Ricoh releases super fast Caplio R1 digital camera.

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To date the greatest detraction for digital camera enthusiasts is the long time it takes for the lens to properly focus and snap its subject. Add this to start up time and you're often behind the eight ball when trying to shoot spontaneously. Ricoh may have changed all this with the high speed, wide-angle Caplio R1 digital camera.

The four Megapixel camera features a world first 'pendulum' retracting lens system that allows the R1 to focus and snap in just 0.05 of a second. Ricoh claims it is up to twenty-five times faster than other digital cameras. With the focus lock achieved the camera can shoot in an almost instantaneous 0.003 of a second.

Even with the battery saving power-off mode, the Caplio has a start up time of just 0.8 of a second and a shooting interval of less than 0.9 of a second, making it quite a quick draw camera when shooting from the hip-pocket.

The camera features a hybrid auto focusing system to ensure quality images of fast-moving objects. It does this by first using a mechanical cam to achieve an approximate focus, then by switching to an electronic cam to adjust for precision. This minimises shutter release by placing the lens in the correct position in the absolute fastest time.

Ricoh has used a patented 'pendulum' retracting lens system that interchanges the different lens groups within the body of the camera. This precision technology allows a digital camera to house an extended 4.8x wide-angle optical zoom (28-135mm equivalent) within a slimline camera body.

At 100mm wide, 55mm high, and 25mm deep and weighing 150 grams the Caplio R1 is pocket-friendly camera available in a polished silver or black metal body.

Shooting speed and wide-angle have been two of the greatest limitations of digital cameras in comparison to the 35mm and this is where Ricoh has directed its R&D energy. According to Ernie Clark, Marketing Manager of Ricoh's Photographic Division, "A wider lens allows you to fit more into the picture while a fast shutter response time allows you to capture the atmosphere of that particular moment". The Caplio R1 excels at each of these.

The slimline body of the Caplio R1 also houses a new generation, long-lasting lithium-ion battery which takes up to 500 standard shots under normal conditions. Standard AA alkaline batteries can be used as a back up and can still take more than 200 shots.

The R1 is not short on other features and is equipped with a 1cm macro for ultra close-up photos that can still be automatically focused, while the movie mode records high quality continuous AVI video with sound at a full 30 frames per second.

The large 1.8 inch high-resolution LCD screen has 110,000 pixels, providing image clarity even in strong light conditions. It also enables the user to view histogram information for quick analysis of exposure accuracy prior to shooting.

The R1 also includes six practical shooting modes, consisting of portrait, sports, landscape, night-scene, text and high-sensitivity. Three high-speed continuous shooting modes are offered including the capture of 16 images on a single file. The Caplio R1 retails for $649. For stockists call 1300 363 741

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