Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ricoh Cameras and DPReview

The new Samsung EX1/TL500 was recently reviewed by DPReview, authored by Richard Butler. While the machine is intriguing, I was more disturbed by his opening comments.
"As DSLRs have become less expensive, the number of people keen to buy high-end, manually controllable compact cameras has fallen away - so long as camera size isn't an issue, the benefits of a larger sensor are hard to resist. However, because size is a concern for some people, the sector didn't die-off entirely and, in July 2008, Panasonic introduced the DMC-LX3, finally giving an alternative to Canon's well-respected G-series."
Mr Butler was the reviewer for the said Panny cam, which admittedly is a very good serious compact, so not surprisingly he remembers it well. It is however simply false to claim the LX3 was the first alternative to the Canon G series. My second foray into Digital Photography was the Canon G6, after a Fujifilm P&S, and I was impressed with its versatility and manual control.

The one thing I felt was lacking was a real wide angle without requiring bulky accessories. Then I became aware of the Ricoh company in the form of the R5. It was a compact travel zoom that started at an equivalent of 28 mm, something most famous manufacturers did not offer. Still there was something that was not satisfying, me being gadget addicted and all that.

Then came the Capilo GX100. It was not even on my radar, but that was the start of my obsession with Ricoh.

Back to Mr Butler's article. How can a staff reviewer (is he?) miss out the fact that the GX100 came out a year before the LX3, when it was reviewed by Simon Joinson.
"As mentioned above the GX100 is one of the only digital compact cameras to ever sport a 24mm equivalent wideangle zoom, and this brings huge practical as well as creative benefits for many kinds of photography."
This was posted in August 2007. Even now in 2010, the Samsung specifications are still the same, the basic 1/1.7" sensors with 24-72 mm zoom lens housed in a relatively compact body. The rest are good improvements and flourishes.

Mr Butler did not opined the LX3 as a "good alternative to Canon" or the most popular, but gave the impression that it was the only alternative then. He is either unaware or selectively amnesic, a bit unprofessional for what is a "premier" gadget review site. Where are the editors?

Ricoh cameras are relatively unknown outside of Japan, more familiar as supplier of fax machines and copiers. Strangely they don't seem to be very keen at promoting their products, camera wise, after all the production amounts to about 2000 units per month(?).  They had a lot of firsts in their machines, but sadly they are now someone else innovations. These includes wide angles in compacts, high ISOs, built in HDR, miniature view special effects. They also produce quite good optics especially at the macro range.

The people at Ricoh seem contented in a world of their own, which includes listening to their small group of customers. Fans of their camera also seem to live in a world of their own. Me included

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