Ricoh CX1 Review

by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor

Originally Posted: June 9, 2009

Last Updated: June 10, 2009

The Ricoh CX1 ($369) is a compact metal camera featuring a 9.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor, a powerful 7.1X optical zoom lens, sensor-shift image stabilization, a super-sharp 3-inch LCD, 4 frame/second continuous shooting, and a VGA movie mode (bah). Some of the CX1's more unique features include multi-segment white balance, a dynamic range double-shot mode, multiple types of bracketing, a multi-target AF feature, skew correction, and an electronic level. The's autofocus performance has also been greatly improved compared to the CX1's predecessor, the R10.

As with other Ricoh cameras, U.S. availability is limited to a very small handful of retailers.

The last Ricoh camera that I tested was the R8. While I like the design and features of that camera, its image quality was unimpressive. Have things improved on the new CX1? Keep on reading to find out!

What's in the Box?

The CX1 has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:

  • The 9.3 effective Megapixel Ricoh CX1 digital camera
  • DB-70 lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • Battery charger
  • Hand strap
  • USB cable
  • A/V cable
  • CD-ROM featuring Caplio software
  • 235 page camera manual (printed)

As is the case with most cameras these days, Ricoh has built memory into the CX1, instead of bundling a memory card. The camera has 88MB of built-in memory, which is quite a lot these days. Even so, you'll want to buy a decent-sized memory card right away, and I suggest a 2GB start with. The CX1 supports both SD and SDHC cards, and while a high speed card certainly won't hurt, you don't need to go overboard.

The CX1 uses the same DB-70 lithium-ion rechargeable battery as the R8 and R10. This compact battery holds 3.6 Wh of energy inside its plastic shell, which is on the low end of the spectrum. Here's how that translates into battery life:

Camera Battery life, LCD on
(CIPA standard)
Canon PowerShot SD970 IS 270 shots
Casio Exilim EX-FC100 300 shots
Fuji FinePix F200EXR * 230 shots
GE E1276W * N/A
Nikon Coolpix S630 220 shots
Olympus Stylus 7000 150 shots
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 * 300 shots
Ricoh CX1 * 300 shots
Samsung SL820 * 280 shots
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 * 300 shots

* Wide-angle lens

Battery life numbers are provided by the camera manufacturers

All of the cameras in the table above are compact, and feature 5X or greater zoom lenses with image stabilization. As you can see, the CX1 tied with several other cameras for the top spot.

Like all of the cameras on the above list, the Ricoh CX1 uses a proprietary battery. Those tend to be expensive (a spare will set you back at least $40), and when they run out of juice, you can't use an "off-the-shelf" battery to get you through the day.

When it's time to charge the battery, just snap it into the included charger. This is my favorite type of charger: it plugs directly into the wall. It takes 100 minutes for a typical charge of the DB-70.

Ricoh CX1 in the hand

As with most compact cameras, the CX1 has a built-in lens cover, so there's no clumsy lens cap to deal with. As you can see, it's a pretty small camera, especially considering how big of a lens it has!

Ricoh produces just a couple of accessories for the CX1. They include:

Accessory Model # Price * Description
Remote shutter release CA-1 From $25 Lets you take a photo without touching the camera; essentially a shutter release button on a 2.5 foot cable
AC adapter AC-4g ?? Power the camera without using the battery
Neck strap ST-2 $39 When a wrist strap just isn't enough...
Leather case SC-90BK
From $38
Protect your camera from the elements. Available in black and brown.
* Prices were accurate at time of publication

About the only exciting thing on that list is the remote shutter release cable, which is always a nice option to have. Let's move on to software.

Irodio Photo & Video Studio in Windows Vista

While photos are actually transferred by a tiny program called DL-10 (which doesn't even let you select which photos to copy over), the main piece of software that comes with the CX1 is Irodio Photo & Video Studio. This software is for Windows only, though Mac users can get by just fine using iPhoto.

Irodio Photo & Video Studio is a pretty good application. The main screen has the same thumbnail view and file navigator as every other image browser. On this screen, you can print or e-mail photos, rotate and resize them, or start a slideshow.

Editing JPEGs in Photo & Video Studio

Double-click on an image and you'll end up here, on the edit screen. There are plenty of tools available, and you can see them on the left side of the above screenshot (if you squint). Highlights include a horizon tool (for straightening photos), auto image quality enhancement, and redeye removal. There are also several "artistic effects" available, if you're so inclined.

Ricoh includes a thick, detailed manual with the CX1. It's certainly not the most user-friendly manual I've seen, but it will certainly answer any question that you may have about the camera. Documentation for the included software is installed onto your PC.