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Ricoh CX3 review

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.


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 megapixels 10.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.3in
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 920,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 10.7x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 28-300mm
Image stabilisation optical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution 3,648×2,736
Maximum movie resolution 1280×720
Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps
File formats JPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)


Memory slot SDHC
Mermory supplied 88MB internal
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 310 shots
Connectivity USB, AV
HDMI output resolution N/A
Body material aluminium
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier N/A
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 206g
Size 58x102x29mm

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £300

Camera Controls

Exposure modes auto
Shutter speed 8 to 1/2,000 seconds
Aperture range f/3.5 (wide), f/5.6 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 80 to 3200
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 5 presets, manual
Additional image controls noise reduction, flash compensation
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 1cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, face detect
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, WB bracket, focus bracket, colour bracket, interval

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