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Ricoh CX4 review

Ben Pitt
15 Jan 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
229
inc VAT

A minor update over the CX3, but the lower price makes this a serious contender for the compact ultra-zoom crown.

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Specifications

1/2.3in 10.0-megapixel sensor, 10.7x zoom (28-300mm equivalent), 205g

Ricoh’s camera designers could never be accused of following the crowd, with just a small range of unusual cameras in stark contrast to most manufacturers’ prolific output of compact snappers. The CX4 is one of its more conventional models – its slim body and 10.7x zoom lens pitches it against around a dozen other compact ultra-zoom cameras, including the excellent Canon Ixus 1000 HS.

Ricoh CX4

There’s still plenty to distinguish it from its peers, though. The sleek, minimalist design, elegant, efficient controls and superb 3in, 921,000-pixel screen resemble a serious piece of photographer’s kit rather than a point-and-shoot camera. That impression is backed up by a continuous mode that flies along at a staggering 5fps – a speed normally reserved for upmarket SLRs.

It’s less easy to distinguish the CX4 from its predecessor, the CX3. Its corners are a little more rounded, but we question the logic behind losing the texture on the slim handgrip – the smoother design may look smarter but it isn’t as secure in the hand. Ricoh claims that the image-stabilisation system is improved. It’s hard to measure this definitively, but our tests suggested a small improvement when taking photos at the full zoom extension at shutter speeds from 1/60s to 1/15s.

Autofocus options now include subject tracking, which follows moving subjects while the shutter button is half pressed. There’s also a range of new scene modes including toy camera and soft focus, plus one that aligns and combines multiple exposures captured in quick succession to reduce noise. It worked well as long as the subject was static. The biggest change is the price. While the CX3 cost £300, the CX4 is much more competitive at £229, undercutting the Ixus 1000 HS by around £30.

Ricoh CX4

It’s disappointing that manual exposure controls remain absent. This camera is packed with advanced options that will appeal to photography enthusiasts, such as exposure and white balance bracketing, variable noise reduction and a customisable upper ISO limit for the Auto ISO mode. Most people who appreciate this level of control will also expect direct access to shutter speed and aperture, though.

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