Ricoh announces high speed focus CX5 compact

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Ricoh has announced the CX5 compact superzoom with a new hybrid AF system that is said to bring a subject into sharp focus twice as fast as the previous model

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Ricoh has announced a successor to last year's CX4 compact superzoom, which brings a new high speed autofocus system, ultra-telephoto zoom capabilities and a few new scene modes to play with. Other than that, the CX5 retains the same specification 10.7x optical zoom lens, ISO sensitivity, 3-inch LCD display with a wide viewing angle and high contrast, and has exactly the same dimensions as its predecessor.

Ricoh says that its newest family member has higher speed subject tracking autofocus than previous outings, thanks to the company's new Hybrid AF system. This combines a passive autofocus sensor that constantly measures the distance between camera and subject with a contrast autofocus system where the imaging elements look for the peak location for contrast on the subject and focus on that. It's said to take as little as 0.2 seconds to bring a subject into sharp focus at both the 28mm wide-angle and the 300mm telephoto ends, and all points in between – about twice as fast as the CX4 before it.

The retracting, f4.9-52.5mm lens now comes with something called Super-resolution Zoom, which allows users to double the magnification with minimal loss of image quality. Dialing in the digital zoom as well gives the user an ultra-telephoto lens capability of up to 2880mm-equivalent. Noise reduction is said to be undertaken as the image is output from the 10 megapixel, back-illuminated CMOS sensor to ensure that resolution, tone characteristics and color are maintained. The camera also benefits from sensor shift image stabilization.

The new model keeps the Smooth Imaging Engine IV logic circuits, that have an output pixel interpolation algorithm which should result in reduced loss of detail in highlights, leading to more faithful color reproduction of high contrast scenes. The same LCD display also makes it through to the new model, which benefits from a fluorine coating to help keep it clean, a hard coat to keep scratch damage down, and an anti-reflective coating for better visibility in direct sunlight.

There are now 14 scene modes, including a new Cooking Mode configured for capturing images of food, and a Golf Swing Mode that displays grid lines during shooting and playback to allow for checking of the swing motion. Burst shooting also stays the same and, sadly, Ricoh still hasn't taken the opportunity to give its new superzoom SDXC-compatibility, retaining the SD/SDHC card slot. There is, however, now HMDI-out for transfer of 1280 x 720 pixel Motion JPEG movies to the big screen.

The CX5 will be available in black, silver and pink and is scheduled for February release in the U.S. at a cost of US$399.

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