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Ricoh CX1 - Ricoh CX1

By Cliff Smith



  • Recommended by TR
Ricoh CX1


Our Score:


The shape and style of the CX-1 won't be to everyone's liking. It may be available in silver and metallic pink as well as the matt black shown here, but there's no disguising the rigid linear design. It's not the most organic shape in the world, but it is surprisingly comfortable to hold, and the repositioned controls leave plenty of room to grip the camera securely.

Ricoh's camera control interface is simple but versatile. Main shooting options are controlled by a small four-item customisable quick-menu, activated by pressing the joystick. Options such as white balance, ISO setting, exposure compensation, focus mode, metering mode and others can be assigned to this menu for quick access.

Other options are accessed via the superb main menu. The CX1 has a big three-inch monitor with an ultra-sharp resolution of 920,000 dots, four times the resolution of most other camera monitors, and the menu has been designed to take advantage of this extra sharpness. The lettering is small, but extremely sharp and clear, which is just as well because the list of options is a long one and contains some unusual entries.

The CX1's list of unusual features isn't limited to Expanded Dynamic Range setting. The CMOS sensor also gives it a high-speed shooting capability similar to the Casio EX-FC100 which I reviewed in April. It can shoot stills at between 15 and 120fps, pre-recording up to two seconds, but only at a limited resolution, ranging from 2.0MP to VGA. As with the Casio it's hard to think of a useful application for this function, but it's an impressive technological feat. Just as impressive and far more useful is the 4fps full-resolution continuous shooting mode.

The innovation doesn't end there either. The CX1 also features multi-pattern auto white balance, which can set white balance differently for different areas of the image, which is useful if your image is lit by a mixture of different light sources. Also potentially useful is focus bracketing, which automatically takes a series of five shots, adjusting the focus between shots. With the camera on a tripod this function could be combined with Photoshop's Auto Blend feature to produce some interesting results. Other minor but still rather nifty features include colour and white balance bracketing, and a neat little electronic spirit level on the monitor display that works in both landscape and portrait formats.

The only slight disapointment is the video mode. When most other manufacturers are moving in the direction of HD video recording and advanced audio options, the CX1 has to make do with 640 x 480 resolution at 30frames per second, with only digital zoom. I suppose they had to leave something to put in the next model.


July 2, 2009, 3:58 pm

That extended dynamic range feature is remarkable and ingenious! This is a definite contender to replace my ageing and slightly temperamental Ricoh R6.


July 2, 2009, 4:25 pm

This looks to me like it might be a good value alternative to the LX3. Can anyone comment how the CX1's dynamic range trickery compares with the LX3s inherent goodness in this department?

Cliff Smith

July 2, 2009, 5:19 pm

ChrisC - In terms of dynamic range I'd say that the LX3 is better on highlight detail, but the CX1 has the advantage in the shadows. However do bear in mind that the CX1 has none of the LX3's manual exposure functions, so it's not really an alternative.


July 2, 2009, 5:27 pm

@ John - I would hardly go so far as to call it either remarkable or ingenious. Nearly every other high-end camera on the market has has such a feature, and many provide more significantly improved results than I see in the test shots with this camera (although this may be down to the poorly calibrated monitor I'm currently using).

Cliff Smith

July 2, 2009, 6:58 pm

smc8788 - In fact the majority of enhanced DR features work by adjusting the tone curve of the image to improve shadow detail. The CX1 is the first compact camera to actually use instant in-camera HDR to extend dynamic range. I'd call that pretty ingenious myself.


July 2, 2009, 9:30 pm

How does the Ricoh CX1's image quality and dynamic range compare to that of the Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR?


July 2, 2009, 9:39 pm

Hmmm, OK then, I'll give it ingenious as it hasn't been done before, but if it isn't any better than its rivals it's perhaps not a remarkable solution just yet.

Out of interest, how fast does it take the different exposures for the HDR imaging feature? Does it struggle with moving subjects that would result in ghosting, for example?

Martin Daler

July 3, 2009, 12:34 am

@ Cliff Smith - "The CX1 is the first compact camera to actually use instant in-camera HDR to extend dynamic range"

Well, apart from the Fuji F200 EXR, about which you said:

"In high-contrast situations the sensor splits, capturing two images simultaneously at different sensitivity settings. These are combined in the camera to produce a single image with greater dynamic range", which amounts to the same HDR thing as here, only without the time difference.


July 3, 2009, 1:38 am

@Martin Daler - the Fuji F200 EXR takes a different approach in that it captures two images simultaneously rather than taking two successive images with different exposures. The details of the EXR sensor can be found here:


Ron 1

July 3, 2009, 11:54 am

How does this compare to the Panasonic TZ7?

jens s

July 3, 2009, 2:38 pm

Like smc8788 I'm not impressed by the dynamic range test shots.

Does it have settings for dynamic range?


July 4, 2009, 12:41 am

Ugly as hell though!!

Vic Barnes

July 6, 2009, 9:45 pm

Not another damn camera without a 'proper' viewfinder. Imagine trying to shoot action pics in bright sunlight and a strong wind. I actually like the camera's shape but don't like the noise control -- it should be better. I'm looking for a non-DSLR with the CX1's spec, but it won't be this camera.


July 28, 2009, 5:46 pm

I do love my R6 but this is making my mouth water and my palms itch. The problem I have is how much better than my super reliable R6 is it gonna be? Also will she let me buy this when the R6 has been more than adequate. The R6 has struggled with crisp winter views in Skye. But then all cameras of similar age and price are the same. The combination of clear sky, sea, mountains and snow make it impoeeible to "get the shot" but it has been so good. It has proven itself at the F1 as well, dificult though with the speed obviously.

God I want this model but not sure if I can justify it


August 6, 2009, 8:36 pm

@Trusted Reviews. I've just tried to show somebody this review (through digital cameras, search by brand, Ricoh and this doesn't show up. Just letting you know.

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