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06-22-2015, 03:01 PM   #1
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Ricoh WG-M1 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

This is Ricoh's entry into the POV video market and they almost had it, but . . .

The Good:
  • waterproof without the need of a housing
  • good IQ with one exception
  • good exposure in contrasty conditions
  • easy access buttons
  • nice screen, well placed
  • nice, large access door
  • menu shows in the screen
  • screen shows what we see, no guess work
  • narrow view actually has good IQ, unlike some other HD POV cameras
  • comes with a security strap
  • battery and card easily replaced in the field
  • decent Wi-Fi app for smart phone
  • good price point

The Bad:
  • the menu is a pain, but not so bad that we can't live with it
  • no 60 fps
  • no gps
  • dynamic range problems with highlights blowing out way too easily
  • not truly waterproof without changing the front cover
  • buttons can accidentally be depressed while handling the camera when it is on
  • protective lens cover is not sufficiently hydrophobic so water just sits there until it dries and leaves a spot

The Ugly:
  • Unbelievably, the camera runs for only 25 minutes on video before stopping. It should continue recording until it runs out of either battery or card space. My other POV cameras are like this. This was probably done to get around the higher EU customs duties for video cameras, but this is inexcusable for a POV camera. I missed the landing of a very large striped bass in Cape Cod thanks to running over the 25 minute limit. Obviously some tax accountant has way too loud a voice in Ricoh management. Fire the idiot. I was prepared to replace all of my POV cameras with this one until I ran across this limit. Frankly, for my purposes this limit makes this camera useless.
  • To compound this stupidity, the record LED lamp is on the side, not on the top beside the screen where it should be. So when the 25 minute limit is tripped, we can't see the LED change to green, so that we would know it and restart the record.

Would I buy it knowing this now? No.

06-22-2015, 03:44 PM   #2
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I don't know why Ricoh would put their logo on a camera that was obsolete even before it hit the market. If they're going to play the rebranding game, wouldn't it make sense to find a competitive product?

Adam
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06-22-2015, 05:21 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rusty Rat Quote
Unbelievably, the camera runs for only 25 minutes on video before stopping. It should continue recording until it runs out of either battery or card space. My other POV cameras are like this...this is inexcusable for a POV camera.
...but pretty typical for other than a dedicated video camera. That aside, as an educated and not completely satisfied owner of the WG-M1, which competing product in the same price range ($160 - $200 USD) would you recommend and why? BTW...those with a separate waterproof housing are not an option for this shopper.


Steve
06-22-2015, 05:54 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
...but pretty typical for other than a dedicated video camera. That aside, as an educated and not completely satisfied owner of the WG-M1, which competing product in the same price range ($160 - $200 USD) would you recommend and why? BTW...those with a separate waterproof housing are not an option for this shopper.


Steve
For a camera configured and marketed like a real POV action video camera, the 25 minute limit is inexcusable. Every other camera I have owned/tried in this category does not have this limit, for it reduces its usage to activities of 25 minutes or less and it totally screws up my normal method of shooting fly fishing video (audio synched multicam). To put it mildly, it's misleading to sell a camera with this configuration and have not perform as a real video camera.

To answer your request for a recommendation, none of the POV action cameras I've owned meet your criteria and I refrain from recommending equipment that I have not had the opportunity to use under a reasonable range of circumstances.

06-24-2015, 11:23 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rusty Rat Quote
To answer your request for a recommendation, none of the POV action cameras I've owned meet your criteria and I refrain from recommending equipment that I have not had the opportunity to use under a reasonable range of circumstances.
My question was partially rhetorical. From your original posting, it appears that you have other cameras that fit your needs better, but for some reason bought a WG-M1. I did the market research before posting my comment and found that within its price range none of the competing POV cameras offered your desired features and performance save the Sony HDR-AS100V and its housing offers less capable waterproofing than the WG M1.

So to qualify your evaluation, I would suggest that the noted deficiencies and features are typical for sub-$200 USD POV cameras and should be noted by anyone considering purchase in this price range. The differentiating feature of the WG-M1 is not needing an external housing or case for protection or immersion.

As for the 25 minute time limit, I feel your pain, though for many action sports, short takes are the rule. That being said, the limitation is not highlighted in any reviews or spec listing that I was able to scare up short of the user manual. I can see where an unsuspecting buyer might be taken by surprise. Is loop recording an option for you?

Are you going to post a formal review? There are none on this site for the WG-M1.

Ricoh WG-M1 - Pentax Compact Digital Cameras - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications


Steve

(...was intrigued by the original product announcement for the WG-M1 and have suggested it to friends...will remember the caveats listed in this report...)

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-24-2015 at 11:46 AM.
06-25-2015, 06:19 AM   #6
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Check out the Contour ROAM3 for comparison: ROAM3 - Contour

The image quality of the Contour ROAM was ok but not great:


A little more saturation and a touch underexposure would help the above video a lot. But the form factor and ease-of-use are great.
06-28-2015, 06:28 PM   #7
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Steve, there's a little story behind the purchase.

I was leaving the evening of the day I bought the camera for a two week fishing trip. I was experimenting with a better POV setup than my current one and I went into a camera store with the intent of looking for mounting brackets when I ran across the Ricoh. Asked the salesperson some questions and though she's very knowledgeable about all things photographic, video is not her thing. I had an appointment, so off I went followed by some time with a cup of coffee and my iPhone, searching for reviews on the Ricoh. I had little time and I was forced to make a few assumptions, one of which was that this camera would operate like my other POV cameras in that it ran video continuously.

This 25 minute is the show stopper for me and it isn't a technical limit, rather it is a decision taken to artificially limit the recording time so that EU duties would be levied on it as a still camera. I find it outrageous that a company would dress a camera up as a POV video camera then stick it with this arbitrary still camera limit.

This is the kicker - remove this limit and I would be quite happy with the camera, even with the noted deficiencies. I don't expect perfection and some of the deficiencies are meaningless to me (GPS, 60 fps), but I note them for others who might care about them. At this price point I don't expect higher end features like GPS, but apparently some people do, so these were noted.

In the end I have settled on using this camera as my primary B-roll POV camera. For that purpose I am happy with it as this usage typically consists of short clips. Multicam usage will unfortunately remain with my older GoPros and they have their issues as well.
06-30-2015, 08:04 AM   #8
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Funny, I've been kicking around getting this camera just to play with, I have no real need or purpose for it.
But at $107 used from Amazon warehouse, or $130 new from eBay, it looks like a fun little guy.
I did notice, via some reviews, that it has a 25 minute record limit.
Probably hold out for hopefully another price drop.

06-30-2015, 08:19 AM   #9
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It's too bad that they couldn't release an US/Asia model without the 25 minutes restriction. Or someone just need to hack it but the product isn't popular enough.
09-21-2016, 09:09 PM   #10
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Another vote for removing the 25 minute recording limit. So annoying!
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