Just as a serious compact to a DSLR, a flexible point-and-shooter can make an indispensible companion to a serious compact , most notably for street photographers to take advantage of the quicker response and longer focal length of the latter.
In choosing such a P&S camera, two primary factors must be borne in mind: price and useable manual functions. Surely, good image quality is assumed.
Around two months ago, a plan was hatched to to expand and complete my serious compact system in relation to the GX200, in which I as a film SLR user for years was rather circumspect at first. The expansion surely includes such a P&S camera.
My choice is the CX1. Why? It is not because I’m a huge fan of Ricoh (close but I’m still primary a huge fan of the now-defunct Minolta camera section) but CX1 is probably the only point-and-shooter in its class with advanced features relevant to the savvy photographers like, well, me.
This series of review posts will be written in relation to CX1’s suitability as a companion to a serious compact. Hopefully, the review can facilitate a decision for those contemplating a CX2, which is by and large a mildly upgraded version to the CX1.
Before passing verdicts on its useful features as a serious compact’s companion, let me rattle off my impressions of the camera.
^The swinging beady lines of the curtain did not deter the CX1 in swiftly finding the focus of the little girl behind it. The accuracy and speed in focusing is a class standard, right for advanced photographers who are most often confronted by difficult focusing situations.
Ricoh achieves a class focusing speed in CX1. Owners of the GRD (probably improved in the III?) and GX series, which show noticeable time lag on the screen during focusing, would wish for the focusing speed of the CX1. There is a teeny-weeny moment of a time lag which is not seriously an issue. The best of all is that I have been amazed by the image made possible by the freakily accurate flash distribution under an almost instant focus lock and exposure.
I hope this is not being exaggerating but I really had the déjà vu of using the flashgun on my full-fledged film Minolta Maxxum 7 for that matter.
The various focusing modes are as flexible as can be, namely, Multi-AF, Spot AF, Multi-target AF, Snap, Manual and infinitive. I have not encountered any failure so far with a shutter count of 509.
The powering up is almost instantaneous and not an issue. The problem is that if you’re new to Ricoh, be prepared to adopt to the more audible mechanic noise of the lens zooming and retracting. It is not loud enough to do any harm to doing photography (much much much much much much better than the LOUD clicking sound of the Sony A900’s shutter, which is idiotic in design, I must stress) but audible.
If you make your own setup in the MY mode and start up from there, the camera takes a second to be ready to power up the screen as it needs time to recall the setting. That’s normal and understandable.
The CX1 has a bagful of features useful to a the more advanced photographers. The DR mode is one, the time exposure is another, to name a few.
It is of the right size and weight in a man’s palm. Ladies may wish it to be slimmer. The construction of the body and the lens feels solid, a should above the GX200 for that matter.
It inherits some functions from the higher class Ricoh cameras. The teeny-weeny jog stick affords swift access to the quick menu and various functions. The GRDs and GXs are excellent in this aspect, while the CX1 is great. I have an peeve about the layout of the functions on the dial though, as well as on the menu system.
(to be continued)