We reviewed thejust over 12 months ago, before it was superseded by the in December. Considering the speed at which the digital camera market moves, it's not surprising to see the Caplio R6 released just four months later. We got our hands on the new model to find out what's changed.
In just over a year, the Ricoh R-series has gained 1.2 megapixels in resolution and lost a bit of weight, making it considerably slimmer at 99.6mm by 55mm by 23.3mm and lighter at 135 grams (without battery and memory installed). It's still fuelled by a removable rechargeable lithium-ion battery and accepts MultiMedia Card and Secure Digital memory cards as well as adding support for the newer Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) format to allow even more storage space. Despite the slim design, the R6 retains its impressive 7.1x optical wide angle zoom lens and manages to increase the size of its LCD display from 2.5- to 2.7-inches, as well as it being noticeably clearer due to the 230,000 pixel transparent amorphous silicone TFT LCD.
The button layout has changed a little -- to be expected as models are upgraded. The zoom button has been replaced by a rotating ring which sits around the shutter release button, on the topside of the camera. An improved feature from the previous models zoom rocker, especially for one-handed shooters, this allows you to keep your fingers clear of the flash which is positioned on the front of the camera, just below the zoom/shutter button. In addition, there is a finger grip on the back face that further improves the feel and comfort of holding the camera.
Four small and one multifunction buttons line the back of the unit, taking up the real estate to the right of the LCD. In the R4 review, we found the buttons to be quite cumbersome for those with larger fingers. Though the buttons have shrunk even further on the R6, there is little risk of accidentally pressing the wrong one. As with the R4, the R6 goes directly to shooting mode when you turn it on -- without the option to go to the review module at start-up. This is not a huge downside and we do not consider it a deterrent to purchasing the camera.
No doubt, this camera's strongest feature, as with its predecessors, is the wide-angle zoom lens. Add to that a good range of scene modes, but not so many that you spend too much time choosing the most appropriate one and miss your shooting opportunity altogether.
A new feature is the selection of two pre-programmed scene modes prior to turning on the camera. These scene modes can be edited and saved, which makes for a convenient feature when taking shots at random moments and not needing to adjust to the ideal camera mode.
The ever-practical, quick use exposure, white balance and ISO buttons seen in previous models continue in the R6. Ricoh has also incorporated an image stabilisation function called vibration correction, though it does not have its own dedicated button on the camera but is instead hidden within the camera menu. Also somewhat buried in the menu are the video recording and sound recording modes. However, you can add these as one of the pre-programmed scene modes if this is a feature you use often.