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Ricoh CX3 review

Ben Pitt
7 Jun 2010
Ricoh CX3
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
300
inc VAT

The lens isn’t as sharp as on other compact ultra-zoom cameras, and the high price means it's not particularly good value, either.

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Specifications

1/2.3in 10.0-megapixel sensor, 10.7x zoom (28-300mm equivalent), 206g

No other compact camera comes close to matching the CX3 for continuous performance. It set off at a startling 4.8fps in our tests, slowing to 3.3fps after 25 shots as our SDHC card struggled to keep up. Elsewhere, it was fast but not exceptionally so, taking 2.2 seconds between shots without the flash and up to 6.5 seconds with it.

The 3in, 921,000-dot screen makes composing and reviewing shots a treat, and comes in useful when adjusting focus manually. The rest of the CX3’s design maintains the same premium quality, and we particularly like the metal mini-joystick that replaces the usual five-way navigation pad. There are lots of photographic options to tinker with but priority modes and manual exposure are sadly absent. We'd expect an HDMI output at this high price, too.

This is the first Ricoh camera to include 720p video recording, but there’s still some work to do to catch up with the leaders. Details were a little soft, the zoom and focus were fixed for the duration of clips and the Motion JPEG format generated huge files, consuming 4MB/s. Another significant change is a revamped automatic mode, and this proved much more beneficial. Whereas previous CX models never ventured above ISO 200 in low light, resulting in long exposures and blurry photos, the CX3 was happy to go to ISO 1600 to minimise the chances of blur.

With its 10-megapixel back-illuminated sensor and revamped noise reduction algorithm, we had high hopes for the CX3’s high-ISO image quality compared to the 14-megapixel sensors used by other compact ultra-zoom cameras. In our tests, it was a little better than its rivals at ISO 1600, but not significantly. The lens proved to be the weak point, though, failing to produce sharp photos, particularly at the telephoto end of the zoom.

A big zoom is ideal for wildlife and sports photography, so twinning it with breakneck continuous performance makes a lot of sense. However, while various features help to justify the high price, the lens isn’t one of them.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
CCD effective megapixels10.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2.3in
Viewfindernone
Viewfinder magnification, coverageN/A
LCD screen size3.0in
LCD screen resolution920,000 pixels
Articulated screenNo
Live viewYes
Optical zoom10.7x
Zoom 35mm equivalent28-300mm
Image stabilisationoptical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution3,648x2,736
Maximum movie resolution1280x720
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)

Physical

Memory slotSDHC
Mermory supplied88MB internal
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery Life (tested)310 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV
HDMI output resolutionN/A
Body materialaluminium
Lens mountN/A
Focal length multiplierN/A
Kit lens model nameN/A
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables
Weight206g
Size58x102x29mm

Buying Information

Warrantyone-year RTB
Price£300
Supplierhttp://www.cliftoncameras.co.uk
Detailswww.ricoh.com

Camera Controls

Exposure modesauto
Shutter speed8 to 1/2,000 seconds
Aperture rangef/3.5 (wide), f/5.6 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution)80 to 3200
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 5 presets, manual
Additional image controlsnoise reduction, flash compensation
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus1cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, face detect
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, WB bracket, focus bracket, colour bracket, interval

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