Ricoh Caplio R5 7.2Mp compact digital camera

7.1x optical zoom in a compact format

The top of the R5 is home to the push-and-hold power switch and the two-stage shutter release button. On the right-hand edge is a standard type mini USB connector, an AV output jack, a micro-speaker and lanyard loop. The standard bundle includes an AV cable with dual phono connectors that carry video and mono audio signals.

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Ricoh has updated the 2.5in LCD they used on the R4 increasing its resolution by about 50 per cent from 150,000 pixels to 230,000 pixels. The result is a cleaner image with better gradations though the improvement isn't as momentous as you'd perhaps imagine it to be. I found manual focusing to be marginally easier on the newer screen but still too difficult to be used reliably. That said it's still a feature I'd sooner have than not. The screen seemed very sensitive to the internal electronics and would often flicker and distort as the camera worked. Despite the lack of any anti-reflective coating a tactically placed hand made for acceptable use even in bright sunlight.

The main control buttons lie in a column of four below the zoom lever. Top button of the four is the image and video playback button. Below that is the quick adjust button allowing one-touch access to exposure compensation at plus or minus two stops, white balance with its five presets plus auto and manual and finally sensitivity which can be set to ISO 64, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600 plus auto. Only the white balance settings are available when in video mode.

Next down is the self timer button which conjures up the customary two or ten second delay. This button serves double duty working as a delete button when used in playback mode.

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The bottom button of the four is the display button which toggles the display information through four states, regular shooting mode, 'rule of thirds' grid overlay, standard shooting mode screen plus live histogram display. The final option is display off, great for when the battery is low, but a little hit-and-miss when you factor in the total absence of an optical viewfinder to use in its place.

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