Sunday, March 25, 2007

Beauty in a Small Package..

I have the oppurtunity this weekend to try out my other half's new compact digital camera purchased at Foto Selangor on Saturday afternoon (after the BJ Carnival). I convinced her that for getting the value for money, the best compact camera at the moment is Ricoh Capalio R5. I have been reading many magazines and also did a bit of research on this camera and after actually fondling with this camera at Foto Selangor, I myself was convinced that this is indeed a remarkable small camera. The deal at Selangor Foto was completed within half an hour after we also tested many small compacts such as the Canon G7, S3-IS, and also Olympus 550. In my opinion, the price we paid at RM1080 (including 1GB SD Card) was a bargain considering that this camera is sold for more than 250 Pound Sterling in UK.

A bit on this camera, the new Ricoh Caplio R5 digital camera features a 7.1x optical wide zoom lens (28–200 mm in 35 mm camera format). Combining the Caplio R5’s Ricoh-original CCD-shift vibration correction method and brand new image processing engine greatly expands the range of shooting in low light areas producing high quality images at even higher ISO settings with low noise.

The camera’s macro mode allows close in shooting of objects from a wide macro 1 cm to tele macro 14 cm. This is one feature that I could not find from other units we tested at the shop thus enhanced my confidence on how good this camera is. Another feature that made us fall in love with this camera is on its ability to also capture movie clips. They movie image might not be as good as a DVD quality image but hey, we are more focus on still images here and not into movie making.

So, on Sunday morning, we tested the new compact and here are some results which I would say, quite good for a compact camera. The first four photos were taken using the camera's Macro Mode and the next four basically using the Landscape mode. By the way, the crescent moon in the starting photo was taken using the Macro mode with me holding the camera very close to my telescope eyepiece and I feel satisfied with the result.


The results from our tests convinced my other half that the choice for this compact camera was a good one. The macro capability of this camera is superb and this is helped by the anti-shake mechanism built in the camera making the use of a tripod unnessary. The images are sharp and almost resemble to those produced by my DSLR. However, the telefoto zoom does generate some noise close to maximum zoom when the image is blown up for viewing the details. Well, you can't violate the rule of physics here. Small lens means lesser amount of light can enter the CCD sensor and thus image captured will be less detail as compared to the bigger SLR lenses.

For such a small camera, I think this camera can be a good second to a full-fledge DSLR especially when we want to travel light. But of course, you can't be that creative when using a compact as practically, you will not have any control on aperture or shutter priority functions unlike all DSLRs. Pricewise, this camera is among the cheapest with all those capabiliies.

In short, this camera is very portable and beautiful design with an eye to robustness and quality. I strongly recommend this camera for those intent to start with creative photography but don't have a big budget for a DSLR.

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