Advertisement
Advertisement

Ricoh CX1 review

Ben Pitt
25 Jun 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
280
inc VAT

Advertisement

Specifications

1/2.3in 9.0-megapixel sensor, 7.1x zoom (28-200mm equivalent), 180g

Ricoh is better known for its photocopiers than its cameras but the CX1 might just change that.

Like Ricoh's R10, it houses a 7.1x zoom lens inside a smart, compact metal body. Its 28-200mm zoom range snaps at the heels of the 10x and 12x lenses in this month's ultra zoom and rugged camera labs. However, in many ways the CX1 goes far beyond what those models offer.

The screen's 3in diagonal is great but it's the 920,000-dot resolution that really stands out, producing a picture that's as sharp as the eye can see. This screen resolution is normally found only on upmarket digital SLRs such as Nikon's £800 D90.

The innovations go much further than a fancy screen, though. A DR mode captures and combines two shots at different exposure settings to extend a photo's dynamic range. This isn't as sophisticated as the dynamic-range extension in Fujifilm's F200EXR, but as long as there wasn't much movement in the scene, the results were just as impressive. The most unusual feature is a Multi-Pattern white balance mode, which attempts to eliminate colour casts in mixed lighting, such as sunlight and artificial light in the same shot. It's a tall order, but the CX1 delivers, coping admirably with such tricky conditions.

Ricoh's R10 was fast but the CX1 ups the ante with an astonishing 4fps continuous mode, which is quicker than most entry-level SLRs. You'll need a fast SDHC card to cope with the 12MB/s throughput; our Sandisk Extreme III card coped well, managing 65 shots before slowing the camera to 3.5fps. Other drive modes include interval shooting and bracketing for exposure, white balance and focus. Manual exposure is a disappointing omission in a camera that's otherwise so capable, though, and the basic VGA video mode isn't up to much, either.

For image quality, the CX1 rivalled the best models in this month's camera labs. Focus was impressively sharp across the frame, although subtle details were sometimes lost to noise reduction, even in bright sunlight. We had to switch the ISO control from Auto to Auto-Hi to get sensible exposure settings in low light. However, once we'd done that, the CX1 came out top for smoothness and detail in low light compared with the lab test cameras. It couldn't match Fujifilm's F200EXR for low-light image quality, though.

Ricoh has really gone to town on the CX1, and not with novelty gimmicks, either, but features that make a difference. It can't match the fantastic F200EXR for image quality, but it has a more detailed screen, a bigger zoom and its performance is far faster. We recommend the F200EXR for most people, but if you're considering one of the cameras in this month's Labs test, the CX1 is an extremely tempting alternative.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
CCD effective megapixels9.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2.3in
Viewfindernone
LCD screen size3.0in
LCD screen resolution920,000 pixels
Optical zoom7.1x
Zoom 35mm equivalent28-200mm
Image stabilisationoptical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution3,456x2,592
Maximum movie resolution640x480
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)

Physical

Memory slotSDHC
Mermory supplied88MB internal
Battery type3.6V 940mAh Li-ion
Battery Life (tested)270 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV
Body materialaluminium
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables
Weight180g
Size58x102x28mm

Buying Information

Price£280
Supplierhttp://www.purelygadgets.co.uk
Detailswww.ricohcx1.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modesauto
Shutter speedautp
Aperture rangeauto
ISO range (at full resolution)80 to 1600
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 5 presets, manual
Additional image controlscontrast, saturation, sharpness
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus1cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, face detect
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, interval, self-timer, AE bracket, WB bracket, focus bracket