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Ricoh R10: Wide-angle compact bears down on UK

The Ricoh R10 has been sighted crossing the ocean to Blighty, bringing its wide-angle lens and electronic level, and hopefully breathing fire

On first reports the Ricoh R10 was not slated to leave Japan, but like Godzilla wading out of the ocean ready to wreak havoc upon this green and pleasant land, the R10 will hit Britain's shores in the next month. And just as it's impossible for us to mention Japan without shoehorning in a reference to Godzilla, it's impossible to miss how cool this camera is.

Succeeding the R8 -- wot, no R9? -- the R10 is a 10-megapixel point-and-shoot. It packs a 7.1x optical zoom with an impressive 28mm wide angle. Round the back there's a 76mm (3-inch) HVGA screen with 460,000-pixel resolution.

One of the R10's most interesting features is the internal electronic level and acceleration sensor. This gives you an onscreen indicator to keep the camera level, with a sound to inform you if you're going wonky. We could do with one of those when we're down the pub, to be honest.

The step zoom function switches from smooth zooming to seven set increments -- 28, 35, 50, 85, 105, 135 and 200mm equivalent to a 35mm camera. The step zoom is one of the functions that can be assigned to the new Fn button, which can be setup to give instant access to your favourite shooting options.

Other features include CCD-shifting image stabilisation and face recognition. A custom self-timer can be used to specify the number of pictures you want, between one and ten, and the shooting interval from 5 to 10 seconds.

The Ricoh R10 will be available from the middle of October for a recommended £200. It will come in silver, black and brown flavours, but won't shoot blue fire out of its mouth. If you're listening, Ricoh, stick that in the R11 plz, kthx. -Rich Trenholm