Ricohs RDC-i700 is perhaps the most powerful digital camera on the market. In other words, its overkill for snapshot-shooting consumers. Fortunately for Ricoh, it is targeting the corporate market with the i700 and, for the most part, hits the bulls-eye.
On the surface, the $1,300 i700 looks like an ordinary high-end digital camera. Beneath the covers, however, the camera contains its own Web server, a PCMCIA adapter and a 3.5-inch, touch-screen LCD that let me edit, crop, delete, compress, e-mail and upload pictures to a Web server.
The real power of the camera is in the many ways it connects to the Internet. I was able to plug a PCMCIA network adapter into the unit and access images via a Web browser. I also could use a CompactFlash card or a regular USB cable and could connect wirelessly via Metricoms Ricochet network.
This setup is perfect for insurance companies that need to snap pictures of damaged vehicles and for real estate professionals, news agencies and anyone else who needs to send images from the field quickly.
On the downside, the Ricochet cable setup is a hodgepodge. I look forward to the PC Card version of Ricochet, due in about a month. Meanwhile, the cameras optics are first-rate, and this product is unequivocally better than its competitors—namely, camera- enabled Palm devices that snap low-res pictures that users send around on antiquated cellular phone networks.