Ricoh CX6 Review

4.0
January 17, 2012 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 3.5Mb.

The Ricoh CX6 produced images of very good quality during the review period. The Ricoh CX6's main drawback in terms of image quality is noise, with ISO 400 showing some noise and blurring of detail. The noise and loss of fine detail get progressively worse as you go from ISO 400 to ISO 1600, with the fastest 3200 setting not really worth using. The MAX noise reduction mode does noticeably reduce the noise levels at each ISO setting, but at the expense of further reducing detail in the image.

The Ricoh CX6 handled chromatic aberrations quite well with some purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations. The 10 megapixel images were just a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting of Normal and either require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you should set the in-camera sharpening to Sharp. The night photograph was OK, with the maximum shutter speed of 8 seconds allowing you to capture just enough light for most situations.

Macro performance is a stand-out highlight, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm away from the subject, although there is a lot of lens distortion and shadowing at such a close distance. Anti-shake works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure.

The Dynamic Range mode works really well, resulting in images that have noticeably more dynamic range that those shot in the Normal mode. If you want to shoot images that retain detail in both the highlight and shadow areas, then the Ricoh CX6 is a great choice. There is one main drawback though; the DR images have noticeably less saturated colours than the Normal version, which more accurately matches the scene.

It's easy to tell which image was taken with Super Resolution turned on and which ones with it turned off, particularly if viewing onscreen at 100% magnification. The difference isn't quite so apparent on a print up to A3 in size, but I'm not convinced enough to recommend it except when you really need the extra reach - it undoubtedly improves on the digital zoom, but not so much that I'd regularly use it.

Noise

There are 6 ISO settings available on the Ricoh CX6. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with noise reduction set to Off and the strongest setting of MAX.

Noise Reduction Off Noise Reduction MAX

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Ricoh CX6's 10.7x zoom lens offers a versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:

28mm

300mm

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting of Normal. You can change the in-camera sharpening level to one of the preset levels (Sharp, Normal or Soft) if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Ricoh CX6 handled chromatic aberrations fairly well during the review, with some purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Ricoh CX6 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is just 1cm away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Ricoh CX6 are Auto flash, Red-eye Flash, Flash On, Flash Synchro and Flash Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Suppressed Flash - Wide Angle (28mm)

Forced Flash - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Suppressed Flash - Telephoto (300mm)

Forced Flash - Telephoto (300mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Red-eye Flash settings caused any red-eye.

Forced Flash

Forced Flash (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction Auto

Red-eye Reduction Auto (100% Crop)

Night

The Ricoh CX6's maximum shutter speed is 8 seconds in the Shutter-priority shooting mode, which is fairly good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 8 seconds at ISO 100.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Anti Shake

The Ricoh CX6 has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/11th / 28mm
     
1/6th / 300mm

Super Resolution

This either makes a standard image look like a higher resolution one by processing the contour areas, texture areas and smooth areas individually, or it digitally boosts the zoom magnification from 10x to 21.7x with a claimed minimal loss of quality and no reduction in resolution.

Super Resolution - Off (100% Crop)

Super Resolution - Weak (100% Crop)

   

Super Resolution - Strong (100% Crop)

 
 

 

Super Resolution Zoom - Off

Super Resolution Zoom - On - 21.7x

Dynamic Range

When the Ricoh CX6 is in DR mode (Dynamic Range double shot) it takes two images with different exposures, and then records a single image that combines the properly exposed parts of each one. You can also choose to take a DR and Normal image at the same time (both are saved to the memory card). Here is an example which was shot with Normal and then the four DR modes (Very Weak, Weak, Medium and Strong).

Normal

Dynamic Range - Very Weak

   

Dynamic Range - Weak

Dynamic Range - Medium

   

Dynamic Range - Strong

 
 

Creative Modes

The CX6 offers a range of creative filters that sit under the Creative Shooting mode, including Miniaturize, High Contrast B&W, the new Bleach Bypass, Soft Focus, Cross Process and Toy Camera.

Off

Dynamic Range - Auto

   

Soft Focus

Miniaturize

   

Toy Camera

Bleach Bypass
   
Cross Process High Contrast B&W

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, 720p, 10 megapixel, 10x zoom, CMOS, 5fps, ricoh, sensor, back illuminated, 3fps, shutter priority, aperture priority, cx 6, cx6, Ricoh CX6 Review

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