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Old Nov 1, 2004, 5:25 AM   #1
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Among the various digital cameras I consider to replace my "old" Canon PowerShot A40 is the Caplio GX. I like the wide angle zoom, good macro capability, hot shoe for external flash, many manual settings, power supply through AA batteriesand, last but not least, reasonable price for a 5 Mpx. In the past I owned several Ricoh cameras, 500G compact or XR-2s and XR-P SLR, and I was quite happy with them.

I read several reviews about the GX, and some of them mention poor picture quality due to high chromatic aberration or important noise level (even at ISO lower than 1600). Other reviews mention on the contrary very low noise levels or no chromatic aberration. I compared the sample pictures in Steve's review of Caplio GX with those of other digicams (in the same range of price)better rated and found better results for the GX : Picture R0010058.JPG in Ricoh review is the only one where you can see clearlythe wire netting at the foot of the brick building at the center-right of the picture, and picture R0010042.JPG by GXis where roof tiles of Marina Cafeare better seen.

Wouldthis mean there are big variations in quality of Caplio GX from a sample to another?
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Old Nov 3, 2004, 7:35 AM   #2
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I needed a wide angle camera with either compactflash or SD memory cards. I also had a preference for NiMH batteries. With these restrictions only Ricoh Cameras were left. I finally had to choose between the very new Ricoh R1 with its very impressive 28-135 mm zoom range for 207 € and the somewhat older Ricoh GX for 250 €. From various tests I knew that Ricoh cameras have more than average quirks. That was the reason why I considered the R1 with its very new and sophisticated lens retraction mechanism as too risky. Also a 28-135 mm lens should have even more problems with chromatic aberrrations than the more standard 28-85 mm lens. That' s why I went for the GX. Already my Canon A70 has quite a substantial amount of purple fringing, but for the GX chromatic aberrations are even a lot higher especially at 28mm. Purple fringing can be reduced substantially with a high aperture value and the quite reddish (but nice looking) cloudy white balance. Probably because of purple fringing in automatic mode the GX has a tendency for slow shutter speeds and high aperture values. To getfast shutter speeds one really has to use aperture priority mode with a low aperture value. What I disliked the most, however, was the enormous amount of noise of the GX. With sharpeness set to normal the GX at ISO64 had more noise than the A70 at ISO200. The GX seems to do some very stupid sharpening when sharpeness=normal. When sharpeness=soft noise is comparable with the excellent A70. However, sharpeness cannot be changed for the various special scene modes. It can only be changed in automatic and aperture priority mode, but fortunately most of the possible changes are permanent. The GX, like the A70, is very power efficient, especially if power saving mode is used. However, it is very slow in power saving mode (anuncompressed image takes 30-40 seconds until the next shot can be taken). The GX is not optimised for NiMH cells. The very cheap 1700 mAh cells (4 for 2€), which work so well for the A70, are hardly usable for the GX. 2200 mAh cells are much more usable.It is really impressive with a 1800 mAh NP-120 LiIon cell, which costs only 8€.

All in all the GX is a good value for 250€. I use it only for 28 mm wide angleor cloudy weather with its warm white balance for cloudy weather. For all other purposes I prefer the A70.
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Old Nov 3, 2004, 10:47 AM   #3
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Thank you, Kassandro, for your very comprehensive answer which will be of great help in my final choice
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