Ricoh CX1 announced

Today, Ricoh announced the CX1 compact camera, it is a new consumer camera line for Ricoh but follows the successfull R10.
It has the same features like the R10 but offers a 9.29MP 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor and a new high resolution LCD screen offering 920,000 pixels at VGA resolution (!!) and 4 fps continuous shooting.
You can find the full specs here and the press release here.

The camera should be available by mid March.

Read on for more details and my view on it.

The headline features when compared to the R10 include:

– High-definition 3.0-inch 920,000-dot VGA monitor.
The LCD screen on the R10 is already fantastic and this one promisses to be even better. It also has a protective coating, something I wished for in my R10 review.

– Dynamic range double shot mode.
This takes 2 consecutive pictures with different exposures. If this works as promissed it could be the best new feature and something to make it stand out.

– The multi-pattern auto white balance
This reads the white balance from different points on the scene and should improve the WB indoors. The WB on the R10 was already very good so this will be interesting to see how much it improves upon that.

– Enhanced high-speed continuous shooting functions
The camera can take up to 120 fps at a resolution of 640×480 and 4 fps at full resolution. The 120 fps would have been very interesting if the camera could record them also in the video mode, for pictures it could be nice but the resolution might be too low.

Unfortunately there still is no RAW option or any PASM-modes and the video mode is still lacking behind. The handgrip seems to have been changed and is not made out of rubber aynmore, this would be a shame since the rubber provided a very good grip. The controls on the back have been re-designed and from the first look it seems to be not quite as good but only time will tell.

The image quality seems to have been the main focus so it will be interesting to see how the image quality will be like when we have some sample images. If the high dynamic range mode holds up to the promise it will definitely make the camera stand out from the rest.

I believe the R10 form factor and build were superb and really liked the camera so the CX1 seems to be a good follow up that refines the R10. It is a shame that the fantastic looking bronze color has been dropped in favor of a rose/pink color.

Looking at the new compact superzoom camera announcements by Canon, Samsung and Panasonic all offering HD-video, longer zoom and manual modes, Ricoh needs something different as a R10 successor in order to be able to compete with them, the high dynamic range might not be enough if the image quality is not considerably better.

You can find the first sample images here. So far it looks like an improvement from the R10 with less strong noise reduction and this is very good news.


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