Three new rugged Ricoh cameras take a booting, keep on shooting


posted Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 6:00 PM EDT


As well as the exciting announcements made for its Pentax-branded interchangeable-lens lineup today, Japanese consumer electronics giant Ricoh has also debuted three new cameras under its own brand name -- the Ricoh WG-4 GPS, Ricoh WG-4, and Ricoh WG-20. All three are followups to earlier Pentax-branded models, and the company has reiterated its earlier stance that, going forward, all new fixed-lens cameras will be sold under the Ricoh brand, with the Pentax badge reserved for interchangeable-lens gear.

The Ricoh WG-4 GPS and WG-4 are followups to last year's Pentax WG-3 GPS and WG-3, respectively. In both cases, they're relatively modest updates, differentiated from each other by their inclusion (or not) of GPS, a digital compass, and a pressure sensor used to determine altitude and depth, as well as a small status LCD on the front deck. The Ricoh WG-4 GPS has all of the above, while the WG-4 doesn't.

The Ricoh WG-4 GPS ships in blue and black versions.

Compared to last year's models, the WG-4 GPS and WG-4 add a user mode for settings recall, and a shutter-priority shooting mode to give you more control over your images. The WG-4 GPS also drops the unusual inductive charging function of its predecessor, and both cameras get a slight $30 bump in list pricing. There's also a brand-new mounting system, compatible with both cameras and all of their WG-series predecessors. Other than that, the changes seem solely to be cosmetic.

The non-GPS equipped variant of the Ricoh WG-4 comes in silver and lime yellow.

Priced at US$380, the Ricoh WG-4 GPS ships next month in black or blue body colors. The non-GPS equipped WG-4, meanwhile, ships at the same time for US$330, and comes in silver or lime yellow. For more info on these models, read our Ricoh WG-4 GPS preview and Ricoh WG-4 preview.

The Ricoh WG-20 with suction cup mount attached.

At the same time, Ricoh has also unveiled the WG-20, a more affordable ruggedized compact. This model appears, apart from slight cosmetic differences such as body color and screen printing, and another slight bump in list pricing, to be completely identical to last year's Pentax WG-10. (And in turn, that camera was closely related to 2011's Pentax WG-1, sharing much the same body and most of the same features, bar for GPS, sensor-shift stabilization, and HDR shooting.)

If you don't need those features, though, the Ricoh WG-20 has a little more zoom reach than current Ricoh rugged flagships, and costs only a little more than half as much.

The Ricoh WG-20 ships in white and red-bodied versions.

The Ricoh WG-20 also ships from March 2014, but comes in red or white body colors with a US$200 pricetag. For more info on the WG-20, read our Ricoh WG-20 preview.