Ricoh WG-80 Review: A Tough Camera in the Wrong Line of Work

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Ricoh WG-80 Review

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

Level-and-shoot cameras priced within the few-hundred-dollar vary aren’t useless 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 larger safety, higher zoom capabilities, and some further options not simply replicable in cellular 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 extensive, 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 scale and weight mixture do give an impression of hardiness as there’s a bit of little bit of heft to it.

Ricoh WG-80

The outside is especially product of textured plastic that feels good within the fingers, and there’s a steel plate spanning the entrance face that ought to present extra 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 towards weights as much as 220 kilos of pressure (100 kilograms), freezeproof to temperatures as little as 14 levels Fahrenheit (-10 levels Celcius), and shockproof towards falls from a top 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 in the case 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 apart from the buttons, there aren’t any shifting components on the surface. Though the Ricoh WG-80 has a 28-140mm f/3.5-5.5 optical zoom lens (full-frame equal), it doesn’t prolong outdoors the entrance protecting aspect and solely strikes encased behind it. From the look of it, the entrance aspect is held in place with six screws and a plastic panel, however it doesn’t seem that Ricoh provides alternative glass direct to customers to be simply replaceable. This was shocking to me, and I believed for certain I’d be capable of choose one up cheaply in case of injury like how GoPro does it.

LCD Display

For monitoring, there isn’t a viewfinder constructed into the digicam, so there’s a powerful reliance on the LCD display screen to be good. Sadly, this show just isn’t on the digicam’s checklist of strengths. It’s 2.7 inches which feels cramped, and worse, it’s solely 230,000 dots of decision which implies every part seems to be pixelated and you may’t truly inform when you bought a topic in focus till the pictures and video are off the digicam.

Ricoh WG-80 rear.

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

Utilizing -2 or -1 is good 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 cut back the distinction of what’s on the display screen, however it 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 is predicated round a 16-megapixel 1/2.3-inch backside-illuminated CMOS sensor. As a result of this can be a point-and-shoot digicam, I’ll supply 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 images 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 components in 9 teams, 5 of that are aspherical. The aperture can’t be manually chosen, however it seems that on the extensive 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 based mostly on the focal size chosen.

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

image high quality, I’m not impressed with the outcomes. The primary drawback 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 superb photography, I don’t suppose they’d be all that proud of the smeariness in folks’s faces nor would they admire stunning landscapes and trip images which are lowered down to paint and distinction as a result of the element is simply not being resolved in a manner we anticipate in 2022.

I don’t imply to slam the WG-80 too harshly as a result of we now have to think about that this digicam is $330. Nevertheless, 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 pretty much as good, and I don’t suppose that’s the case right here in the case of picture high quality. Sure, this may have extra zoom and higher dealing with, however I’m discovering that the outcomes are a bit of 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 capable of 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 most of the image settings are reset to default as soon as the digicam is turned off and again on once more. These embody the EV, white stability, 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 images are popping out trying blue with awful publicity. That stated, I feel Ricoh ought to have simply let the Auto Image mode deal with this kind 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 might probably 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 top 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 can be no gentle coming by means of and subsequently be unimaginable 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 top 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 line 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 taking pictures.

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

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

Macro images endure from the identical drawback that plagues common taking pictures on the WG-80, that there’s not a lot element being resolved. It could focus intently, 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 proud of the smeary picture high quality total. The candy spot for this digicam appears to be focusing from an arm’s size away to perhaps 10 to fifteen toes away; when it’s not so shut you actually see the dearth of readability, and when it’s not so distant every part is melted collectively and also you solely get an impression of a scene.

Arduous on the Exterior, Delicate on the Inside

Delicate image high quality points apart, I don’t suppose I might think about the WG-80 a complete failure. It’s a easy digicam to function, it might probably shoot close-up pictures 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 loads of random digicam modes on this factor and all kinds of fluff that distract from the very fact this is able to in all probability make for a reasonably good job-site digicam. A comparatively cheap digicam that doesn’t give up could have extra worth than a weaker digicam that takes excellent imagery.

Ricoh WG-80 sample photo.

Are There Alternate options?

One different to the WG-80 can be the Ricoh WG-6. This waterproof point-and-shoot digicam got here out in early 2019 and options most of the similar favorable parts because the WG-80 such because the macro capabilities and six-LED macro gentle. Though it’s older, the digicam may be very shut in value and has a couple of upgrades. On the highest, there’s a devoted mode dial as an alternative of urgent a button and biking by means of 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 funds to $450, there’s additionally the Olympus Robust TG-6 to think about. 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 gentle is a $100 add-on piece. Nevertheless, there are strong enhancements on supply as properly: it might probably shoot RAW images, the aperture opens as much as f/2 on the extensive finish, it has 25 focus factors slightly than 9, and it might probably do 20 frames per second steady taking pictures 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, a bit of outdoors the product class however value mentioning nonetheless is the trusty GoPro HERO 10. As an motion digicam, it will be unable to zoom to anyplace close to a 140mm equal just like the Ricoh. Nevertheless, 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 in all probability isn’t going to be sufficient for you if you’re aiming for a digicam that takes the very best images. Having stated that, I can nonetheless see the utility in having a digicam like this for documenting and work-related duties which is little doubt a goal for Ricoh.

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