Is five better than four? Ricoh CX5 review

It was about eight months ago when I reviewed the CX5’s predecessor, the CX4 – and as I pulled the latest release out of the box, I did a double-take as I thought I’d seen this camera already.

Ricoh-CX5

Body wise, there is little to distinguish the two of them. The CX5 is a bit dearer than the CX4 (at a smidge under £300), but boasts the same solid, all-metal body of the earlier model. This makes you feel like you’ve really got a substantial piece of kit in your hands, rather than a flimsy ‘toy’.

Beautiful detail on macro mode

Inside that rather small body lurks a pretty big lens – it can run from 28mm (wide-angle to you and me) up to an impressive 300mm. I have a Sigma lens for my DSLR that can do the same thing, and believe me, that won’t fit in my jacket pocket! (In fact it’s got me stopped at the X-ray machine at the airport on at least two occasions – I’ve still not worked out what it looks like when it goes through the scanner!). But to use that top range of zoom you will need a tripod or you’ll suffer with some major shake!

The big selling point of the CX5, though is its speed – it can shoot 15 full-res frames in 2.8 seconds – now that’s fast, although I started tapping my foot as I waited for the camera to store them – but hey, I’m impatient! And this is a £300 camera, not a far more pricey DSLR.

The CX5 has the same 10 megapixel back-illuminated sensor – and you’ll get noise-free shots from ISO 100-200, while those from 400-800 are fine. Higher than that and you might be disappointed with the results.

The CX5 also has the same High definition 720p video mode, which means the AVI format results in large file sizes, there’s no stereo sound and you can’t zoom or focus once you’re recording.

That long zoom can lead to some serious camera shake!

Despite the fact that it can cover such a huge range, allowing you to shoot everything from macro shots to landscapes and wildlife, there is not much in the way of manual control for the more experienced photographer, so don’t expect this to necessarily be a good catch-all to replace a DSLR is you want a more portable option for a day out.

However, for keen photographers who like to just set a choice of mode, and point and shoot, you’ll be assured of pretty decent results.

Ricoh CX5: A camera that can cook dinner? No but it’s speedy and has excellent zoom

Okay, this made me look twice. Reading about the latest camera out of the Ricoh stable, my eyes were drawn to the section of the press release that said it featured cooking and golf swing modes. I know we’re always joking that some gadgets can do pretty much everything except the washing up, but I was intrigued.

Ricoh-CX5

Sadly, it’s not about to get up and cook dinner for you (which is a shame, because I’m getting a bit peckish but really need to get this story off to our editor). But it does have settings specifically aimed at capturing these activities, along with fireworks, which is rather handy if you are more interested in taking photos than fiddling about with the right settings.

But what really sets this camera apart is the fact that it offers excellent zooming power and speedier autofocus, thanks to Ricoh’s new hybrid autofocus system. This latest CX5 model features AF focusing times that are as short as 0.2 sec. for both wide-angle 28 mm and telephoto 300 mm, – that’s almost half as long as the CX4, so you shouldn’t ever miss out on that fantastic shot again.

The CX5 also uses super-resolution technology to offer improved resolution of images and to allow you to use a zoom that is equivalent to a 600mm lens without resulting in a degradation of image.

Other features tally up with its predecessor; wide angle 10.7x optical zoom (28-300mm), 3in screen with 920k pixels, 10 megapixel sensor, anti-shake sensor, 5fps shooting, 720p HD video, HDMI out, and a top ISO setting of ISO3200.

This compact camera was designed along the concept that it would become “a tool that you will find yourself wanting to use every day” and if it proves to be as competent as Ricoh has made it sound (and I was really impressed with the picture quality and ease of use of the CX4 when I reviewed it last year) that could certainly be true

The Ricoh CX5 will be available at the end of February in three colours: Black, Silver, and Pink and will cost £259.99

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