Ricoh WG-6 Review

 
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Basic Specifications
Full model name: Ricoh WG-6
Resolution: 20.20 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 sec
Max Aperture: 3.5
Dimensions: 4.7 x 2.6 x 1.3 in.
(118 x 66 x 33 mm)
Weight: 8.7 oz (246 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 03/2019
Manufacturer: Ricoh
Full specs: Ricoh WG-6 specifications
20.20
Megapixels
5.00x zoom 1/2.3 inch
size sensor
image of Ricoh WG-6
Front side of Ricoh WG-6 digital camera Front side of Ricoh WG-6 digital camera Front side of Ricoh WG-6 digital camera Front side of Ricoh WG-6 digital camera Front side of Ricoh WG-6 digital camera

Ricoh WG-6 Review -- First Impressions

by Mike Tomkins
Preview posted 02/21/2019

Following in the footsteps of 2015's WG-5 GPS, the Ricoh WG-6 is a new flagship for the company's rugged, take-anywhere camera line that, in a couple of important respects, is actually more closely-related to its current sibling, the WG-60, and all other WG-series cameras bar the WG-4 and WG-5 series, as we'll see in a moment.

A sleeker and better-waterproofed -- but somewhat less shockproof -- new body

Boasting a brand-new body that is at once much cleaner-looking, with sleeker lines and a less-busy aesthetic, the WG-6 is a bit less wide than its predecessor, but also a little taller and just slightly heavier. Dimensions are 4.7 x 2.6 x 1.3 inches (118.2 x 65.5 33.1mm), which, while a bit large for a pants pocket, would be easily accommodated by all but the smallest of purses or coat pockets. Loaded and ready to shoot, the WG-6 weighs in at 8.6 ounces (246g).

The new body is the best-waterproofed in the entire history of the WG-series, all the way back to its roots in 2011's Pentax WG-1 GPS (which actually predated Ricoh's acquisition of both Pentax and the WG-series by just a few months.) Capable of being immersed up to 65 feet (20 m) for as long as two hours, the WG-6 absolutely blows away the 46-foot (14 m) rating of the WG-5 GPS.

It also retains the same levels of dust-, cold- and crushproofing -- JIS class 6, JIS class 8 and 100kgf (220lbf), respectively -- as provided by the previous camera. However, the WG-5 GPS was a bit better shockproofed than is the newer camera, which is said to be shockproof to 6.5 feet (2 m), down from 7.2 feet (2.2 m) for the WG-5 series.

A familiar lens used in most WG-series cameras, but not its immediate predecessors

Smack bang in the center of that new body, you'll find a Ricoh-badged optical zoom lens which is not the same as that used in the preceding WG-4 and WG-5 series cameras, but rather which is shared with every other model in the line, right the way back to its formative Pentax days. That's something of a double-edged sword, as the original 5x zoom lens, while a bit further-reaching, was also rather less bright and offered a less generous wide-angle than the 4x zoom lens first introduced in the WG-4 and WG-4 GPS.

By returning to the original lens, the WG-6 delivers 35mm-equivalent focal lengths ranging from a moderate 28mm wide-angle to a reasonably powerful 140mm telephoto. Maximum apertures fall from f/3.5 at wide-angle to f/5.5 at telephoto.

No more sensor-shift stabilization, either

Sadly, another unusual -- but very worthwhile -- feature of the WG-4 and WG-5 series cameras has also been dropped from the spec sheet at the same time, quite possibly because there's not sufficient room within the image circle of its 5x zoom lens to allow for it. Although the WG-4 and WG-5 both offered true mechanical, sensor shift-type image stabilization, the WG-6 instead must rely on software techniques like Pixel Track SR and Hi-sensitivity anti-shake mode alone.

A brand-new, higher-resolution image sensor

Sitting behind the new lens, you'll find a brand-new 1/2.3" 20-megapixel image sensor which, on paper at least, should offer a modest ~12% increase in linear resolution over the previous-generation 1/2.3" 16-megapixel image sensor, all else being equal and assuming the lens to have sufficient resolving power. Of course, that's just in theory: we'll have to put the WG-6 through our lab before we can say how much difference there is in the real world.

Despite the increase in pixel count and the fact that the sensor size remains unchanged, the Ricoh WG-6 offers the same sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 6400-equivalents as did its predecessors. At the current time, we don't know how performance compares, as Ricoh's press materials currently lack the information. (Perhaps because it has yet to be precisely ascertained.)

A higher-res LCD monitor, too

On the rear of the new body, there's a 3.0-inch LCD monitor which, while the same size as that used in the preceding cameras, has rather higher resolution.

The total dot count is now 1,040k dots, a huge increase from the 460,000 dots of the screen used in the WG-5 GPS. That likely equates to a 3:2 aspect ratio and a 720 x 480-pixel array, with each pixel comprised of separate red, green and blue dots. The new display includes both a brightness control and a +/- two-step outdoor view setting.

Great news: There's much better battery life than before

Ricoh has also switched from the proprietary D-LI92 lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack used in past WG-series models to a newer DB-110 battery pack. This new pack delivers a significant improvement in battery life, with Ricoh rating the WG-6 as capable of 340 frames on a charge to CIPA testing standards, or 260 minutes of playback to its own in-house standard.

That's a whopping 42% improvement in the number of frames captured on a charge, and a 30% increase in playback times as well, despite the increase in both sensor and LCD resolution (and the extra pixel-slinging these will thus require).

More modern connectivity and more diverse geolocation support

In terms of its hardware, there are a few other key places where the Ricoh WG-6 differs from its WG-5 series predecessors. For one thing, the combined, proprietary USB 2.0 / AV jack used in the previous models has been replaced with a much more modern USB Type-C jack compatible with the (potentially) much faster USB 3.0 SuperSpeed standard. A separate Type-D Micro HDMI connector is retained from the WG-5's design, allowing the WG-6 to be hooked up directly to HDTVs or other displays.

Like the WG-5 GPS before it, the WG-6 includes a built-in GPS receiver which allows it to ascertain both your location and the precise time, then tag photos with this information automatically as they're captured. However, the specific radio used is now also able to work with Russia and Japan's competing GLONASS and QZSS systems, not just the US-administered GPS system.

A couple of other hardware changes include a reduction of the built-in memory from 70MB to just 27MB, and the addition of support for FlashAir cards.

4K movie capture is another WG-series first

Another feature which doubtless required significant hardware changes both on the sensor and processor front is the addition of ultra-high definition video capture, a first for Ricoh's WG-series lineup. We don't yet have any information on speeds and feeds, other than that the 3,840 x 2,160-pixel 4K mode includes a 30 frames per second capture rate and is recorded in H.264 format, while 1,920 x 1,080-pixel (Full HD) and 1,280 x 720-pixel (HD) modes are also available.

We do know that in the absence of sensor shift image stabilization, the Ricoh WG-6 provides both Movie SR and Movie SR+ modes which aim to correct camera shake through software techniques alone. The new Movie SR+ mode has a greater corrective strength that Ricoh claims "generates a shake-reduction effect similar to the one created by a gimbal unit". This particular mode is only available at Full HD resolution or below.

A few other minor changes in software

In most other respects, the Ricoh WG-6 is similar to the camera which preceded it. The only other changes of note that we've discovered are that shutter priority and user modes, time-lapse and 1cm movie modes, plus the night scene portrait and food scene modes have all been dropped from the spec sheet, to be replaced with digital shake reduction and depth-of-field composition modes.

In playback, meanwhile, Ricoh has removed the collage, original frame and DPOF functions, but added recover file and auto image rotation tools in their place. Oh, and the company now describes its face-detection algorithms as capable of locating up to 30 faces within the frame, two less than previously.

Ricoh WG-6 pricing and availability

Availability in the US market has yet to be disclosed, but we do know that pricing for the Ricoh WG-6 is set at US$400 or thereabouts.

 

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