Ricoh's CX5 features a specification befitting a advanced compact camera and a price-tag to match. But does it improve on the previous generation, the Ricoh CX4, enough to warrant the upgrade? We take a closer look to find out if it stands up to the test...
Ricoh’s CX series of compacts have received several updates over the past few years, with each new model offering slight tweaks on performance without breaking a great deal of new ground. While it hasn’t ever hampered the impressive performance and image quality, it has hardly set the world alight. Is the latest model, the CX5 which has arrived shortly after the CX4, a worthy upgrade or has it simply once again added a small amount of features?
Ricoh CX5 review – Features
As was the case with the CX4 in relation to its predecessor, the CX3, the CX5 offers very few changes to the CX4. The sensor remains the same, being the 10MP CMOS backlit variety that’s now two generations old. The compact has also retained the same HD movie capture added on the CX4, although this is in keeping with many of the compacts on the market.
The CX5 also retains the 10.7x optical zoom seen in the history of the CX models, offering a focal range covering 28-300mm in 35mm equivalent terms. The lens also retains improved image stabilisation system initiated in the previous, of the sensor-shift variety, that was completely reworked on the previous generation and offers approximately three times the stabilisation of the CX3..
The LCD screen of the CX5 measures 3in and has a resolution of some 920k-dot, as was the case with the CX4, although the fact that this hasn’t improved is no great loss as it is one of the well specified on the market. However, an area that hasn’t been improved, and that has for several generations now been missing, is both the implication of Raw capture and full manual controls. The CX5 has, instead, added to the ‘creative’ shooting modes seen on the previous CX4.
Ricoh CX5 review – Design
Once again, the design of the CX
series has changed very little with regards to design, although the
model has always boasted an almost retro design since day one. The top
plate is pleasingly sparsely populated, with just a mode dial, shutter
released and power button present. One the rear of the camera sit four
operation buttons in a row, a playback button and a control / adjustment
dial which takes the form 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 thumbs natural resting
Performance & Image Quality
Ricoh CX5 review – Performance
Performance is one area in
which the CX5 has gained its main improvements. A new AF system has been
implemented which, Ricoh claims and is reflected in use, improves the
focus times greatly. The CX5 has also received a few tweaks to its
processor which has sped up shot to shot speed, and overall the camera
feels snappier in the hand. The CX5 also as a well laid-out and designed
menu system, and is in general a pleasure to use. There is no escaping,
however, that the camera could definitely have benefitted from the
addition of both Raw capture and full manual controls.
Ricoh CX5 review – Image quality
Images produced by the CX5
are as impressive as on previous generations – colour reproduction is
as pleasing as pleasing as before, with images exhibiting a natural tone
overall. Dynamic range in conventional shooting mode is also
impressive, with clear detail retained in even extreme shadows and
highlights. Sharpness is also pleasing, owing to the quality optics,
while barrel distortion is kept to an impressive minimum considering the
extreme focal range offers by the 10.7x optical zoom.
Value & Verdict
Ricoh CX5 review – Value
The Ricoh CX5 is currently
available for around its RRP of £259.99. This places it firmly in to the
advanced compact category and up against some tough competition. When
you consider what its competition offer, and despite its excellent image
quality, you’d have to say that its lacking in relation to its peers.
Ricoh CX5 review – Verdict
The Ricoh CX5 is a worthy addition to the CX series, and remains strong in the core areas in which is the CX series is known to excel. However, it suffers from the same failings as previous models have, and still doesn’t feature Raw capture or full manual shooting controls. Overall, once again the CX series is just a few small tweaks away from being a great advanced compact.
101.5 x 58.6 x 29.4mm
Li-ion rechargeable DB-100
USB 2, AV Out
SD / SDHC
Auto, red-eye, off
Auto, multi, 5 preset, manual, bracket
Evaluative, Centre-weighted, Spot
Program, Smart-auto, scene, creative shooting modes
1/2000 – 8 seconds
3in, 920k-dot LCD screen
28-300mm, f/3.5 – 5.6
10MP, 1/2.3in Backlit CMOS sensor