Ricoh's latest waterproof compact surfaces

Ricoh Imaging has announced that a new waterproof option will shortly be joining its line of compacts.

The WG-60 is set to arrive with a body that's sturdier than the norm, which allows it to be used underwater and in freezing conditions. It's also protected against dust and guarded against shock, and can even escape being crushed. 

In fact, despite the increasing imaging capabilities of smartphones, and the fact that protection against water and dust is now integrated as standard into many models, Ricoh goes as far as to claiming that the WG-60 "outperforms ordinary digital cameras and smartphones in demanding outdoor conditions." 

The airtight body is said to remain operational underwater to a maximum 14m depth for up to two hours (equivalent to IPX8), while its IPX6 dust-proofing also matches the protection of many modern smartphones. Shock-resistance is claimed to a maximum height of 1.6m while freeze-proofing down to temperatures as low as -10°C is on a par with that of rival models.

Rugged specs aside, the camera captures images using a 16MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor (presumably a 1/2.3in type), and this is fronted by a 5x optical zoom lens that covers an effective focal range of 28-140mm in 35mm terms. 

The company also claims that an Intelligent Zoom function extends this focal range by around 36 times, with a maximum extension that's equivalent to 1008mm, although the further claim that it manages to do so without compromising image quality is questionable.

LED lights for Digital Microscope mode

The camera's optic is encircled by six LED lights, which spring to life in the Digital Microscope mode. These can be used to illuminate close-up subjects, with the lens managing to focus on subjects just 1cm away. Underwater photography is aided by an option that increases reds in the scene to balance the loss of longer wavelengths as you travel deeper underwater, and Ricoh has provided a separate option that can be used while capturing videos.

The company has taken a three-pronged approach to image stabilisation, through none of these is mechanical in nature. Instead, the camera digitally processes images to reduce blur and raises the ISO to compensate for slower shutter speeds, while also processing videos separately to help improve stability.

Other features include a Handheld Night Snap mode, which is said to capture and combines several images with low noise and no blur, together with an interval shooting mode. One further option that sounds interesting is dubbed Instant Illumination Enhance, which allows for the use of a higher-than-usual shutter speed by automatically boosting illumination from the Macro Lights as the shutter is released.

Video quality caps out at a Full HD option with a maximum 30fps frame rate. Perhaps more disappointingly, the camera's LCD screen measures in 2.7-inches in size and only offers a 230k-dot resolution, although this is complemented by the useful Outdoor View Setting that we've seen on other models, and the display is at least primed with anti-reflective coatings to help improve visibility.

Ricoh Imaging had a fairly quiet Photokina this year, with just the impending arrival of the GR III to shout about. The company's most recent camera releases were the Theta V and the WG-50, both of which were announced last year.

The WG-60 will arrive in November in black and red options, with an RRP of £249.99 in the UK. As of yet, the model has not been conformed for release in other territories.