Start thinking of action camera’s there’s immediately one elephant in the room. Let’s get this out of the way – GoPro. They weren’t the first on the market but they shaped it into the market that it is today and are still dominant. They’re dominant to such a degree that most of the other options out there have a similar form factor so they can use some of the same mounts and accessories. Not so the Ricoh WG-M2.
This camera is the second version of the WG line and instead of being a square boxy camera that fits inside a removable case reminds me more of a bicycle light. A lens on the front, LCD panel on the top and controls on the left and right. The back of the camera conceals access to the removable battery and a microSD card as well as the USB ports and a microHDMI out. Finally, the base has a standard screw mount. You’ll notice I’ve not mentioned the case. That’s because there isn’t one. There’s a single swappable lens protector which changes it from splashproof to waterproof and that’s it – all the reinforcement and waterproofing is built into the camera itself. The waterproofing is up to 20m for two hours, shockproof for 2m drops and can handle temperatures down to -10 degrees Celsius. The caseless design has one obvious advantage – better sound than any action camera I’ve used before as the microphones are not covered up by the splashproof cover. Beyond these strengths, the camera sells itself on two things – its field of view and its ability to take high resolution video.
The field of view is to the best of my knowledge the highest available on an action camera at over 200 degrees. This means that you get an image that is somewhat fisheye distorted on the edges but takes in much more. There’s a mode that will let you take pictures and video in the more conventional 150-degree range effectively letting you ignore 25 degrees of range on each side of the FOV.
So what about that resolution? The sensor is a 8-megapixel sensor and with the right microSD card can take 4k at 30 frames per second and if you downstep to Full HD (1080p) can handle 60fps. The results are impressive and better than any system I’ve played with before. That 1.5-inch screen lets you check your shot and review previously shot footage but there’s a hidden bonus – wifi. Use the Android or ios app and you can use your phone as an external screen and control or to review or move footage off.
Accessories are an important factor with action cameras and apart from the standard screw fitting in the base the M2 is compatible with it’s predecessor’s accessories. These include a handlebar mount, suction cup mount, a fixed angle adapter, various adhesive mounts, a magnetic mount, a pistol grip, helmet mount, wrist strap and a carabine mount which should service in most situations.
Included in the box: Camera, replaceable waterproof faceplate, USB cable, removable battery.
Paid Extras: MicroSD Card for storage of at least class 10 speed.
Retailer: Amazon +:
Ricoh is a Japanese multinational that is best known for their cameras and printers. The company was formed in 1936 and has around 110,000 employees worldwide. They also trade under the names of Pentax and Hitachi.
- Target age range: Teens, Adults.
- Target gender: gender neutral with a grey and orange version
- Optimized for right-handed use with the shutter button where your thumb naturally falls.
- Target audience: high end professional or very serious users
- Optimized for outdoors use in all weather conditions (temperatures, humidity, waterproof, splashproof, windproof), better in well light conditions
The WG-M2 is available for £269 from several UK suppliers. Its newest direct competitor the Go-Pro Hero 4 compares very favourably to it with a slightly higher megapixel sensor but a lower sustainable frame rate at 4K and costs £274 – £299 depending on where you buy it. In short, there’s little between them from this perspective – which stat is more important to you will determine which you get.
Product dimensions: 7.8 x 5.7 x 3.4 cm
Item Weight: 458g including battery
Colour: Silver or orange
Materials: metal and plastic body
Focal Length: 1.6mm
Angle of view: Wide 202-204 and narrow 150-151
Focus Range: .2m – Infinity
Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion D-Ll68
Full manufacturers spec here
Warranty: 12-month certification from manufacture’s defects.
After dominating the market for so long it has been nice to see Ricoh produce an alternative to the all defeating GoPro. The WG-M1 was nice but the M2 has provided a genuine improvement. If you’re looking to film yourself on holiday these cameras are somewhat of an overkill and there are usable budget alternatives but if you’re looking for quality and features the M2 is a viable choice. If you want a wide field of view and decent 4k filming it’s the best choice. Recommended.
The review is based on the Silver Ricoh WG-M2 kindly provided by Ricoh.
Click to read more about our eco icons and access icons used in this review. This article was first published on the 13th May 2016.