Ricoh HZ15 Review

3.5
November 6, 2013 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel Best JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4Mb.

The Ricoh HZ15 produced images of above average quality during the review period. The Ricoh HZ15's main drawback in terms of image quality is noise, with the relatively slow speed of ISO 200 already 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 800, with the fastest 1600 setting not really worth using.

The Ricoh HZ15 handled chromatic aberrations fairly well with some purple fringing effects appearing in high contrast situations. The 16 megapixel images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting of Normal and benefitted from some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop. The night photograph was good, with the maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds allowing you to capture enough light for most situations.

Macro performance is very good, allowing you to focus as close as 3cm away from the subject. The effective anti-shake system is essential 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.

Noise

There are 6 ISO settings available on the Ricoh HZ15. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Ricoh HZ15's 15x zoom lens offers a versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:

24mm

360mm

File Quality

The Ricoh HZ15 has three different image quality settings available, with Best being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options.

16M Best (3.36Mb) (100% Crop) 16M Fine (2.30Mb) (100% Crop)
   
16M Normal (1.78Mb) (100% Crop)  
 

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 HZ15 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.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Ricoh HZ15 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 3cms 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

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

The flash settings on the Ricoh HZ15 are Force Off, Flash Auto, Force Flash, Slow Synchro, Slow Synchro+Red Eye, and Red-Eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Force Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Force Flash - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

v - Telephoto (360mm)

Force Flash - Telephoto (360mm)

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.

Force Flash

Force Flash (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Ricoh HZ15's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds in the Manual shooting mode, which is good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 30 seconds at ISO 80.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

Image Stabilization

The Ricoh HZ15 has a CCD-Shift-Type image stabilizer, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, we 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.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Image Stabilizer Off (100% Crop)

Image Stabilizer On (100% Crop)

0.6 sec / 27mm
     
1/14th / 360mm

Entry Tags

3 inch LCD, compact, photos, samples, 720p, 16 megapixel, test, video, sample images, travel-zoom, travel, compact camera, travel zoom, 3 inch, ricoh, travel photography, reviewing, hz15, ricoh hz15

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