Ricoh has announced a successor to its popular CX3 compact superzoom which sports a new body design, tracking auto-focus and improved image stabilization. Described by the company as "workmanlike yet stylish", the 10-megapixel CX4 retains its predecessor's high resolution LCD display, wide-angle optical zoom lens and 720p video capability but now benefits from improved noise reduction and a special night landscape mode.

From the CX3, the new model inherits a back-illuminated 10-megapixel CMOS sensor, a 10.7x wide-angle optical zoom lens with a focal length of 4.9 - 52.5mm (28 - 300mm equivalent), a 3-inch, 920,000 dot resolution LCD display and 720p video recording in Motion JPEG format. The eleven scene shooting modes also make it through to the CX4 and the camera continues to use Ricoh's Smooth Imaging Engine IV logic circuits.

As well as a reshaped body, the new CX4 also features subject-tracking auto-focus which promises to automatically keep the subject in sharp focus and at the correct exposure when the shutter-release button is pressed halfway. In addition to the camera's ISO100 to ISO3200 sensitivity range, Ricoh has also completely overhauled its image-sensor-shift image stabilization and claims that the CX4 can help reduce blur equivalent to 3.7 shutter-speed stops for better pictures in poor lighting or high zoom situations.

For night owls, the new night landscape multi-shot mode should prove useful, merging together four different exposures to produce a single, reduced-noise image. Whilst on the subject of noise-reduction, choosing the maximum setting enables variance-estimation noise reduction which analyzes noise distribution over image data and optimizes individual areas of the shot to increase clarity without affecting resolution, tone or color. Users are also offered some creative shooting modes to help bring out their inner artist – such as soft focus, toy camera or dynamic range.

The CX4 has pocket-friendly 3.99 x 2.30 x 1.15-inch (101.5 x 58.6 x 29.4mm) dimensions although at its thinnest point it does get as slim as 0.96-inch (24.4mm). It's said to be capable of about five frames per second continuous shooting at full resolution and its rechargeable battery should be good for around 330 images. Storage is lacking SDXC capability so is therefore limited to a maximum 32GB via the SD/SDHC card slot and although there is a USB 2.0 port, there's no HDMI-out so viewing those high definition videos on a large screen television might take a little more effort.

The CX4 will be available from the beginning of September in Black, Champagne silver and Purple pink for US$399.

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