Ricoh Caplio GX - The digital GR1, Epic... ?

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by og, May 30, 2004.

  1. og


    I have been looking at the various digital Point&Shoots over the years, but never considered them over my Olympus Mju-II/Epic... until this Ricoh Caplio GX!
    - Small (114x58x29mm [45mm grip included] / 205g) and Black
    - Good design & construction. You can use a hood and 37mm filters.
    - Very responsive (start-up=1.2s / total lag=0.12s)
    - Lens: 28-85mm f/2.5-4.3
    - 5MP on 1/1.8" and 64-1600 ISO
    - Control (Aperture [3=Min/Medium/Max] & Manual modes) with dial
    - Macro, 2 standard AA batteries OR lithium-Ion, Spot, Real-time Histogram, SD card...
    - Price on the net is about 320 euros (vs 470 euros for Canon S60)
    Here is a first look by LetsGoDigital. Reviews in English should be available soon. Meanwhile, here is a review in Japanese.
    There are some issues, though: No RAW, some Purple-Fringing and noise is about average for small digicams.
    Could this be the digital GR1 (or Epic...) we have been looking for ?
  2. I am a GR-1 fans and I have been waiting for a good digital P&S that can replace my GR-1. One important criteria is a good 28mm wide angle. I hope the GX is really up to that standard. I also like the hot shoe (which is missing on GR-1) and looking forward to its full review.

    However, looking at reviews of its smaller brothers RX and G4 wide, the image quality is not very promising, especially purple fringing. See this link:

    You can also look at this sample image from the offical Ricoh Japan web site. You can see some obvious fringing along the edge of the windows.

    There is another camera that I am closely watching: the Canon S60, which also has a 28mm wide and the ability to shoot RAW. However it lacks the hot shoe.
  3. The PhotographyBlog link provided ( is very confusing. Basically all technical data mentioned (3MP, 5 ISO levels, zoom range) are from previous model. And on top of this, all sample images are 3 MP, but the camera is 5 MP. Hard to find any objective value in review with such mistakes.
  4. og


    Ahto: the link provided by David is indeed a review of the Ricoh Caplio RX: the smaller brother of the GX, 3MP released last April. David gave this link because it could provide some hints about the image quality of the newer GX, which probably the same in-camera processing.

    Of course, we should wait for an in depth review of the GX in order to make any conclusion on Image quality.
  5. I carry both a GR1V and a Caplio G3 with me so a couple of points that may be of interest:

    The G3 is *fast*. You can use it pretty well the same way you can use the GR1V BUT if a SD card is installed it will only let you shoot two or sometimes three frames before it will lock up as it writes to the card. This is something you'd really want to check that they've fixed on the GX.

    The G3 has adequate but not startling performance. It's nowhere near as good as my Nikon Coolpix 990. In particular, images lack saturation which gives them a slightly washed out appearance. You can fix this to some degree in Photoshop of course.

    The G3 is certainly up to the construction standard of the GR1V. I'd expect the GX to be at least that well made. It's also very compact. With the lens retracted it will fit comfortably in a shirt pocket, just like the GR1V.
  6. og


    Thank you Harvey for your feedback. As far as I know: the GX has a buffer of 3 pics (in 5MP fine) or more (5 pics in normal), and a shoot to shoot time of 1.3s (I believe the 1.3s is once the buffer is full...) - which is perfect for my Street Photography needs.
    Here are more data:
    - A new very positive first look.
    - The extensive (194 pages) instruction manual of the Ricoh Caplio GX.
    It still looks good, although the image quality MAY not be up to the best compact digicams.
  7. I'm glad you posted this. I'd been looking for a small, black digicam with a hotshoe (and tiff files) for some time - and this one is quite well priced.
  8. I am also a fans of GR1 and I bought a G4 wide more than half year ago. The reason for buying it is because I want a GR1 digital, but I am afraid that G4 wide is not I am expecting. I found it very handy, fast and take very good picture in daylight. The major problems of it are: Poor white balance especialy when using indoor and worst with flash (shift to purple). The noise of G4 wide are very noticable as well.

    I am looking forward to see a detail review on GX and hope it can be the digital version of GR-1.


    I am looking forward to
  9. I've just ordered the GX from Dora Lau, an ebay seller. I'm in the US so it's coming form Hong Kong, at least 2 weeks off for arrival I'd guess. When I get it I'll post my impressions of it. I don't have a Gr1 to compare it to, and I've been going back and forth over whether to buy one, earlier in the week purchasing instead, a film scanner with the intention of rounding up a GR1s or GR1v. From the scans I've done I don't doubt that would make a terrific combo, but I'm already tired of dropping off film at the minilab, getting the negatives, scanning... you know? I've been doing digital for about 3 years now and I'm simply spoiled by the interactive workflow from capture to printing. So I'm returning the scanner(it's NICE, an Epson 4870) and I've got the GX on the way. It's what I wanted to go for in the first place, but I got freaked by some of the few images available to see.. then some MUCH better pics started showing up and I have to chock up some of the poor image quality I saw earlier to inexperience or just not knowing how to use a digital, or this digital. I'm quite excited to get it now.
  10. When I saw the Caplio GX, I thought it is the digital answer to GR1v, which I love. So I rushed out and got one. Here are my initial experiences:

    1. The lens distortion at wide angle is disappointing.

    2. If you choose Fine image setting, you can only take two shots.Then the camera locks for about 20 seconds before you can take another shot.

    3. In Normal mode, the delay is acceptable, provided you don't shoot too fast. Normal mode is almost as good as Fine. I can hardly see any difference.

    4. It compresses pics so much, the file size equals a 3.2 megapixel shot. I can't help wonder if the image quality could be improved with less compression.

    Sorry GR1v fans. You get a lot of camera for the price, but it is no digital GR1v.

  11. John,

    Perhaps I should have waited for more info, I've got one on it's way from Hong Kong. Perhaps I could have bought yours :) ... Are you serious? The camera is only good for 2 fine jpegs and then writes for 20 seconds? You're not exaggerating? Your report here is quite depressing.. are there no good points to comment on? Throw me a bone man!

    I've seen some good images posted at wide angle, there's distortion but I haven't found it that bad. The comparison to the GR1's 28mm prime is perhaps not really fair considering this is a zoom lens..and may have been illconsidered on the part of Ricoh. Since when can a zoom compete with a prime? I wonder how well the Leica digilux 2 zoom compares at 28mm with any of Leica's 28mm primes.

    The write time though, is extremely discouraging. What kind of SD card are you using?

    Dean G.
  12. I'd like to add to the above, that according to LetsGoDigital's first impression review, they found the camera could shoot 3 fine jpegs before having to write to the sd card. I wonder now which it is, 3, or 2? They also didn't specify what that write time was either. I guess I'll have to wait to form my own opinion, 20 seconds seems way over the top..
  13. So... cycle time of 1.3 seconds or 20 seconds? Or in-between? Are those 20 seconds possibly for TIFF files? Or is it a matter of charging the flash (which was suggested on DPReview)? Slow flash charging is quite annoying, but if that is the problem, then it would at least leave the outdoor photography fast.

    What about startup time to first shot with flash?

    Maybe one can improve the cycle time by shooting 3 Mpixel images? That is quite enough most of the time, and especially when capturing moments, which is what I'd get a fast camera for. I still consider an RX or G4/G4wide, they have resolution enough, but the GX has a bigger buffer (right?) so it should be faster shot-to-shot.
  14. I have checked again. In Fine mode, I can only take 2 consecutive pics. Then I have to wait 17 seconds for the next shot. If I try to do anything else, I have to wait further 4-5 seconds while it finishes writing.

    The dealer promised to lend me a high speed sd card to see if it makes any difference.

    But as I mentioned earlier, the delay in Normal mode is acceptable, and the difference in quality is hardly noticeable.

    Another strange thing: It is mentioned in the manuals and all the literature I have seen, that there is an AF auxiliary lamp that should fire in poor lighting conditions. No such thing!!!! But if I select "red eye" flash, and press the shutter release in TOTAL DARKNESS, the camera will produce a properly exposed and fairly sharp picture.

    Despite these annoyances, I think it has some good features that are only available on bulkier and much more expensive cameras. It's a good buy at this price.

    Just make sure you have plenty of batteries for it.
  15. Thanks for the updated information! It seems "fine" mode really is best avoided.

    Concerning fast SD cards, Ricoh support states that they will not help.

    "Normal" mode is 5 Mpix but more compression, right? What is the delay then? And what happens in 3 Mpix mode?
  16. The times I mention are for 2592 x 1944 Fine, without flash. If you stick to 2592 x 1944 Normal, then write times are acceptable, because the buffer can store almost twice as many pics. For non- compressed, write time to the card is 1 minute, yes one minute, but if you use the internal memory, it is 28 seconds.

    Flash takes only a few seconds to charge.

    I will let you know after testing a high speed card.
  17. Dean G

    I have tested the Panasonic Lumix equivalent to the Leica Digilux 2. Theres is very little distortion at 28 mm. But we are talking about a camera that weighs almost 3 times more, costs almost four times more.

    So, all in all, I think the GX is a good buy, although I would have liked it to be a digital GR1v
  18. John,

    I looked at some GR1 vs GX pictures that a japanese owner had posted, found them via the dpreview forum. The GX does indeed have more distortion, and the GR1 lens seems almost supernatural. No doubt we all prefer the in-camera aesthetic, but I guess where it might be critical, the distortion can be corrected out in post processing. It is digital afterall... Otherwise the lens seems reasonably sharp from what I've seen, but one can never tell from images on the web. What's your take on lens sharpness, contrast etc?

    The shot to shot write time issue is so at odds with the presumed purpose of this camera, I think it would be a show stopper for me had I not committed to a non-returnable grey market sale. But if the normal compression can produce good 8X10's I can get over it.

    What are your impressions of build quality, switchwear etc? Does the GX seem physically robust? At the price point Ricoh is selling it, a lot can indeed be forgiven, although I've paid a premium to get one exported this early. I don't see the D2/LC1 as being compact enough for discreet carrying, plus I find the "hold" aspect of the ergonomics of the Leica version (the only one I've played with) terrible compared to the DSLRs and other cameras that seem to be designed for the hand. The D2 is just a box with a lens in that regard.

    Thanks for your hands-on information.
  19. Here's a couple of the comparison images. The aspect ratio is different, but I think the GX distortion is most evident looking at the street curb. Interesting comparison at any rate.
  20. Dean G

    I have just returned from the wholesaler's home, where I tried a high speed sd card in the GX. Surprise!! It cuts down write times to about half, despite what someone told Ingemar.

    He wouldn't let me have the card (it was his private card) but I ordered one for myself.

    "Normal" produces good prints. Unless you have a super printer, there is not much to gain from "Fine".

    I think the compression and default sharpening are a little harsh, but you can set the latter to your taste.

    The build qaulity is fairly good, although the optical viewer is primitive.

    I love the "Adj" button. You can press it with your thumb and use your forefinger to spin the wheel. That gives you quick access to the essential controls without messing around with menus and fiddly buttons, and it's programmable.

    Another thing I like: The display can be turned off to save power, but will immediately come to life when you touch the release button, and switch itself off when lift your finger.

    I agree with you about the Leica and the Lumix. They have a great lens, a nice flash, and very good controls, but they are too bulky. At that price, you can get a dslr that will produce better images.
  21. Thanks John,

    That's welcome news. Could you please tell us what card that is? I was considering ordering from SimpleTech as I've found their CF cards are rather speedy but if you've got a known recommendation that would be much appreciated.
  22. I got mine recently. If you switch the continuous mode to ON, you can get three frames @ fine/MaxRes before it pause and writes to the card. Though I have not any real test, I remember it takes between 12-15 sec before it can shoot again. Flash charges takes about 5 seconds. fyi I'm using good old AA batteries and a 256mb sandisk card.
  23. Amazing! So a GX with a fast SD might, after all, be the hot pick that it first seemed. I thought it was very honest of Ricoh to admit that the camera was too slow for fast SD's, but being honest about misconceptions is, well...

    So, avoid "fine", at least in full res, use red-eye flash in low light for better focusing, use fast SD... That should be enough to get started. :)
  24. From what I've been able to find 10Mbyte/sec is the current upper limit for SD speed. Simple Tech has a 256 card for $86.00 US, that's not too bad. I don't generally require a lot of rapid shooting so if the camera can do 2 quick snaps in a row and the subsequent write time is reduced to at least less than 10sec I think I'll be happy. I wonder how Tiff write times will be affected with the faster cards? I'll be glad to finally receive the camera so I can find these things out first hand, but all the information here has been quite helpful.
  25. The Caplio GX record and write timings to an SD card may depend on the type of battery as much as the SD card as my own stopwatch gives me the following:<p>
    2592 Fine with No Compression TIF ... ... 17 seconds from shutter click to 'ready for next shot'.
    2592 Fine, compressed JPEG ... ... 4 seconds from shutter click to 'ready for next shot'.
    2592 Fine, compressed JPEG ... ... 8 shots before hiatus for card writing.
    This is using a SanDisk 256Mb SD card, and the Ricoh DB-43 Li-ion rechargeable battery.
    First time flash charge is about 10 seconds, and recharge around half that.
    I leave the file size on F2592 all the time, but then I don't need x number of frames per second ...
    The dealer had said that using the Li-ion battery made a big difference over AAs, and frankly I thought it was sales hype - but reading of the 20 secs, and 1 minute write times, I figure he may have been right. Never that slow.
  26. BTW ... the AF auxiliary lamp for dark situations is a pre-flash. It fires if needed if the flash is on, and at any setting.
  27. BTW ... the AF auxiliary lamp for dark situations is a pre-flash. It fires if needed if the flash is on, and at any setting.
    <p> The one gripe I have is that when using the hotshoe the in-camera flash has to fire anyway - I had to cut a small cap from an eyepiece cover (not tape!!) to cover it for close up situations.
    <p>Oh, and maybe the fact that there is no in-camera B&W conversion, but never mind ...
  28. Sandeha---

    Are you saying the li-ion is stronger or weaker than AA?
    I use the same regular (non ultra or extreme) sd 256mb but with AA
    battery. I have not tried non compressed tiff but I can get off
    three shots (one after another) before it pauses and writes (for about 15 sec.)

    the following sounds contradictory and makes no sense to me:

    >>>> 2592 Fine, compressed JPEG ... ... 4 seconds from shutter click to 'ready for next shot'. <<<<

    >>>>2592 Fine, compressed JPEG ... ... 8 shots before hiatus for card writing. <<<<

    anyway, the manual says one can only get 3 frames(in a row) before it writes and this is what i experienced as well. I would give the li-ion/hood set another thought if the li-ion is stronger.
  29. Hi Leslie ... yes, the Li-ion appears to be stronger. I don't know the technical reason why one source of power should make a difference over another, but what the dealer told me seems to be correct.<p>

    Perhaps the GX does start writing to the card after three frames, but I can continue shooting until the "Writing to card" message comes up. <p>I just tried that with AA batteries and took six shots, but with the Li-ion battery I was able to take 12 shots before the card came up. Sorry if it didn't seem clear, just a confusion of terms perhaps.
  30. Hi Leslie ... yes, the Li-ion appears to be stronger. I don't know the technical reason why one source of power should make a difference over another, but what the dealer told me seems to be correct.<p>

    Perhaps the GX does 'start' writing to the card after three frames, but I can continue shooting until the "Writing to card" message comes up. <p>I just tried that with AA batteries and took six shots, but with the Li-ion battery I was able to take 12 shots before the message came up. Sorry if it didn't seem clear, just a confusion of terms perhaps.
  31. Are you trolling? There's no way you can get off 6 shots one after another @fine-max-resolution-jpeg with AA and 12 with the li-ion battery even with super fast cards. With mine and every report i heard thus far, you can get three with AA and you are telling me you can get 6 and 12 with li-ion @max-fine-jpeg resolution. you made have a different camera all together or you maybe shooting it at a lower resolution.

    Perhaps the li-ion is stronger but i would doubt it is exactly twice as stronger as the AA. You are doing a lower resolution right?
  32. Not at all ... but note that I am saying "from shutter click to 'ready for next shot.'"
    <p>That is, using the LCD information.
    <p>If I go click, click, click using the viewfinder as if expecting to get so many frames per second on F2952, then the "Writing to card" message comes up after two or three shots. Apologies, my response was not relevant to your issue.
  33. Ok, my apology to you. I was getting a bit confused:O)
    happy shooting!
  34. Good news

    Just got a Toshiba high speed card. The write-times are reduced by a good 50%
  35. That IS good news. I just received my Simple Tech PROX 256M high speed card yesterday. Now if the camera would only show up!

    My biggest concern has been the purple (and green) fringing, but in researching some other 5 meg digicams such as the Canon S50 and G5, many of them also share equally this annoying characteristic. There appears to be some pretty effective PS techniques to deal with it though. Have any of you current owners found this to be a big problem, or is it more something for those who like to analyze 100-200% crops looking for problems?
  36. I wrote to Ricoh Europe support with the following questions:

    1. Using AA batteries, the write time are 60 seconds for a NC image to a normal SD card, and 30 seconds to high speed SD card.

    Would it make any difference if I use the special Ricoh battery?

    2. In the manual, pages 38 and 52, there is a reference to "AF auxiliary lamp", but I cannot see any lamp light up in low-light conditions.

    Their reply was:

    "Dear sir,

    For the question 1, the batteries do not change anything for the writing time on a sd card. We advise you to use rechargeable batteries NIMH of minimum 1800 mAh.
    The recording time is normal in uncompressed mode.

    2. There is no such function on the camera. Probably, a function that
    disappeared in the development but stayed in the manual. Sorry for that.


    Your technical Support Center RICOH
  37. European service centres ... oh dear. Well, when I click the shutter in a well lit area, the flash goes FLASH. And in a dark room it goes FLICKER, FLICKER, FLASH, and achieves perfect focus.
    Maybe I got the Asian model. Happy shooting.
  38. Wow the Ricoh customer support response is incredibly arrogant. Makes me wonder what to expect should problems arise. Oh well.. I've got the focus assist lamp on my Elph and find that I usually have it off as it attracts attention or perplexes subjects.

    Has anyone tried the "Text" mode for regular photos? I had that on my Ricoh rdc5000, and found it was pretty much their term for B&W. It is high contrast. I remember getting a few pretty interesting pictures using the rdc5000 version though.

    I've been reading the pdf online manual and about the manual focus option. Is the focussing speed gradual enough to allow effective use of manual focus? It would be nice is it could lock focus and retain it after power down. Is there a LCD distance indicator?
  39. A focus assist lamp has nothing to do with flash. You're talking about a preflash, and that's generally used to set the flash exposure level. A focus assist lamp is like a little flash light that illuminates the subject just enough to allow the AF to lock on in dim conditions. Doesn't matter if you are using flash or not.
  40. I guess I was just too hopeful, but note that the manual (for what it may be worth) states "if the flash is switched off the AF auxiliary lamp does not flash". <p>I had originally expected the focus assist to be a red beam from one of the front 'eyes' - which it clearly isn't. But I am surprised by the idea that a pre-flash would be necessary when (and only when) the scene is dark.
  41. Perhaps you are correct, and this is just Ricohs' implementation of the focus assist? It's rather different in operation from what I've had on my Canons, and a shame if they do not allow it without flash, but interesting. Maybe they've just assumed that it is only necessary in circumstances that typically would call for flash and have only implemented it there. The specifications I've seen all mention the focus assist, so if it is a mistake they should certainly correct it so that they are not falsely marketing the product. That seems unlikely and what you've discovered is perhaps what they are calling an auxilary focus assist lamp. Thanks. The service center may have simply wanted to blow-off the question without really looking into it. I've run into that with a lot of customer service depts.
  42. Dean, I have a suspicion that the reason the AF assist doesn't work with the flash off will turn out to be much the same as the reason why the on-camera flash fires even when you are using an external flash - they couldn't organise the electronics in a better way for the same cost !!
  43. Sandeha,

    Yes I see you are correct, from page 38 of the manual

    "? When shooting in a dark place, the AF auxiliary
    lamp may flash to raise the focusing
    performance. If the flash is switched to off,
    the AF auxiliary lamp does not flash"

    My apologies, I don't even have the camera yet and I'm contradicting those who do!

    Yes, perhaps if they upgrade the firmware at some point they'll remedy some quirks.

    One can hope.
  44. og


    Hi everyone,<p>

    I am glad to see that some of you are already playing with their new toy :)<p>

    About the AF & flash issue, some comments:<br>
    - I agree that the pre-flashes are (very) probably also for helping the passive AF in low light.<br>
    - The logic probably used is that if you don't want to use flash, you don't want to use the AF assistance flash as well (ex: not to disturb subjects, etc...) => they gathered the Flash and AF assistance into the same setting.<br>
    - This being said, the GX is equipped with active AF (IR), and should be able to focus even in total obscurity. So maybe when the light is too low and the Flash has been turned off, the camera just rely on its IR AF and can still get perfect focusing...<p>

    This is just an idea, but I would be interested to know the following results:<br>
    - In total obscurity, Flash=On (NO RED EYE REDUCTION), if you press fully the shutter release button directly => there should not be any pre-flash, as the IR is always used (fully depressed) - it would also be interesting to test the focus accuracy.<br>
    - In obscurity, Flash=On, if you press halfway, you should get pre-flashes and the AF should take about 0.5s or more.<br>
    - In obscurity, Flash=Off, if you press halfway, you shouldn't get pre-flashes and the AF should be near immediate.<p>

    If the results are as expected, this is rather good news, and there would be little gain from having separate settings for Flash and AF assistance. Just my opinion, though...<p>

  45. Olivier


    In the dark, when you press the shutter half way down, the red "out of focus" indicator keeps flashing. If you take the shot anyway, it will be overexposed.

    Sorry to disappoint you.
  46. og


    John: thank you for the feedback...<p>

    I thought that the external AF system (the 2 small windows near the flash) was an actice (IR) thing. But it is the usual external Phase detection Passive system (needs contrast & light) => no IR system...<br> much for my previous post, and the "no light" ability of the GX :-(<p>

  47. Olivier

    Sorry if I shouted at you. It's just that I am disappointed about the missing AF light.

    On the positive side: the camera is much better at focusing in low light than any of the other digicams I have had. But it will not focus in total darkness.

    I have written to Ricoh marketing this time about the misleading manuals and brochures. Interesting to see their reply.
  48. Well, the GX is certainly "interesting", isn't it? They specify a hybrid AF system and that usually (although I've already found out that "usually" doesn't apply to Ricoh's definitions) means it does both passive and IF focussing. But apparently not? For myself it's good news if it is passive AF because I don't like the effect windows and so forth have on active auto focus, ie shooting through glass etc, not knowing what you are focussing on and all that. It sounds to me that the camera does a good job at autofocus in normal/dim light, and I guess the bottom line is how much total darkness shooting does one do? Especially given the high noise levels of the 400 to 1600 ISO settings that have been reported.

    It's important to be realistic about it, most want a digital version of a GR1 or more realistically perhaps an Epic, cameras that do a couple of things very well, yet we expect this camera to do everything. The Epic has a single focal length, is noisy, not particularly fast in the shutter lag dept, and you don't always know exactly what it focussed on (but usually if it is in spot mode you're good). But is small, has a great and fast lens. The GX offers responsiveness, multiple focal lengths, multi ISO, the feedback and interaction only available from a digital, and from what I've been able to tell (I'm still waiting for my GX..) a "reasonably" nice lens for a zoom. I'm mostly interested in the fixed focus feature, and anticipate using mostly 28mm, f8, 2.5 meter focus, and hope to acheive very fast shutter response because it won't have to focus. Has anyone tried this? And the af shutter response is great anyway. If it can do a couple of things like that well, I'll judge it a big success for my purposes.
  49. After using the GX for a few days, and after switching to a high speed sd card, I feel confident in saying it's a darn good camera, especially at this price.

    It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of other fashionable cameras, (My Optio S has some fantastic "wow" features. It can even serve as an alram clock and say miaw when you switch it on, but cannot compete in focusing speed, image quality, manual settings, movie mode etc..)
  50. Just received the camera, and I'm rather impressed, although I picked it up on lunch break and haven't played with it but maybe 30min. The only things I would criticize are that the battery/sd combo door makes me nervous as it appears it could be quite easy to break, the 4way direction buttons aren't quite as robust as they could be.. but just quibbles there. I find the optical viewer, while certainly rather tight, is nice and bright, but the lack of a diopter adjustment seems a bit strange. I also got the filter/lens hood adapter, and in order to mount it, one has to unscrew the outer ring around the lens housing, and this was quite difficult - the ring seemed to have been crossthreaded - so that got me on edge. Re-screwing it on requires patience and a deft touch as it not easy to get it to thread on straight. It's fairly light plastic. The hood/adapter is quite nice but I haven't attempted to thread it on yet.

    I've snapped a couple shots, and I've got the db43 battery... it was in the camera.. but no charger is included. The ebay seller did not include the battery in the list of accessories either, just the HA-1 adapter and it has a 3 year Ricoh warranty, so I'll have to let that comfort me, as I wonder if this unit was a return :| For what it is worth, there isn't the slightest mar or sign of where anywhere on the camera. Anyhow... I'm looking forward to exploring it's capabilities.
  51. og


    Just to let you know that the first review is online, from Let's Go Digital (strong emphasize on design, and almost nothing about image quality though...)
    Anyway: enjoy!
  52. Thanks for the heads up on the review, Olivier. Seems like a fairly even handed review, and generally positive. The impression I get though is that the reviewers are obsessed with "nice to have" features, and ignore what I see as some well considered limitations in the feature set. Particularly their problem with the aperture choices.

    "This way the function aperture priority is upgraded in a negative way to a function carrying the name: "aperture priority, depending on the position of the zoom lens in a maximum of 3 steps-priority". A total freedom at a function like aperture priority is required en in fact standard for the type of camera the GX belongs to in my opinion."

    They also criticize the fact that the 3 apertures change with the focal length, totally ignoring the fact that this is the case with almost every zoom lens whether mounted on a digicam or DSLR, whether it offers continuous apertures choices or not. In practical application, at least for me, Ricoh has provided just what I need, a wide aperture, an optimum middle aperture, and a small aperture. To offer more on a digicam with a 1/1.8" sensor would have been nothing more than a marketing ploy, because, especially at wide angle, a shallow DOF, for instance "bokeh"/background blurring is impossible to any great degree with that small a sensor. I think these apertures offer more than adequate means to deal with the light and to force high, medium, or low shutter speeds, and that's got to be the main reason for having any aperture selection on this kind of camera. I think Ricoh's choices here are very well informed and tailored to the purpose of a compact digital camera, namely street, candid, and decisive moment shooting. In those circumstances one doesn't want too many decisions to make, just what will get the job done in the most timely way, IMO. I think that's where the priorities lay in the design of the GX, while it offers a lot of options in addition to those. The closest digital camera to a real "do anything any way you want" camera for me is my Canon 10D, but it and other DSLRs are too big, and so is the Leica D2, for discreet and candid carry along use.

    After 1 day of almost constant experimenting with the camera, so far, I agree with the reviewer's assessment of the image quality, it's great. And better than the various concerns expressed, my own included, led me to expect. I've done a few prints of normal compression hi res images and I've found no visible artifacting, and happily the prints are quite similar in look to some of my compact film camera shots.

    I do find that the quick shutter response varies more than I would like with the conditions of shooting, but it still is faster overall than any other small camera I've had, including the Olympus Stylus Epic, and LT Zoom 105 film compacts.

    Also, I haven't tried it but I think perhaps shutter speed adjustment can be assigned to the adj button, and if so, that would lay to rest one of the other criticisms, having to go to the menu to adjust shutter speed in manual exp mode. OTH, I seldom leave aperture priority mode even on my 10D so that's not a big thing, and there again, I think Ricoh really did their homework in trying to design a purposeful camera based on the way it would normally be used.

    Just my .02 on the review.

    I really like this camera.
  53. Here is the reply I received from Ricoh:

    "There is no difference using the AA or Li-ion battery, but the brand of SD media greatly influences the recording speed. During my
    test I used two cards,

    Sandisk: 40 seconds

    RAM components: 15 seconds

    both were 128Mb and the same image and settings.

    2) The auxillary AF under low light for the GX is not a light which appears with the shutter release partially pressed. You can see a 'pre flash' appear before the main flash. It is like the
    'red-eye' reduction but there is a much shorter lag time between the auxillary flash and the main flash. If you go to a dark area and take a picture you can readily see this auxillary flash. Of
    course the flash on the camera must be enabled for it to work."
  54. I get a time of 13 to 15seconds to write a tiff when using AA nimh rechargeables and a Simple Tech PROX 256Mbyte card. I believe that's quite respectable for a 5meg Tiff.
  55. The Dutch guy has it all wrong. You don't have to go to the menu to set shutter speed.

    In A/M mode, you set the shutter speed by pressing the up arrow and turning the wheel simultaneously. A small indicator pops up on the screen to show correct exposure.

    It's a little awkward, but much better than using the menu.
  56. I have written the following mail to Letsgodigital in the hope that they will correct their errors.

    "Hi Nederlands

    I have just read your review on the Caplio GX. It contains one major mistake, which is unfair to this camera:

    You write that in order to set the shutter speed, you have to go the menu. This is not neccessary.

    In A/M mode, press the up arrow and turn the dial simultaneously to set the shutter speed. You will se an indicator on the screen that shows over/underexposure.

    Your comment about the aperture, indicates that you don't really know much about photography. The widest aperture is never the same on wide and tele. This applies to all zoom lens, with perhaps one exeption.

    I hope you will correct it, in order to be fair.

    Best regards"
  57. I wish they'd printed a little symbol next to the 'up' arrow for that shutter speed adjustment ... I'd already forgotten about that.
    I took a string of shots yesterday at F2592 on ISO400 under a dim, cloudy sky. Colour was OK, but I wasn't too happy with the noise and may stick with ISO200 for poor conditions. Still, once though PS, I was quite happy with some of the shots.
  58. Very nice picture.

    thanks for the tip on shutter speed setting as I found out I couldn't assign it to the adj button.
  59. Hello,
    How does one purchase the Caplio if they are in the US?
  60. The only dealer I'm aware of, how I got mine, is on ebay:

    item # 3813434287

    The cameras are new and shipped directly from Hong Kong. The seller's name is Dora Lau, she's in Canada and has a partner who works at the Hong Kong Ricoh distributor. That's how I understand it. The cameras are fully warrantied, but any warranty work will require shipping back to HK (about $15.00 postage). It's a grey market thing, they're not sold in North America, and that makes it a bit risky, but I went for it after cancelling my bid once, then saw some more encouraging information and decided to buy one after all (and I'm glad I did). Dora Lau's been very helpful and based on my experience so far,is running a very straight up business. The price is $499.00 I believe still, and with postage it's about $535.00, then of course there's the SD memory, and I ordered a lithium battery and charger, and that adds about $100.

    Don't know if there are alternative grey market dealers, there might be, I think it's possible to find grey market GR1s around, so maybe the GX? I'm happy with the deal I got.
  61. Hello Brian

    i can get you one for 470 U$ Dollar. Price is with shipping

    i sold one already at ebay
  62. Thanks Dean. I noticed some of the shots on the web are soft. How is your camera?
  63. My experience so far is good, I think the lens itself is quite sharp although it has a fair amount of distortion at wide angle. Not anything unique to this digicam however. Your mileage, as the say, may vary.

    I'm most interested in prints so everything passes through ps whether it is from my 10D, or this, and they all get seasoned to taste. The in-camera adjustments are soft, normal, and sharp, and I generally set mine to soft and prefer to do my own sharpening in photoshop. The pictures taken that way respond well to USM sharpening. I've just started to experiment with the normal setting. I don't think there is any problem with sharpness. A lot of people think the Canon DSLRs are soft, but their defaults are just very conservative leaving it to the user to make their own adjustments.

    That said I checked your portfolio because I was curious before answering what kinds of pictures you shoot, and I see your 2 photos (nice BTW), were done with a Leica, and are VERY sharp, the picture of grandma in particular. You probably are aware of this, but you won't get bokeh like that, if any, with this camera and I don't know that you can expect that kind of sharpness. The GX is no Leica with a prime, but still seems like a very capable camera. But you have to work with it.

    I'm very happy with mine, but I've been exploring it for only about 4 days. Sandeha and some of the other folks here probably have a more experienced take on it.
  64. Thanks Dean. Yes I do love my Leicas. Trouble is sometimes I don't feel like doing the
    film dance, shoot wait for the roll, develop, print scant he good ones.....I will hang onto a
    little l glass.
    I really want to use the Caplio for when I go trail running or traveling. A good macro and
    28 eq would be sweet.
    thank you again,
    ps other photos at
  65. I'm liking the camera more and more, and now that I've installed panotools distortion correction plug-in in PS, and got the free demo of neatimage, pretty much any imaging concerns are resolved for me. But there are 2 things that my GX does that are rather annoying. First there are times it doesn't seem to get the message when I shut it off, and if I press again, it thinks it is starting up and then I have to push again and it will close down and turn off. I know that a couple times this seems to be happening because it isn't done writing to the card, but some other times there is no apparent reason.

    no. 2: on mine if I switch to macro mode, and focus, and then switch back to normal mode it won't focus anymore. If I then turn it off, and then back on ie reboot, it is fine.

    Luckily I'm not a macro shooter very often, but it is annoying as all heck.

    Do any of you notice similar behavior? For some reason none of this bothers me much, but that may be because I'll have to ship it back to Hong Kong to address the problem and I'm just avoiding that.

    Neither thing is a big problem, just irritating.
  66. Dean, with mine the only situation where it refuses to focus following a macro shot is if it's still pointed at something very close. If you've proofed for that one, then you may have a problem if it does it consistently. I haven't had the power-off problem either, though the battery compartment cover does tend to slide out sometimes! I still haven't used mine very much, and it's not my main camera by any means, but I'm pretty happy with how it does what it does.
  67. So what to do with the double flash oddity from a practical
    standpoint? I'll play with it more for sure but
    anyone done any experiment with the situation?
  68. Leslie, if you mean the in-camera flash firing when you use a hotshoe/cable flash, like I said above I cover it up. I took an old 35mm viewfinder cover, trimmed off one side, and then just use a bit of black electrical tape to hold it over the flash. Nuisance, but it works a treat.
  69. I have just uploaded some of my first pics taken with the Caplio GX.

    The pics are just the way they came out of the camera: no cropping, levels, contrast or any correction. Of course they have been compressed
  70. Those are some nice shots. Shows off the capabilities of the camera (and the photographer, of course!) very well. I'm surprised at how little distortion is evident in the last picture of the 2 buildings. Thanks for posting those.
  71. Hi Olivier,

    Just wondering, seeing as how you began this thread, what's your take on all this? Still interested in the GX, or have you moved on?

    I've concluded for myself that the GX does indeed answer your initial question in a positive way. I'm satisfied that it provides a reasonable digital alternative to a GR1 (or Epic Stylus or T4..closer to GR1 I think). There are some tradeoffs, most obviously the zoom lens vs the single purpose prime lenses of the film compacts, but I think the key is that it is digital and not film, and to the extent that one can accept the inherent pros and cons of each, it is a winner. I think it is fair to say that it is to the GR1, at least as much as what the Leica D2 is to a Leica M series, and the parallels seem to hold in pricing also. Ricoh took a good run at the GR1 here, they could have used, I assume, the lens from the RX but instead designed a new lens that exploits the higher resolution of the 5 meg sensor. I think they've done a good job, it will be interesting to see what subsequent versions offer.
  72. og


    If I was to buy a digital camera now, it would be the GX.
    But I am really not in a hurry and can wait happily, using my current film equipment (I have a Canon SLR system + Epic + Minolta 5400 Scanner), which is fine for my low quantity of photos (about 1000 pics a year).
    The GX is not very far from being excellent for my own needs, but I am not quite sure about image quality yet (Purple Fringing, maybe some visible lines at high ISO, poor in-camera processing (artefacts), poor dynamic range of digital, etc...) and I must say that I would prefer cheaper CompactFlash cards (a 4Gb in camera + external-Drive for backup).
    I haven't made my mind yet, but I will probably wait to see what happen for Photokina at the end of September (why not a 30-120mm f/2.0-3.0 faster Canon G6 + more competition with upgrades of Nikon 5400, Olympus 5060w ?).
    I am also strongly considering the '4/3' system, as an Olympus E-300 + 8-18mm + 35-105mm - beware: rumours only - would make a lot of sense for me (wide angle, light, reasonable cost & quality) => I would prefer to switch to digital in one-shot (SLR + P&S) in order to mutualize accessories (memory cards, external-drive, etc...).
    So september could be an interesting time for photo equipment. If not... I still can wait (as long as I can buy film and get them processed without prints).
    Dean: I am not quite sure that this is the answer you expected... :)
  73. No problem at all, I was just curious what your thoughts were as the originator of the thread. I can completely understand what you are saying. From what I'm hearing, I get the impression however, that a lot of your caution is more in regard to digital in general than to the GX in particular. I think as current digital cameras go, the GX lives up to my expectations. Things will only get better with the technology moving at the rate it is, it all depends on whether the current cameras meet our individual needs.
  74. Just thought I'd report that I got the DB43 battery, and the Tiff write time appears to have dropped from about 14-15 secs to right around 11 seconds. Nothing scientific but that's how it appears. Pretty quick for saving a NC Tiff file. Both times used the same SD card, just changed from the AA nimh to the DB43 lithium.
  75. There is no question that the GX is a fast digicam, but so far in my experience it is it's manual adjustment capability that makes it so, not its AF performance as Ricoh claims, unless it is in daylight. In room level light I have yet to see it lock focus in less than approx 1 sec. This is not a big deal because of course it is faster anyway than manually focussing an SLR or Rangefinder manual camera, but still a far cry from Ricoh's .12sec total shutter lag including AF. A significant part of the time is due to calculating exposure also. Take AE and AF out of the equation and it's super quick. Luckily it allows the fixed snap focus, and presetting the shutter speed and aperture exposure (especially easily done due to the live histogram) and retains those settings (my ELPH can lock both independently, but will not save those when powered down). With that done, the shutter is instantaneous and on par with a manual film RF and it is the same prefocus and fixed exposure technique I would use with my old FED2.

    But the AF is no better than average in less than optimum lighting. Does this seem to be the experience of other GX owners here?
  76. One second to focus in poor light, is that without the focus-helping flash?

    It seems we have a few speed issues: Focusing in poor light, charging flash and writing to the SD card. Writing is solved in my book; buy a fast card. If focusing is fast with the focusing-flash, it is fine with me, but is it?

    How is focusing in very poor light? According to a review of G4wide (a very detailed review, but written in norwegian so most of you can't read it), it is very good at finding focus in poor light, outperforming Canon A80 by several times. In "High sensitivity" mode it can focus in 2 lux, with no AF assist! Canon A80 and Casio QV-R41 need 7 lux in wide, much more in tele. 7 lux is considered very good! So G4wide is a winner there by a wide margin. Is GX, too? (I assume that focusing in that poor light takes time.)

    Personally, I have more or less decided to buy a GX, as sson as I can find a way to handle order and payment. I need a small and fast camera to complement my big and slow 750. I would appriciate the fast flash charging that my old Kodak DC280 has, though.
  77. Hi Folks,
    since I had some doubles in my lens line (Ricoh Gr1V and Contax G2 +28) I
    sold the GR1V and bought the GX for some casual not-so-important shots.
    My emotions are mixed (I do miss the GR1V) and I have encountered a
    strange problem; I cannot open TIFF files in Photoshop (7 and/or CS/8 ). I
    work on Mac OS X. All I get when I try to open it is: "Cannot complete your
    request because it is not the right kind of document". In PS 7 under Mac OS 9 I
    get; cannot open because it is a non supported color space...

    What to do? In preview mode (not Photoshop) I can see the picture as a
    thumbnail but it won't open...

    This is a major gripe as I was hoping to be able to work in TIFF mode most of
    the time to make the most out of the images.

    Anyone? Please?
    / Henke
  78. I am sure that I have seen the TIFF problem mentioned before, somewhere, and that there was a solution, but I can't find it. So don't give up. Maybe some other program can convert the file? I would try GraphicsConverter to begin with. (My G5 came with GC installed, so maybe your Mac did too.)
  79. You're right, they don't open. I read somewhere about the data that's missing for PS though I forget what it was - looks like an odd oversight to me.
    However, easy solution. With something or other, (Epson scanner maybe) I installed ArcSoft PhotoStudio 2000. Open the GX tiff files in that, save them as tiff, and then open them in PhotoShop 7. Extra time, but no problem.
  80. Thanks Ingemar and Sandeha,
    I just got reply (swift one too) from Ricoh support; one can open it with Apple
    Quicktime and then copy and paste it into another editing software i.e.
    Photoshop. Haven't tried yet so I'll take their word for it and shoot some pics
    and see if it works.
  81. You don't need additional software to open tiff files. The GX is supplied with a CD containing the program DU-10x. Use it to open tiff files, save them to your HD. Then you can open them in Photoshop or any other software that supports tiff
  82. A guy pointed out on the net that Ricoh have a firmware update on their Japanese site. I tried it and it works.

    Download the GX-105.exe and double klik on it to unzip. Then open the library it creates (Caplio GX update). Run FirmUpdate.exe and follow the instructions, they are in English.

    You can check your firmware version by setting the camera in "Setup" mode, then pres and hold the tele-zoom button and the Down button while you switch the camera on. If CPU2 is 1.0 then you need to upgrade.
  83. John - just did that. Many thanks for your info.
  84. John and Sandhea,

    Is the change from the upgrade something you notice? I haven't installed yet, just curious.

    Dean G.
  85. Sorry I misspelled your name, Sandeha
  86. Dean ... I don't know, and the Ricoh info page on the upgrade was only in Japanese. Maybe it's just a bug fix !
  87. I haven't done any testing, and notice no difference so far. But the upgrade is supposed to, quote:

    "1. The stability at the time of SD card writing was improved.

    2. The stability of AF was improved"

    Since I am using a high speed card, I have not noticed any difference to write times.

    Re: auotfocus. I assume they are talking about low light conditions. I haven't tried it yet. But why not install it. It is easy and free
  88. Anyone reading this still? Anyone bought the wide converter?
    any comments?
  89. Maybe beside the point, but Ricoh announced two new models yesterday, the R1 and the RZ1. They replace the RX, have 4 Mp and are even smaller (25 mm!). The R1 is a long-zoom model (4.8x) while RZ1 is flatter and thereby even more pocketable.

    I suppose the successor to GX will arrive some time during the autumn. I really hope there will be one (or several). The concept is great, but I believe they can improve it a little bit more, with better movie resolution and better image quality.
  90. I just spent a month in Europe taking pictures with my new GX, with mostly good results. Some blues came out electric, while other colors aren't as vibrant as I'd hoped. But the camera response is pretty great, and I love the 28mm. Periodically the camera will behave erratically, and I'll have to turn it off and on to get it back. But it always comes back, so it's not much of an issue for me.

    One note on ruggedness: I put the camera on a shaky tripod on the top of a rather tall van, on a windy day. (I never said I was smart.) It blew off, with the lens open, and slid down the front of the van, 9 feet or so, to the dirt ground. And it still works! Impressive lack of common sense on my part, and durability on the camera's.

    Don't know about the wide converter. I'd be more interested in a tele converter.

    Lots of photos, if anyone is interested, here:

  91. The GX is sometimes a bit sensitive with blues, and I think that that contributes to the purple fringe issue. But what I've found is that using the 'cloudy' white balance eliminates pretty much any fringing, keeps the blues from going crazy, and generally warms up the pictures. With that discovering the GX is batting 100 most of the time. Also custom white balance works pretty well. Aside from the occasional OOT blues, the colors are no more vibrant than they actually are to my eye, and to me that's a good thing. I think overall the gx color is realistic.

    wide converter: I'd like to get it but would also like to hear a bit more about how it works first. Anyone?
  92. Dean G---

    I bought the gx in HK in June. The guy showed me the wide
    converter. I believe it screws on to that tube between the hood
    and tube. It is extremely tiny compared to other digi converters.
    It is a .7 so it would become a 21-60mm.

    You would have to get the hood/battery set if you want to use the
    converters. Are you in HK now? I like to get one but then I
    would have to buy the hood, converter and plus international
    shipping. Probably close to 150 usd.
  93. Last Sunday I went to NYC for the anti-Bush march and took along my Canon S50. (For the curious, results are viewable in my gallery starting at this page.) As always it gave good service, but I'd never before used it in such a lively situation, and went almost crazy when what I thought were great shots turned out to be pictures of my feet, or the sky, or whatever else the cam was pointing at when, a few seconds after I'd pressed the shutter release, it actually released the shutter. Image quality was excellent when there was an image, but... Anyway, I swore a mighty oath to find something with less shutter lag.
    Which led me to the Caplio GX. Since I was one of the original GR1 users (bought mine in early '98) and was astonished by the GR1's clever design, good build and wizard lens, I decided to give the GX a try. Bought a gray-market import on eBay from some folks in Virginia and got it today (second-day delivery, not bad).
    Naturally I spent the evening doing side-by-side comparisons with the S50. As I expected from reviews, the GX is easier to use, has less shutter lag, and doesn't come close to the S50 in image quality. I tried various combinations of aperture, compression, sharpening, etc, but there's no way around that conclusion. Will append the best results of each series to show what I mean.
    The GX is more fun to use than the S50 &#150; also something I expected from reviews. I'll give it a few weeks' workout and see whether I can put up with the picture quality. BTW, I noticed that its best JPEG setting compresses images at 2.8 bits per pixel, while the S50 uses 5 bits. But that's not the problem, because the GX's TIFF mode (unusable anyway thanks to long write times) doesn't improve the pictures.
    So it's not a digital GR1, alas. But cute as a bug's ear and pleasant to hold and use. And of course it has 28mm equiv., but then so does the new Canon S70. (However, the S70's shutter lag is reportedly no better than the S50's.)
    I think there'd be a market for a cam this size, with this many pixels on board, a nicer optical finder, minimal shutter lag, a big internal buffer, and, of course, decent image quality. The GX is close to the mark, and if they tweaked it to get rid of the idiot modes and the flash, and bought a better imaging chip (or better software to drive the one they have), and charged another hundred dollars, and exported the result to North America, they might be the only entry in a niche market big enough to be worth the effort.
  94. Leslie,

    I'd guess the Canon S50 has better out of camera image quality than the GX. But don't give up on the GX, I've found it easily capable of great quality, but it takes some getting used to. First of all forget about anything 'auto', the GX is a fairly poor excuse for a P&S. What settings did you use?

    Auto white balance is kind of a crap shoot, I've been either using custom white balance or one of the specific presets, most often I use the 'cloudy' setting. The dreaded purple fringing is gone with cloudy, as far as I've been able to tell.

    Next, the GX is pretty fond of blowing highlights, my auto exp comp settings are a little more radical than most, but try -1.3 to -1.7 and then bring the levels up in PS. Better yet use the manual exposure mode. Go to aperture priority, choose an aperture, and then press the up arrow and adjust the shutter speed while watching the live histogram. I've gotten very fast at this, and the design of the GX allows me to do it all with one hand.. pretty amazing. Keep the histogram to the left but make sure the exposure "needle scale" is white (indicating a reasonable range) and that the needle is between left and middle of the scale. Even though the histogram might not be touching the right side, on my camera at least, if it's anywhere near the right there'll be blown highlights, so keep the histogram squeezed between the left and 3/4 of the way across.

    Those are some of the things I do and I've never gotten anything as crappy looking as your refrigerator magnets. On the contrary I've printed some rather stunning 12X16 prints, one of which was accepted for exhibit at the state fair this year. The shot I picked was from about 10 'takes' half of which were done with my 10D, and I chose one of the GX pictures to use.

    You can see from my prior posts that I'm somewhat of a raving nut about the GX, but honestly, live with the camera for a while and the other compact digicams are so much of a drag it will make you question just how much you even care about "image quality". A point I've made before that you alluded to is that getting the picture at the moment you intended is maybe the biggest component of "image quality", and in that department the GX wins hands down.

    Work with it, you'll find out it's more of a digital GR-1 than you think.

    have fun.
  95. Taken at a local motorscooter event.
  96. Boat.
  97. og


    I don't know if some people are still reading/monitoring this thread, but I wanted to share that I am feeling almost the same excitement as I did one year ago about the GX... (and nope: I didn't buy it. Yep: I now have a DSLR - 300D - and I am still using my Mju-II/Epic from time to time :)
    This time, it is about the new Panasonic LX1. (specs here)
    Why? Because... "28-112mm" f/2.8-4.9 AND 16/9 CCD (great for those Panoramic landscapes), Stabilization, Pocketable + I expect the rest to be up to: ISO, responsiveness, design, controls, etc... (I just would have preferred a moveable LCD... especially for that 600 euros price)
    Anyway: for those who were interested in the GX, the LX1 may be of some interest.
    PS: it was a great thread, here :)
  98. Hi Olivier - funny thread too, at times. I'm still happy with my GX but I never use it for anything really serious, it's just a handy P&S with good extras. Mostly I'm using Hasselblad (thanks be to the digital revolution and the pros who sold off their MF gear) and 4"x5". Of course, now I'm wondering how long the GX will last - It has no resale value worth talking about, but I'm hoping it will still be a viable machine for record shots in another five years.
  99. the gx is capable of great just have to work on the post processing a bit.. I use it as my b/w pns as it converts very well to mono..
  100. you just have to watch where you are going with the lighting, with such a small sensor..

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