“GoPro” is quickly become genericized. I’ve seen people say “GoPro” when looking at Sony or JVC. Any company that wants to break into this market had better be bringing a seriously good product with some features that really make it stand out. Ricoh, best known for the Pentax brand, might just have that product with the WG-M1.
Ricoh is pushing the WG-M1 as the most rugged of the bunch, as it needs no additional casing. The camera, as-is, is shock-resistant, waterproof to 32 feet, cold resistant to -10°C, and features integrated wi-fi capabilities, and a screen. Buttons are large and designed for ease of use, even when wearing gloves or operating a wet camera. Between the included features and the standard tri-pod mount, we won’t be surprised to see a few of GoPro’s customers turn to Ricoh.
At $300, it’s comparable to the top end of the competition, but many of those previously mentioned included features are expensive extras for other cameras. Based on the video sample, it looks like video quality will be excellent as well, though it does top out at 1080p/30 frames per second. Distortion seems to have been kept to a minimum, the color balance looks neutral, and there’s minimal blur to the action. I can’t wait to try it out in person.