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I've always been used to Ricoh launching about one new camera a year, but over the past 12 months the company has gone into overdrive, launching the CX1, then upgrading the lens to launch the CX2 last September. Now just six months later we have the new CX3, which is going on sale here in the UK early next month. I was very impressed with both the CX1 and the CX2, so I was very pleased to get my hands on a full production sample before it hits the stores. I've been trying it out for the past couple of weeks, and I have to say the CX series just keeps getting better and better.
The CX3 is again an incremental upgrade of the previous model, but as before the changes are far from insignificant. While it has the same all-metal body, high quality 10.7x wide-angle zoom lens and ultra-sharp three-inch 920k monitor as the CX2, it adds the must-have 720p HD video recording, and more importantly it is one of the first compact cameras to feature the latest in digital imaging technology, a 10.6 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor.
The long-zoom compact market is a highly competitive one, and the CX3 has a couple of serious rivals, the most notable of course being the multi-award-winning Panasonic TZ7 and its replacement the impressive-looking new TZ10 which I'll be reviewing later this week. The TZ7 is currently selling for around £260 and the TZ10 will likely be priced at around £280-£300 when it goes on sale next month. Also competing for the same customers and due for imminent replacement is the Canon SX200 IS (£215). Its successor will be the SX210 IS which also goes on sale next month priced at a hefty £359. Compared to these the CX3's launch price of £299.99 doesn't seem too expensive.
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