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Ricoh has never owned a commanding share of the camera market, but they've been innovators for as long as this writer can remember. For example, back in the early 1970's Ricoh's "green setting" was as close as you could get to auto-exposure on a 35mm SLR.
Well, Ricoh has done it again - in a big way. The new Ricoh CX-1 may be a point-and-shoot digital camera, but it offers a 12-stop dynamic range. That's close to what the human eye can do.
Ricoh's trick is called "Dynamic Range Double-Shot Mode," and here's how it works:
The CX-1 takes an under-exposed shot and an over-exposed shot at nearly the same time, and then combines the two, in camera. The result is a shot with detail in both highlight and shadow - almost as much detail as your eye can see.
The CX-1 also features a 9 MP sensor, a 7.1 x zoom range (28 -200 mm 35mm equivalent) and up to 4 fps shooting - no small feat for a point-and-shoot. But it gets better...
Teh CX-1 also offers another feature unique among digital point-and-shoots: "multi-target auto-focus." Choose this function, and the camera shoots seven consecutive frames, each one shifted to a slightly different focus point. The seven shots are saved in one MP file, and you can choose the best focus from among the group - or even combine more than one shot for amazing focus tricks unavailable in "real life."
At 4" x 2/25" x 1", the CX-1 is plenty compact... but it offers features even high-end DSLRs lack. It's set to be released in Europe next month... and a US launch shouldn't be too far behind. The European price is set at around $430.