I've had the Ricoh R1 for many years now, and it was my main camera for over 4. Now, however, I have an 8 megapixel camera which I use as my main one. That's not too say it's a better camera though.
With a quick start up speed and easy to use buttons, the Ricoh R1 is an option for any basic or intermediate photogropher. Although there are 12 megapixel cameras out on the market, I recently tried my friends new flasy 11megapixel camera. Useless. The picture quality was poor and there was no flash whereas on the R1, it's contradictory to this. Picture quality is excellent and I use this for my ebay photos as it is better than my current camera. The flash means that you can pick up almost anything first time around, even in situations with poor lighting.
In terms of memory, there isn't much of it so an extra SD card is needed. As these are the most popular memory cards they are easy to pick up - even Tesco sells 2gb ones for around a fiver now!
Yes, this camera is an old model now and I admit that it's been a while since 5MP cameras were the norm - however, as a starter camera or a childrens camera, this would be ideal.
The camera itself is a sturdy piece of kit and mine came with a leather pouch to protect is. As I've mentioned before, it's easy to use and is extremely reliable.
One drawback is that it took a lot of fiddling around to get it to connect up to the computer. However, if you have a laptop with an SD slot, you can just place this into your computer and upload with ease.
My partner recently purchased one of these cameras after seeing it at a favourable price on QVC. Below are a the pro and cons that I've picked up on so far after using the camera a short while.
Noticable plus points:
:: 28mm wide-angle lens
A very useful feature, which allows you to get more into your pictures compared to a normal digital camera. It's especially useful when taking pictures of landscapes, and shots of large groups of people as you can get everything in without standing back 10 paces!
:: 4.8x optical Zoom
Alot of cameras on the market only have a 3x zoom. Somehow, Ricoh have got a 4.8x optical zoom stuffed into a very slim body which lets you get closer to the action.
:: Fast shutter time
Often when taking pictures on digital cameras you suffer from shutter lag, where there is a long pause between pressing the shutter button and the pictures actually being taken. This Ricoh camera is very quick, and minimises the chances of getting blurred pictures from camera shake.
:: Fast start up time
The start up time, of this camera compared to others I've used is somewhat amazing! Flick the power button at the front, and you can take a picture less than a second later. Handy for those moments when taking pictures of children, as you can capture the moment before it passes.
:: Macro mode
As with my old Ricoh RR-30 camera, the macro mode allows you to take pictures from 1cm away. Great for taking pictures of insects, flowers and such like.
:: 5.0 Mega pixel
Although more pixels doesn't always mean better pictures (as there often tends to be more noise present), a large amount of pixels is handy if you are planning on printing out pictures at a larger size.
:: Compact size
Even with all the features present, the camera is a similar size to cameras such as Canon's Ixus range... the Ricoh is slightly wider than say an Ixus 430.
:: Aluminium body
The camera has a solid construction which also makes it feel nice to the touch.
Noticable minus points:
:: Buttons a bit fiddly
There are many functions accessible from the back panel of the camera which is useful. However, the buttons to operate the zoom lens are fairly unresponsive making it hard to operate in certain circumstances.
:: Inaccurate colour balance
The main purpose the camera was purchased was to record images of crafts that my partner produces. However, no matter how you set the white balance (even on manual), indoor images are often don't respresent what you are viewing... purple/lilac items tend to be reproduced as blue.
Overall the camera is quite good. It is very well suited for the average family user and has very useful features which can be used to get a wide-range of images. More expericened users might not like the limited manual settings, but apart from that most bases are covered.
Battery usage seems to be very good (it takes 2xAA - though a Lithum battery can be purchased), but the video mode which is only 320x240 (30fps with sound) isn't as good as many of the newer cameras.
For the money (I've seen them less than £200) you do get alot of features.
Ricoh are soon to release the R2 digital camera, which is essentially the same unit, but with a larger 2.5" LCD screen, instead of the 1.8" one on the R1V. The optical view finder is removed from the R2 to fit the larger screen which won't suit some people, especially those who like to take pictures in bright sunlight where you can't see the screen correctly.