We don't often write about Ricoh cameras because, well, they're not actually sold on this side of the Atlantic. This time, Ricoh's 6-megapixel Caplio R40 and R4 caught our eyes with zoom strengths we've yet to see in ultracompact cameras. The R40 and R4, respectively, sport 5.7X and 7.1X optical zoom lens in inch-thick, business card-size bodies that weigh less than 5 ounces without battery and media. The R40's lens is equivalent to 28mm to 160mm, and the R4's lens is equivalent to 28mm to 200mm, giving both cameras a wide shot as well as strong zoom capacity. On paper, they're among the strongest zooms we've seen in cameras their size, edged out only by the significantly narrower, 10X-lensed Kodak EasyShare V610.
Unfortunately, Ricoh doesn't yet sell its digital cameras in the United States. If you plan on visiting England any time soon, the R4 can be yours for as little as $470. The Caplio R40 will be released in June, though we don't yet know how much it will cost. If you have a real need for a high-zoom, wide-angle ultracompact and a couple hunded extra pounds sterling in your pocket, maybe a hop across the pond is a good choice for you. Otherwise, you'll have to make due with domestically available ultracompacts such as the Sony Cyber Shot DSC-T30.or the smaller-zooming or