• Price: 255

  • Company: Ricoh

  • 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.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 6 out of 10 We rate this 6 out of 10

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.

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The continuous-shooting mode is fast, and there’s very little lag between shots – you can take up to 16 in two seconds. However, it’s not much use for the professional – if you want to shoot action shots, you have to make do with a compressed format as the Caplio can’t save uncompressed data quickly enough. 
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The scene mode that optimizes shots according to the lighting conditions you’ve specified isn’t convincing, but you can program the Caplio with your own settings and apply them instantly. 
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You can adjust f-stops easily via a dial and, though you have to go back to the menu every time you want to adjust a setting, you’ve a lot of control over ISO, white balance, and other settings. 
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What Ricoh doesn’t do is load the GX8 with either a proper internal memory or durable batteries. Transferring photos to a PC via the supplied software is an act of masochism and the camera isn

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.