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Ricoh CX1 Digital Camera Review
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Digital Camera Review by: Katrina Putker 

 

First thing consumers may notice when initially handling the CX1 is that it has a slightly chunkier body than a number of compact slim line models across the current marketplace: it’s almost 2.8cm at the widest point, just beyond 10cm in length, and weighs in at 180g.

While those who are forever seeking the tiniest of gadgets may be somewhat put off by this at first, my advice is to look beyond dimension (although by no means is the body over-sized!) as it quickly becomes a non-issue once the unit begins to perform.

The CX1 is backed by 9.29 effective megapixels, a 7.1 optical wide zoom lens (28-200mm 35mm equivalent), and Ricoh’s own Smooth Imaging Engine IV that combines with a CMOS sensor to allow for extremely fast processing. So fast indeed that literally by the time you blink, the unit is ready for the next shot to be taken – something I am yet to have seen in CX1’s equivalent competitors.

Many brands suggest that with their unit/s you may ‘never miss a moment again’ whilst waiting for your camera to process, but here that is more than simply a marketing line, it is the truth.

Speed also comes into play with the continuous shooting modes available: 4 frames per second (fps) at full resolution, which increases to 30 fps at 2 megapixels, and extends right out to a whopping 120 fps when shooting at 640 x 480 pixels. The unit starts up in less than 2 seconds, which includes full extension of the triple-tiered 2.9cm-deep lens, and the zoom extends from 28mm to the full 200mm in a similar amount of time.

While the auto focus is not as impressively fast, it is accurate all the same and still only takes approximately 1.5 seconds to adjust.

Image quality overall is good, if not occasionally less sharp than desirable (keeping in mind sharpness is a somewhat subjective assessment) but this can be counteracted simply by setting the CX1’s in-camera default to ‘sharp’ and leaving it there. Same thing goes with red-eye, which can often be an issue until the red-eye double flash function is utilised.

Well-balanced overall exposure is regularly achieved, impressively so with skies in particular, which are often over-exposed and lacking detail when shot with competing compacts.

In terms of design, the CX1 has an unpretentious interface that is unlikely to overwhelm users and the minimalist approach adopted by Ricoh makes for a sleek, contemporary overall design that leaves no confusion as to what button or dial controls which function.

The back panel hosts a generous 3 inch LCD, four operational buttons, a five-function sunken joystick, and the playback/review button, while the top edge hosts only the power and shutter buttons, the mode dial, and the zoom toggle.

The single well-placed thumb grip helps to direct the user as to how to best support and stabilise the CX1 during shooting and is a welcomed design element often overlooked in the compact camera market.

The various menus and sub-menus are not as minimalist as the body itself, which will prove either a pro or a con depending on the individual user. If you’re somewhat technically and photographically savvy you will enjoy the range of options and settings you have to choose from and over which you have control.

On the other hand, if you’re generally happy to let the camera do most of the work for you, the extensive menu options may seem overwhelming and keep you from exploring the full extent of the CX1’s capabilities. If you are the latter, it’s worth keeping the extensive 240-page manual in-hand and experimenting with all of the available options before you intend to shoot.

Ricoh have been careful not to forget any extra features proving popular with current consumers including movie mode (30 or 15 fps AVI), facial recognition, ‘my mode’ fully-customisable preset modes, macro capability, complete auto function (logically referred to as ‘easy’ mode), and a selection of ten various scene modes including portrait, sports, landscape, nightscape and high sensitivity.

A unique additional feature is the electronic level function, which appears on screen when in shooting and movie modes to help the user maintain a correct horizon line at all times proving extremely useful for, but not limited to, landscapes in particular.

The CX1 is also capable of four different bracketing functions: a) colour bracketing produces a full-colour, a black and white, and a sepia version of the same image, b) auto bracketing offers a correctly exposed image along with one slightly under and another slighty over, c) white balance bracketing creates an automatically balanced shot, a bluer version, and a redder version, and d) focus bracketing produces five versions of an image with slightly shifted focus points.

This allows for a great amount of flexibility and experimentation and will help those less experienced to ensure the best possible outcome can constantly be produced. medal-gold-r.jpg

 

A dynamic range double shot mode (DR) will take two consecutive images with different exposures and combine them in-camera to produce properly exposed photographs when dealing with compositions involving severe contrast e.g. objects in a room with a window in the background or a shaded/covered area outdoors with views extending into daylight.

Without DR in the former example, the objects may be well exposed but the window will appear completely white and in the latter, the daylight views may be correctly exposed where the undercover area turns into a dark silhouette. DR combats this problem excellently and is a welcomed addition amongst the line-up of familiar settings and functions.

Within it’s price range, the Ricoh CX1 is a solid unit both literally and performance-wise that ought to be considered as a contender for your business. Its minimalist appearance denies the extent of its capabilities and as a complete package it has a lot to offer the photography enthusiast looking for a unit that will perform under a variety of conditions.

 

Appearance rating 4 stars
Functionality rating 4 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Lens quality
4.5 stars
View finder / LCD screen 4 stars
Value for money 4 stars
RRP (AUD) $599
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Effective Pixels 9.29 Million mega pixels
Image Sizes 9 Sizes
Lens - zoom wide [mm] 28mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens -zoom tele [mm] 200mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens - Optical Zoom Yes, 7.1x
Resolution Settings From 640 x 480 to 3456x2592
Shooting Modes 10 Scene options
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus yes
Auto Focus Yes
Focus Range [cm] 30 cm - infinity (Wide), 1.0 m - infinity (Telephoto)
Aperture Range F3.5 - F5.3
Aperture Priority No
Macro Yes
Macro Range [cm] 1 cm - infinity (Wide), 25 cm - infinity (Telephoto)
Shutter Speeds 8, 4, 2, 1 - 1/2000 sec.
Shutter Priority No
ISO AUTO, AUTO-HI, ISO80 to ISO1600
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size 3" LCD Screen
Viewfinder No
Flash Auto (during low light and when the subject is backlit), Red-eye-Reduction, Flash On, Slow Synchro, Flash Off
Hot Shoe No
White balance AUTO / Multi-Pattern AUTO / Outdoors / Cloudy / Incandescent / Incandescent 2 / Fluorescent / Manual, White Balance Bracket Function
Self Timer 10 sec. / approx. 2 sec. / custom self-timer), Plus Interval Timer (Shooting interval: 5 sec. - 1 hour (5 sec. steps)
Movie Options Yes. Limited only by memory card size. NTSC, PAL switchable
Video Out Yes
Storage Type SD memory card (32, 64, 128, 256, 512 MB, 1GB, 2GB), SDHC memory card (4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB)
Storage Included [Mb] 88MB Internal Memory
Image / Audio Formats JPEG, CIPA DC-X007-2009, AVI
Connectivity USB 2.0
Power Source AC adapter (AC-4g optional)
Battery Options Rechargeable Battery: DB-70 x1
Dimensions 101.5 mm (W) x 58.3 mm (H) x 27.9 mm (D)
Weight 180g





















 


 


 

 

 

 
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