Strictly Black & White?

We really enjoyed taking black and white pictures of Venice with a Ricoh CX1 (you can tell by the number of images in the photo gallery.) The camera is beautiful and purposefully designed, and it's very compact, solid, and elegantly minimalist. We also like the retro-looking but easy to use menu interface - it's refreshingly original.
Although it doesn't have a manual exposure mode, the CX1 seems to be designed for photographic enthusiasts. It has a number of interesting advanced features not commonly found on compact cameras, notably: step zoom at classic focal lengths  (28, 35, 50, 85, 105, 135, and 200mm), electronic level, and 1:1 square format.
This camera is very compact for having a 28-200mm zoom lens, it is also super quick and responsive in focusing and shooting. Ricoh implements sensor shift image stabilization for the CX1, which doesn't hurt but is not as effective as optical image stabilization. A more serious issue we find is the image quality of color pictures: there are subtle but visible watercolor-looking blotches in the images, even at 200 ISO setting. Black and white images do not have this problem. Since we had planned to shoot Venice in black and white, we were happy to use the camera. However, it would have been inadequate for shooting a color portfolio.
Nonetheless, we really like this camera. It's one of our favorites, but only for shooting black and whites, not color. Despite the color weakness, by having the 1:1 square format, the CX1 still can easily justify itself as a black & white-only pocket Hasselblad.


>> venice photo gallery

  • very quick and responsive
  • easy to use
  • fresh retro menu interface
  • compact, elegant, solidly built
  • versatile 28-200mm zoom lens
  • step zoom
  • electronic level
  • 1:1 square format
  • excellent high resolution 3.0" LCD
  • high-speed shooting modes



  • color image quality is not great
  • no manual mode

  • keep one as dedicated b&w pocket Hassy
  • compact camera
  • price when tested: $379
  • 12.2009 street price: $325
  • colors: black, silver, champagne rose
  • zoom lens 28-200mm
  • CCD / sensor shift image stabilization
  • multi-format: 4:3, 3:2, 1:1
  • 3.0" LCD 920K pixels
  • VGA video
  • SD/SDHC memory card
  • rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • 9.3 megapixels
  • dimension: 4" x 2.4" x 1.5"
  • weight: 7.8 oz
  • Ricoh CX1 info @