Ricoh’s new WG-70 ultra-rugged compact camera is basically a WG-60 with new firmware

Feb 5, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Ricoh’s new WG-70 ultra-rugged compact camera is basically a WG-60 with new firmware

Feb 5, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Ricoh has announced its new WG-70 compact camera. All outward appearances suggest that the WG-70 is largely identical to its predecessor, the WG-60 (which was also just a minor update to the WG-50). So, not much seems to have changed. Ricoh says, though, that the WG-70 does come with a few new features including a “digital microscope mode”, and a more advanced underwater shooting mode for better colour, contrast and white balance.

Sensor~16-megapixel 1/2.3″ BSI CMOS
Focal length5-25mm (28-140mm FF equivalent)
Max aperturef/3.5-5.5
Optical Zoom5x
Digital zoom7.2x
StabilisationElectronic
Focus9 point AF, spot AF, auto tracking AF
Face detectionFace detection, Smile Capture, Self-portrait Assistant, Blink Detection
Pet detectionDetect up to one pet’s face (auto)
ISO125-6400
LCD2.7″ 239K-dot LCD
Built-in flashYes
Video resolution1920×1080 @~ 30fps
WaterproofIPX8 – Waterproof to 14m (46ft)
ShockproofShockproof against falls from up to 1.6 metres
CrushproofUp to 100kgf (kilogram force)
FreezeproofTo -10°C
Dimensions122.5 x 61.5 x 29.5mm
Weight193g (with battery & SD card)

As well as the two new features mentioned above, the WG-70 also features a digital “Cross Processing” effect, which is essentially just a built-in filter that attempts to simulate the result you’d see from cross-processing a roll of film. But I don’t see why these new features necessitate a whole new camera model.

Like the WG-60, the WG-70 only shoots 1080p HD video, which is a little disappointing. It appears to have the same resolution sensor, same ISO performance, same lens, same autofocus, same everything really. Couldn’t they have added these features via a firmware update?

I mean, they don’t mention a newly designed lens, sensor, faster processor, or anything in the press release. And the lack of 4K video in any new camera today is more than a little disappointing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the WG-70 is a fine camera, as it’s essentially a WG-60 with a bit of a software update, and the WG-60 was a decent camera. It’s waterproof to 14 metres (46 feet), crushproof against weight forces up to 100kg, freeze-proof down to -10°C, and all the rest of it.  But there just doesn’t really seem to be much point to it.

It’s certainly doesn’t seem an upgrade to the WG-60 to me. I wouldn’t recommend anybody go sell their WG-60 to replace it with a WG-70. And even those looking to buy their first, I’d probably suggest they save $50 and get the WG-60 instead.

The Ricoh WG-70 is available to pre-order now for $279.95 in Black or Orange and is expected to ship in mid-March.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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