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Ricoh CX3 review: Ricoh CX3

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Typical Price: £300.00
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The Good Good zoom range; 10mm macro mode; excellent LCD display; high-end features.

The Bad Weak 720p movie mode; image quality is limited by the sensor; utilitarian styling.

The Bottom Line The Ricoh CX3 is a very different sort of superzoom. It's aimed at keen and knowledgeable users, and packed with tools that aren't just aimed at grabbing headlines. But the gap between what the camera can do and what the sensor can do is slightly too large

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6.5 Overall

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The Ricoh CX3 is no ordinary compact superzoom. It looks pricey at around £300, and the Ricoh brand doesn't have the cachet of Canon, Nikon and others. But Ricoh's packed in plenty of interesting features, including a 10.7x zoom, pitching the CX3 at true photo enthusiasts rather than gadget-hungry snapshooters.

Feature fiend
Instead of getting caught up in the ever-escalating megapixel wars, Ricoh's opted for a modest, 10-megapixel CMOS sensor designed for high performance and low noise. You certainly get the high performance. The CX3 can shoot at 5 frames per second at full resolution, which is pretty rare for a compact camera, and has a high-speed mode capable of capturing images at up to 120fps at a 640x480-pixel resolution.

The CX3's in-built distortion control produces near-straight edges, but the lens does lose a little definition at the edges, and it softens up at full zoom too. The colours and exposures are good, though (click image to enlarge)

The autofocus is pretty snappy, too, and has some hidden depths. You can choose the focus point manually, as you might expect, and you get a fully manual focus mode too. But there's also Ricoh's 'snap' focus mode, which gets you a shot without any shutter lag at all if you quickly stab at the shutter release (it uses a preset focus distance). You can even 'bracket' your focus point -- the camera takes a series of shots and you pick the one you feel works the best.

Ricoh's clearly thought long and hard about ways to improve on standard camera controls and features, and the multi-point white-balance system is another example. It adjusts the colours region by region, and it's perfect if you've got a mixture of daylight and artificial light in the same shot.

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