As with most advanced compacts currently on the market, the Ricoh CX6 isn’t the smallest compact camera. That being said, the body is certainly small enough to fit in to a trouser pocket and the bulk is warranted, owing to the specification the CX6 delivers.
One mitigating factor for this slightly bulky body is no doubt the large focal range. The CX6 features a 10.7x optical zoom, covering 28-300mm in equivalent 35mm terms, and accompanied by a maximum aperture ranging from f/3.5 – f/5.6 at the wide and tele ends of the zoom respectively. Sharp images are promised throughout the focal range thanks to the presence of a sensor shift image stabilizer, while the lens itself has the added bonus for macro enthusiasts of being able to focus at distances of as little as just 1cm.
At the core of the Ricoh CX6 sits the compact’s sensor. The model houses a 1/2.3in CMOS sensor with an effective resolution of approximately 10-megapixels. The sensor itself is of the back-illuminated variety; the type of CMOS sensor design that promises better performance in low light than the traditional variety.
The back-illuminated CMOS sensor is accompanied by Ricoh’s Smooth Imaging Engine – now in it’s fourth iteration – which also promises to deliver a level of image quality in line with the wider advanced compact market.
The presence of both a backlit CMOS sensor and Ricoh’s Smooth Imaging Engine IV is no doubt aimed at giving photographers more confidence to utilise the full extent of the Ricoh CX6’s 100-3200 ISO range without having to worry about noise.
One of the standout features on Ricoh cameras of late has been its new Hybrid AF technology, and the good news is that it features on the CX6. The system combines Contrast AF technology with an independent AF sensor for ‘ultra-high-speed’ autofocus and the promise of AF speeds of as little as 0.1 seconds throughout the full 28-300mm focal range.
Whilst on the subject of standout features, it would be remiss not to mention the CX6’s LCD screen. The compact sports a 3in, 1.23m-dot VGA LCD monitor that is triple-coated for durability and visibility. Ricoh also claim that new ‘High-Brightness’ technology results in 70% brighter image and review than the Ricoh CX5.
One criticism of the CX5 was that, despite appearing like an advanced compact, there were still advanced-shaped holes in its specification. The good news is that Ricoh has addressed these in the shooting mode department – the CX6 now features both aperture and shutter priority modes, alongside the conventional auto, scene and programme modes.
As is the case with most compact cameras these days, the CX6 arrives with a bevy of ‘creative shooting modes’. The only mode to debut on the CX6 is a new ‘Bleach Bypass’ option, which now takes its place alongside a variety of other effects, including Soft Focus, Cross Process and Toy Camera effects.
The aforementioned auto mode sports scene recognition technology, through which it can identify the subject and then select the appropriate scene mode. If you’d rather pick the scene mode yourself you can of course do so, and will be able to choose from any of 13 present on the CX6.
The CX6 offers HD movie capture at a resolution of 1280 x 720p, while its on-board microHDMI connector allows direct output to an HDTV (although you will need to purchase the relevant cable separately).
Continuous shooting is another area in which the CX6 is no slouch, offering a burst mode of around 5 frames per second at full resolution. An ultra-high-speed continuous shooting rate of 120 frames per second is also possible, although images captured are only 640 x 480 in resolution, and the burst mode only lasts for one second.
As mentioned at the start of this review, the Ricoh CX6 is certainly not the slimmest advanced compact on the market. Despite its relative bulk, the designers at Ricoh have earned their money in making the CX6 still feel light in the hand.
The rectangular body features a front panel that is bulbous towards the right hand edge, forming a type of hand grip in conjunction with a rubberised thumb rest on the rear panel. Said rear panel is relatively light on buttons – four settings buttons featuring, along with a dedicated record button for access to HD video capture and playback button. An adjustment toggle stick compensates for this lack of function access thanks to its customisability, while a mode dial sits on the model’s top plate for easy access to the various shooting modes.