Ricoh CX4 Review Image

Ricoh CX4 Review Image

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Introduction

The Ricoh CX4 is a new 10 megapixel point-and-shoot compact camera featuring a 10.7x, 28-300mm zoom lens. Successor to the 6-month old CX3 model, the Ricoh CX4 now includes a range of new creative filters, a newly developed subject-tracking AF system, enhanced image stabilisation system, and a night landscape multi-shot mode. The CX4’s body design has also been altered and now features moulded curves that make it easier to slip the camera into your pocket. The Ricoh CX4’s key features otherwise remain the same as its predecessor, namely a incorporates a 10 megapixel back-illuminated sensor which promises to improve image quality when shooting in low-light scenes, 3 inch HVGA LCD screen with 920K dots, Smooth Imaging Engine IV image processing engine, and 720p HD video recording. There’s also a Scene Auto shooting mode for beginners, face recognition, 1cm macro mode, Dynamic Range mode which takes two photos at different exposures and combines them to create a single image with expanded dynamic range (up to 12 EV), and an electronic level to help ensure straight horizons. The CX4 is £40 cheaper than the CX3 was on launch, retailing for £259.99 in the UK.

Ease of Use

The design of the Ricoh CX4 is virtually identical to the previous CX3 model, so a lot of comments that we made about that camera will be repeated here. It weighs and measures exactly the same at 184g and 101.5mm (W) x 58.6mm (H) x 29.4mm respectively. The CX4 is available in either silver, pink or a more serious black – Ricoh provided the latter for our review.

This is a compact digital camera that easily fits in the palm of your hand, and you certainly won’t notice carrying it in a trouser/shirt pocket or a handbag. As soon as you pick it up, the Ricoh CX4 feels as solidly made, refined and purposeful as its predecessors. The bottom of the lens mounting area is cut off in line with the bottom of the camera, which still looks rather strange. One noticeable difference between the CX4 and CX3 is the removal of the textured plastic handgrip area on the front. Instead there’s a much less useful smooth curved area, with just a thin vertical raised strip to aid grip – a backwards step in our opinion.

The Ricoh CX4’s 10.7x zoom lens offers a 28-300mm focal range which places the CX4 in the popular “travel zoom” category of cameras, although several rivals offer 12x and even 15x lenses in a similarly sized body. When the lens is fully extended, the camera measures over 8cm in depth, but thankfully it retracts fully back into the body when it is turned off. The 28-300mm range is very versatile, covering everything from wide-angle landscapes to close-up action photos. The maximum apertures are respectable enough at f/3.5 at wide-angle and f/5.6 at telephoto. Helpfully the zoom mechanism becomes quicker as you progress through the range, a neat feature that really cuts down on waiting for the camera to do your bidding.

The Ricoh CX4 features a completely reworked anti-shake system called Camera Shake Correction – turn it on in the Main menu and the Ricoh CX4 automatically compensates for camera shake by the equivalent of about 3.7 shutter-speed stops, three times faster than the CX3. You don’t notice that the camera is actually doing anything different when anti-shake is turned on, just that you can use slower shutter speeds than normal and still take sharp photos. Ricoh seem to have realised the importance of this system, as it is turned on by default, and thankfully leaving the anti-shake system on didn’t negatively affect the battery-life, with the camera managing over 300 shots before the battery needed to be recharged.

The Ricoh CX4 only has 10 external controls in total, leaving plenty of room for the large 3 inch LCD screen that dominates the back of the camera. The CX4’s screen has a commendably high resolution of 920K dots, and it certainly shows, being noticeably sharper and brighter than cameras with standard 230K dot screens. Both text and images really come alive on a breath-taking display that’s one of the best of any camera that we’ve ever reviewed.

There’s a DSLR-like mode dial on top of the CX4 which lets you select from the Camera, new Creative Shooting, Continuous, Scene, S-Auto and Movie options, plus two settings called MY1 and MY2 which allow you to configure the CX4 for different uses and provide quick access to each configuration (the camera remembers the settings when it’s turned off).

Ricoh CX4 Ricoh CX4
Front Rear

The S-Auto mode is aimed firmly at beginners. Much like similar systems on rival cameras, when the CX4 is set to S-Auto it automatically identifies the type of scene being photographed and selects the appropriate scene mode (portrait, sports, night portrait, landscape, nightscape, macro mode), useful if you’re not sure which mode to pick yourself. Like most automatic systems, it’s not infallible, but does reliably pick one of the above scenes most of the time.

The Dynamic Range double shot mode, now available as one of the new Creative Shooting options, is one of the Ricoh CX4’s star attractions, taking advantage of the CMOS sensor to record images with much greater dynamic range than most compacts. When the Ricoh CX4 is in DR mode it takes two images with different exposures, and then records a single image that combines the properly exposed parts of each one. There are four DR strengths – Very Weak, Weak, Medium and Strong – plus an Auto setting if you’re unsure which is the best setting. You can also choose to take a DR and Normal image at the same time (both are saved to the memory card), useful for quickly comparing the effect. There’s also the option to select a Priority Range for each DR strength, with Off, Highlights and Shadows your choices – this allows the more advanced user to tip the balance in favour of the shadow or highlight areas.

In practice the Dynamic Range mode works really well, resulting in images that have noticeably more dynamic range that those shot in the Normal mode, and far surpassing most other compact cameras. If you want to shoot images that retain detail in both the highlight and shadow areas, then the Ricoh CX4 is a great choice. You can see the results of using the the different modes for yourself on the Image Quality page, with a side-by side comparison of the Normal and four different DR modes. There is one main drawback though; the DR images have noticeably less saturated colours than the Normal version, which more accurately matches the scene.

Ricoh have added a range of creative filters to the CX4 that also sit under the Creative Shooting mode, including Miniaturize, High Contrast B&W (both were available as scene modes on the CX3), Soft Focus, Cross Process and Toy Camera. While these are fun to play with initially, they’re nowhere near as useful as the Dynamic Range mode.

The CX4 offers exactly the HD video recording capabilities as the CX3, with three movie sizes available – 1280×720, 640×480 and 320×240 pixels – all at 30 frames per second. and all saved in the AVI file format, which unfortunately does result in some rather large file sizes. Sound recording is mono only, and there are no advanced features like Windcut or Pause / Restart as seen on other cameras, so Ricoh still have some work to do in this area.

There are three scene modes of particular interest. The Discreet mode turns off the flash, AF Assist lamp and all operational sounds, very convenient when shooting in museums or anywhere that you don’t want to draw attention to yourself. The Pets mode turns off the flash, AF auxiliary light and sounds to avoid startling your loved one, although it can only detect and focus on cat’s faces (canine owners need to look elsewhere). The new Night Landscape Multi-shot mode takes up to 4 shots and combines them to help prevent blur and reduce noise. This mode can also be used hand-held without a tripod.

Ricoh CX4 Ricoh CX4
Front Front

Multi-target Auto Focusing is another intriguing feature, although it doesn’t quite live up to expectations. The CX4 takes 7 consecutive images at different focal distances and allows you to choose the best one. It’s quite useful for macro work when it’s tricky to judge the exact focus point, although the combination of the CX4’s high-res screen and manual focus mode already makes this much easier than on most other compact cameras. You can potentially also use the Multi-target Auto Focusing mode to shoot the 7 images, then combine them together in Photoshop or a similar application to create a single image with wider focus than a single image allows. In practice, however, the CX4 tends to always focus on a particular part of the scene and doesn’t differentiate enough between the 7 shots to really make this technique effective.

The new Subject Tracking AF mode automatically tracks moving subjects and ensures that they’re in focus and also well-exposed when you decide to take the picture, making capturing unpredictable subjects like small children or animals much easier. In practice the CX4 performed very well in this mode, quickly locking onto the main subject and reliably following it around the frame, although the loud noise of the AF system as it does so is rather off-putting.

Multi-pattern auto white balance is useful for scenes with mixed lighting – daylight and flash, or fluorescent and daylight, for example. Instead of just taking an average reading from the whole scene, which inevitably gets the white balance wrong for the secondary light source, the CX4 breaks the image down into small areas and analyzes and sets the white balance for each one. In practice it produces a subtle but noticeable effect that is particularly useful for capturing more natural portraits when using flash.

By default the Adjust four-way joystick on the rear of the CX4 allows you to quickly adjust 5 different settings that are commonly used. Press it to alter Exposure Compensation, White Balance, ISO Speed, Quality and the AF/AE Target Selection mode. Even better, the Adj. menu is customisable – you can choose what the first four settings do, allowing you to control exactly what you want quick access to. The Adjust button also doubles up as the OK button to select options and it sets the Macro and Flash options by pressing left and right – there’s another button underneath to access the Main menu system. Ricoh have also included a customisable Function (Fn) button, which can be optionally used to control one of 7 settings – AE Lock is a good choice. In theory it all sounds like a convoluted recipe for disaster, but in practice it works well, allowing quick access to most of the major functions of the camera without having to scroll through the menu system.

The Ricoh CX4 is a point and shoot camera with no advanced exposure controls. Having said that, the CX4 does have a few notable tricks up its sleeve. The AF/AE Target Selection mode allows you to shift the target for both auto focus and automatic exposure without having to move the camera, useful for tripod-mounted macro subjects, but also available in any shooting mode. The [F1:1] Picture Size records your photos in square format (at 7 megapixels), similar to some medium format cameras, offering a new perspective on the world. The Fix Minimum Aperture function forces the camera to shoot at the smallest aperture available, which gives a greater depth of field in the resulting photograph.

The electronic leveler is an innovative feature borrowed from the GR Digital III and GX200 models. This helps to ensure level shots, both in landscape and portrait mode. You can view the horizontal indicator on the LCD monitor to ensure that shots are aligned horizontally. If you can’t see the LCD screen in very bright sunlight, then the camera can also be set to make a sound to indicate a level horizon. It doesn’t sound like a big deal in theory, but in practice it really helps to make the horizons in all your wide-angle shots perfectly level. Another very welcome feature is the ability to set the flash intensity, which can be adjusted in 1/3 EV steps across the -2.0EV to +2.0EV range, which gives you precise control over the flash output.

Ricoh CX4 Ricoh CX4
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

The face recognition feature offered by the Ricoh CX4 recognises a maximum of 8 faces and locks focus quite quickly. Ricoh have chosen to make it a specific scene mode, rather than a general setting that applies to whichever shooting mode is currently selected, which rather limits its usefulness. The Pre-AF and Continuous AF functions are more useful, helping you to quickly and accurately focus on the subject. As its name suggests, Pre-AF sets the focus before you’ve even half-pressed the shutter button, while Continuous AF automatically adjusts the focus to match the subject movement, making the CX4 well suited to action photography.

The main menu system on the Ricoh CX4 is straight-forward to use and is accessed by pressing the Menu button on the rear of the camera. There are two main menus, Shooting and Setup. Quite a lot of the camera’s main options, such as image size, sharpness, metering mode and continuous mode, are accessed here. Despite offering 10 onscreen choices at once, the sharp display ensures that the various options and icons are clear and legible. If you have never used a digital camera before, or you’re upgrading from a more basic model, reading the comprehensive and easy-to-follow manual before you start is a must. Thankfully Ricoh have chosen to supply it in printed format, rather than as a PDF on a CD, so you can also carry it with you.

Ricoh have a long history of creating responsive cameras, and the CX4 certainly extends that tradition. The start-up time from turning the Ricoh CX4 on to being ready to take a photo is quick at around 1 second, and it only takes just over 1.5 seconds to zoom from the widest focal length to the longest, impressive given the focal range. Focusing is very quick in good light and the camera happily achieves focus most of the time indoors or in low-light situations, even at the tele-photo end of the lens. It takes about 0.5 second to store a JPEG image, allowing you to keep shooting as they are being recorded onto the memory card – there is no LCD blackout between each image. In the default Continuous mode the camera takes 5 frames per second at the highest JPEG image quality, which is excellent for this class of camera. In addition M-Continuous Plus (9M) takes 15 images at 5ps and M-Continuous Plus (2M) takes 30 images in one second, and you can also shoot at 30 frames/sec at 2 megapixels and an ultra-fast 120 frames/sec for 1 second or 60 frames/sec for 2 seconds at 640×480 pixels. In all these modes, the consecutively shot images are recorded as a single MPO file (a file format with multiple still images in a single file).

Once you have captured a photo, the Ricoh CX4 has an above average range of options when it comes to playing, reviewing and managing your images. You can instantly scroll through the images that you have taken, view thumbnails (81 onscreen at once!), zoom in and out up to 16x magnification, view slideshows with audio, set the print order, delete, trim, rotate, protect and resize an image. There’s a Recover File option which will rescue deleted images, just so long as you don’t turn the camera off first. Level Compensation allows you to correct the contrast and tone of an image after it has been taken, and White Balance Compensation the white balance. The Skew Correction function alters any photo that was taken at an angle so it appears as if it were taken directly in front of you.

You can “flag” an image, which essentially allows you to choose up to three files and then immediately display them by pressing the Fn button during playback, and images are automatically rotated during playback to fit the current orientation of the camera. The Display button toggles detailed settings information about each picture on and off, such as the ISO rating and aperture / shutter speed, and there is a small histogram available during both shooting and playback. The White Saturation display mode during image playback indicates over-exposed highlights by flashing those areas on and off. When taking a photo, pressing the Display button toggles between the detailed information, the histogram and gridlines to aid composition.

Ricoh CX4 Review Image

Ricoh CX4 Review Image

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Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 3.5Mb.

The Ricoh CX4 produced images of excellent quality during the review period. The Ricoh CX4’s main drawback in terms of image quality is noise, with ISO 400 showing some noise and blurring of detail. The noise and loss of fine detail get progressively worse as you go from ISO 400 to ISO 1600, with the fastest 3200 setting not really worth using. The MAX noise reduction mode does noticeably reduce the noise levels at each ISO setting, but at the expense of further reducing detail in the image.

The Dynamic Range mode works really well, resulting in images that have noticeably more dynamic range that those shot in the Normal mode. If you want to shoot images that retain detail in both the highlight and shadow areas, then the Ricoh CX4 is a great choice. There is one main drawback though; the DR images have noticeably less saturated colours than the Normal version, which more accurately matches the scene.

The Ricoh CX4 handled chromatic aberrations well with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations. The 10 megapixel images were just a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting of Normal and either require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you should set the in-camera sharpening to Sharp. The night photograph was OK, with the maximum shutter speed of 8 seconds allowing you to capture just enough light for most situations.

Macro performance is a stand-out highlight, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm away from the subject, although there is a lot of lens distortion and shadowing at such a close distance. Anti-shake works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure.

Noise

There are 6 ISO settings available on the Ricoh CX4. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with noise reduction set to Off and the strongest setting of MAX.

Noise Reduction Off Noise Reduction MAX

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Ricoh CX4’s 10.7x zoom lens offers a very versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:

28mm

300mm

Dynamic Range

When the Ricoh CX4 is in DR mode (Dynamic Range double shot) it takes two images with different exposures, and then records a single image that combines the properly exposed parts of each one. You can also choose to take a DR and Normal image at the same time (both are saved to the memory card). Here is an example which was shot with Normal and then the four DR modes (Very Weak, Weak, Medium and Strong).

Normal

Dynamic Range – Very Weak

   

Dynamic Range – Weak

Dynamic Range – Medium

   

Dynamic Range – Strong

 
 

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web – Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting of Normal. You can change the in-camera sharpening level to one of the preset levels (Sharp, Normal or Soft) if you don’t like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

The Ricoh CX4 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

10M Fine (3.41Mb) (100% Crop)

10M Normal (2.03Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

The Ricoh CX4 handled chromatic aberrations well during the review, with limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Ricoh CX4 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is just 1cm away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Ricoh CX4 are Auto flash, Red-eye Flash, Flash On, Flash Synchro and Flash Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Suppressed Flash – Wide Angle (28mm)

Forced Flash – Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Suppressed Flash – Telephoto (300mm)

Forced Flash – Telephoto (300mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Red-eye Flash settings caused any red-eye.

Forced Flash

Forced Flash (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction Auto

Red-eye Reduction Auto (100% Crop)

Night

The Ricoh CX4’s maximum shutter speed is 8 seconds via the Time Exposure main menu option, which is fairly good news if you’re seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 8 seconds at ISO 100.

The new Night Landscape Multi-shot mode takes up to 4 shots and combines them to help prevent blur and reduce noise. This mode can also be used hand-held without a tripod.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

   

Night Landscape Multi-shot

Night Landscape Multi-shot (100% Crop)

Anti Shake

The Ricoh CX4 has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/14th / 28mm
1/9th / 300mm

Ricoh CX4 Review Image

Ricoh CX4 Review Image

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Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Ricoh CX4 camera, which were all taken using the 10 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1280×720 at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 11 second movie is 46.3Mb in size.

Ricoh CX4 Review Image

Ricoh CX4 Review Image

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Product Images

Ricoh CX4

Front of the Camera

 
Ricoh CX4

Front of the Camera / Lens Extended

 
Ricoh CX4

Isometric View

 
Ricoh CX4

Isometric View

 
Ricoh CX4

Rear of the Camera

 
Ricoh CX4

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

 
Ricoh CX4

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

 
Ricoh CX4

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

 
Ricoh CX4

Rear of the Camera / Adjust Menu

 

Ricoh CX4

Top of the Camera

 
Ricoh CX4

Bottom of the Camera

 
Ricoh CX4

Side of the Camera

 
Ricoh CX4

Side of the Camera

 
Ricoh CX4

Front of the Camera

 
Ricoh CX4

Front of the Camera

 
Ricoh CX4

Memory Card Slot

 
Ricoh CX4

Battery Compartment

Ricoh CX4 Review Image

Ricoh CX4 Review Image

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Specifications

Items Specifications
No. of Effective Pixels (Camera) Approximately 10.00 million pixels
Image Sensor 1/2.3-inch CMOS (total pixels: approx. 10.60 million pixels)
Lens Focal length f=4.9-52.5mm (Equivalent to 28-300 mm for 35 mm film cameras. With Step Zoom set, focal lengths can be fixed at eight steps: 28 mm, 35 mm, 50 mm, 85 mm, 105 mm, 135 mm, 200 mm, and 300 mm)
F-aperture F3.5 (Wide) – F5.6 (Telephoto)
Shooting
Distance
Normal shooting: Approx. 30 cm – infinity (Wide), approx. 1.5 m – infinity (Telephoto) (from the front of the lens)
Macro: Approx. 1 cm – infinity (Wide), approx. 28 cm – infinity (Telephoto), approx. 1 cm – infinity (Zoom Macro) (from the front of the lens)
Lens Construction 10 elements in 7 groups (aspheric lens: 4 elements and 5 surfaces)
Zoom Magnification Optical: 10.7x zoom (equivalent to 28-300 mm focal length for 35 mm cameras)
Digital: 4.8x up to 51.4x (equivalent to 1440 mm) when used with optical zoom
Auto Resize: 5.7x*1 up to 61.0x*1 (equivalent to 1710 mm) when used with optical zoom
Focus Mode Multi AF (contrast AF method) / Spot AF (contrast AF method) / Face-priority multi-AF / Subject-tracking AF / Multi-Target AF / Manual Focus / Fixed Focus (Snap) / Infinity (AF auxiliary light)
Motion Blur Reduction Image sensor shift method image stabilizer
Shutter Speed*2 Still image 8, 4, 2, 1 – 1/2000 sec.
Movie 1/30 – 1/2000 sec.
Continuous Shooting Continuous shooting speed*3 Approx.5 frames/sec. (10M 4:3F shooting time; shooting speed after 12 pictures is approx. 3 frames/sec.)
Continuous shooting capacity 999 pictures
Exposure Control Exposure
Metering Mode
Multi (256 segments) / Center Weighted Light Metering / Spot Metering
Exposure Mode Programme AE
Exposure
Compensation
Manual Exposure Compensation +/-2.0EV (1/3EV Steps), Auto Bracket Function (-0.5EV, ±0, +0.5EV)
ISO Sensitivity (Standard Output Sensitivity) AUTO, ISO100 / ISO200 / ISO400 / ISO800 / ISO1600 / ISO3200
White Balance Mode AUTO / Multi-Pattern AUTO / Outdoors / Cloudy / Incandescent 1 / Incandescent 2 / Fluorescent / Manual / White Balance Bracket Function
Flash Flash Mode Auto (during low light and when the subject is backlit), Anti Red-eye, Flash On, Slow Synchro, Flash Off
Built-in flash range Approx. 20 cm – 4.0 m (Wide), approx. 28 cm – 3.0 m (Telephoto) (auto ISO with a maximum of ISO 1600, measured from the front of the lens)
Flash compensation +/-2.0EV (1/3EV Steps)
Monitor 3.0-inch Transparent LCD (approx. 920,000 dots)
Shooting Mode Auto shooting mode / Movie mode / Scene auto mode / Scene mode (Portrait / Discreet Mode / Night. Port. / Night Landscape Multi-shot / Sports / Landscape / Zoom Macro / Pets / Skew Correct Mode / High Sens / Text Mode) / My settings mode / Continuous mode / Creative Shooting Mode (Dynamic Range / Miniaturize / High Contrast B&W / Soft Focus / Cross Process / Toy Camera)
Picture Quality Mode*4 F (Fine) / N (Normal)
No. of Pixels Recorded Still image/multi-picture 3648 x 2736, 3648 x 2432, 2736 x 2736, 3648 x 2048, 2592 x 1944, 2048 x 1536, 1728 x 1296 (multi-picture only), 1280 x 960, 640 x 480
Movie*5 1280 x 720, 640 x 480, 320 x 240
Text 3648 x 2736, 2048 x 1536
Recording Media SD memory card
SDHC memory card (up to 32 GB), Internal memory (approx. 86 MB)
Recording File Format Still Image JPEG(Exif ver.2.3)*6
Multi-picture CIPA DC-007-2009 Multi-Picture Format
Movie AVI (Open DML Motion JPEG Format compliant)
Compression method JPEG Baseline method compliant
Other Major Shooting Functions Continuous, Self-Timer (operation time: approx. 10 sec. / approx. 2 sec. / custom self-timer), Interval Timer (Shooting interval: 5 sec. – 1 hour, 5 sec. steps), Color Bracket function, Focus Bracket function, AE/AF Target Shift, Histogram, Grid Guide, Electronic Level
Other Major Playback Functions Grid View, Enlarged Display (maximum 16x), Resize, Level Compensation, White Balance Compensation, Trim, Flag, Slideshow, DPOF Setting
Interface USB 2.0 (High-Speed USB) Mini-B, Mass storage compatible*7/ AV Out 1.0Vp-p (75Ω)
Video Signal Format NTSC, PAL switchable
Power Supply Rechargeable Battery: DB-100 x1
Battery Consumption*8 Based on CIPA Standard: Using the DB-100, approx. 330 pictures (when LCD Dim is on)*9
External Dimensions 101.5 mm (W) x 58.6 mm (H) x 29.4 mm (D) (24.4 mm at thinnest part)
Weight Approx. 205 g (including the supplied battery and SD memory card)
Approx. 184 g (body only)
Operating Temperature Range 0°C – 40°C
*1 VGA image size
*2 Shutter speed upper and lower limits vary depending on Shooting Mode and Flash Mode.
*3 Values measured under Ricoh measurement conditions using a Panasonic PRO HIGH SPEED 8GB SDHC memory card. The continuous shooting speed and number of pictures will vary depending on the shooting conditions, the type of recording media used, the condition of the recording media, etc.
*4 The picture quality modes which can be set vary depending on the image size.
*5 When shooting movies of 1280×720 size, the use of an SD/SDHC memory card with an SD speed class of Class 6 or higher is recommended.
*6 Compatible with DCF and DPOF. DCF is the abbreviation of the JEITA standard “Design rule for Camera File system.” (Full compatibility with other devices is not guaranteed.)
*7 Mass storage driver is compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OSX10.1.2-10.6.3
*8 Shooting capacity was measured using CIPA-standard parameters. This is only an estimate, and performance may vary according to usage conditions.
*9 When LCD Auto Dim is off: approx. 310 pictures

Ricoh CX4 Review Image

Ricoh CX4 Review Image

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Conclusion

With only a few new features on offer the CX4 offers very little reason to upgrade from the 6-month-old CX3, and the removal of the useful handgrip actually makes it less easy to use than its predecessor. With rival models offering bigger zooms and more manual controls, Ricoh’s CX-series is starting to slip behind the pack with this modest update.

The enhanced image stabilizer makes it easier to achieve sharp hand-held photos, as does the innovative Night landscape multi-shot scene mode, while the Subject Tracking AF system works reliably and accurately, if a little too noisily for our liking. The only other new feature, three additional creative filters, are fun to use initially but have little shelf-life. With the smoother, reshaped body being less easy to get a firm hold of, the CX4 offers little new to shout about when compared with its predecessor.

The same 10 megapixel back-illuminated sensor offers noise-free settings of ISO 80-200, usable settings of 400-800, and useful in an emergency ISO 1600, identical to the CX3 but now falling behind the of more recent and comparable cameras which offer better performance at ISO 400 and 800. The improved noise reduction system from the GR Digital III does significantly reduce the noise on its maximum setting, but with the side-effect of smoothing out fine detail – you’ll need to decide which is most important to you.

The High definition 720p video mode is again unchanged and again suffers from some problems, most notably the AVI format creating large files sizes, the inability to zoom or focus during recording, and the lack of stereo sound and an HDMI port.

The CX4 is virtually indistinguishable from the older CX3 in terms of its design, image quality and feature set, with just a few new additions that are difficult to get truly excited about, and the retrograde removal of the CX3’s handgrip. While the CX4 remains a good point and shoot camera and the price has commendably dropped to £259, it doesn’t offer enough to either justify the upgrade from the previous generation or to keep up with its rivals.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4
Value for money 4

Ricoh CX4 Review Image

Ricoh CX4 Review Image

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Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Ricoh CX4.

Canon PowerShot S95

Canon PowerShot S95 Review thumbnail

The brand new Canon PowerShot S95 compact camera is the more refined successor of last year’s S90 model, additionally offering 720p HD video, Hybrid IS technology and in-camera HDR shooting. The same innovative lens control ring, 10 megapixel CCD sensor, fast f/2.0, 3.8x zoom, RAW file support, full range of manual shooting modes, and a 3 inch LCD are all present and correct on the S95. The launch price has also been reduced, making the Canon S95 an even more attractive proposition as a pocketable yet very capable compact. Read our in-depth Canon PowerShot S95 review now.

Canon PowerShot SX120 IS

Canon PowerShot SX120 IS Review thumbnail

The Canon PowerShot SX120 IS is one of the most affordable super-zoom cameras around. For less than £225 / $250, the Canon SX120 offers a 10x optical zoom lens, 10 megapixels, 3 inch LCD screen and fast DIGIC 4 processor. Curiously aimed at both the family market, with Easy and Smart Auto modes, and prosumers, with a full range of manual controls, is the Canon PowerShot SX120 IS a successful jack-of-all-trades or master-of-none? Mark Goldstein finds out…

Casio EX-H15

Casio EX-H15 Review thumbnail

The EX-H15 is Casio ‘s second travel-zoom camera, following on from last year’s EX-H10 model. Still offering a 10x, 24-240mm zoom lens, large 3 inch LCD, and 720p HD movies in a pocketable body, the new EX-H15 also has a faster processor, improved Premium Auto mode, plus creative Dynamic Photo and Art Photo functions. Gavin Stoker takes an in-depth look in our Casio EX-H15 review.

Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR

Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR Review thumbnail

The Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR is an attractively designed compact camera with a 10x zoom lens, 12 megapixel sensor, 3 inch LCD screen, HD movie recording and manual controls, all for a street price of less than £200 / $250. Read our Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR Review to find out if it’s a worthy successor to last year’s F70EXR model.

Nikon Coolpix S8000

Nikon Coolpix S8000 Review thumbnail

The second travel-zoom camera that we’re looking at this week is the Nikon Coolpix S8000. Featuring a 10x, 30-300mm lens, 14 megapixel sensor, high-resolution 3-inch screen and 720p HD movies, the Nikon S8000 certainly offers a lot on paper, but how does it shape up in reality? Read the World’s first online Nikon Coolpix S8000 review to find out.

Olympus Mju 9010

Olympus Mju 9010 Review thumbnail

The Olympus mju 9010 (also known as the Stylus 9010) is a brand new travel-zoom compact camera. Offering a 10x, 28-280mm lens in a pocketable body, the mju 9010 also features a 14 megapixel sensor, 2.7 inch LCD screen, 1cm macro mode and 720p HD movie recording. Zoltan Arva-Toth takes a look at the range-topping Olympus mju 9010 in the World’s first online review.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 Review thumbnail

Travel-zoom cameras have quickly become a popular sector of the compact market, offering a compelling combination of small size and big zoom. Panasonic’s new budget travel-zoom camera for 2010, the DMC-TZ8 (also known as the DMC-ZS5) is no different, offering a 25-300mm focal range in a camera that can easily fit inside a jacket pocket. Mark Goldstein puts the TZ8 / ZS5 through its paces in the World’s first on-line review…

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10 Review thumbnail

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10 is a brand new all-singing, all-dancing compact camera with a long list of must-have features. The TZ10 (also known as the ZS7) somehow manages to pack a 12x wide-angle zoom lens, GPS tracking, high-resolution 3 inch LCD screen, AVCHD high-definition movies with stereo sound, and even full manual controls into its slim and stylish frame. Available in silver, black, red or blue for £399 / $399, Mark Goldstein finds out if the Panasonic DMC-TZ10 / ZS7 is the best travel-zoom camera that money can buy.

Ricoh CX3

Ricoh CX3 Review thumbnail

6 months is a long time in the fast-moving world of digital photography – certainly long enough for the Ricoh CX3 to replace its predecessor, anyway. To recap, the CX3 is a compact travel-zoom camera, with a 10.7x lens providing a focal range of 28-300mm, a new back-illuminated 10 megapixel CMOS sensor which promises improved low-light performance, a gorgeous high-res 3 inch LCD screen, and the long-awaited addition of 720p HD movies. The Ricoh CX3 can be yours for £299 – read the World’s First review to find out if it’s worth your attention.

Samsung WB600

Samsung WB600 Review thumbnail

The Samsung WB600 (also known as the HZ30W) is the latest travel-zoom camera to hit the market, and in true Samsung style it offers a lot of features at a bargain price. The WB600 has a 12 megapixel sensor, 15x, 24-360mm lens, 3 inch LCD screen, 720p HD movies, and even manual shooting modes, all for just $279 / £249. Read our expert review to find out if the Samsung WB600 / HZ30W is too good to be true.

Samsung WB650

Samsung WB650 Review thumbnail

The Samsung WB650 (also known as the Samsung HZ35W) is Samsung’s flagship travel-zoom camera for 2010, offering a better feature-set than the market-leader, the Panasonic DMC-TZ10, at a lower price. Built-in GPS, a 3 inch AMOLED screen, 15x zoom, 12 megapixels and full manual control are just some of the highlights of the WB650, which is available in grey for £299 / $349. Read our Samsung WB650 review to find out if this is the best travel compact of the year.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20 Review thumbnail

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20 is one of the more affordable super-zoom cameras on the market, offering a 10x zoom lens, 10 megapixel sensor and 3 inch LCD screen. Attractively priced at $280 / £269, the compact Sony DSC-H20 features a full range of creative shooting modes for the advanced amateur, as well as the Intelligent Scene Recognition mode for beginners. There’s also the bonus of 720p HD movie recording for video enthusiasts. Read our expert review to find out if the Sony H20 deserves a place on your super-zoom hit-list.

Ricoh CX4 Review Image

Ricoh CX4 Review Image

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