Cons: Lack of mode information on LCD; no manual exposure modes
Bottomline: An impressive compact with a well-balanced feature set and excellent build quality
The compact R-series from Ricoh regularly gets updated, usually keeping the design much the same. However, the new R8 makes something of a stylistic departure from its forebears.
It’s slightly larger than its predecessor, the Caplio R7, although the overall feel and build quality is much better. There’s also an increase in sensor resolution from eight to 10 megapixels.
The R8 is simple to use, with a functional design, intuitive mode dial and simplified menu layout; you won’t have to search through endless menus as all the key operations are readily available during shooting.
Its features have been pared down to avoid clutter, while important options such as face recognition and anti-shake are retained.
The R8’s more traditional approach to control comes in the form of a zoom-control lever mounted on the shutter release button, while a rubberised grip has been provided on the right-hand side, allowing the control buttons to now fall more naturally under the thumb.
The main four-way controller can be clicked to bring up an on-screen overlay, from which you can adjust parameters such as exposure compensation, ISO and white balance without taking your eye off the subject.
A 2.7in TFT display graces the rear. It’s especially clear and sharp thanks to its 460,000-pixel resolution, which provides twice the detail we’re used to seeing on this sort of camera.
One minor quibble is that the selected shooting mode isn’t displayed on this TFT, so you have to check the top of the camera before shooting.
When it comes to image quality, we were neither overly impressed nor disappointed: We have seen better from compact cameras, but also a lot worse, and the R8’s excellent ease of use should help you achieve some pleasing photos.