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Ricoh WG-5 GPS review

Ricoh WG-5 GPS
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £237
inc VAT

Slow to take pictures, but the Ricoh WG-5's competitive image quality and rugged credentials are an appealing combination


Sensor resolution: 16 megapixels, Sensor size: 1/2.3in, Viewfinder: None, LCD screen: 3in (460,000 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): 4x (25-100mm), 35mm-equivalent aperture: f/11.1-27, Weight: 236g, Size (HxWxD): 65x130x31mm

Wex Photographic

Two challenges for underwater photography are limited light and a complete inability to hold the camera steady. To that end the WG-5’s f/2 maximum aperture is a big bonus, letting in around three times more light than an f/3.5 lens. This helps to deliver a fast shutter speed in low light without having to push the ISO speed (and noise levels) up. The WG-5’s aperture quickly shrinks as the lens is zoomed in, with f/4.9 at the long end of the zoom capturing a sixth the amount of light compared to f/2. As such, it’s best to stick to wide-angle shots in low light and particularly when underwater.

Focus was reasonably sharp throughout the frame but noise reduction obscured fine details even in brightly lit shots. We noticed a tendency to over-expose highlights and there were occasional coloured halos known as purple fringing, but image quality in bright conditions was generally respectable. The 1/2.3in sensor that’s standard issue for compact cameras meant low-light photography suffered badly from noise, but it was much less of an issue for wide-angle shots, thanks to the f/2 aperture.

Ricoh WG-5 GPS picture sample shot
^ Sharp focus throughout the image, although the subtle grass texture is reduced to smooth shades of green. (1/320s, f/6, ISO 125, 87mm equivalent)

Ricoh WG-5 GPS picture sample shot
^ These highlights are over-exposed and the corners are a little blurry but it’s another good result. (1/250s, f/2.8, ISO 125, 25mm equivalent)

Ricoh WG-5 GPS picture sample shot
^ These skin and hair textures have fared surprisingly well for a compact camera. (1/1000s, f/2.8, ISO 125, 25mm equivalent)

Ricoh WG-5 GPS picture sample shot
^ Shooting at the long end of the zoom has pushed the ISO speed up to 500. There’s a fair bit of noise, especially noticeable on skin textures, but the shot looks OK at modest sizes. (1/125s, f/4.9, ISO 500, 100mm equivalent)

Ricoh WG-5 GPS picture sample shot
^ Shooting in low light at the wide end of the zoom at f/2 gives excellent results. (1/45s, f/2, ISO 250, 25mm equivalent)

Ricoh WG-5 GPS picture sample shot
^ Zooming in pushes the ISO speed – and noise levels – up considerably. (1/60s, f/4.4, ISO 1600, 81mm equivalent)


There are cameras at this price that offer far better image quality (especially with some current end-of-line deals), but if you’re after a rugged, waterproof camera, the WG-5 GPS has much going for it. Its tendency to skip focusing altogether weighs heavily against it, but if you can work around that particular foible, it’s a solid choice.

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Sensor resolution16 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.3in
Focal length multiplier5.56x
Viewfinder magnification (35mm-equivalent), coverageN/A
LCD screen3in (460,000 dots)
Orientation sensorYes
Photo file formatsJPEG
Maximum photo resolution4,608×3,456
Photo aspect ratios4:3
Video compression formatQuickTime (AVC) at up to 15Mbit/s
Video resolutions1080p at 30fps, 720p at 30/60fps
Slow motion video modesN/A
Maximum video clip length (at highest quality)25m 0s
Exposure modesProgram, shutter priority
Shutter speed range4 to 1/2,000 seconds
ISO speed range125 to 6400
Exposure compensationEV +/-2
White balanceAuto, 6 presets, manual
Auto-focus modesMulti, centre, face detect, tracking OR 15-point
Metering modesMulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash modesAuto, forced, suppressed, red-eye reduction
Drive modesSingle, continuous, self-timer, interval, AE bracket, HDR
Optical stabilisationYes
Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths)4x (25-100mm)
Maximum aperture (wide-tele)f/2-4.9
35mm-equivalent aperturef/11.1-27
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus (wide)1cm
Closest macro focus (tele)not stated
Card slotSDXC
Memory supplied70MB
Battery typeLi-ion
ConnectivityUSB, AV, micro HDMI
Body materialPlastic
AccessoriesUSB cable, macro stand, carabiner strap
Size (HxWxD)65x130x31mm
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price including VAT£237
Part code04652-c

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