Ricoh / Bad, bad, bad mechanical design!
I have had nothing but problems with my Ricoh R-series camera's and will NEVER buy another one from them. Their service is appalling. The customer is definitely NOT king, never right and does not know how to handle the camera or take pictures... Ricoh never makes mistakes(!), the products are flawless(!) and never fail to operate!!! I am on my third (!) R-series camera and are appalled by the performance of the lens. The ONLY reason I bought this camera is the huge 7x optical zoom. After frequent use I notice grinding sounds and before you know it the lens locks up. Mechanically. It protrudes/extends and then gets stuck, it can not go back. For my first camera they replaced the lens system, but since then it failed again...
There were also many problems. For instance the inability to focus properly (many images close or far were way out of focus even though it indicated it was in focus when taking the picture). The flash was mostly completely oversaturate washing out most pictures (way too bright). It was impossible to use the flash when selecting macro. This would produce 90% pure white pictures... I have had many emails to the Ricoh service center in Japan and always was told that I was at fault, I did not know how to use the camera. The nerve! Furthermore they never admitted there was anything wrong with the camera, but a search on-line brought up many, many people with similar issues. Apparently no one knows how to use it! Why is it then that Ricoh introduced a new camera every few months in '07 to replace the previous model? Apparently they knew something more... like that their camera's did have serious flaws.
Well... they still do, the mechanics of the lens system sucks (excuse the language), after each use it leaves a fine ground powder dust behind inside the camera from the plastic parts that constantly rub up against each other and allow it to build up to 1) cause dust inside the lens, showing up on pictures, that can not be cleaned and 2) an inevitable mechanical brake down of the lens mechanical system that gets caught in too much build up debris.
I spend 3 times $350 per camera and have three pieces of junk laying around. No. They'll be in the trashcan soon...
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