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The Ricoh HZ15 was announced in August 2013 and is a pocketable digital camera with 15x optical zoom. It also has a 16 megapixel sensor, 720p HD video recording and is available for just under £100.
There is an auto mode which automatically adjusts the camera settings for the detected scene. There are also 20 scene modes for you to choose from as well as a panorama mode.
Videos are recorded in 720p HD at 30 fps.
- 16 megapixel CCD sensor
- 15x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24-360mm)
- Shake reduction image stabilisation
- 3.0 inch 230k dot LCD screen
- 20 scene modes
- 720p HD video recording
- ISO 80 - 1600
- 3cm minimum focusing distance
- 0.8 fps continuous shooting
- Panorama mode
On the top of the camera are the on / off and movie record buttons as well as the shutter release and zoom rocker. On the rear are the mode, menu and playback buttons as well as a d-pad which also gives quick access to macro, self-timer, flash, display and delete. The self-timer and macro options are both unusually available via the same button.
The 3.0 inch screen has a low resolution of 230k dot and does look a little pixelated when zooming in. The menu system is easy enough easy enough to navigate. Pressing the menu button gives you the chance to change the picture settings, going to the bottom of the list allows you to change other camera settings.
Battery life is rated at a reasonable 245 shots according to CIPA test results. We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
|Shutter Response||0.25 secs|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.4 secs|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.6 secs|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||2.2 secs|
|Shot to Shot without Flash||1.4 secs|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||3.3 secs|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 fps|
|Continuous Shooting - 3 shots||2.7 fps|
The continuous shooting modes are limited to just 4 megapixels.
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Ricoh HZ15 Sample Photos
Ricoh Hz15 Portrait | 1/34 sec | f/4.2 | 8.3 mm | ISO 200
Landscape | 1/70 sec | f/10.8 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
Night Landscape | 3 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 200
Pet Portrait | 1/50 sec | f/5.0 | 16.2 mm | ISO 80
Sample Photos - Colour reproduction is good and the night landscape mode works well in low light conditions. Portraits with the flash aren't great, there isn't any red-eye but subjects aren't consistently lit, some of our test shots were bright on one side but darker on the other.
Ricoh HZ15 Lens test images
Wide Angle | 1/100 sec | f/10.8 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
Some Optical Zoom | 1/640 sec | f/5.3 | 20.1 mm | ISO 80
Full Optical Zoom | 1/850 sec | f/5.9 | 64.5 mm | ISO 80
Macro | 1/9 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
Lens Performance - Detail is OK for a sub-£100 digital camera, there is a little purple fringing in contrasting areas but it is generally well controlled. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 3cm which means you can get close enough for a decent macro shot. The full optical zoom photo shows some vignetting.
Ricoh HZ15 ISO test images
1/6 sec | f/5.3 | 20.1 mm | ISO 80
1/7 sec | f/5.3 | 20.1 mm | ISO 100
1/15 sec | f/5.3 | 20.1 mm | ISO 200
1/29 sec | f/5.3 | 20.1 mm | ISO 400
1/60 sec | f/5.3 | 20.1 mm | ISO 800
1/125 sec | f/5.3 | 20.1 mm | ISO 1600
ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 80, 100 and 200, but there is a significant reduction in image quality at ISO 400, with soft images produced. The loss in detail is worse at ISO 800 with very poor quality images produced at ISO 1600.
Ricoh HZ15 White-balance test images
AWB Tungsten | 1/14 sec | f/3.9 | 7.0 mm | ISO 100
WB Tungsten | 1/13 sec | f/3.9 | 7.0 mm | ISO 100
AWB Fluorescent | 1/6 sec | f/3.9 | 7.0 mm | ISO 100
WB Fluorescent | 1/6 sec | f/3.9 | 7.0 mm | ISO 100
White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights the Auto White Balance (AWB) takes a shot with a slight orange cast, with the incandescent preset taking a much better shot. Under the fluorescent lights, the AWB and fluorescent preset both perform well - taking almost identical shots.
Panorama | 1/450 sec | f/10.8 | 4.3 mm | ISO 320
Panorama mode - Panoramas are created by lining up a number of shots. The camera does a generally good job, although there are some issues.
Ricoh HZ15 Digital filters
Filter - Black And White | 0.7 sec | f/3.9 | 7.0 mm | ISO 80
Filter - Fisheye | 1/34 sec | f/3.9 | 7.0 mm | ISO 200
Filter - Normal | 1 sec | f/3.9 | 7.0 mm | ISO 80
Filter - Sepia | 1 sec | f/3.9 | 7.0 mm | ISO 80
Filter - Sketch | 1/8 sec | f/3.9 | 7.0 mm | ISO 800
Filter - Vivid | 0.8 sec | f/3.9 | 7.0 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filters - The HZ15 has a few filters to help take creative pictures, with a number of examples above.
Video - Below is a video recorded in 720p HD, using optical zoom. Quality is OK, but when zooming in the focus takes a little while to catch up.
Value For MoneyThe Ricoh HZ15 is available for £96. Other cameras with a similar amount of zoom include the Canon PowerShot SX170 IS at £149 with 16x optical zoom, Samsung WB250F at £124 and Nikon Coolpix S9400 at £163, both with 18x optical zoom.
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
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Ricoh HZ15 ProsLots of zoom for a good price
Rubber grip on front
Good macro shots
Images have good colours
Ricoh HZ15 ConsImage quality is poor at ISO 800 and 1600
Inconsistent flash performance
Screen looks pixelated when zooming in
No full resolution continuous shooting
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Ricoh HZ15 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.3 - f/5.9|
|35mm equivalent||24mm - 360mm|
|CCD pixels||16Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/2000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||30sec|
|ISO sensitivity||80 - 1600|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||Rechargeable lithium-ion battery LB-050|
|Box Contents||Rechargeable lithium-ion battery LB-050, AC/DC Adapter GAC-03-EU, USB cable I-USB143, Strap O-ST143, Software (CD-ROM) S-SW143|