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I've been using the Lumix DMC-Zx series cameras for about 4 years now. I love the pic quality, the mega-zoom and the wide (well, wider than most) angle lens. Unfortunately they seem to be vulnerable to dust entry, but I kept buying them anyways.

About a year ago I was ready to change to a more dust-resistant camera, but then I found a video on YouTube (actually several) that showed how to open them up and clean them. Remove 6-8 screws, Q-Tip and blow on the mirror and the lens, reassemble....dust gone! It's a 5 minute operation and since I had several "dirty" cameras on my shelf, I'm now set on cameras for a long time.

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Still using a Pentax (now Ricoh) WG-10 for over two years now, a new record for me. I have had better cameras as far as photos and focus but it is very durable. I used to go through at least two Cannon Power Shot per year due to durability issues (dust and impact) In fact I have 4 on my desk that need repair.

Target had this one on special for cheap and I will buy another this week just in case they quit making them. I doubt I will ever kill the thing but it might get stolen!

Purchase extra batteries though, they are propriety rechargeable and I use at least two on every inspection (I take lots of photos.)

Yes, it will focus and take photos in pitch black crawls.

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I've been eyeing the Pentax/Ricoh W-series and the Olympus Tough series. Olympus has a focus assist lamp, does the Ricoh? I absolutely must be able to shoot in pitch dark without juggling a flashlight.

Has anyone used the Olympus Tough?

Jim,

I had bought one in a hurry due to a battery clip failure in the Olympus 790SW I had been using, which was discontinued.; however, I found it to be to heavy for comfort. Past that one on to the family, and searched Ebay for the 790SW and bought 6 for about $60 a piece complete with chargers and batteries. The 790SW is Shock and Water proof, and has worked flawless for the last 4 to 5 years.

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Jim, the Richo WG 4 does have the focus assist lamp so you don't have to shine a flashlight to see what you're aiming at in dark attics or crawl spaces. I even use that lamp in the house to see what I'm aiming at instead of looking at the screen.

Here's a crawl space pic or two for you Ben. Flash only. No flashlight assistance. These are the Faststone Resized versions as I shoot them at about 2 MB.

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I've been using the Lumix DMC-Zx series cameras for about 4 years now. I love the pic quality, the mega-zoom and the wide (well, wider than most) angle lens. Unfortunately they seem to be vulnerable to dust entry, but I kept buying them anyways.

About a year ago I was ready to change to a more dust-resistant camera, but then I found a video on YouTube (actually several) that showed how to open them up and clean them. Remove 6-8 screws, Q-Tip and blow on the mirror and the lens, reassemble....dust gone! It's a 5 minute operation and since I had several "dirty" cameras on my shelf, I'm now set on cameras for a long time.

Thank you very much for that info!

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Yeah, the lamp. I use it like Erby. It tells me where I'm aiming.

I'll probably get the Ricoh next time. Great form factor and bulletproof.

Are the newer ones any faster than the old ones?

I've not noted any speed issues with the new Ricoh. The battery is more robust than what I have in my Pentax and I get good mileage out of it.

Recharge once flash goes off in dark attic takes a bit of time, but not enough to give me any heartburn.

RE: Batteries for the Ricoh WG-20 last a long time for me.

As Jim L. noted ... if taking a huge number of images I may have to slip in a 2nd battery to complete the inspection, but doesn't happen too often for me.

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My Ricoh WG-4 runs about 300 or 400 pictures on two batteries a day.

But then, I leave the flash on most of the time cause I'm too lazy to change it.

I do carry a third battery also, just in case, but seldom need to move to a third battery during the second inspection.

I note that I do rotate through all three batteries.

Drop it in water or dirt, wipe it off and move on.

My favorite aspect is no more telescoping lenses outside the case but still one hell of a zoom when I need it.

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Thanks everyone for the feedback to my questions.

On the Pentax/Ricoh, do you have to manually set it to macro focusing mode, or does it just know?

Erby, your last sentence is cryptic. (My favorite aspect is now more telescoping lenses outside the case but still one hell of a zoom when I need it.) ???

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Yeah, sometimes I screw up my typing. It was supposed to be "no more" not "now more". Duh! That damn lazy left hand finger just jumped up there on that "w" all by itself and I didn't notice.

I can get mine to focus down to about six inches away from something. Though I usually get a better, clearer shot standing back a little bit and using some zoom for data plates, inspection stickers, breakers, etc. Remember, they are FastStone resized and labeled. The originals are shot at about 2 MB each.

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If you want real macro, you need to set it to macro mode which takes just a second or so and a couple of button pushes.

This thread has some real macro photos of a bug in a plastic bag and later down the thread is a size comparison of the bug so you can see the macro ability of the camera.

The macros were taken with the camera sitting on the macro ring on the table leaving the lenses just an 1/8 inch or so above the bug..

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I didn't have any serious complaints about my (then Pentax, now Ricoh) Optio/WG series camera other than it was slow, all my batteries had crapped out, and I became enamored of sales pitches for the Nikon AW series.

It's actually a better one handed form factor than the Nikon and I like how the files are sorted on the chip.

$200 shipped. That's pretty good.

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It's a question of the flash. How good is it?

There's some question in my mind (now) about whether it's overkill. I don't want to have to take slices out of video; too much time. It's easier to batch load pics into my software and deal with .jegs.

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  • 1 month later...

I wasn't happy with the flash set to "Auto". Now, almost all the pictures I take, I just use the "Auto" setting with the flash turned ON (not auto) and it seems to be fine for me. Occasionally, I turn the flash off when outside, just to save battery, if I think about it.

What problem do you have with it?

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I started using the Pentax W90 from a tip I got from here years ago. The W90 one lasted a few years. It only broken when I smashed the lens glass while having it in my hand along with a screw driver. It still worked after the glass was gone.

I picked up a Pentax W10 about 2 years ago now from my local target after the W90. It's beat to hell and keeps on ticking.

The pictures are plenty clear for the report and I learned to use the a different setting than just the "auto" setting for faster shooting and better flashes. The micro mode is great for shooting labels, but the camera must be held pretty still.

If you go with the Pentax/Ricoh W series I don't think you will be disappointed.

Kiel

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