The CX4 is the latest advanced compact in the CX range from Ricoh. It has an eye-catching specification, but does it offer enough to compete with the big guns?
Ricoh CX4 review – Features
The CX4 features the 10MP CMOS back-lit sensor that debuted in the CX3, which also offers HD video capture at 1280 x 720 pixel resolution, and at a frame rate of 30fps. A 10.7x optical zoom, offering a focal range of 28-300mm in 35mm equivalent terms, is also present. One area in which the CX4 has been improved over its predecessor, however, is image stabilisation – a completely reworked sensor-shift system now offers approximately three times the stability previously offered, Ricoh claims.
A 3in, 920k-dot LCD screen remains as does, disappointingly, the lack of Raw capture and full manual control. Rather than add Raw capture, Ricoh has added a new host of ‘Creative Shooting Modes’. These modes apply filters such as Cross Process and Soft Focus to images captured.
Ricoh CX4 review ? Design and Performance
Ricoh CX4 review – Design
The CX4 is barely different from the CX3 in terms of design – it feels as though it is cut from a single bar of brushed metal, with the solidity to match. The top plate is pleasingly sparsely populated, with just a mode dial, shutter release and power button present. On the rear of the camera sit four operation buttons in a row, a playback button and a control / adjustment dial which takes the form of a small joystick. The camera itself sits comfortably in the hand, with a small rubber grip on the rear of the camera placed perfectly in position for the thumb’s natural resting place.
Ricoh CX4 review – Performance
The CX4’s focusing system, while a little noisy in use, is both fast and accurate, and the subject tracking also performs well. The design of the camera is such that shooting with it is a pleasure, while a reasonably well-designed menu system also helps. Exposure and white balance is generally reliable and although the various creative filters offer decent results you can’t help but feel that the CX4 would be better off with both full manual control and Raw image capture.
Ricoh CX4 review – Image Quality
Ricoh CX4 review – Image Quality
The impressive image quality is another feature
thankfully inherited by the CX4 from the CX3. Colour reproduction is
excellent, with a pleasingly natural colour palette displayed. The tones
may be a touch muted for some, but a quick bit of post-processing
easily remedies this, otherwise Vivid colours can be selected using the
As was the case with previous models in the CX
series, the tonal range of the CX4 is excellent. Both shadows and
highlights are well-handled and saved from being blown out, although a
criticism can be levelled at the dull midtones. Again, however, this can
be corrected in post-production. Sharpness is pleasing throughout the
frame, although a touch soft at the edges, and image noise is well
handled throughout the ISO range.
Ricoh CX4 review ? Value and Verdict
Ricoh CX4 review – Value
The CX4’s street price is currently around £50 more than its
predecessor, the CX3. You’ll still be getting a good camera, but apart
from the extra creative shooting modes and new image stabilisation,
you’re not getting a whole lot of new features for your money.
Ricoh CX4 review – Verdict
There’s no escaping the fact that the CX4 is, on its own, a very good camera. It’s worth noting though that Ricoh has not fixed the faults of the CX3 and also not added much that’s new to the model. As an advanced compact the CX4 should really feature Raw capture or full manual control, or ideally both, as opposed to neither. Having said that, the CX4 does produce good results, it’s well designed and has a lovely LCD screen. For that reason it’s still worthy of a recommendation. Good, just not as great as it could be.