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Ricoh HZ15 Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Ricoh HZ15, a compact digital camera with 15x optical zoom and a 16 megapixel sensor.

|  Ricoh HZ15 in Compact Cameras
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Ricoh HZ15 Black (5)

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.

Ricoh HZ15 Black (3)

Ricoh HZ15 Features

The Ricoh HZ15 has a 16 megapixel CCD sensor and 15x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 24-360mm. To reduced blur the camera has a SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism.

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.

Ricoh HZ15 Black (6)

Key Features

  • 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
Ricoh HZ15 Black (7)

Ricoh HZ15 Handling

The Ricoh HZ15 has a solid plastic body which is small and light enough to carry in your pocket. It also has a rubberised hand grip and a grooved dotted area for your thumb on the rear.

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.

Ricoh HZ15 Black (1)

Ricoh HZ15 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Ricoh HZ15 Sample Photos

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

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

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

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 | 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

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 Money

The 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.

Ricoh HZ15 Verdict

The Ricoh HZ15 offers a good zoom range for a very fair price. Unfortunately image quality isn't the best, but those who share images on the web, rather than produce large prints, will be pleased with the colour reproduction. Ideally you need to avoid shooting with a high ISO, but the flash offered quite inconsistent results.


Ricoh HZ15 Pros

Lots of zoom for a good price
Rubber grip on front
Good macro shots
Images have good colours
Low price

Ricoh HZ15 Cons

Image quality is poor at ISO 800 and 1600
Inconsistent flash performance
Screen looks pixelated when zooming in
No full resolution continuous shooting


Ricoh HZ15 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.3 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent24mm - 360mm
Optical Zoom15x
Image Sensor
Pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution230k
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus3cm
Focusing modes
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeNo
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 1600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting0.8fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable lithium-ion battery LB-050
Battery Life (CIPA rating)245shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsRechargeable lithium-ion battery LB-050, AC/DC Adapter GAC-03-EU, USB cable I-USB143, Strap O-ST143, Software (CD-ROM) S-SW143

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Photographs taken using the Ricoh HZ15

Shaggy Ink CapSpeckled Wood.Dryad's Saddle fungusAgama StelioPraying MantisHawthorn Shield BugSpeckled WoodSmall Magpie MothEpipactis GiganteaBuff Ermine MothLarge SkipperCinnabar MothSisyrinchium Dragon's EyeOur welcome visitors in lockdownIris Apricot

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6bq5 9
1 Nov 2013 4:20PM
It reminds me of my old Fuji F550EXR for some reason.

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