Ricoh WG-5 GPS Review

Introduction

The Ricoh WG-5 GPS is a rugged camera which features a 1/2.3 inch, 16-million pixel High-Sensitivity Backside Illumination CMOS Image Sensor. That sensor is paired with a 4x optical zoom lens with a maximum wide aperture of f/2.0 at the widest point of the lens, rising to f/4.9 at the telephoto end of the lens. In 35mm terms, the lens offers a focal length equivalent of 25-100mm. There’s also a digital zoom available which boosts that reach up to 7.2x. A sensitivity range of ISO 125 – 6400 is offered, and there are other useful features such as full HD video recording and inbuilt GPS. As a rugged camera, its credentials are waterproof down to 14 metres, shockproof from a height of 2.2 metres, freeze proof down to -10 degrees and crushproof up to 100kg. The Ricoh WG-5 GPS costs £259.99 / $379.95.

Ease of Use

The WG-5 GPS, like other Pentax / Ricoh rugged cameras that have come before it has quite a distinctive look, and your initial impression of it is that it certainly could withstand quite a few knocks and scrapes.

It’s quite a thick camera, but it’s still possible to fit into a fairly loose trouser pocket. Alternatively, you can attach a lanyard to one side of the camera and wear the camera around your wrist or neck.

Ricoh WG-5 GPSPentax WG-5 GPS

Front of the Ricoh WG-5 GPS

On the front of the Ricoh WG-5 GPS is a window revealing an LCD screen, which displays the time, and, if you’re using the camera underwater, the pressure at which you’re at thanks to an internal pressure sensor.

Around the lens is a series of lights which are used when you’re photographing macro subjects – when you’re quite close to an object, the lights help to prevent shadows from the camera or your hand. Also in the box comes a stand for allowing you to photograph something flat extremely close up – you attach this to the front of the camera and simply place the camera on the surface you wish to photograph. Here you will definitely need the lights on – if you’re photographing something quite reflective you may notice the lights appear in the shot.

Pentax WG-5 GPSPentax WG-5 GPS

Front of the Ricoh WG-5 GPS

On top of the Ricoh WG-5 GPS, there are just two buttons. One is the on/off button, while the other is the shutter release. Although the shutter release is bigger than the on/off button, they are quite close together so it can be easy to accidentally press the wrong button – especially if you’re wearing thick gloves or your view of the camera is obscured by something.

Ricoh WG-5 GPS

Rear of the Ricoh WG-5 GPS

Moving to the back of the Ricoh WG-5 GPS, all of the buttons are grouped on the right hand side, which makes it easy to use the camera one handed. On the downside, the buttons are a little on the small side, which makes them a little more difficult to use with thick gloves. On the plus side, they are all raised quite significantly far from the body, making them fairly easy to feel for when using the camera underwater.

Pentax WG-5 GPS

Rear of the Ricoh WG-5 GPS/ Turned On

The buttons are all pretty much what you’d expect to find on a compact camera. At the top are the two zoom buttons, which are marked W for wide, and T for telephoto, pressing these zoom the lens in and out. Since the lens is completely encased within the body of the camera to keep it water/dust proof, you won’t notice anything zooming in and out unless you look closely – this is also why it only offers a relatively short 4x optical zoom.

Pentax WG-5 GPS

Rear of the Ricoh WG-5 GPS/ Image Displayed

Underneath the zoom rocker are two buttons – one accesses playback, while the other is a direct button for recording video. Underneath these is a four way navigational pad, with each direction on the pad accessing a specific function. Up accesses timer mode, while left accesses flash functions, right the macro focusing function, and the down button for changing the shooting mode. In the middle of the pad is an OK button.

Pentax WG-5 GPS

Rear of the Ricoh WG-5 GPS/ Mode Menu

Pentax WG-5 GPS

Rear of the Ricoh WG-5 GPS/ Shooting Mode Menu

If you press the down button, you’ll be presented with all the different shooting options which are available. Here you’ll find mainly an array of scene modes, as well as the standard automatic shooting mode. For those that like to take a little more control, you’ll also find a Program mode and a Shutter Priority mode. Considering that the camera’s lens has a maximum wide aperture of f/2.0, it would have been nice if there was also an aperture priority mode.

Pentax WG-5 GPS

Top of the Ricoh WG-5 GPS

When you’re in Program mode, you’ll be able to change quite a few settings, such as white balance, metering and the “Image Tone” (this gives you options for making the colours of your photos look different). You make these changes via the main menu which is accessed via a dedicated button just  underneath the four way pad. When you’re in Tv (shutter priority) mode, you can also make changes to white balance etc, but you can also control the shutter speed. You do this by pressing the red record button, and using the up and down keys to select the shutter speed you require. You’ll notice that the aperture the camera selects to correspond to the shutter speed is displayed on the screen. Using the red button to do this means that first you’ll need to press the green button to enter video mode, then use the red button as normal.

Pentax WG-5 GPSPentax WG-5 GPS

Side of the Ricoh WG-5 GPS

Within the Mode options, you’ll also see a User setting. This is useful if you want to save a group of settings, such as a particular white balance setting with a particular metering setting, so you can come back and use it again whenever you need to.

There’s just one door on the WG-5 GPS, behind which you’ll find the battery and memory card compartments, as well as the ports for the charger and HDMI cable. The door is protected by a double lock system, meaning you have to move two switches before the door opens and making it pretty unlikely that you’ll accidentally open the door when you don’t want to – something which is reassuring for a camera that goes underwater.

Pentax WG-5 GPS

Bottom of the Ricoh WG-5 GPS

If you look at images in playback, you have a few editing options available, which are accessible by pressing the down key on the four way navipad. Here you’ll see you can set up a slideshow, rotate an image, remove red eye, crop an image, protect it (from deletion), set it as the image which shows on start-up, or add a digital filter.

Pentax WG-5 GPSPentax WG-5 GPS

Battery Compartment / Memory Card Slot

When you’re using the Ricoh WG-5 GPS in good light – which for this type of camera is likely to be often, then autofocusing speeds are pretty quick, if perhaps not as instant as we might normally like. When light drops a little, the camera struggles a little to acquire focus, so it’s not really something we’d recommend using in particularly dark conditions all that often. Otherwise, general operational speeds are quite good, and you don’t need to wait too long in between taking shots.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

Directly from the Ricoh WG-5 GPS, images display a satisfying amount of punch in terms of vibrancy, especially when shooting in good light. In good light,  the overall impression of detail is also good.  If you examine images at 100%, it’s possible to see that even at low sensitivities there is a fair degree of image smoothing – however, it’s not anything which is unusual for a compact camera of its kind, and unless you’re planning on severely cropping an image it shouldn’t be an issue.

That said, if you move up throughout the sensitivity range, the amount of image smoothing and the introduction of noise starts to become apparent at small sizes from ISO 1600 – so it’s best if you can use ISO 800 or below for the majority of your shots. It’s possible to shoot at ISO 3200 and ISO 6400, but the large amount of colour noise present at these settings, means that they are best avoided.

Pentax WG-5 GPS

Under artificial light, the automatic white balance setting copes pretty well to produce accurate colours. Similarly, all purpose metering helps to produce fairly accurate exposures in all but the most high contrast conditions.

Images taken at the far reach of the telephoto optic retain a good amount of detail. Again, if you examine at 100%, it’s possible to see that they are slightly softer than images taken at the wide angle of the lens. Digital zoom is usable if you’re planning on printing or sharing at small sizes, and with the relatively optical zoom, it’s handy to have a digital available.

When you take a photograph with the 1cm macro focusing activated and using the camera stand, while the Ricoh WG-5 GPS is capable of resolving fine details, the edges of the image display a fair amount of distortion which detracts from the overall effect of the image.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Ricoh WG-5 GPS. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Ricoh WG-5 GPS’s 4x zoom lens provides a focal length of 25-100mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

25mm

100mm

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web – Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are just a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don’t like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

The Ricoh WG-5 GPS handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review, with very limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Ricoh WG-5 GPS allows you to focus on a subject that is just 1cm away from the camera. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

The flash settings on the Ricoh WG-5 GPS are Flash-on, Flash-off and Red-eye reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off – Wide Angle (25mm)

Flash On – Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off – Telephoto (100mm)

Flash On – Telephoto (100mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, both the Flash On or the Red-eye-Reduction settings caused a tiny amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Specifications

Type
Camera Type Water proof, dust, sand, crash, cold, pression proof digital compact
Sensor
Type CMOS
Size 1/2.3″
Total Pixels Total 16.79 MP
Effective Pixels Approx. 16.0 megapixels
Still 16M(4608×3456), 12M(1:1)(3456×3456), 12M(16:9) (4608×2592), 7M(3072×2304), 5M(16:9)(3072×1728), 5M(2592×1944), 4M(16:9)(2592×1464), 3M(2048×1536), 2M(16:9)(1920×1080), 1024(1024×768), 640(640×480) (Unit:pixels)

* In Digital Microscope mode, recorded pixels is fixed to 2M(1920×1080) or fixed at 3M(2048×1536) in single frame (before merge.)
* In Burst Shooting mode, recorded pixels is fixed to 5M(2592×1944) or 4M(2592×1464) per frame.
* In Report mode, recorded pixels is fixed to 1280×960.
* In Original Frame mode, recorded pixels is fixed to 5M(2592×1944) or 4M(2592×1464).

3 Quality levels (Excellent, very good, good)

Movie Full HD 1920 (1920×1080) : approx. 30fps

HD 1280 (1280×720), approx. 60/30fps

Quality: level Fixed

Shake reduction: Movie SR mode

Sensitivity Auto, Manual (ISO 125 – 6400)

Auto ISO range: ISO 125-200, ISO 125-400, ISO 125-800, ISO 125-1600, ISO 125-3200, ISO 125-6400
*Fixed at ISO 125-1600 in Green mode.
*Fixed at ISO 125-200, 125-400, 125-400, 125-1600 in Handheld Night Snap mode.
*Fixed at ISO 125-6400 in Report mode.

Shake Reduction Sensor-Shift-Type (SR : Shake Reduction),

Dual (SR & Pixel Track SR),

High-sensitivity anti-shake mode (Digital SR)

Auto ISO range for SR: ISO 125-6400

Lens
Focal Length 4.5 – 18mm, approx. 25 – 100mm in 35mm
Aperture Aperture: F2.0(W) – F4.9(T)

Smallest aperture: F11.3(W)-F18.5(T)

Digital Zoom approx. 7.2x

Intelligent zoom: approx. 30x at 7M and 144x at 640 (including optical zoom)

Optical Zoom 4x
Construction RICOH lens, 9 elements in 7 groups (4 aspherical elements)
Focusing System
Type TTL contrast detection auto focus system
Functions Infinity-landscape, Pan Focus, Manual Focus

9-point AF, Spot AF, Auto tracking AF (anticipating moving subject)

AF Modes Normal : 0.4m ‐ infinity (entire zoom range)

Macro : 0.1m ‐ 0.5m (entire zoom range)

1cm Macro : 0.01m ‐ 0.30m (mid-zoom to telephoto)

Largest magnification: Approx. 1.24x, at focus mode : 1 cm macro, focal length 18mm, focusing distance 0.01m

Manual AF Modes 0.01m –  infinity (Depends on the zooming steps)
AF assist AF assist lamp

Special Macrolight (6 LED at front to assist close-up shooting)

Screen
Type 3.0’’ wide-TFT color LCD, Wide viewing 170°, AR Coating (LCD Cover only), with protection acrylic cover

LCD frame rate: approx. 60

Resolution approx. 460k dots
Playback Slideshow, Image Rotation, Small Face Filter, Ink Rubbing Filter, Collage, Digital Filter (B&W/Sepia, Toy Camera, Retro, Color, Extract Color, Color Emphasis, High Contrast, Starburst, Soft, Fish-eye, Brightness, Miniature), HDR Filter, Original Frame, Movie Edit, Red-eye Edit, Resize, Cropping, Image Copy, Protect, DPOF, Start-up Screen
Shutter
Speed 1/4000 – 1/4 sec. (Mechanical and electronic shutter mode settings)

1/2000 – 4 sec. (Shutter Priority, Night Scene mode settings)

Exposure system
Metering Multi-segment metering, Centre-weighted metering, Spot AE metering
Exposure Modes Scene Modes:
Auto Picture, Program, Shutter Priority, USER, HDR, Handheld Night Snap, Movie, Digital Microscope, Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Interval Shot, Underwater, Underwater Movie, Interval Movie, High Speed movie**, Time-Lapse movie**, 1cm-Macro Movie, Digital SR, Surf & Snow, Kids, Pet, Sport, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, Fireworks, Food, Report*, Green

Auto picture Scene Modes:
Landscape, Portrait, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, Standard, Flower, Sport, Candlelight, Blue Sky, Sunset, Text, Group Photo, Pet, Portrait & Blue Sky, Portrait & Sunset, Portrait & Backlight

Compensation ±2EV (1/3EV steps)
Auto Bracketing Available
Flash
Type Integrated auto flash control
Modes Flash-on and Flash-off modes

“Red-eye” compensation function with pre-discharge

Effective Range Wide: approx. 0.2 – 10.4 m (ISO Auto)

Tele: approx. 0.2 – 4.2 m (ISO Auto)

Exposure Parameters
Modes Drives modes:

One shot, Self-timer (10 sec, 2 sec, Remote Control (immediately, 3 sec)), Continuous Shooting, Burst Shooting, Remote Control*, Auto Bracketing

Image Tone: Bright, Natural, Monochrome,

* Remote control compatible, receivers located in the front and back of the camera

Face Recognition Face detection AF&AE available for all modes up to 32 faces, Smile Capture, Self-portrait Assist, Self-portrait Assist + Smile Capture, Blink Detection

Pet detection: detects up to 1 pet’s face (auto)

White Balance Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten light, Fluorescent light (D:Daylight Color, N:Daylight White, W:White Light), Manual
Digital Filter B&W/Sepia, Toy Camera, Retro, Color, Extract Color, Color Emphasis, High Contrast, Starbust, Soft, Fish-eye, Brightness, Miniature Filter
Release Function Approx. 0.016 sec
Movie
Recording Sound : Yes

Movie : Movie shake reduction Mode (Movie SR)

Duration : Depends on memory card capacity

Resolution * : Full HD 1920 (1920×1080), approx. 30fps
HD 1280 (1280×720), approx. 60/30fps

* Recorded pixels is fixed to 1280(1280×720), and frame rate is fixed to 120fps for shooting, 30fps for playback in High Speed Movie mode.

* Recorded pixels is fixed to 640(640×360), and frame rate is fixed to 15fps for shooting, 240fps for playback in Time-Lapse Movie mode.

* Still Picture Saving during Movie Recording (up to three still pictures per each continuous movie recording, with the focus fixed at the start of recording and the number of recorded pixels fixed to 12M(16:9). The angle of view may change, depending on the number of recorded pixels for movies. The image may be distorted, depending on recording conditions.

Editing Save as still image, Divide movies, Adding title picture
Playback
Digital Filter B&W/Sepia, Toy Camera, Retro, Color, Extract Color, Color Emphasis, High Contrast, Starbust, Soft, Fish-eye, Brightness, Miniature Filter
Options Playback modes:

Slideshow, Image Rotation, Small Face Filter, Ink Rubbing Filter, Collage, Digital Filter(B&W/Sepica, Toy Camera, Retro, Color, Extract Color, Color Emphasis, High Contrast, Starburst, Soft, Fish-eye, Brightness, Miniature), HDR Filter, Original Frame, Movie Edit, Red-eye Edit, Resize, Cropping, Image Copy, Protect, DPOF, Start-up Screen

Playback functions:

One Shot, Index (6 thumbnails, 12 thumbnails), Enlargement (up to 10x, scroll available), Movie Playback, Histogram, Folder display, Select&Delete, Calendar, Changing Folder name

Storage
Internal approx. 70 MB
External SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards

Compatible with Eye-Fi wireless memory cards

File Format Photo format :JPEG (Exif 2.3), DCF 2.0, DPOF, PRINT Image Matching III

Video format : MPEG-4 AVC/H.264

Audio : Movie/Underwater, Movie/Time-Lapse, Movie/1cm- Macro Movie, 32KHz, 16bit Stereo High Speed Movie: 8KHz, 16bit, stereo

Special Features
Features Innovative new features for trekking and nature observation
Sophisticated GPS function records your position data during travelling, in order to show your friends and family where pictures were taken, on such websites as Google EarthTM or FlickrR.
Electronic compass
Barometer (information on the front display)

Date Imprint Available*** (Date, Date & time, Time)
World Time
Macro light
Changing folder name
Electronic level

Others: Noise reduction automatically applied when the shutter speed is slower than 0.25 sec
Digital Shake Reduction system
Eye-Fi cards compatible

Dynamic Range: Shadow/ Highlight adjustment

Waterproof/Dustproof
Equ. to JIS Class 8 waterproof **** and JIS Class 6 dustproof capabilities****

**** Waterproof (Up to 14m for 2hours), Shock proof (Up to 2.0m)
**** Operating Temperature -10°C to 40°C

Language English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Greek, Russian
Delay Start-up time: approx. 1.8 sec
Shutter Release Delay Approx. 0.016 sec
Interface
Interface Video output (NTSC/PAL)

USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed), USB/AV terminal,

HDMI terminal (Type D) (Micro) port

Power
Source Rechargeable D-LI92 Lithium-Ion battery
Optional AC adapter available
Performance Still**: Approx. 240 shots (Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery)
Playback**: Approx. 200 min (Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery)
Movie: Approx. 65 min
** Recording capacity shows approximate number of shots recorded during CIPA-compliant testing. Actual performance may vary depending on operating conditions.

**According to the result of PENTAX RICOH IMAGING in-house testing.

Dimensions
Height 6.45 cm
Width 12.5 cm
Depth 3.2 cm
Weight 216g (unloaded)
236g (with battery & SD card)
Compatibility
PC Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista and 7, 8 and 8.1
Mac Mac: OS X 10.6 or above
Accessories
Included Software PC: MediaImpression 3.6.2 LE

Mac: MediaImpression 2.2 LE

 

Kit Content Rechargeable lithium-ion battery D-LI92 – 39800

Power adapter D-PA135 – 38657

USB cable I-USB7 – 39551

Carabiner strap O-ST161 – 38102

Macro stand O-MS2 – 38642

Optional AC adapter K-AC117E – 38971Charger kit K-BC92E – 39804

Rechargeable lithium-ion battery D-LI92 – 39800

Video cable I-AVC7 – 39552

Black neoprene case – 50282

Lens adapter O-LA135 – 38654

Remote control E – 37376

Remote control F – 37377

Remote control O-RC1 – 39892

PENTAX sport strap O-ST81 – 39457

PENTAX leather strap O-ST24 – 39263

Strap O-ST8 – 39166

PENTAX sport strap O-ST30 – 39270

RICOH Wide conversion lens DW-5 – 171930

WG Holder O-CH1470 – 37033

WG Flat adhesive mount O-CM1471 – 37030

WG Handle bar mount O-CM1472 – 37031

WG Suction Cup mount O-CM1473 – 37032

WG Flat Adhensive Mount2 O-CM1532 37041

WG Wrist Strap Mount O-CM1533 37042

WG Peg Mount O-CM1534 37043

WG Magnet Mount O-CM1535 37044

WG Helmet Strap Mount O-CM1536 37045

WG Grip Adapter O-MA1531 37046

WG Angle Adapter O-MA1532 37047

Floating Strap – 50195

Carabiner – 38067

WG Repair parts 1 O-CM1474 (for O-CM1471) – 37034

WG repair parts 2 O-CM1475 (replacement nut for O-CM1471/72/73) – 37035

WG Repair parts 3 O-CM1476 (for O-CH1470) – 37036

Conclusion

The Ricoh WG-5 GPS is an ideal camera for those who like to go on lots of adventure holidays, or simply for those who with families who like to visit the beach, the swimming pool, and other places that standard cameras (and phones) can’t handle.

Unlike its smaller, cheaper, sibling, the Ricoh WG-5 GPS has some more advanced features that should satisfy those who are looking for something a little more advanced – for instance, the ability to set shutter speed in a dedicated shutter priority mode. It would have been nice though if another semi-automatic mode, aperture priority, was included to give you access to the maximum wide aperture of f/2.0 which the camera’s lens offers.

Although images are great in bright light, as light levels drop, image quality is less impressive – so it’s not quite good enough to be used as an all round camera for every type of scenario.

It seems a bit strange that the younger sibling of this camera has inbuilt Wi-Fi, but the WG-5, the more expensive version, does not. That is a bit of a shame, as it means you can’t remotely control the camera from a secondary device, such as a smartphone or tablet. It also means that you can’t share images between the devices for quick sharing online, which for photos taken in adventure type locations, is often desirable.

It would also be nice if there were a few more creative options. Although it’s true that you can add filters post-capture, it would be good if some of these were available pre-capture, as well as the ability to capture panoramas and the like. On the plus side, there’s a great range of scene modes.

Although it’s not the cheapest rugged compact currently on the market, the Ricoh WG-5 GPS does represent reasonably good value for money, coming in just slightly cheaper than the Olympus TG-3, with which it shares quite a few specifications.

(photographyblog.com)

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