Ricoh DC-2L Camera Review
by Roland Hechtenberg
Before the August meeting of the TPC, I did my usual Akihabara tour, and I wanted to buy the digital camera DC-2L made by Ricoh. The lowest price was ¥69,800, but at this price I would have had to wait a few weeks until delivery.
About a week later, I saw the camera at our local Yamada Denki store for ¥71,800, and considering that going to Akihabara would cost me at least ¥2,000, I bought the camera right then and there.
The main specifications are as follows: 143 X 45 X 76mm, 385 grams (without batteries). The image element has 410,000 pixels (380,000 effective). The lens can be switched between wide-angle and standard (corresponding to about 35mm and about 55mm for 35mm cameras). Pictures can be taken from 1cm to infinity with the wide-angle and from 3cm to infinity with the standard lens.
The camera has automatic exposure (TTL CCD) and automatic focusing (TTL CCDAF) from 1 cm to infinity, as well as a built-in flash with a charging time within 5 sec and a flash range of 5m. A self-timer also is provided.
The shutter speeds are from 1/8 to 1/1000.
The camera uses the NTSC format for output and JPEG for storage. The resolution is 768 X 480, and the file sizes are 48KB, 96KB, and 192KB for economy, normal, and fine mode respectively. The built in memory permits 19, or 9 pictures respectively.
The camera can take still pictures, still pictures with 10 sec of sound, series shots with about 1 picture/sec, and sound only for 7 min, 46 sec with the built-in memory or 86 min, 33 sec with a 20 MB memory card.
The DC-2L has a (removable) LCD monitor with a built-in speaker.
When I bought the camera, the shop didn't have the hardware/software set for connection to a computer, only the cable for connection to a TV, and they also had no memory cards. Coming home, I immediately made a few photos of son No. 3 returning from swimming lessons. They looked not bad on the TV, and with Snappy, I could get them into the computer (although at reduced quality). Using the Alps MD-2000J color printer, the resulting pictures were quite acceptable and a lot cheaper than using film.
Before the September meeting, I bought the computer connection set, an AC adapter, and a 10 MB memory card, permitting 52, 105, or 210 photos at respective resolutions or 43 minutes of sound. With the added capacity, I tried a series of photos. This also went without problems, and I could see the 15 photos nicely on the LCD monitor and on a TV.
However, when I tried to download the file to the computer, the program informed me that the file was too large, or a series file, and could not be downloaded to the computer.
Here also, Snappy helped me get the individual pictures into the computer. Fortunately, the memory card is a PCMCIA card, and with some effort I could read the card with my notebook.
OK, I thought, now I'll get the individual pictures, but to my surprise, the software only offered to make an AVI file, which presented pictures of about 2 x 3cm and was the biggest disappointment. Fortunately, closer study of the software showed that a different setting of the file type gave me the individual files as well, and then everything worked out fine.
The software needs Windows (3.1 or 95 Japanese) and permits file conversion to BMP, TIF, JPG, and GIF, as well as printing, and some editing. Using a computer with a PCMCIA slot, it is also possible to copy picture files from the computer to the card and then view them with the camera.
In my opinion, one of the big advantages of a digital camera over a conventional camera is that you can look at the pictures right after taking them, and if you don't like what you see, you can erase them and try again. If someone doesn't like having his/her picture taken, the promise of showing them the picture and erasing it if the person doesn't like it can be quite useful. Overall, I am quite content with the camera.
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