New Digital Camera: Ricoh Caplio R1V

I’ve been thinking about getting a new digital camera. Mine’s not bad, (the Canon PowerShot S30 has actually been a great camera), but I’m quickly becoming a full-fledge gadget freak and it’s time for a new one.

I was interested in some of the wearable cameras that I saw when I was in Hong Kong.

The draw of the wearable camera idea is that you would miss let shots. The other day, I walked out of my flat and saw a Christmas tree half-sticking out the window of my neighbor’s house. Seconds later, the tree came crashing down to the curb. I actually had my camera in my pocket, but there was no way to get off the shot in time.

An important distinction of wearable cameras is that they’re “instant-on” if not “always-on”. Also, since they tend to be hanging from your neck it’s always available. The combination of “always on” and “always within reach” should make it possible to capture the fleeting moments.

In addition to the Wild-West “quick-draw” availability, a wearable camera should tend to generate more pictures. I know we’re talking severe laziness here, but pulling the camera out, turning it on, blah blah blah… If instead I just grab the thing dangling on my chest, click it at something, and then let it drop back to my check, well, I think I’d get around to taking more snapshots.

And so with that in mind, I stumbled on the press release for the new Ricoh Caplio R1V (dpreview.com). It sounds great. I’ve never held a Ricoh before, but pending that I love the stats:

Ricoh Caplio R1V

Successor to the popular Caplio R1, the Caplio R1V is a powerful 5.0 megapixel digital camera with a 28mm wide-angle, 4.8x optical zoom in an exceptionally slim 25mm body (cite)

The best part though is the speed: “the world’s fastest shutter response” snaps photos in less than .05 seconds, measured from the moment the shutter is fully pressed down. I’m not positive, but it seems like some digital cameras make you hold down the shutter button for ever. If not forever, then at least long enough to lose the shot and definitely all the “natural”-looking smiles.

The second most important thing after Shutter-Lag time is the length of time it takes to turn on the camera. I want the time between power-off and my first shot to be as small as possible. The Ricoh sounds good here, claiming “Switch on the power: You’re ready to shoot in approximately 0.8 seconds”.

Other attractive features are the battery system, the 28mm –> 135mm (4.8x optical zoom) wide-angle lens, the pre-set shooting modes, and the ability to shoot 1cm macro shots. Sounds like all I need and more, with it’s strengths in the areas that are critical to me.

There is no street price yet, and it won’t be on shelfs until February. I guess I can wait that long :(