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I had an exilim ex-z8 for 4 years only having a problem with it once with the screen saying lens error but i think that aws due to keeping it in a case and the camera turning on so blocking. It quickly fixed itself after that. I gave that camera to my boyfriend and bought myself a new one. I wanted to stay with casio because i love the Best Shot feature which I always used for Backlight/Sunsets/Multishot/Candles etc etc. Makes it so quick and effective to pick a setting instead of having to be a pro changing all the lighting and shutter time yourself. This one is smaller than the ex-z8, being smaller is very sleek and feel sturdy. This one also has a different zoom button as a flicky one on top whereas the older version had 2 buttons on the back, I prefer the latter but then you just get used to small changes like that. This one has a new button which is the video record button. This is very useful for taking a video within seconds of spotting something good.
I have just come back from 6 week holiday in Colombia using it under water in a special case and using all the different modes. Photos come out great. I feel like it doesn't work as well in the dark as the ex-z8 but this could have been because I had it on the wrong setting some times and most of my darker photos have come out fine.
The only downside is that the Continuous Shooting mode found in the Menu only allows you to shoot for about 4 seconds at a time which is about 6 shots whereas the ex-z8 allowed for infinite..or at least 15/20 seconds from what I remember, ensuring you never miss a bird that's flying past or people jumping in the air. The price was a lot less that expected at £45 on Argos's eBay outlet store, which comes with a warranty.
All in all very happy - compact, light, durable, user friendly. Best features of Casio have got to be the soft flash and the Best Shot button.
My wife lent my her Casio z85 in stylish green for a sailing trip last summer and for the first week it was superb however, 7 days at sea took its toll and the zoom (3x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom (12x total when used in combination), 16x HD zoom (640 x 480 pixels, both with optical and digital zoom) dial began to stick and by the end of the four week sailing trip I noticed dents and paint chips had started to appear.
the camera its self works very well taking reasonable quality photos and low quality videos the timer function proved very useful and the face recognition works well.
with the all the buttons positioned thoughtfully and a capability to delete photos from the cameras memory (approx. 41.2MB recordable area) and the removable flash card (sold separately) without having access to a PC i feel like I've got my moneys worth.
Overall very happy with this camera.
My sister has been at me for ages to choose a point and shoot camera for her, as she does not share my brilliance for photography (he blows his own trumpet), her main interest was that the camera would have loads of megapixels and it would be as small and as good looking as possible.
Using and abusing my position in my local camera club and my connections as a professional photographer, I got my hands on a Casio Exilim EX-Z85 to test out for her as I had heard so many good things about it and it is one of the smallest and thinnest point and shoot cameras of any substance available at this time.
I got a test unit from a local camera store that regularly asks us to do customer reviews for them and I set about putting it through its paces for the 5 days I had with it and I hoped it would be as good as others were saying and I could simply recommend it to my sister and get her off my back but unfortunately as you will find out if you read on, this was not the case and I am still looking.
When I first took the camera from its hard case I was amazed at how good it felt and how well made it was for a camera so thin (19mm to be precise). The build of this camera is absolutely excellent and if cameras were to be tested on robustness and looks alone this camera could well be the outright winner, unfortunately for Casio though a camera has to be functional and produce great prints to get my recommendation and this is where the Z85 struggles.
Going round the back of this tiny unit you will find the very easy to use and nicely set out controls and a huge LCD screen (2.6 inches to be precise) (I say huge because on such a small camera it looks huge, although there are bigger out there). Switch it on and the screen and the camera come to life fairly quickly but not as quickly as the Sony cybershots or the Canon point and shoot range do, a quick flick through the menu and the settings and I found that this camera had very much the usual settings and so I set about trying them out.
The first thing I was keen to put to the test was the innovative auto-shutter system, this is designed to feature things such as smile detection and anti-blur. Smile detection quickly became very annoying, it is designed to react to a face beginning to smile and activate the shutter so you catch the said smile, however it seems to react to any mouth movement and if you have more than one person in the shot it is utterly useless as one person will inevitably smile as the other person or persons are picking their noses or something and you have got a photo no use to anyone.
The second thing this shutter system does is detect movement and remove blur from your shots, this is a much more useful setting and it works about 85% of the time but the trouble is it slows down the taking of the picture a bit and therefore you do not always get the exact moment you wanted to capture but a fraction of a second after it, most of the time this will be fine but if you want to be very precise you might find this setting letting you down a bit.
Without the anti-blur setting activated this unit is capable of taking a picture every 2.2 seconds which is decent for a point and shoot but activate the anti-blur and you will find you can capture only one image every 4.6 seconds which is not great if you are photographing say your kids sports day or something else that is going to require lots of photos taken quickly to capture action.
On now to the many other settings this camera has and firstly to the ISO setting which on this unit can be set to a maximum of 1600. The ISO setting takes the place of the film speed we used to have when we used film cameras and the higher the ISO (film speed) the more noise the image will have, so if it creates noise why would we use it? Well we use higher ISO`s to capture images when the light is poorer but we cannot or do not want to use flash.
Professionals like myself find ourselves having to up our ISO`s when shooting weddings inside the church for instance, where flash would give poor images and we are not allowed to use tripods so hand holding at slow shutter speeds causes blur in the images, so we up our ISO`s.
Most DSLR`s will allow you to up your ISO to around 800 without too much noise but at 1600 it will become noticeable especially when you zoom in on the image, this unit shows fairly bad noise as soon as you raise the ISO to 400 and once it is up to 800 the images could not be printed any bigger than 7X5 or the noise would be highly evident. The 1600 ISO on this unit is little more than a gimmick because it is as good as unusable, the noise at 1600 ISO totally ruins the image and for me makes it unusable at any print size.
The auto focus on this little camera is very quick in daylight or a very well lit room but if you go into a darkened room or a well shaded area it slows down dramatically and if you are using the zoom which is only a small 3X optical, the auto focus will really struggle in the darker situations. Also when using the zoom fully zoomed to 3X you will find that motion blur becomes very evident very quickly and you really need to think about steadying yourself against something to prevent this or use a tripod which most point and shooters will have no intention of doing. You can of course activate the anti-blur but then you are back slowing down the photo taking process.
Another things professionals like myself will do is to make sure we set the white balance setting to the correct setting for the light we are shooting in, this camera allows this to be set to "auto, daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent and manual", these are the typical settings you will find in most cameras and they are enough for you to get your white balance right in most cases but if you rely on the auto white balance as most amateur point and shooters will then this camera is going to give you a warmer image than it should 9 times out of 10.
I have to say that if you rely on auto anything in this unit then you will be let down, not greatly but definitely let down. All the auto built in settings seem to get the images wrong and I found that when setting the ISO, shutter speeds and apertures myself I got far better images every time which is fine if you know what you are doing but if you want to just pick up your camera point it in the direction of something you want to photograph and just press the shutter button which let's face it most people buying point and shoots do want to do then this will give you poor images that just never look exactly like you saw them at the time you took them.
The three main problems with this camera are as follows, "red eye", the built in flash causes terrible red eye and although this is pretty much the case with all point and shoots it is really, really bad with this camera, if the light is anything short of perfect causing you to need flash then every image containing people will have red eye. "video function", anyone who has read my reviews before will know that I hate the fact that still image cameras record video now, these cameras are no good at recording video and they should stick to making these cameras take the best still images possible rather than bothering with the inclusion of video capture at all, with that rant out the way I can tell you that the video function in this camera is really poor, sure if you have great light the video will be watchable but even a cloudy day will cause it to be too dark and the image captured will be blocky and of very poor quality.
The third of the three main problems with this camera is by a long way the most serious, "image quality", surely when it comes to cameras the one thing the manufacturer has to get right is the final image quality provided by the unit and the images from this camera were a let down from beginning to end. As I mentioned earlier the auto functions cause every image to look warmer than it should and this leaves skin tones looking orange and backgrounds looking darker than they should, all the colours loose their vibrancy and the whole image looks ordinary and boring.
If you have the knowledge to set your settings manually then you can improve your images greatly but they still come nowhere near the vibrant colourful images that many point and shoot cameras in this price range can produce ( the price range by the way is between 90 and 110 pounds depending where you buy it). Any images captured at full 3X zoom will have pretty bad noise and they are just never tack sharp, there is evidence of purple fringing on almost all of the 300 images I took using this camera and if you use the flash indoors you also get a bit of vignetting which can be a good look for certain images and can be added in Photoshop but you certainly do not want all your images to have it.
THE MAIN FEATURES
Resolution 9.1 million effective pixels for prints up to poster size
Zoom 3x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom (12x total when used in combination), 16x HD zoom (640 x 480 pixels, both with optical and digital zoom)
Recording Medium Card slot for SDHC / SD / MMCplus / MMC
Built in internal flash memory (approx. 41.2MB recordable area)
Recording Mode High Quality H.264 Movie Mode
Still image with audio
BESTSHOT (38 predefined scenarios)
EXILIM ENGINE 3.0
Monitor 2.6-inch wide TFT colour LCD, 114,960 dots (479×240)
High Speed Operation (EXILIM Engine) 0.008 sec. shutter release lag time (after focus lock)
High speed image playback (approx. 0.1 second/image)
Direct-On function (approx. 1.4 sec. start up, LCD and flash off
Input / Output Terminals Speaker
Power Rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP-60) x 1
Other Flash assist function
Anti Shake DSP
AUTO BEST SHOT
YouTube(TM) Capture Mode
Handheld Night Scene
Dimensions 89.7 (W) x 51.7 (H) x 19.0 (D)mm
TO SUM UP
I have to say that overall this camera is more likely to appeal to those that are influenced by looks and gimmicks rather than those that are affected by performance and capability. The things like smile detection, 9.1 megapixels and the anti-blur promise are going to sway people towards this, add to that the fact that it takes so called video footage and it comes with the ultra gimmicky Youtube capture mode and it has the selling points to have people taken in. I however strongly recommend that you look elsewhere for your ideal camera if image quality matters to you (and obviously it should).
Although this feels great and looks great in the hand and seems to be very well made and have some neat functions it is overall a bit of a letdown where it really matters and when only the images taken in great outdoor light are really any use then it has to be considered a poor unit in my overall opinion.
LOOKS - 7/10
BUILD QUALITY - 9/10
EASE OF USE - 7/10
IMAGE QUALITY 5/10
FUNCTIONS AND FEATURES 5/10
VALUE FOR MONEY - 6/10
OVERALL - 6/10
** Please note I gave this unit three stars because two and a half is not an option **
Thanks for reading