'Ruggedised' compact digital cameras are ten a penny these days, but the new Ricoh WG-M1 is different – and how. It doesn't even look like a camera, for a start, with its laid-down-flat design, the LCD screen on the top and buttons on the sides. If you want to stand out from the crowd, this is the way to do it.
But while the looks are very different, the specs will be familiar to anyone shopping for a tough, outdoor camera. The WG-M1 is waterproof to a depth of 10m, shockproof to a height of 2m and it's designed to keep working down to temperatures of -10 degrees.
The optics are different, however. There's no zoom on this camera, just an 'ultra-wide-angle' 3mm fixed focal length lens (equivalent to 16.8mm), which offers a 160-degree angle of view – with the option of 'medium' and 'narrow' angles of view and 90 degrees in 'underwater' mode.
Stills and video
Stills are shot at a resolution of 14 million pixels, while video is at full 1920 x 1080 HD at 30fps. There is a lower-resolution high-speed movie mode and at the opposite end of the time scale you can shoot time-lapse movies too.
There's even a motion-detection function to start movie recording automatically, or a 5/10-minute 'loop' mode that starts re-recording if you don't save your footage – perfect if you don't know when the action's going to happen.
Built-in wi-fi means you can operate the WG-M1 remotely using an dedicated app on your smart device, and you can copy across your stills or movies and upload them to social media sites while you're at it.
There's a tripod bush on the bottom – and you can also use this for dedicated accessories like special adhesive pads, magnets, helmet mounts and more. The WG-M1 has even been designed with big buttons so that you can keep your gloves on.
Clearly, Ricoh is pitching the WG-M1 at GoPro territory, which means it faces some pretty stiff competition – but it's due to go on sale at £199/US$300, so it's certainly competitive on price.