For the last few weeks we’ve been testing out the Ricoh CX1 digital camera which is one of the new additions to the Ricoh camera range.
The key features of the Ricoh CX1 are as follows.
7.1x zoom lens featuring a focal length in 35mm format equivalent to 28-200mm
Vibration reduction function
Macro shooting at 1cm
Continuous 4fps shooting mode
Dynamic range double shot function
Multi-pattern auto white balance
Easy mode for beginners
3 inch LCD display
Edit pictures directly on camera
Out of the box the Ricoh CX1 looks well constructed and feels solidly built. It looks like the type of camera that could survive a few knocks. It is compact too measuring just over 101mm wide and 28mm wide, just about the right size to fit in your hand. Weighing in at only 180g it is also light and easy to carry around.
The top of the camera features a function dial where you can select various shooting modes, power and shutter release buttons and a small microphone.
The side of camera holds a small plastic flap, which when pulled back reveals a USB port and AV output terminal. There are two eyelets for attaching a camera strap.
On the underside of the camera is a sliding flap which tucked underneath holds a rechargeable battery and SD card. There is also a tripod screw hole.
The rear of the camera contains a 3 inch LCD screen. There is also a small joystick control which allows you to perform functions like toggling macro mode and changing the flash settings. There are also playback, menu, self-timer/delete and function buttons. A small speaker is located at the bottom right of the camera.
Overall the Ricoh CX1 seems well designed with just enough buttons to perform most common actions, but not too many to baffle beginners.
Time taken to switch the camera on and off is pretty quick, useful if you want to quickly snap a photo. Time taken to focus was fast too.
There are a few touches we like, including the image auto-rotate feature. If you view a photo in landscape and then rotate the camera 90 degrees, the photo will automatically shift into a portrait position.
When viewing photos there is an option to delete either a single photo or multiple photos, you can also delete photos within a given range by selecting a start and end photo. This can be useful for deleting multiple photos in a single batch.
The Ricoh CX1 includes a built-in spirit level which is designed to help you take level photos, rather than the camera pointing up or down. A visual display on the LCD screen indicates when the camera is level. We’re not convinced this is a useful feature, or that people will take much notice of this, but it is there if you need it.
The small joystick button on the back of the camera allows you to perform various functions:
Exposure compensation – this option allows you to compensate for photos that are either over or under exposed. You can dial in between +2.0 and –2.0 to increase or decrease the exposure. There is also a very useful histogram displayed on the screen.
Anyone who has used a DSLR camera is probably already aware of the histogram but it is nice to see it appearing in a point and click camera like the Ricoh CX1.
The histogram is basically a graph on the screen which you can use to determine if a photo is under or over exposed. You can then use this to adjust the exposure for your next photo.
White Balance – here you can use one of the preset WB modes: auto, outdoors, cloudy, incandescent lamp, fluorescent lamp or manual.
ISO – you can select IS0 80, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600.
Image Quality – you can select various sizes for your photos, from VGA up to 9 megapixels.
Focus – you can choose between AE/AF, AF, AE and Off. There is also a crosshair on the LCD screen which you can move with the joystick. This enables you to tell the camera which part of an image to focus on. Quite a useful feature if the camera won’t focus on the area you want.
There is a button on the back of the camera for viewing photos.
There is a display button which you can use to view more information about a photo. Pressing this button will display the exposure histogram, focal length, f-stop, shutter speed, ISO, flash mode and the date and time the photo was taken. Pressing the display button again allows you to view white saturation.
We liked this information screen and thought it was well designed, providing a quite overview of the photo metadata.
The camera supports an “easy” mode for simple point and click photos, plus there are manual options where you can customise some of the camera settings. These are obviously not on a par with the manual controls offered by a DSLR, but they do at least offer you some flexibility in getting the picture results you want.
The lens supports a 35mm equivalent focal range of 28-200mm which should satisfy most people. There is also a digital zoom which can take you up to 960mm although it is quite fiddly to use. It also has a decent 1cm macro mode too.
Macro mode delivered some pleasing results with an excellent level of detail, even picking up the tiny indentations of an individual key on a computer keyboard as in this example.