Ricoh, for long, have held the reputation of resisting the trends of pushing multiple models into the market with trivial upgrades and also the megapixel race.
They have instead been producing cameras that could stand the test of time, while not compromising on quality. The CX-series represents the point-and-shoot range from Ricoh, and the new CX5 is a 10-megapixel model with some minor improvements over its predecessor, the CX4.
Design and Build Quality
The Ricoh CX5 is built sturdy and the outer shell is metal. At 29.4 mm thickness, the camera is neither sleek nor pocketable. The tripod mount is plastic, which is a slight concern for a camera that is not very light. Again, the tripod mount is placed near the battery/card chamber, making it impossible to change the card without removing the tripod base plate. The buttons and levers are of good quality and the lens has a three-segment construction.
The 10-megapixel Ricoh CX5 uses a 1/2.3-inch (6.16 x 4.12mm) CMOS sensor for imaging. This camera features sensor-shift image stabilizer, which changes the position of the sensor to compensate for camera shake. The camera uses Ricoh’s Smooth Imaging Engine IV as image processing engine. It features a 28-300mm equivalent f/3.5-5.6 lens constructed with 10 elements in 7 groups including four aspherical lens elements. In Normal mode, the lens focuses from approximately 30 cm to infinity at the wide-angle end and from 1.5 m to infinity at the telephoto end, while in Macro mode, it focuses from approximately 1 cm to infinity at the wide-angle end and from 28 cm to infinity at the telephoto end (distances from the front of the lens). The focusing modes are Multi, Spot, Face-priority, Subject tracking, Multi-target, MF, Snap, and Infinity. Metering modes are Multi (256 segments), Center-weighted, and Spot. Exposure can be compensated up to +/-2 EV in 1/3-EV steps. Auto exposure bracketing can be set for three frames from +0.5 EV to –0.5 EV. Shutter speed ranges from 8 sec to 1/2000 sec. The CX5 has ISO sensitivities ranging from ISO 100 to 3200. White Balance options are Auto, Multi-pattern auto, Outdoors, Cloudy, Incandescent 1, Incandescent 2, Fluorescent, and Manual. There is also an option of White Balance bracketing. The built-in flash has a range of approximately 20 cm to 4.0 m at the wide-angle end, and from 28 cm to 3.0 m at the telephoto end, when the ISO is set to Auto. Flash exposure can be compensated up to +/–2 EV in 1/3-EV steps. Flash modes available are Auto, Anti Red-eye, Flash on, Flash synchro, and Flash off. Shooting modes available in the camera are Auto, My settings, Movie, Continuous, Creative shooting, Scene, and Scene Auto. The Creative shooting modes include the options of Dynamic range, Miniaturize (it renders a diorama or scale model-like effect to the images), High contrast B&W, Soft focus, Cross process, and Toy camera (it captures the images with high contrast, saturated colors, distortion, and vignetting associated with toy cameras). Scene modes available are Portrait, Landscape, Discreet mode, Night portrait, Night landscape multi-shot, Fireworks, Cooking, and Sports.
The Ricoh CX5 uses a 3.0-inch, 920,000-dot Transmissive LCD for display. Still images are recorded in JPEG format with a maximum resolution of 3648 x 2736 pixels, while movies are recorded in AVI format with a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. JPEG compression options are Fine and Normal. Self-timer can be set to fire the shutter with a delay of either 10 sec or 2 sec. It also provides an option of interval shooting with an interval of 5 sec to 1 hour in increments of 5 sec. The camera accepts an SD or SDHC memory card with a maximum capacity of 32GB and has 40 MB of internal memory. It is compatible with X2 Series of Eye-Fi cards (these cards feature built-in wireless LAN function, which enables transfer of images to the computer without a wired connection). The CX5 is powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery (DB-100), has dimensions of 101.5 mm x 58.6mm x 29.4 mm (W x H x D) and weighs approximately 197g with battery and memory card.
The Ricoh CX5 does not have a well-defined hand grip, but there is a metal strip that acts as a grip. At the back side, there is a rubber thumb rest with a joystick towards the right. The top panel has the mode dial placed near the shutter release. Both the joystick and the mode dial can be operated comfortably with your thumb, though we wish the joystick was slightly larger. The LCD is of high resolution and the displayed images are crisp and bright. Like all Ricoh cameras, the CX5 too has a simple, but exhaustive menu, which is easy to navigate
The Ricoh CX5 performed very well in our tests. Focusing was accurate and fast in the outdoors, though it struggled in low-light situations. Macro range was impressive with sharp results and good magnification. Overall, the sharpness was very good. Since the camera does not have manual or priority modes for controlling exposure, the aperture-shutter speed combination could not be altered as demanded in some of our tests. We observed mild darkening of corners at the wide-angle end at f/8 (automatically set by the camera). Flare was observed, but without any trace of chromatic aberration. The CX5 did not produce any perceptible distortion in the images at any focal length.
White Balance of the camera performed extremely well in all settings and under all light sources. The native print size of the images were 9.12 x 12.16 inches at 300 ppi. When viewed at 16.67 percent screen size, ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 were noisy. Viewed at 25 percent, we observed slight noise at ISO 800. At 33.33 percent screen size, slight noise was visible even at ISO 400. The images were perfectly usable up to ISO 400.
Value for Money
An official price for the Ricoh CX5 has not been announced in the Indian market, but internationally it retails at a price equivalent to approximately Rs.17,000. This is on the expensive side for a camera that does not feature manual or priority modes.
+ Excellent Build Quality
+ Great Image Quality
+ Sensor Shift IS
– Tends to Hunt for Focus
– Expensive for the Class
Design and Build Quality 18/20
Key Features 17/20
Performance Autofocus 3/5
Noise Control 3/5
Extra Features 3/5
Value for Money 6/10
Grand Total 81/100
If you need a simple camera that can produce stunning images, and are not easily turned off with a high price tag, then the Ricoh CX5 is a good buy. Though the improvements over its predecessor are insignificantly small, the camera carries the Ricoh tradition of excellent image quality. We have no qualms in awarding this a Best Buy.