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Ricoh WG-80 Evaluation: A Powerful Digicam within the Unsuitable Line of Work


The Ricoh WG-80 is an attention-grabbing prospect because it contains a highly-durable building that’s exceedingly waterproof and crushproof, plus it has the power to optically zoom and shoot macro pictures. On paper, there’s a lot to love.

Level-and-shoot cameras priced within the few-hundred-dollar vary aren’t lifeless but, and more and more they’re coming within the type of what we see with the Ricoh WG-80. To distinguish extra clearly from smartphones, this style of waterproof cameras provides increased safety, higher zoom capabilities, and some further options not simply replicable in cell units.

Let’s check out the WG-80 and decide the place its potential is greatest realized.

Construct High quality

The Ricoh WG-80 measures 4.8 inches large, 2.4 inches tall, and is 1.2 inches at its thickest. On the dimensions, it weighs 6.8 ounces (195 grams) with each the battery and SD card put in. The dimensions and weight mixture do give an impression of hardiness as there’s slightly little bit of heft to it.

Ricoh WG-80

The outside is especially manufactured from textured plastic that feels good within the fingers, and there’s a steel plate spanning the entrance face that ought to present further sturdiness. When the digicam is moist, it doesn’t appear to have an effect on the grip and it doesn’t get slippery.

Printed proper on the again of the digicam are a number of stats about its ruggedness. The WG-80 has been examined to be waterproof as much as 45 toes (14 meters), crushproof in opposition to weights as much as 220 kilos of power (100 kilograms), freezeproof to temperatures as little as 14 levels Fahrenheit (-10 levels Celcius), and shockproof in opposition to falls from a peak of as much as 5.2 toes (1.6 meters). It’s protected to say that this digicam will maintain up higher than most conventional digicam our bodies on the subject of accidents and may proceed for use in additional circumstances, like underwater, with out specialised equipment.

Ricoh WG-80

A part of what helps earn its toughness is that aside from the buttons, there are not any shifting components on the surface. Regardless that the Ricoh WG-80 has a 28-140mm f/3.5-5.5 optical zoom lens (full-frame equal), it doesn’t lengthen outdoors the entrance protecting component and solely strikes encased behind it. From the look of it, the entrance component is held in place with six screws and a plastic panel, but it surely doesn’t seem that Ricoh provides alternative glass direct to customers to be simply replaceable. This was stunning to me, and I believed for certain I’d be capable of decide one up cheaply in case of injury like how GoPro does it.

LCD Display screen

For monitoring, there isn’t a viewfinder constructed into the digicam, so there’s a robust reliance on the LCD display screen to be good. Sadly, this show will not be on the digicam’s listing of strengths. It’s 2.7 inches which feels cramped, and worse, it’s solely 230,000 dots of decision which implies all the things seems to be pixelated and you’ll’t really inform when you bought a topic in focus till the photographs and video are off the digicam.

Ricoh WG-80 rear.

There’s an anti-reflection coating on the display screen, which is at the least a bit useful for viewing in sunny situations, but it surely’s not going to eradicate the issue in a means {that a} brighter display screen may assist. Within the menu choices, there’s an “Out of doors View Setting” mode which isn’t useful for sunny situations. This mode could be set to -2, -1, Off, +1, or +2.

Utilizing -2 or -1 is sweet for when it’s darkish, and also you don’t need the display screen brightness at full energy and blinding you. Off is the default, and +1 and +2 don’t change the precise display screen brightness in any respect in comparison with Off. All this does is lighten the perceived publicity and scale back the distinction of what’s on the display screen, but it surely doesn’t make the precise display screen luminance brighter. It simply makes monitoring in sunny situations worse than leaving it at Off.

Picture High quality

The digicam relies round a 16-megapixel 1/2.3-inch backside-illuminated CMOS sensor. As a result of it is a point-and-shoot digicam, I’ll provide the reference level that an iPhone 13 is 12 megapixels however makes use of a barely bigger 1/1.9-inch backside-illuminated sensor. The WG-80 shoots JPEG pictures solely, no RAW, and has an ISO vary of 125 to six,400.

The 5x optical zoom lens is a 28-140mm equal focal size and makes use of 11 parts in 9 teams, 5 of that are aspherical. The aperture can’t be manually chosen, however it seems that on the large finish, the aperture vary is f/3.5 to f/4.2, and on the telephoto finish, it’s f/5.5 to f/6.6. This can be a versatile zoom vary contemplating it’s all shifting internally, and I can seize a great number of pictures which have a unique really feel to them primarily based on the focal size chosen.

Ricoh WG-80 at 1x zoom.
1x zoom.
Ricoh WG-80 at 2.2x zoom.
2.2x zoom.
5x zoom.
Ricoh WG-80 ISO comparison.
ISO comparability. 100% cropped.

image high quality, I’m not impressed with the outcomes. The primary downside is a noticeable lack of readability, and plenty of particulars get washed away at any ISO. Even for an individual who’s seeking to seize moments in life, not essentially wonderful pictures, I don’t suppose they might be all that pleased with the smeariness in individuals’s faces nor would they respect stunning landscapes and trip pictures which are diminished down to paint and distinction as a result of the element is simply not being resolved in a means we count on in 2022.

I don’t imply to slam the WG-80 too harshly as a result of we now have to contemplate that this digicam is $330. Nonetheless, in a world the place many individuals have competent cameras on their smartphones, there may be actually an expectation {that a} standalone digicam ought to, at minimal, be simply nearly as good, and I don’t suppose that’s the case right here on the subject of picture high quality. Sure, this can have extra zoom and higher dealing with, however I’m discovering that the outcomes are slightly robust to like.

Ricoh WG-80 sample photo.

Ricoh WG-80 sample photo.
HDR mode off.
Ricoh WG-80 sample photo.
HDR mode on.
Ricoh WG-80 sample photo.
Shot in portrait mode which is meant to make pores and skin tones look greatest.

In Program mode, I’m in a position to manually set the ISO sensitivity and set the publicity worth (EV) between -2 to +2, which is helpful. One factor that may be irritating in regards to the WG-80 is that lots of the image settings are reset to default as soon as the digicam is turned off and again on once more. These embrace the EV, white steadiness, ISO, and even the Auto ISO vary. This might be by design to keep away from confusion with first-time digicam patrons who mess around and set the digicam a method and days later get confused as to why their pictures are popping out wanting blue with awful publicity. That stated, I feel Ricoh ought to have simply let the Auto Image mode deal with the sort of consumer and let these settings be remembered in Program mode.

One of many advantages of utilizing the WG-80 is its extraordinarily shut focusing distance in Macro and Digital Microscope modes. In Digital Microscope mode, it may well focus as shut as one centimeter and helps optical zooming as much as 1.8x. Within the field of the WG-80 is a “macro stand,” which is a plastic ring that clips to the tip of the lens. It may be used to set the digicam on a flat floor, lens pointed down, to get steady excessive closeups.

Ricoh WG-80 sample photo.

Ricoh WG-80 sample photo.

Ricoh WG-80 sample photo.

In the event you’re considering there could be no mild coming via and subsequently be unattainable to shoot like this, you’d be proper if it weren’t for the truth that the digicam has six built-in LEDs circling the tip of the lens to light up shut objects. As well as, a menu possibility permits me to fine-tune the sunshine output with 5 intensities, and in accordance with Ricoh, it’s now double the brightness of its predecessor. Oddly, I can’t change depth in Digital Microscope mode, however I can with common macro capturing.

From my testing, the macro mild isn’t fairly vivid sufficient to make a lot of an influence when there’s reasonable lighting already. Even within the shade on a sunny day, I wouldn’t discover any distinction between the macro mild on and off if I wasn’t explicitly in search of the very delicate distinction within the shadows. Indoors, the distinction is rather more obvious for macro topics, and beneath are examples shot with out the macro mild, with the macro mild, and with the usual flash.

Ricoh WG-80 sample photo.
Macro mild comparability. Off, Macro mild on (full energy), Common Flash.

Macro pictures undergo from the identical downside that plagues common capturing on the WG-80, that there’s not a lot element being resolved. It might focus carefully, however being in focus with this digicam can typically imply “when it seems to be least blurry.” Even after setting the digicam on a tripod and utilizing the two-second timer to keep away from digicam shake, I’m not pleased with the smeary picture high quality general. The candy spot for this digicam appears to be focusing from an arm’s size away to possibly 10 to fifteen toes away; when it’s not so shut you actually see the shortage of readability, and when it’s not so far-off all the things is melted collectively and also you solely get an impression of a scene.

Exhausting on the Outdoors, Smooth on the Inside

Smooth image high quality points apart, I don’t suppose I’d take into account the WG-80 a complete failure. It’s a easy digicam to function, it may well shoot close-up photographs and has macro lights in-built for dimly lit situations, and the construct high quality is made to final. Maybe it’s a failure in imaginative and prescient. There are a heck of a whole lot of random digicam modes on this factor and all kinds of fluff that distract from the very fact this might most likely make for a fairly good job-site digicam. A comparatively cheap digicam that doesn’t give up may have extra worth than a weaker digicam that takes excellent imagery.

Ricoh WG-80 sample photo.

Are There Options?

One different to the WG-80 could be the Ricoh WG-6. This waterproof point-and-shoot digicam got here out in early 2019 and options lots of the similar favorable parts because the WG-80 such because the macro capabilities and six-LED macro mild. Though it’s older, the digicam may be very shut in value and has just a few upgrades. On the highest, there’s a devoted mode dial as a substitute of urgent a button and biking via an on-screen menu. It’s additionally 20 megapixels and may shoot 4K video. The rear show is a contact bigger at 3 inches versus 2.7 inches, however the pixel decision is significantly better at 1.04-million-dots versus 230,000 dots.

Elevating the price range to $450, there’s additionally the Olympus Powerful TG-6 to contemplate. The downsides to this digicam could also be that it’s 12 megapixels, doesn’t attain as far on the telephoto finish, and the macro mild is a $100 add-on piece. Nonetheless, there are strong enhancements on provide as nicely: it may well shoot RAW pictures, the aperture opens as much as f/2 on the large finish, it has 25 focus factors slightly than 9, and it may well do 20 frames per second steady capturing for as much as 14 RAW frames or limitless JPEGs till the cardboard fills. It even has a Professional Seize mode for getting 5 frames previous to urgent the shutter button. In terms of the toughness elements like waterproofing, dustproofing, crushproofing, freezeproofing, and shockproofing, the TG-6 matches or barely exceeds the WG-80.

Lastly, slightly outdoors the product class however price mentioning nonetheless is the trusty GoPro HERO 10. As an motion digicam, it won’t be able to zoom to wherever close to a 140mm equal just like the Ricoh. Nonetheless, the digicam is fairly sturdy for most individuals and may go underwater as much as 33 toes (10.1 meters). The stabilization and 5.3K 60p video additionally blow the pants off of what the WG-80 provides. As of publication time, the HERO 10 was on sale for $400, which is $70 greater than the WG-80.

Ought to You Purchase It?

No, not for artwork. The Ricoh WG-80 most likely isn’t going to be sufficient for you if you’re aiming for a digicam that takes the perfect pictures. Having stated that, I can nonetheless see the utility in having a digicam like this for documenting and work-related duties which is little question a goal for Ricoh.

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