dpreview: Ricoh PX Brief Preview

Δευτέρα, 20 Ιουνίου 2011

Ricoh's history of making waterproof cameras dates back to before it was a mainstream product segment. When only a couple of models were available, Ricoh regularly offered industrial-grade waterproofing and shock-proofing, with its products being certified to various military and national standards.

Now, of course, few manufacturers would feel its lineup were complete if it didn't include a moderately drop-proof, lightly submersible camera, so it's interesting to see Ricoh's response to this. The PX's specifications put it squarely in this everyday, do-everything compact category - with its waterproofing down to 3m (10ft) and impact resistance for drops up to 1.5m. Its 5x zoom lens, offering 28-140mm equivalent focal lengths, is also pretty standard for the class, as is its 2.7" 230,000 dot display.

What's not so familiar, in this class, is its understated appearance. While this particular example might be lime green, it doesn't shout about its resilient credentials. Instead it's an innocuous-looking, aluminium clad compact camera. The only real giveaway is that its lens doesn't extend when it's switched on. Instead it has a periscope-style lens with an image-stabilized sensor sitting at one end of it. The result is a camera that doesn't suddenly look out-of-place when you return from your adventurous holiday.

Specification highlights:

  • mage stabilized 16MP 1/2.3" CCD
  • 28-140mm equivalent internal zoom lens
  • Waterproof to 3m, Shockproof to 1.5m
  • 720p HD video
  • ISO 100-3200
  • Subject-tracking AF

 

The PX handles exactly as you'd expect it to - there's no external grip but the shutter button is where you want it. The internal lens means the camera remains compact even when shooing. Only the shoulder-positioned zoom lever is odd.

 

We've had a pre-production PX in the office in preparation for our waterproof grouptest that will be published later in the summer. We have generally rather liked its interface, which allows you to assign your five most frequently used shooting modes to the 'Premium' button (the up direction on the four-way controller). These include some of our favorite post-processing effects, such as Toy Camera, Miniature mode and Cross Processing.

Despite its predominantly point-and-shoot nature, there's a reasonable degree of user control available if you wish to take it, with parameters such as the upper limit of Auto ISO being user definable (which isn't always the case, even in large-sensor cameras), and even a series of options for many of the scene modes (you can select the hue applied to your 'cross-processed' images, and select the size and position of the in-focus range of the Miniature mode).

 

As well as being available in a variety of body colors, a range of five silicone covers are also available, which help to further improve the camera's resilience.

 

We've only spent a short amount of time with the PX, so are not yet going to make any assessment of the camera's image quality, but we have had time to create a quick samples gallery. You'll be able to see more of the PX and its peers, as part of the forthcoming 2011 Waterproof grouptest.