoh 500G Wide specifications

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3.03x zoom 1/1.8 inch
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The Ricoh Caplio 500G Wide is the latest in a long series of digital cameras from the consumer electronics and office automation company that aim to fill very specific market niches. Well suited for companies looking to provide digicams for their employees to use on worksites and other situations where rough treatment, dust and water are a fact of life, the Ricoh 500G is designed for easy use by gloved hands, with large, simple controls. The 500G's body is also comprehensively weather-, dust- and shock-proofed. The company says the 500G achieves JIS class 7 waterproofing, allowing use underwater up to one meter for up to 30 minutes. It is also JIS class 6 dustproof, the highest possible rating on that scale. Finally, Ricoh notes that the 500G complies with the US Department of Defense's MIL 810F drop test, a standard for shockproofing whereby the camera is dropped onto 2" plywood backed with concrete some 26 times so as to strike differing portions of the camera body. In the case of the 500G the drop test was passed from a height of 100 centimeters. As for the operating environment, Ricoh rates the 500G for use in temperatures from 10 - 40 celsius, with humidity of 85% or less.

Not only is the Ricoh 500G Wide a camera that is designed to stand up to heavy use, but it also carries a pretty capable feature set. An eight megapixel 1/1.8" CCD imager offers resolutions of up to 3264 x 2448 (as well as QVGA or lower movies at up to 30 frames per second), and is coupled to a 3x optical zoom lens with a wider than average focal range of 28 - 85mm. ISO sensitivity ranges from 64 to 1600 equivalent, and there are three choices of exposure metering - 256 segment multi, center-weighted, or spot. Exposure compensation is available with a range of 2.0EV in 1/3EV steps, and there are seven white balance modes including Auto and One-Push custom, plus a white balance bracketing function. Focusing is from 30 centimeters to infinity, with a macro mode focusing as close as 1cm at wide angle, or 10cm at telephoto. A five mode flash and a flash hot shoe, as well as an AF assist light, all are available for difficult lighting conditions. Scene modes include Ricoh's skew correction (useful for photographing whiteboards), as well as a scene mode specifically for fire fighters. There's also a time lapse mode that allows photographing at intervals from 30 seconds to 3 hours, in 5 second steps, as well as a two or ten second self timer.

A real-image optical zoom viewfinder should prove useful in conditions where you need to conserve battery life, or find using the camera's LCD display impractical. Ricoh does note that at wide angle, the bottom left portion of the viewfinder is obstructed by the lens barrel, however. The LCD itself is a 2.5" type with 153,000 pixels. Images are stored on Secure Digital or MultiMedia cards, or in 26MB of built-in memory. Connectivity includes DC input, USB 2.0 High-Speed, and NTSC / PAL video. Power comes from either two AA batteries, or a DB-43 Lithium Ion rechargeable.

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