It's only been a few weeks since Ricoh unveiled its G700 rugged camera and already the next phase in its evolution has been revealed. The new G700SE retains much of the feature set of the earlier model – including the 12.1 megapixel sensor, wide-angle zoom lens and 720p high definition movie capability – but adds Bluetooth and Wi-Fi functionality to the mix. It's also water and dust resistant and able to withstand the odd rough bump. The new camera also caters for the addition of optional units to provide GPS and laser barcode reader functionality.

Ricoh's G700 rugged camera was only announced last month and aimed squarely at the professional who needs a tough camera for work on building sites, maintenance jobs or emergency situations like fires and accidents. It's waterproof to a depth of 16.4 feet (5m), sealed against dust and has been built to withstand a drop from 6.5 feet (2m) and tested to U.S. Department of Defense MIL Standard 810F. It can also be cleaned using ethanol and sodium hypochlorite disinfectants.

Toughness aside, the G700 has a 12.1 megapixel CCD sensor, ISO64 to ISO3200 sensitivity and a 28 to 140 mm wide-angle, 5x optical zoom lens. To the rear it sports a 3-inch, 920,000 dot transmissive LCD display and is capable of 720p movie recording in motion JPEG format. Images and movies are stored on SD/SDHC and SD WORM media cards and the camera can be powered using the included battery, which is claimed to be good for about 360 shots between charges, or a couple of AAA-sized batteries for a 40-shot buffer while the main battery is charging.

Also included is the ability to password protect the camera to help stop unauthorized access and a memo function for adding audio or text to image data.

The new 4.67 x 2.79 x 1.61-inch (118.8 x 71 x 41 mm) G700SE retains all of the feature set outlined above but offers 802.11b/g wireless LAN and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR functionality too. An optional GP-1 GPS unit can be connected to the side of the camera body to add positional information to images. The unit also includes an electronic compass and a log function that tracks the camera's movements. Even with the addition of the GPS unit, the camera remains water and dust resistant to IP64 standards and can withstand a drop of 3.93 feet (1.2m).

Although the camera itself can recognize one and two-dimensional bar codes, there's an optional laser barcode reader unit which can read striped one-dimensional barcodes. As with the GPS unit, the barcode reader also connects to the camera's body and retains its rugged credentials when in place, able to withstand a drop of 4.92 feet (1.5m).

Ricoh sees the new rugged addition to its Business and Outdoor range as being a useful tool for "facility maintenance (electric, gas, and water utilities; roads; etc.), disaster planning, and other functions of local governments, police departments, and fire departments; photo management in hospitals; production line management in the manufacturing industry; and warehouse management in the transport industry."

The G700SE is scheduled for a mid-October release but no pricing details have been issued.

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