Round Up: Ricoh CX4, Olympus FE 5050 and Nikon D3100

‘Tis the season to be snap happy, according to camera giants Nikon, Ricoh and Olympus. They’ve all prepared new cameras for launch this Autumn, giving us all plenty of time to master the new lens’ before the annual family Christmas photo-a-thon.

Ricoh CX4


The CX4 is a lot more rounded than Ricoh’s previous compacts – in hardware, software and style.

In the physical realm, the new model is sleeker, slimmer and curvier, complete with a high-power 10.7x optical zoom lens which also offers wide-angle 28-300mm photos.

Thankfully, with such a long-zoom, Ricoh have also improved on the image stabilisation sensor too, promising to reduce shutter-speed by 3.7 EV.

The software has also been improved all round. The camera uses subject-tracking auto-focus to keep whoever you’re aiming at in perfect focus, whether they’re running about or waiting for a portrait.

The camera also boasts a “night landscape multi-shot mode” which takes four exposures and combines them into a single photograph to reduce image noise in low-light photos.

To round-off the new software updates, Ricoh have thrown in a bunch of more fun updates. In the “creative shooting mode” budding photographers can add a soft focus, cross process and toy camera effects.

These picture options may be less impressive than those found in an iPhone with a £1.19 app, but “creative shooting” will be sure to keep the family entertained when a chestnut roasting on the open fire sets the Christmas tree alight, melting the presents and scorching the new Puppy (which, by the way, should never have been wrapped and placed under the tree in the first place).

Olympus Gets Funky with Three New FE cameras


This September, Olympus is extending its extensive range of point-and-shot cameras. There will be three new Olympus FE cameras with almost identical names: 5050, 5040 and the 4050.

They’re almost identical on features, too. The 5050 (RRP: £129) has 14 megapixels, 5x wide optical zoom, advanced face detection (up to 16 faces).

It also comes in a range of colours, including (and this is where Olympus spent its “naming things” budget): Starry Silver, Classic Black, Champagne Gold and Dusty Pink.

The 5040 (£119) drops down to 12 megapxiels and can only track 12 faces. It does comes in a slightly different range of colours, though: Starry Silver, Classic Black, Raspberry Red and Copper Orange.

The 4050 (£99) also only has 12 megapixels, drops the optical zoom to 4x, but strangely gains advanced face detection for up to 16 faces – something the 5040 lacks.

And the 4050’s colours? Starry Silver, Classic Black, Wine Red and Pure White.

All three cameras have auto-focus tracking to keep moving subjects in focus, as well as i-Auto to automatically detect the type of photo and change the photo settings accordingly.

Nikon D3100 – DSLR Pictures, Compact Usability


While other companies are content with creating compacts, Nikon like to make their DSLR’s so easy to use that they blast their way into the point-and-shoot market. That’s why the D3100‘s older brother, the D3000, is Europe’s best selling DSLR.

With a 14.2 megapixels, Full HD video and Live View, however, the D3100 looks set to become the new king – especially at just £499 (or £579, if you’d like a lens).

Other features include the 11-point autofocus system, which uses Fulltime servo autofocus to keep subjects in focus without the need to press the shutter button. It also recognises and follows 35 faces at a time – which is great if you have a very big family.

The ultimate weapon in Nikon’s war on compacts, however, is the Guide mode. This gives you step-by-step instructions of how to change the camera settings. Not only does it help you take great pictures but also teaches you which settings were used – so you can develop your photography skills as you go.

Other user-friendly settings includes the ability to preview images for each setting before you take the photo, letting you know what you can expect from the exposure or aperture level before you click the button.