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Ricoh CX3 - Ricoh CX3

By Cliff Smith



Our Score:


The CX2 had excellent overall performance, but the CX3 is even faster. It starts up in a little under 2.5 seconds, and in single-shot mode at maximum quality it has a shot-to-shot time of approximately 1.4 seconds. However it is in continuous shooting mode that it really excels. The CX3 can shoot at five frames a second at full 10 megapixel resolution, 30fps at 2MP resolution, or at 60fps or 120fps at 640 x 480 resolution.

The nine-point autofocus system is the same as the CX2, and so unsurprisingly is still extremely fast and accurate, and works fairly well in low light, with an AF assist lamp that has a range of about three metres. The flash however has been upgraded and is now even more powerful and has an even faster recycle time of approximately 4.8 seconds from a full power flash. The battery powering all this goodness is also slightly more powerful, 950mAh instead of 940.

I have to admit I was expecting the new sensor to produce a bigger improvement in overall image quality. The CX2 certainly suffered no major problems in this department, but the CX3 is really not very much better. The overall level of detail is among the best of the 10MP compacts, colour rendition is as good as ever, white balance is accurate and exposure is generally good, although there were some occasional over-exposures. There is a slight improvement in corner sharpness, possibly due to an improved anti-distortion algorithm, and dynamic range in non-HDR mode does appear to be slightly broader producing more shadow detail, however high ISO noise is pretty much exactly the same, with good image quality up to 400 ISO and then steady loss of detail from 800 upwards. The new maximum 3200 ISO setting is very low quality and should really be avoided.

So is the CX3 enough of an improvement over the CX2 to justify upgrading? Probably not, to be honest, but if you're looking for a versatile well made long-zoom compact with outstanding performance, great handling and a range of advanced features and useful functions, as well as good image quality, then it's one of the best options available.


The Ricoh CX3 is only a minor upgrade of the CX2, but the improved performance, HD video recording and marginally better image quality ensure that it can still compete with its more popular rivals. Build quality, handling and ease of use are all excellent, performance is fantastic and picture quality is up there with the best.

Billy Rubin

February 23, 2010, 1:06 pm

I'm very tempted to upgrade from my Ricoh R10 to the CX3, if only it had RAW I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

Ed 3

February 23, 2010, 2:03 pm

Noise at 400 ISO but still gets 9/10 for image quality?


February 23, 2010, 4:00 pm

@Ed: Noise at 400

Yeah, to be honest I was expecting a really good ISO with what is meant to be a new super low light CCD. Surely the biggest problems with compacts is bad ISO, not getting this right really makes the camera stink, OK for outdoor shots but useless for party's etc.

Compare the ISO shots to the Fuji, it's a world apart.


Cliff Smith

February 23, 2010, 4:27 pm

Almost all compact cameras show image noise at 400 ISO. It's how well that noise is controlled, and its effect on overall image quality that counts. Also there's more to image quality than noise.

Ray Hopper

February 23, 2010, 5:49 pm

As an ex-Sony HX1 owner, eagerly looking for a lens-capless alternative, the big downside of the HX1's 10fps was the 17 seconds it took to write to memory. How long is the write-time for the CX3


February 23, 2010, 8:32 pm

HD video on a cmos sensor, i cant stand the jelly effect. what a pointless add-on


February 23, 2010, 10:55 pm

Interesting... pretty much down to this Camera and the incoming Panasonic TZ10. Looking forward to it's review.


February 24, 2010, 8:37 pm

First reviews of TZ10 are worse than TZ7.Still a CCD, CX3 is CMOS, whitnest the difference in speed, it's like using a pentium 3 vs a Icore...

I'm interested in Sony HX5 and Casio FH100, the latter one has very promissing specs, but never have seen a Casio life.

Ray Hopper

February 28, 2010, 6:42 am

BG - I too am interested in the TZ10 (and 8), HX5 and FH100, also the Fuji F80. The Samsung TL350 also has an interesting spec., although only a 5x zoom. Then there's rumours of an LX3 replacement. One of these will be my next carry-round so please Cliff get busy whizzing round Exeter with all of these. (What are you doing down there - thought you were a Brighton man like me !)


March 3, 2010, 11:09 pm

Dodger - I am beginning to think that the CX3 is closing in on the Panasonic TZ series in terms of quality. Especially after the slightly disappointing TZ10 review.

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