Ricoh may not be the best-known name in the camera business, and you won't find the Caplio R7 in Argos. But we've been excited about the R7 since first hearing about it, and now we've got our hands on one we think it may be worth you tracking down. We also decided to put on our investigative journalism hat (the one we wear when browsing Wikipedia -- it has PRESS written on it) and find out more about the Japanese company.
Ricoh was founded in 1936. It's now best known for making photocopiers. Fact!
The R7 is a 8.15-megapixel compact, with CCD-shift image stabilisation in a slim metal body. What's really amazing about the compact size of the camera is there's a 7.1x optical zoom lens in there. As a result, when you switch it on and off you get a satisfying robot noise as the double retracting lens spins up and extends little further than the average 3x zoom lens on other compacts.
Ricoh has lent its name, and cash, to the 9,500-seat Ricoh Coliseum indoor arena in Toronto, Canada, and the Ricoh Black Rams, a Japanese rugby union team. Honest!
Even better, the R7's lens is equivalent to 28-200mm on a 35mm film camera. That's rather good, as it means you can fit more in than the typical 35mm. Macro mode also lets you get as close as 1cm, and you get face detection too.
Unusually, some of the R7's functions are controlled by a mini joystick as well as the standard clickpad. This makes altering settings such as exposure compensation or white balance much more intuitive. Once pictures have been taken, you can also adjust brightness and colour-tone in-camera and save the results.
The R7 comes in black, silver or orange flavours, and will set you back around £230. And we rather like it. Fact! -Rich Trenholm