After the impressive CX1 model last year, I was optimistic about the new Ricoh CX2. It offers the same body type and long-life battery, but with a few updates as well. The new model sports a 10.7x optical zoom lens (28–300mm) versus the CX1’s 7.1x (28–200mm). Like any more powerful zoom, this requires a steadier hand, a tripod, or monopod for best results. Beyond that, the majority of the features between the two models remains the same.

The CX2 still contains my single pet peeve from the CX1 in that the mode dial doesn’t stay locked securely in the selected position. So, should you keep it in your pocket or bag, you have to check to be certain that you’re in the desired mode of operation. (A release button or a more recessed selector would be very helpful in future models.) The shooting modes may be more than most users need in this type of camera; however, excellent results come from its standard automatic operation. The dynamic range double-shot mode is helpful for unusual or mixed lighting conditions, but the exposures have less contrast compared to the auto option that, again, does a fine job.

Image quality is sharp, clean, and with natural color saturation. Contrast, gray balance, and multipattern white balance are excellent but, unlike its predecessor, exposure in lower light situations isn’t as accurate under similar conditions (without flash). The trade off is that the underexposed images have far less visible noise. The Ricoh CX2 is a great point-and-shoot camera, as well as a nice update to an already excellent line.—Daniel M. East

Company: Ricoh Company, Ltd
Price: $329
Web: www.ricoh.com
Rating: 4.5

Hot: 10.7x optical zoom; leveling indicator; battery life
Not: Low-light exposure; mode dial