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The demand for longer lenses - even on compact digital cameras - creates a problem. You can't put huge lenses on little tiny cameras. So manufacturers have often settled for slow lenses, since zoom range is so important to their customers.
Of course, this creates complaints on the other side. Folks get relatively poor results in low light from most of these "overstretched" digital cameras.
Until now, perhaps.
Featuring a 10.7 X zoom lens (28 - 300 in 35mm terms), Ricoh's new CX3 is a different animal. While the lens is still a relatively slow f/3.5 - 5.6, the sensor is something different.
Ricoh calls it a "back-illuminated" CMOS sensor. The wiring is on the back of Ricoh's sensor, instead of the front. Reversing the normal layout increases the amount of light striking the sensor's surface.
And if Ricoh's examples are any indication, this compact digital delivers the goods. They've also thrown in a noise reduction feature that smooths out the roughness at high ISO ratings.
The result is a compact digital that offers unusually good low-light performance - in spite of a relatively slow lens.
I've only seen Ricoh's examples thus far. And they're obvously going to show only their best results. But those results look promising.