The Ricoh R8 is a 10Mp compact camera with a 7x optical zoom and face-detection technology.

The Ricoh R8 is an overhauled version of last year's Caplio R7, which successfully placed a 7x zoom lens on the front of a pocket-sized camera body.

The Ricoh R8 ups that camera's resolution from 8.2 megapixels (Mp) to the current standard for a mid-range compact, 10Mp, but also adds popular features such as face detection, and attempts to fix some of the R7's flaws.

One of the R7's main weaknesses was its 2.7in screen, where images looked badly shrunken and lacking in depth. The Ricoh R8's screen is the same size but its quality is a huge improvement – showing clear, sharp representations of your shots, both as you shoot and in playback.

For critical users, the Ricoh R8's output may be a little noisy.

We also saw a lot of purple fringing on high-contrast areas of the Ricoh R8's images. This is less apparent on 10Mp images than on 8.2Mp ones – but it's still a mark against the Ricoh R8.

To focus the longer lens on the 10Mp sensor, Ricoh has redesigned the Ricoh R8 and made it slightly wider and larger than the R7. The button layout on the back is different, but some will not find our silver version of the Ricoh R8 very pretty (it's also available with black and a two-tone black-&-silver trims). It's square-ish and has a grey and brown hand grip – and overall the Ricoh R8's design looks like something out of the 1970s.

The Ricoh R8's face-detection system is supposed to automatically find faces in your shot and adjusts focus, exposure, and white balance for this. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work very well.

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Ricoh R8: Specs

  • 10Mp
  • 7.1x optical zoom, 4.8x digital zoom
  • 2.7in LCD
  • lens focal length 4.95-35.4mm
  • vibration correction
  • SIE III image processor
  • ISO 64-1600
  • SD Card slot
  • rechargeable battery
  • video up to 640x480 30fps
  • 102 x 58 x 26mm (whd)
  • 191g
  • 10Mp
  • 7.1x optical zoom, 4.8x digital zoom
  • 2.7in LCD
  • lens focal length 4.95-35.4mm
  • vibration correction
  • SIE III image processor
  • ISO 64-1600
  • SD Card slot
  • rechargeable battery
  • video up to 640x480 30fps
  • 102 x 58 x 26mm (whd)
  • 191g

OUR VERDICT

If you want a small camera with a big lens and screen, the Ricoh R8 is worth considering, especially if you need up to 7x optical zoom from a compact camera. A much improved rear screen adds to this sturdily built camera.

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