The Ricoh PX was announced in June 2010 and is a waterproof, shockproof and dustproof digital compact camera. The camera is available in black, silver and green with an RRP of £179.99 and there are a range of colourful protector cases available.
Ricoh PX Front
Ricoh PX: Features
With a simple, flat design, the PX has a 16 megapixel sensor with noise reduction, a 5x optical zoom lens, 35mm equivalent of 28 - 140mm. SR digital zoom takes the zoom to 10x which Ricoh claim there is almost no drop in image quality. Digital zoom extends the total zoom to 48x and to reduce blur, the camera also has image-sensor-shift image stabilisation.
The Ricoh PX is waterproof to a depth of 3m for 60 minutes and shockproof to 1.5m. On the rear of the camera is a 2.7 inch, 230,000 dot, LCD screen with a scratch resistant coating.
Premium shot mode gives a total of 28 scenes to choose from including: Portrait, Night Portrait, Hand-Held Night Scene, Party, Cooking, Sweets, Loupe, Landscape, Beach, Snow, Sports, Fireworks, Auction, Skew Correct Mode, Pets, Miniature, Toy Camera, High Contrast Black & White, Soft Focus, Cross Process, Black and White and Sepia. The user can also add five modes of their own.
Movies can be recorded at 1280 x 720 pixel HD at 30 fps and can be watched back on a HD television when connected by a HDMI cable, which is sold separately.
Although water and shockproof the camera doesn't feel like it can take the bumps and scrapes as other cameras which are made for extreme conditions, such as the Panasonic and Olympus. On the plus side, you are getting a camera with resistance to water and being dropped which looks much like a normal compact digital camera. The case which was provided with the camera for testing offers extra protection except to the rear of the camera which is left exposed. It is also strange that there is a hole in the case where the PX symbol lies, but not for the tripod socket, therefore to use a tripod, you have to remove the case.
The menus are not like those found on many compact cameras, but after practice you will get used to them. All the buttons are easy to press, with dedicated buttons for the flash, self-timers and video recording. Focus speed is good and the camera is ready to take pictures within a couple of seconds of switching on. The battery's CIPA rating is 300 shots which is good and the camera certainly proved capable of taking at least this number of shots during test. There are three methods for continuous shooting: continuous, stream continuous and memory-reversal continuous, capable of 1, 7.5 and 7.8 fps respectively.
Ricoh PX Battery
Ricoh PX: Performance
Generally the PX took images with good exposure, with superb colour reproduction. Although not the greatest, detail in the images is OK, better in the centre of the images with a touch of blur around the edges. In the wide-angle picture below you can see some purple fringing in the trees to the left and the foreground looks slightly underexposed. The camera can focus as close as 3cm in Loupe mode which enables the camera to take very pleasing macro images.
Ricoh PX Lens test images
Noise is good at ISO 100 with only a hint creeping in at ISO 200. There is more noise at ISO 400 but it's not having a significant impact on image quality and the same can be said for ISO 800, At ISO 1600 there is a significant amount of noise, which makes the image lose sharpness, with both colour and sharpness being lost at ISO 3200. ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 are best used for images which are to shared on the web rather than full size prints.
Ricoh PX ISO test images
Below are a range of images taken using some of the scene modes available. Landscapes look good with a nice boost given to the greens and blues. Portraits with the flash looked a little washed out but there is little sign of red-eye.
Ricoh PX Scene modes
Under our incandescent studio lights, the auto white-balance setting copes well, with a similar image produced when using the incandescent preset. When using the fluorescent lights, the AWB preset gives a green cast in the image, with the fluorescent preset having a magenta cast.
Ricoh PX White-balance test images
Within the scene modes there are six filter effects which can be applied to images, examples of each are below.
Ricoh PX Digital filters
Below is a sample video shot at 720p HD. Another example can be seen by visiting the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.
Value For Money
There is a good range of cameras which offer waterproof and shockproof performance but unlike the Ricoh PX, the cameras listed below all offer some protection against freezing conditions.
Rather than being a camera which is aimed at those who have active lifestyles, such as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3 and Pentax Optio WG-1, this camera is more likely to suit those who want a day-to-day camera with the added bonus that it is water and shockproof. Image quality is good, as is colour reproduction although the menu system is not like those found on other compact cameras.
Ricoh PX: Pros
Excellent colour reproduction
Good battery life
Ricoh PX: Cons
Menu system takes a bit of getting used to