Arms-on with Ricoh’s new waterproof motion cam, WG-M2

Hands-on with Ricoh’s new waterproof action cam, WG-M2

Once you assume motion cams, any variety of manufacturers spring to thoughts. Ricoh will not be one among them, however on paper, the WG-M2 from Ricoh has the right mixture of options in case you like your adventures on the moist and tough finish of the spectrum.

The digital camera is fairly easy and easy: Six buttons, Wi-Fi and a few lenses, and that’s all there’s to it. The digital camera’s celebration-trick — and the rationale it caught my eye within the first place — is that it has actually good waterproofing straight out of the field. Ricoh claims you possibly can take its little fist-sized marvel to 65ft/20m underneath the floor of massive blue while not having a separate housing.

Not deep sufficient for diving

Hands-on with Ricoh’s new waterproof action cam, WG-M2

As an additional bonus, the colour on Ricoh’s underwater motion cam matches my dive masks.

For a Scuba fanatic comparable to myself, the 65ft/20m restrict is a little bit of an annoying cop-out — it isn’t fairly sufficient to be helpful. Positive, with a primary open-water certification you possibly can dive to 18 meters (60ft), which is inside the vary of the digital camera, however few divers value their salt would go with out including an superior course, after which you’re good to go to one hundred ft (30m). The annoying half is that with out specialised lighting gear, you’re unlikely to get any good photographs under 50ft/15m anyway (so I’d virtually be prepared to concede Ricoh’s argument that what they’ve is sufficient), however most dives begin by going a good bit deeper. Put merely: You don’t need to fish your digital camera out of your pocket to seek out it’s been crushed by the strain earlier than it’s time to seize some photographs.

That niggle apart, I did discover myself at about 82ft/25m, realizing I nonetheless had the digital camera in my pocket. It was advantageous, however I in all probability wouldn’t push my luck a second time; I’m positive there’s a superb purpose Ricoh printed the numbers they did on the aspect of the digital camera.

Not nice for stills, fairly good for video

The digital camera itself is fairly good on paper. It shoots as much as 4k video at 30fps, and a collection of decrease-decision however larger-framerate video speeds, too. The digital camera additionally has a time-lapse mode, “prolonged film mode” (which, so far as I can inform, data over the identical 10 minute chunk repeatedly till you cease the video) and a few nonetheless video modes. The 1.5-inch LCD show is a really good contact, and ought to be sufficient to make GoPro marvel what’s taking its product improvement group so lengthy.

Hands-on with Ricoh’s new waterproof action cam, WG-M2

Loads of mild right here, however the full-measurement picture seems prefer it’s taken by means of frosted glass. Very disappointing.

With the dome lens, the WG-M2 has an extremely-vast 204-diploma area of view (roughly the equal of a 16mm lens on a full-body SLR digital camera), which is dramatic, for positive, however at primarily excessive-velocity-motion-digital camera vary, it’s primarily ineffective for anything — it definitely can’t be used for capturing vacation snaps.

Hands-on with Ricoh’s new waterproof action cam, WG-M2

On this photograph — particularly on the prime proper — you’ll be able to see how dangerous the chromatic aberration is (search for the purple fringes alongside the leaves).

Whenever you set the digital camera to underwater mode you have to change the entrance dome lens to a flat-glass lens as an alternative. A shrewd transfer from Ricoh — dome lenses don’t look good on these kinds of cameras, as witnessed by the large cottage business of making flat lenses for underwater housings for different motion cameras.

Hands-on with Ricoh’s new waterproof action cam, WG-M2

Loads of drama and temper on this shot, however for $299 you possibly can decide up a second-hand level-and-shoot with an underwater casing that may have carried out a much better job.

The standard of the lenses is such that the digital camera might be greatest prevented for stills; the chromatic aberration is completely horrendous; I didn’t know they nonetheless made cameras so bothered.

In video mode, although, you discover the issue so much much less, and provided that the edges will in all probability be blurred as you’re hurtling towards earth dangling from a parachute anyway, it’s unlikely that anybody will discover. In different phrases: For those who’re a video fanatic, don’t write off this digital camera simply but…

Hands-on with Ricoh’s new waterproof action cam, WG-M2

Photographing a Mayan break with the WG-M2 is inconceivable; it doesn’t have the dynamic vary to cope with the variations in brightness, and the large-angle lens utterly distorts the view.

Hands-on with Ricoh’s new waterproof action cam, WG-M2

In fact, you should use the extensive angle to your benefit, and get all inventive… However even then, it’s not nice.

Deeply flawed Wi-Fi

Hands-on with Ricoh’s new waterproof action cam, WG-M2

One thing a few telephone, a digital camera, a trash can and Fb? Even simply capturing this screenshot was nigh-on unattainable.

As talked about, Ricoh’s new waterproofed wünderkind has Wi-Fi inbuilt, which is thrilling for somebody like myself who’s cellular-first more often than not, and doubly so when touring. Sadly, the Wi-Fi performance is bordering on ineffective; the Ricoh Picture Sync app is nearly unimaginable to determine, and is buggy as hell.

Think about, for instance, that you’re making an attempt to pick 19 of the 20 pictures you’ve taken that day. You would wish to faucet the display 19 occasions, however even the slightest sideways swipe makes the app transfer to a special mode, dropping your progress. Attempt tapping 19 totally different locations on a display with out swiping a fraction of an inch, and also you’ll see why that’s completely idiotic.

Realistically, you’ll find yourself wrestling with Wi-Fi precisely as soon as earlier than giving up and as an alternative plugging the Micro SD card into your pc to do file manipulation. Ugh.


I’d be hesitant to say that the WG-M2 is a nasty digital camera; it simply isn’t the digital camera I hoped it was. Given my overwhelmingly constructive expertise with a few of Ricoh’s different cameras — the Theta S digital camera, particularly — I used to be deeply disillusioned by the WG-M2 Wi-Fi performance and general picture high quality. In a world the place smartphone cameras are so good, motion cam producers actually have to select up the tempo to remain related.

The digital camera is sweet sufficient for capturing the odd video; use it underwater on a properly-lit reef or bolt it to the entrance of your snowboard for some off-piste enjoyable, however the lasting impression I’m left with is that I simply want I had a water-proof housing to maintain my iPhone protected as an alternative.

The upshot is that the WG-M2 makes an amazing toy for infrequent use, however a retail worth of $299.ninety five signifies that few individuals will use it as such. I think the digital camera will wrestle to discover a consumer base of people that will select it over the higher-accessorized GoPro collection of cameras, or cheaper cameras from different producers.