Casio struck gold again with this model. Continuing their theme of super slim models with highly intuitive controls (you don't have to navigate one of those stupid twiddly knobs on this one), the S500 makes taking quality digital photos a breeze. Mine is now a long standing part of my photography arsenal. It has taken many thousands of photos and has caused no problems whatsoever. A recent firmware update even means I have been able to upgrade to a 4Mb card, providing additional memory space for lengthy video filming without having tow orry about running out of room. Video is excellent 640x480 resolution. Also, I have found very little reason to stray beyond the automatic mode; this camera takes great pictures regardless of conditions. I have photographed portraits, landscapes, sports and many others in many lighting conditions and am still constantly impressed by the quality of this camera's output. It's been kicking about for a while now, so if you see one dead cheap, snap it up.
Style: A certain strongpoint of the Casio Exilim EX-S500, ultra small and ultra slim with dimensions of only 90x59x16.1mm and a weight of only 115g (Smaller than some mobile phones!) The curvy exterior also sets it apart from other big name competitors which tend to have a boxy shape, the exterior is definately aesthetically pleasing!
Memory Card and Battery: A rechargable Li-ion battery is provided along with a docking station which doubles up as an upload unit as the USB cable is too large to attach to the camera.
Internal camera memory is only 8mb which holds about 5 photos on the pre-installed photo setting, the camera takes an SD memory card which is the most common card on the market and the prices are now coming down greatly, I would recommend at least a 512mb card to be purchased in addition.
Features: The camera has a quick speed shutter which when testing other cameras I found to be a godsend as some shutter speeds are very slow and usually either yourself or the subject moves before the photo is completed.
5MP resolution, which is high enough to produce quality prints up to A3 size.
Inbuilt anti shake features also ensure a quality photo without blur which is a common problem in most digital cameras.
The inbuilt flash has 4 options, Off, On, Auto and Red Eye Reduction however a limited range of only 2.5m.
There is a 3x optical zoom function and within this range the photos retain their picture quality, once into the digital zoom however the quality is reduced slightly.
There is a wide range of scene modes available for selection by use of the Best Shot fuction. These scenes are: portrait, scenery, portrait with scenery, children, sports, candlelight portrait, party, pet, flower, natural green, autumn leaves, soft flowing water, splashing water, sundown, night scene, night scene portrait, fireworks, food, text, collection, backlight, anti shake, high sensitivity, monochrome, retro, twilight, business cards and documents and whiteboard. Custom scenes can also be created.
There are also 3 preset movie modes, Silent, Short and
Past and the movie feature is also easily accesible via a button on the back of the camera.
Both photos and movies can be viewed on the 2.2 inch display screen although due to the size of the camera there is no viewfinder.
Self timer features are also present although have to be activated via the menu, these are 2 sec delay, 10 sec delay and a 10 sec delay with a 3 shot consecutive action (This comes in VERY useful in windswept, yucky situations)
All in all a brilliant piece of equipment that surpasses the needs of a general user, I would not reccomend this to a professional user but to anyone wanting a good looking, easy to use camera, this is a must!