Ricoh CX2

      Photo Review 8.5

      In summary

      Ricoh’s second CMOS-sensor digicam extends the zoom range of the previous model to 10.7 times.Ricoh’s second CMOS-equipped digicam, the CX2, comes hard on the heels of the CX1, which we reviewed in March. It has the same 6.16 x 4.62 mm CMOS sensor with 9.3-megapixel (effective) resolution but boasts a new lens that provides 10.7x optical zoom and wide-angle coverage in a camera body that is only 29.4 mm thick. . . [more]

      Full review


      Ricoh’s second CMOS-equipped digicam, the CX2, comes hard on the heels of the CX1, which we reviewed in March. It has the same 6.16 x 4.62 mm CMOS sensor with 9.3-megapixel (effective) resolution but boasts a new lens that provides 10.7x optical zoom and wide-angle coverage in a camera body that is only 29.4 mm thick.

      The generally styling of both models is similar, although the new model is 1.5mm thicker than its predecessor, presumably to accommodate the longer zoom lens. The new model is also five grams heavier. A dimpled texture has been added to the finger grip on the new model, which is offered in silver, black and two-tone pink/grey.

      The lens covers a focal length range that equates to approximately 28-300mm in 35mm format. Comprising 10 elements in seven groups, it includes four aspherical elements and has maximum apertures ranging from f/3.5 to f/5.6. However, lens apertures remain non-adjustable.


      Front view of the Ricoh CX2. (Source: Ricoh.)


      Rear view of the Ricoh CX2. (Source: Ricoh.)


      Top view of the Ricoh CX2. (Source: Ricoh.)

      Like most point-and-press digicams, we suspect this camera has only two aperture settings, with a minimum aperture of f/8. The zoom lever is pressure sensitive and can be switched from normal to high-speed by holding it at the tele position for a second or two.

      High-speed continuous shooting has been extended from four to five frames/second at maximum resolution in the new model. There are now two M-continuous plus settings. M-Cont. Plus (9M) saves the last 15 images taken during approximately three seconds before the finger is removed from the shutter release button in a single, 9-megapixel (N3456) file. M-Cont. Plus (2M) saves the last 30 images (roughly one second) as a single N1728 (2M) file.

      There’s also a Speed Continuous setting that supports recording at up to 120 frames per second. You can choose between recording for one second, to get the full 120 frames, or two seconds for 60 fps burst rate. The sequential images are saved as a single VGA file.

      There’s also a new Auto option in the Dynamic Range Double Shot mode but this setting still records two shots at different exposure levels and combines them into a single image with a wider brightness range. The Very Weak, Weak, Medium and Strong settings for this mode are still offered and you can combine a shot taken in this mode with normal shooting and record two images, one with dynamic range adjustment and the other without.

      Face detection capabilities have been expanded with the addition of face recognition. Up to eight human faces can now be detected in a scene. When shooting close subjects, the camera will automatically switch to macro mode, eliminating the need for manual switching. The image flagging function is now able to tag up to 20 shots (instead of just three) so they can be displayed quickly in playback mode.

      New Scene presets include a high-contrast B&W mode and a ‘miniaturise’ mode that shoots scenes with the top and bottom areas of the image blurred to replicate the appearance of close-up photography. (Why anyone would want to do this puzzles us considerably.) There’s also a new ‘Discrete’ mode that switches off the flash and AF-assist light and subdues operational sounds without changing camera settings.

      Aside from the lens and these shooting mode improvements, very little has changed. The menu in the new model is the same as in the CX1 – and just as tricky to read in certain types of lighting, thanks to the small font size used. The new camera also comes with the electronic level display and optional grid guides (three options) and the easy-to-use Pre-AF and Continuous AF autofocusing functions are also provided.

      Other features carried over from the CX1 include the Smooth Imaging Engine IV image processor and slim, pocketable camera body. Even body styling has changed very little from the original CX1 and the CX2 boasts the same 3-inch VGA-quality (920,000 dots) LCD monitor as its predecessor. It’s coated to minimise grease and scratching and reduce reflections.

      Recording Sizes
      As in the CX1, image capture is restricted to JPEG files. Nine image sizes are provided, including a 3:2 aspect ratio and a 1:1 aspect ratio. At the highest 4:3 resolution, you can choose between Fine and Normal compression. Typical file sizes for the Easy, Scene and Continuous shooting modes are shown in the table below. (Interestingly, files are marginally larger in Multi-AF mode.)

      Quality setting

      Image size

      File size


      3456 x 2592



      3456 x 2592



      3456 x 2304



      2592 x 2592



      3072 x 2304



      2592 x 1944



      2048 x 1536



      1280 x 960



      640 x 480


      N1728(2M) M-Cont Plus)

      1728 x 1296


      Video capabilities remain trapped in the ‘dark ages’ of VGA and QVGA resolution, with a choice between 30 or 15 frames/second frame rates. Clips are recorded with monaural audio and the optical zoom is disabled, leaving users with digital zoom only. Maximum clip length is 90 minutes – or the equivalent of 4GB. Typical recording times for a 1GB memory card are shown in the table below.


      Frame rate

      Recording time on a 1GB memory card

      VGA (640 x 480 pixels)

      30 fps

      9 minutes, 15 seconds

      15 fps

      18 minutes, 20 seconds

      QVGA (320 x 240 pixels)

      30 fps

      23 minutes. 42 seconds

      15 fps

      46 minutes, 19 seconds

      Playback and Software
      Essentially nothing has changed since the CX1. Details of both can be found in this review.

      Not unexpectedly, pictures taken with the test camera were very similar to those we obtained from the CX1. However, colours appeared more natural-looking and saturation levels were less punchy, both of which represent noticeable improvements on the pioneering model. These observations were confirmed by Imatest, which showed saturation to be closer to normal expectations for a compact digicam – albeit still slightly elevated in the blue and purple hues. Overall colour accuracy was significantly better, although there were still slight colour shifts in the skin hues.

      The new lens on the CX2 showed less edge softening and slightly lower maximum resolution in our Imatest tests than the CX1’s lens. Best results were obtained at between 7mm and 10mm focal lengths, where our Imatest results just met expectations for a 9-megapixel camera. The graph below shows the results of our Imatest tests at different focal length settings. (We weren’t able to test the lens at full optical zoom due to restrictions in the available testing space.)


      As with the CX1, resolution from our Imatest assessments remained relatively high throughout the camera’s sensitivity range, although image quality deteriorated visibly in test shots taken at high ISO settings. The graph below shows the results of our Imatest tests.


      Low-light performance was similar to the CX2. Long exposures (6-8 seconds) at ISO settings of 400 or lower were relatively noise-free but far from colour-accurate. We found a few stuck pixels at ISO 400 in long exposures, although noise levels remained relatively low. ISO 400 is the maximum sensitivity setting for exposures longer than one second, regardless of what is set in the menu.

      Noise became visible in flash shots by ISO 800 and sharpness had declined noticeably at ISO 1600. The built-in flash was able to illuminate an averages-zed room at ISO settings of 200 and above and illumination levels were even between ISO 400 and ISO 1600.

      Lateral chromatic aberration was significantly lower than we found in the CX1 we tested and remained in the low band at most focal length settings. However we observed slight coloured fringing in outdoor shots where high-contrast edges were recorded. An example is reproduced below.


      The full image, showing a typical situation in which coloured fringing may occur.


      A 100% crop from the above image showing the extent of coloured fringing.

      Autofocusing speeds were relatively fast for such a slow, long-zoom lens and the Snap and Infinity focus modes made it possible to avoid hunting in low light levels. Metering was also generally accurate and the image stabiliser system enabled us to use shutter speeds as slow as 1/70 second at the 52.5mm focal length before more than 10% of test shots became slightly blurred.

      The review camera took just over two seconds to power up and extend its lens and slightly less to shut down. We measured a consistent average capture lag of 0.5 seconds, which reduced to 0.1 seconds with pre-focusing. It took 0.7 seconds on average to process each high-resolution JPEG file.

      In the normal continuous shooting mode, the review camera recorded 10 high-resolution shots in 1.7 seconds and took 5.2 seconds to process the burst. In the M-Cont Plus (9M) mode, the same frame rate was measured and it took the same time to process the burst of shots.

      When we swapped to the M-Cont plus (2M) mode the review camera was able to record 10 frames in 0.3 seconds with an average file size of 470KB per image. The shots recorded in this mode are saved as a special MPO (multi-picture) file that can only be unpacked with the supplied Irodio Photo & Video Studio.

      MPO files are also captured in the two Speed Cont modes, each capturing 120 frames in quick succession. In the Speed Cont (Low) mode, the test camera took 2.1 seconds to capture the burst, while the Speed Cont (High) mode did it in one second. Shots taken in the Low mode averaged 460KB in size, while frames captured in the High mode were 107KB on average. It took 7.7 seconds to process the Speed Cont (Low) burst and 6.3 seconds for the Speed Cont (High) burst.

      Buy this camera if:
      – You want an ultra-compact long-zoom camera for snapshot photography.
      – You could benefit from the dynamic range expansion function and can tolerate its restrictions.
      – You’re happy to use the monitor for shot composition.
      – You want manual flash adjustment plus a good range of flash settings for a slimline digicam.

      Don’t buy this camera if:
      – You require P, A, S and M shooting modes.
      – You want to shoot raw files.
      – You want to shoot widescreen or high-definition video.





      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.


      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.


      Close-up. 5.4mm focal length, ISO 80, 1/176 second at f/3.7.


      4.9mm focal length, ISO 80, 1/760 second at f/3.5.


      52.5mm focal length, ISO 80, 1/97 second at f/5.3.


      Digital zoom. 52.5mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/73 second at f/5.6.


      Flash exposure; 20.9mm focal length. ISO 100, 1/125 second at f/4.9.


      Flash exposure; 20.9mm focal length. ISO 1600, 1/125 second at f/4.9.


      Night shot: ISO 100, 8 second exposure at f/3.5; 6.5mm focal length.


      Night shot: ISO 400, 8 second exposure at f/3.5; 6.5mm focal length.


      14.8mm focal length, ISO 80, 1/203 second at f/4.6.


      4.9mm focal length, ISO 1600, 1/1150 second at f/7.


      38.9mm focal length, ISO 1600, 1/73 second at f/4.8.




      Image sensor: 6.16 x 4.62 mm CMOS sensor with 10.29 million photosites (9.29 megapixels effective)
      Lens: 4.9-52.5mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens (28-300mm in 35mm format)
      Zoom ratio: 10.7x optical, up to 4.8x digital
      Image formats: Stills – JPEG (Exif 2.21); Movies – AVI (Open DML Motion JPEG Format compliant)
      Image Sizes: Stills – 4:3 aspect: 3456 x 2592, 3072 x 2304, 2592 x 1944, 2048 x 1536, 1728 x 1296 (M-Cont Plus), 1280 x 960, 640 x 480; 3:2aspect: 3456 x 2304; 1:1aspect 2592 x 2592; Movies – 640 x 480, 320 x 240 at 30 or 15 fps
      Shutter speed range: 8, 4, 2, 1 to 1/2000 sec.
      Self-timer: 2 or 10 second delay
      Image Stabilisation: Image sensor shift
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3 EV steps
      Focus system/range: Contrast-based AF with Multi, Spot, Continuous and Snap modes (fixed focus) plus manual focusing.
      Exposure metering/control: 256-segment Multi, Centre-weighted, Spot metering; Program AE,
      Shooting modes: Auto, Easy, Dynamic Range Double Shot, Continuous (Continuous, M-Continuous Plus, Ultra-High-Speed Continuous), Scene Modes (Portrait, Sports, Night Portrait, Landscape, Nightscape, High Sensitivity, Zoom Macro, High-Contrast B&W, Miniaturise, Skew Correction, Text), My Setting, Movie Mode
      ISO range: Auto, Auto Hi, ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
      White balance: Auto, Multi-pattern auto, Outdoors, Cloudy, Incandescent (x 2), Fluorescent, Manual; White Balance Bracket Function
      Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, Red-eye-Reduction, Flash On, Slow Synchro, Flash Off; range 0.2 to 3.0 metres
      Sequence shooting: Up to 5 frames/sec.
      Storage Media: Approx. 88MB internal memory plus SD/SDHC expansion slot
      Viewfinder: n.a.
      LCD monitor: 3.0-inch Transparent LCD (approx. 920,000 dots)
      Power supply: DB-70 rechargeable lithium-ion battery, CIPA rated for approx 290 shots/change
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 101.5 x 58.3 x 29.4 mm
      Weight: 185 grams (without battery and card)





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