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Ricoh CX4 Overview

Posted: 08/19/2010

Ricoh's CX4 is the fourth model in a product line that's traditionally been updated every six months, in February and August of each year. The Ricoh CX-series cameras all share a nearly identical compact body design, and each model to date has featured a CMOS image sensor, mechanical sensor-shift image stabilization, 3.0-inch LCD panel with 920,000 dot resolution, and a long-zoom lens that swings elements out of the optical path when retracted, allowing a slimmer body profile.The Ricoh CX4 retains these features, with the same 1/2.3-inch, 10.0 effective megapixel, backside illuminated CMOS sensor as the CX3, coupled to the 28-300mm equivalent 10.7x optical zoom lens that was introduced with the CX2. Maximum aperture with this lens varies from f/3.5 to f/5.6 across the zoom range. Focusing is possible to as close as one centimeter in macro mode.

Although the sensor itself is unchanged, noise processing has been tweaked in the CX4, and Ricoh has also dropped the lowest ISO-equivalent sensitivity position, with the new range being ISO 100 to 3,200 equivalents at full resolution. The image stabilization system has also been further tuned, and Ricoh now claims a 3.7 stop improvement can be gained with stabilization active. The Ricoh CX4 also adds subject tracking capability to the autofocus system, which uses contrast detection, and offers a choice of multi / spot operation with face detection capability. This allows up to eight individuals to be located in the image frame, and their positions taken into account when determining focus, exposure, and white balance.

The Ricoh CX4 lacks manual or priority exposure modes, and instead relies on a selection of scene modes to help photographers control the look of images. Among a selection of eleven scene modes in the CX4 is a new multi-shot night landscape mode, which automatically combines four sequential shots in-camera to yield a single exposure with reduced blur from camera shake. The Ricoh CX4 also offers a number of effects functions that tweak image output in a variety of ways, and of the six available, three of these are new -- Soft Focus, Cross Process, and Toy Camera. Like its predecessor, the Ricoh CX4 includes a variety of unusual shooting modes that capture numerous images -- sometimes at high-speed, with extremely reduced resolution -- and then save the result as multi-picture object files. This allows the image bursts to be browsed in-camera, and then the best shot of the group to be saved as a standalone JPEG.

Other changes since the CX3 include a slight 20-shot improvement in battery life, updated compliance with the latest EXIF 2.3 specification, a 2MB reduction in available flash memory to 86MB, a change in the software bundle to replace Irodio Photo and Video Studio with Ricoh MediaBrowser, and removal of support for the Windows 2000 / Mac OS 9.x operating systems. In other respects, the Ricoh CX4 is little changed from its predecessor.

The Ricoh CX4 goes on sale in Japan from September 3, 2010, with monthly production of 50,000 units. Pricing has not been disclosed, and nor has the company indicated any plans for sale in overseas markets, such as the USA.