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Ricoh WG-30 Waterproof Camera Review

Reviewed, the tough Ricoh WG-30, waterproof compact camera with fullHD video recording.

Posted: 11/02/2015 - 11:55


Ricoh WG30 Black (6)

The new Ricoh WG-30 updates the WG-20, with a 16 megapixel CMOS sensor which allows fullHD video recording as well as improved shooting speed, the WG-30 is the entry level waterproof camera from Ricoh, with the WG-4 offering further protection, a brighter f/2.0 lens, as well as other features, including GPS on the WG-4 GPS. The Ricoh WG-30 is available in black or red. 

Ricoh WG-30 Features

Ricoh WG30 Black (2)
The Ricoh WG-30 features a wide-angle 5x optical zoom lens equivalent to 28mm to 140mm in 35mm terms. The camera uses digital shake reduction rather than optical, and has a built-in flash for low-light situations, as well as 6 LED macro lights around the lens for close-up photos. The camera comes with a macro ring to let you place the camera directly onto flat surfaces.

When shooting there is auto picture mode which automatically selects the best camera settings for the detected scene. There are a number of other scene modes such as HDR, digital microscope, time lapse and more. When you've finished shooting you can edit your pictures in playback using a range of filters. The WG-30 is waterproof to 12m, shock resistant to 1.5m, freeze-proof to –10°C, crush-proof, and dust-proof. 

Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD at 30 fps, and you can also record high-speed videos at 120fps. The WG-30 can be connected to a HDTV for playback via HDMI.

Ricoh WG30 Black (7)

Key Features

  • 16 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • 5x optical zoom lens, 
  • 2.7inch screen, 230k dots
  • Waterproof, Shockproof, Freezeproof, Crushproof
  • FullHD video recording
  • ISO125 to ISO6400
  • 1cm macro 
  • HDR mode, Digital Microscope
  • Interval shot, Interval movie
  • Available in black or red

Ricoh WG-30 Handling

Ricoh WG30 Black (3)The Ricoh WG-30 has adopted the more chunky styling of its bigger brother, the WG-4, and as a result there is plenty to grip on to. The buttons on the back of the camera are fairly close to each other, and if you have big clumsy hands then you may have some difficulty with them, but for the most part there were no problems using the camera. On the back are a number of raised dots to give good grip for your thumb, and a large metal strap loop makes it easy to attach the wrist strap. The camera feels tough, as you would expect for a drop and crushproof camera. 

The screen is a 2.7inch screen with a wide aspect ratio (16:9), so when shooting 4:3 aspect photos, there are large black borders on the left and right of the screen, meaning the image appears quite small. If you choose to shoot everything in 16:9 aspect ratio to make the most of the screen, then images are shot at 12 megapixels. 

Ricoh WG30 Black (5)
Menus – The menus are quite easy to use, and when switching modes the camera gives a brief explanation of each mode. Built in help for the menu options would make the camera even easier to use. Wi-Fi features can be found on the WG-30W version of this camera, giving you the option for remote shooting, as well as downloading and viewing images.

Ricoh WG30 Black (4)
Battery life - Battery life is rated at 300 shots according to Ricoh / CIPA test results, which is good for a compact camera, although we would recommend a spare battery if you plan on shooting more. 

Ricoh Wg 30 Underwater
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.1secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.3secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.5secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.9secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.4secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A

Shutter response, and focus speeds are quick, and shot to shot time is reasonably good. Continuous shooting at full resolution is a little slow at just under 2fps.

Ricoh WG-30 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera.

Sample Photos - The camera has reliable exposure, and will produce images with bright saturated colours in most situations. Portrait photos with flash often increase the ISO setting, and in this example using ISO1600 has created an image with very low detail and a blurry image with poor colour. 

Lens Performance - Image quality is somewhat disappointing, with images appearing soft, showing chromatic aberrations, and suffering from vignetting. Macro performance is a strength of the camera, although noise is visible at all ISO settings. The lack of image stabilisation and a fairly slow lens will limit the camera's low light performance. Images should be suitable for sharing on social media websites, where the reduced resolution, and bright colours will help. 

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is lowest at ISO125, although is still visible when viewing images at 100%. Detail is quite good at ISO125 and ISO200. Detail drops off at ISO400, as noise increases. For lower light situations ISO800 to ISO1600 may provide usable results, although noise increases and detail is reduced. At ISO3200 noise levels become strong and we would recommend avoiding this setting if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. ISO6400 is best avoided as noise is high, and detail is very low.

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) gives a yellow / warm colour cast under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving an accurate result. AWB performs very well under fluorescent lights, with the fluorescent preset giving a slightly warm result.

Digital Filters - Scene modes / Digital Filters / Effects / plus HDR / Dynamic range mode examples. Very few effects are available when shooting, and instead there are a large number of effects available in playback mode. Options include: Small face filter, Collage, HDR, Original frame, as well as further examples above.

Video - The camera records full HD video at 30fps, or 1280x720 video at 60fps. Unfortunately, optical zoom is not available while recording video. Slow motion video is also available, an example can be found here.


Value For Money

The Ricoh WG-30 is available for £225, or alternatively is available as the WG-30W with built-in Wi-Fi for £255, which makes it average value for money, particularly up against the following cameras:

Fujifilm FinePix XP70, Wi-Fi, 10m waterproof, OIS, £140
Olympus Tough TG-850, with selfe-screen, 10m waterproof, OIS, £209
Nikon Coolpix AW120, Wi-Fi, GPS, 18m waterproof, VR, £230
Canon Powershot D30, GPS, 25m waterproof, OIS, £239
Ricoh WG-4 GPS, GPS, 14m waterproof, SR, £239
Panasonic Lumix FT5, Wi-Fi, GPS, 13m waterproof, OIS, £239

Ricoh WG-30 Verdict

The Ricoh WG-30 is a tough waterproof camera, with a number of useful features, most noticeably, the unique macro LED lights that surround the lens. However, the camera gives images with high levels of noise, and fairly low levels of detail, and whilst this is fairly typical for this class of camera, the lack of image stabilisation (OIS) as well as the inability to use optical zoom while recording video puts it at a disadvantage compared to the competition. If the price of the WG-30 were to drop over time, then this camera may be worth looking at, particularly if you just wanted to share images to social media websites. 

Ricoh WG-30 Pros

  • Waterproof to 12m
  • Shock and drop-proof
  • Impressive macro mode
  • 6 LEDs for macro shooting
  • HDR mode built in

Ricoh WG-30 Cons

  • Doesn't feature a panoramic mode
  • Optical zoom not available during video recording
  • Red LED light flashes every time you take a photo
  • Tripod socket position
  • Noise in images


Features: 3.5/5
Handling: 3/5
Performance: 3/5
Value: 2.5/5
Overall Verdict: 3/5

Ricoh WG-30 / WG-30W Specifications

Manufacturer Ricoh
Max Aperture f/3.5 - f/5.5
35mm equivalent 28mm - 140mm
Optical Zoom 5x
Image Sensor
Pixels 16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W) 4608
Pixels (H) 3456
Sensor Type CMOS
Sensor Size 1/2.3inch
Sensor Size (width) No Data
Sensor Size (height) No Data
Aspect Ratio 4:3
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor 2.7in
Screen resolution 230k dots
Touch Screen No
Min Focus 1cm
Focusing modes Autofocus
AF Tracking
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest 1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest 1/4sec
Bulb mode No Data
Exp modes Program
Scene modes
Metering Centre-weighted - Average
Multi Pattern
ISO sensitivity 125 - 6400
White balance Auto
Exposure Comp +/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting No Data
Movie mode Yes
Video Resolution 1920x1080 FullHD
Video FPS 30fps
Stereo Sound No Data
Optical Zoom with Video No
Other Features
Image Stabilisation No
Wi-Fi No Data
Card Type SD
File Type JPG
Power Source
Battery Type Rechargeable D-LI92 lithium-ion battery
Battery Life (CIPA rating) 300shots
Box Contents
Box Contents Digital camera, Power adapter, Lithium Ion battery, USB Cable, Strap, Macro Stand
Weight 172g
Width 122.5mm
Height 61.5mm
Depth 29.5mm

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