Ricoh CX6 Digital Compact Camera Review - The latest camera in Ricoh's CX range, the CX6, is a premium digital compact camera with a 10.7x optical zoom lens and 10 megapixel sensor. Daniel Bell puts it to the test.
Ricoh released their first CX camera back in February 2009 and have released regular updates since. The latest version, the CX6, was announced in November 2011 with an RRP of £259.99 and is available in black, silver and pink.
Ricoh CX6 Front
Ricoh CX6 Features
The CX6 has a 10 megapixel sensor and a 10.7x optical lens which is a 35mm equivalent of 28-300mm. Super-resolution zoom takes the focal length upto a massive 600mm, combine this with digital zoom and the length is further extended to 2880mm. The camera boasts a new AF system which Ricoh claims can achieve focusing times as fast as 0.1 seconds throughout the zoom range.
To aide telephoto shooting there is a new zoom assist monitor function that activates when shooting at over 93mm and displays a small image on the LCD monitor (equivalent to a 85mm focal length) so that you can check the framing of the shot.
Bridging the gap between a compact and a DSLR, the CX6 has new aperture/shutter-speed priority modes. The camera also has a noise reduction function and super-resolution technology which gives images a high-resolution feel by automatically discerning outlines, details and gradations in the image. There are also a range of creative filters including Bleach Bypass which takes images with heightened contrast and muted colours.
Movies are recorded in 720p HD with autofocus and optical zoom both available during recording as well as stereo sound. The snap movie shooting function allows the shooting of short video clips.
Ricoh CX6 Top
Back illuminated 10 megapixel sensor
10.7x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 28-300mm)
AF times as fast as 0.1 seconds
1cm minimum focus distance
5fps high-speed shooting
Super resolution zoom
Aperture/shutter-speed priority modes
Zoom assist motor function
Movie release button
3 inch LCD 1.23m dot screen with fluorine coating
720p HD movie recording
Available in black, silver and pink
Ricoh CX6 Screen
Ricoh CX6 Handling
The Ricoh CX5 is small enough to fit in your pocket and is reasonably light-weight. Its exterior is part metal, part plastic with a rubber grip on the rear for your right thumb. As was found with the CX5 the flash is positioned where you may occasionally hold the camera, which is something to bear in mind when shooting with the flash.
The buttons are all well spaced out and easy to press with the mode dial placed on top of the camera with the power button, shutter release and zoom rocker. The rest of the buttons are found on the rear of the camera with the d-pad being like a small joystick. The menu systems is very clearly laid out and easy to navigate.
The Ricoh CX6 battery life is rated at a fair 260 shots according to Ricoh / CIPA testing. On the rear of the camera is a 3 inch, 1.23 million dot, LCD screen which is 1.7x brighter than the CX5. There is a fluorine coating to prevent scratches and the screen will also adjust its brightness based on the level of the brightness of the subject, minimising the loss of visibility that can occur due to changes in the shooting environment. The CX6 also has a dedicated movie record button, meaning you can record videos no matter what shooting mode you are in.
Below we have measured shutter response and focusing speed at both wide angle and telephoto settings. We took 6 shots and calculated the average speed of the camera. The results can be seen below.
Shutter Response Average
Wide - Focus and Shutter Response Average
0.15 - 0.2 seconds
Full zoom - Focus and Shutter Response Average
0.35 - 0.4 seconds
Switch on time
1.2 - 1.5 seconds
AF Continuous Shooting
M-Cont Plus (10 megapixels)
M-Cont Plus (2 megapixels)
Speed Continuous (low) (VGA)
Speed Continuous (high) (VGA)
Although the CX6 has a slightly longer shutter response time, when shooting wide the focus speed is extremely minimal meaning it is quicker to focus that the CX5. When shooting with the full zoom the focus and shutter response average is slightly longer.
Also tested is the switch on time and shot-to-shot time, both of which are quick and an improvement on the CX5. The camera has a range of continuous shooting modes with the camera capable of shooting full sized, 10 megapixel images at 5 fps.
Ricoh CX6 Battery and Memory Card
Ricoh CX6 Performance
The Ricoh CX6 takes well exposed images with very pleasing colour reproduction. Whether shooting wide or with the lens at its longest pictures have a good amount of detail, although they are softer in the corners and there is occasional purple fringing. A picture taken using the super zoom resolution can be found in the equipment database. With a minimum focusing distance of just 1cm the CX6 is capable of taking very detailed, close-up shots.
Ricoh CX6 Lens test images
There isn't any noise at ISO 100 and as you go through the ISO range there are just subtle increases at ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800 and ISO 1600 with good sharp images produced. At the maximum setting, ISO 3200, there is a significant amount of noise with images appearing softened.
Ricoh CX6 ISO test images
The following images have been taken using some of the scene modes available. As well as these scene modes you can opt to shoot using aperture and shutter speed priority modes. Landscapes have excellent blues and greens with portrait shots having good skin tones and no red-eye.
Ricoh CX6 Sample Photos
The auto white-balance (AWB) setting handles most lighting situations well although under our incandescent studio lighting it produces and image with a strong orange cast with a much better image taken when using the incandescent preset. Under the fluorescent lights the AWB preset produces a good image with the respective preset taking an image with a magenta cast.
Ricoh CX6 White-balance test images
The CX6 has a creative shooting mode which includes dynamic range, miniaturise, bleach bypass, high contrast black and white, soft focus, toy camera and cross process, with a selection of examples below.
Ricoh CX6 Digital filters
The video below has been shot at 720p HD. Optical zoom can be used during recording although you can here the zoom operating. The camera can also shoot VGAs and Snap Movies with durations of 3, 5 and 10 seconds or custom up to 60 seconds.
The Ricoh CX6 is a feature-packed camera ideal for carrying on your travels. It's great for macros and its 10.7x optical zoom lens means you can get close-up when out shooting. Image quality is good, with great colour reproduction and levels of noise throughout the ISO range up to ISO 1600. The CX6 is also fantastic at making sure you don't miss any of the action with an extremely fast focusing system and 5 fps full size image high-speed shooting.
The Ricoh CX6 is a versatile camera capable of taking very pleasing images.
Ricoh CX6 Pros
Minimum focus distance
5 fps high-speed shooting
Good build quality
Quick focusing speed
Good colour reproduction
Good noise performance up to ISO1600
Ricoh CX6 Cons
Purple fringing visible on occasion
No grip on front of camera as found on CX5
Noise when using zoom during video recording