How much are you prepared to pay for a camera in shining armour?
The heavily-protected Ricoh WG-50 is fairly mid-priced by rugged compact standards: at £250 (RM1410), it’s neither as affordable as the RM1245 Fujifilm XP120, nor as premium as the RM1899 Olympus TG-5.
With a similar level of toughness and a similar lens and sensor setup to the former, Ricoh is relying on the WG-50’s range of accessories and a handful of unusual features to justify that £100 (RM565) of extra outlay. Let’s find out if it’s worth it.
Design and build: Rust-coloured and rugged
The WG-50’s styling, in particular day-glo orange livery sported by our review sample, is likely to divide observers,
We found the spiky, Power Rangers-esque looks somewhat embarrassing to be seen with – but hey, at least it’ll help you locate it should you drop it anywhere dark/muddy/snowy (delete as appropriate).
It’s definitely tough though, surviving a dunking in a rock pool and a drop on concrete from over a metre during our time with it. Ricoh rates it waterproof to 14m, shockproof against 1.6m drops, crushproof to 100kg of force and able to keep on keepin’ on in -10 degree C temperatures, and we have no reason to doubt any of that.
The 3in screen is fairly nondescript bar a daytime mode, which brightens it up to aid visibility on sunny days. Spin round to the front and there’s an interesting feature, though: a ring of LEDs around the lens that act as a macro light, illuminating objects too close to the lens for the built-in flash to light properly.
A charitable way to describe the WG-50’s autofocus would be “unhurried”. It locks on accurately, and usually where you want it to, but does take it time in doing so.
If you’re looking for a quick-draw rugged cam, the Olympus TG-5 will be more your speed. Using the 5x optical zoom also requires you to hit buttons rather than nudge a rocker, which makes it a slower process than on most cameras.
Image quality: nothing to Ricoh about