it out in one of the many swimming pools in the city. But Delhi being Delhi, clubs do not let ‘outsiders’ use their pool and have some fun! I had to do with just putting my hand inside the pool and getting a fully zoomed shot of the pool tiles. Even then, I thought with extremely fast shutter speed, the camera produced some promising under-water shots.
The camera’s 25-100mm range in 35 mm equivalent might not be a very widely varied range but for spontaneous shooting, it can be satisfactory enough.
Its 4X opical zoom and full HD movie recording are definitely a bonus apart from its other special features. Ricoh has also added shutter-priority mode (1/4,000 to 1/4 second in most modes) along with the usual (green) auto-mode, program and a wide range of special effect modes in this camera unlike its predecessor. So, users who had a complaint about the lack of creative freedom in Pentax WG-3 can be happier now. Shutter priority mode will give an enthusiast photographer some amount of manual control to exposures.
The camera’s lack of support for RAW formats is still a complaint for users like me who find that digital age photography cannot evade post-processing, besides leaving a little room to play with the images.
I quite liked the camera’s multi-shot modes, especially its HDR mode where it captures multiple images and combines them into one single image. This, however, increases processing time to about 4-5 seconds for every combined image to be generated.
Another strong feature of this camera, both underwater and otherwise, is its Digital microscopic mode where it can focus as closes as 1 cm. With its six LED lights on the front panel around the in-built lens, even low-light macro shots came out quite sharp and well exposed.
With its aperture opening up to a maximum of f/2, I think the camera has enough features to compete with the other giants in the market like Nikon or Canon.
The Ricoh WG-4, priced at Rs 20,995, can be a judicious choice for enterprising photographers or photo enthusiasts who don’t mind going a few extra miles to get that perfect shot. It could be an indispensable companion for adventure junkies who don’t like being weighed down by their gear. However, for regular users, their expenditure may be directed elsewhere such as better lens optics or higher megapixels!
The lack of RAW format for image capturing, though, is an impediment. Imagine washed out whites with no room for extracting detail after all the trouble you’ve taken shooting a dramatic snowstorm or such! In my opinion, the target group of such a camera would not mind spending a few extra bucks to have this feature included.
Nonetheless, with reasonably high JPEG image quality, the relative absence of shutter-lag and many exciting features with lots of room to experiment underwater, in the hills, beaches or your neightbourhood swimming pool, this camera is a promising bet for outdoor use.
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