Cameras

Ricoh Announces New R8 and R50 10-megapixel Models

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Ricoh announced two new cameras recently: the high-end R8 and compact R50. Both include 10-megapixel CCD sensors, while the R8 includes a long 7.1x zoom and a 2.8-inch LCD screen. The R50 is just 0.92 inches thick, but has a 5x zoom. No U.S. pricing details are available yet.

The R8 uses a 10-megapixel CCD sensor with Ricoh's own Smooth Imaging Engine ll image processing chip. This combination provides two types of image stabilization: the common electronic (where the sensitivity of the image sensor is boosted) and mechanical, where the image sensor itself moves slightly to react to camera shake. The image sensor is a CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) type. Many other manufacturers have switched over to using CMOS imaging chips instead of CCD ones; the CMOS ones are less expensive and some have better noise control abilities. The R8 has an impressive-sounding 7.1x zoom lens, which starts at a 35mm film equivalent focal length of a wide 28mm and goes out to 200mm. This means it will be good for group shots or wide angle landscapes. The R8 will be available in black and silver.

The R50 uses the same 10-megapixel CCD sensor, but is smaller at just 3.83 x 2.21 x 0.92 inches. It manages to squeeze a 5x zoom into its small case, but the zoom lens starts at a 35mm film equivalent of 36mm, which means it will be less suitable for group shots. The zoom goes out to a very decent 180mm, which is long enough for shooting at school sports events. Fifteen scene modes are included, and the R50 can capture video at 640 x 480 resolution at 30 frames per second.                                                                    

Pricing and availability on both cameras were not released by Ricoh, but some dealers are already listing the R8 at around $370. Ricoh also announced it is dropping the Caplio brand used on many of its previous models; new models will only have a model letter and number.

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