Ricoh isn't one of the best-known names in digital photography, but it's produced a number of decent models. The company also has a good track record for value, introducing an 8Mp (megapixel) compact last summer that broke the £300 barrier. The R30 is another decent example.

Its trump cards are a lovely wide-angle zoom operating at the film-based equivalent of 28mm to 160mm and a megapixel-per-pound ratio to beat even Ricoh's previous Caplio, the R3.

When extended – a somewhat noisy procedure – the zoom lens all but doubles the width of the Caplio's body. It fires up very quickly, and the continuous shooting mode works a treat, with very little shot-to-shot delay.

You can easily select the best of such a series of snaps using one of the R30's many onscreen options. The current shot takes up the central area of the 2.5in LCD preview screen, while the previous and next ones are displayed as thumbnails either side. This function could be handy for previewing landscapes that are too wide even for this wide-angle camera.

Macro shots, which can be taken as close as a 1cm from the subject, produced good detail and a pleasing lack of distortion. There's a handy feature that automatically sorts out items that would otherwise appear skewed. This works when you're a bit too near objects such as window frames that provide a composition's perspective.

However, the flash tended to be rather severe, causing dreadful whiteouts in some of our tests and there's no antishake function. You really need stability to get decent results, especially while the zoom is in operation. Holding down the shutter button all the way (rather than first pressing halfway down to lock the focus) often makes the camera move.

Ricoh Caplio R30: Specs

  • 5Mp
  • max res 2,592 x 1,944
  • 26MB internal storage
  • SD/MMC slot (card not supplied)
  • ISO settings 64-800
  • rechargeable battery cell
  • Mpeg4 movie capture at 30fps
  • AVI audio capture
  • 2.5cm LCD
  • USB 1.1 connection
  • 1-year warranty
  • 95x26x53mm
  • 135g
  • 5Mp
  • max res 2,592 x 1,944
  • 26MB internal storage
  • SD/MMC slot (card not supplied)
  • ISO settings 64-800
  • rechargeable battery cell
  • Mpeg4 movie capture at 30fps
  • AVI audio capture
  • 2.5cm LCD
  • USB 1.1 connection
  • 1-year warranty
  • 95x26x53mm
  • 135g

OUR VERDICT

Shake issues aside, this is an impressive camera – we liked its macro and wide-angle features. The Caplio R30 is easy to get to grips with and has plenty of onscreen customisation and information about settings.

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