Pros: Capable of capturing very fine detail, the GX8 offers great value for and a decent level of manual control.
Cons: Manual controls are set via a menu, which can be fiddly, and the camera’s scene modes are poor. Compressed image capture is also weak, and the monitor is small and dark.
The main reason you’ll want to get your hands on the Caplio GX8 is the number of megapixels it packs. So far, no other manufacturer has come up with such a small digital camera – at such a low price – that can capture this level of detail.
But while it does what it says on the box, its execution is rather pedestrian. It has a rather rough, matte die-cast exterior and black plastic buttons.
Onscreen navigation and settings are similarly backward. Rather than specifying the megapixel level you want, you select, say, NC3244, which equates to the non-compressed 3,224-x-2,448 TIF setting. This shouldn’t be confused with the F3264 setting that also captures around 8mp, but as a much less impressive compressed JPG.
There’s no comparison between the two – uncompressed TIFs are excellent, with pinsharp detail, while images captured as compressed JPGs are woolly with less accurate colours.
The GX8 powers up in less than a second. It does have a tendency to let in purple streaks of light, though. The powerful macro mode locks in on a subject as little as a centimetre away, so you can capture fine detail. However, the LCD iewfinder is small, dark and not that hot at previewing colours accurately.
Pricewise, Ricoh has come up with a ground-breaking compact camera. However, it’s not pretty or that much fun to use. Bear in mind that you’ll need a capacious SD card on top, plus a steady supply of batteries.