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|Product:||Casio Exilim EX-Z75|
Casio Exilim EX-Z75 - Do thin cameras have to compromise other features to keep the size down? Matt Grayson takes a look at the Exilim EX-Z75. A camera so thin that if it stood sideways, a teacher would mark it absent.
The good thing about slim cameras is that they give the same features as all other cameras but without the bulkiness and so just fit in a pocket. Casio are one of a select few manufacturers that are turning up the heat on super slim designs and with the EX-Z75, they will burn a few fingers.
- Sensor: CCD - 7.2Mp
- Image Size: 3072 x 2304 pixels
- Lens: 38-114mm f/3.1 - f/5.9 (3x zoom)
- Focus: Auto and Manual - 10cm macro
- Exposure : Program AE
- Metering: Multi Pattern/CW/Spot
- Monitor: 2.6in. Colour TFT LCD
- Movie Mode: Yes - with sound
- Storage: 8Mb Internal/SD/MMC
- Batteries: Li-ion Battery
- Video Output: Yes
- Size/Weight: 94x60x20mm - 122g
- Transfer: USB 2.0
The EX-Z75 is £149 and aimed at the snapper who knows a camera but doesn't always want to take the bulkiness of a prosumer or SLR around with them. Other cameras to compare are the Canon Powershot A560 at £149 with 7.1Mp, 4x optical zoom and a 5cm macro facility or the Fujifilm Finepix F40fd at £165 with 8.3Mp, 3x optical zoom and face detection technology.
For a snap decision on this camera, take a look at our Snap Shot review here.
Casio Exilim EX-Z75 Modes and features
The Casio Exilim Ex-Z75 is laid out like the majority of other digital compacts with the power button and shutter release placed on top of the camera. The zoom is a two button operation at the top right of the camera on the back with another two buttons below to choose between taking pictures and looking at the ones already taken. Below this is the menu navigation pad and the set button to confirm any changes in the menu. The up button also doubles as a display button to change the screen layout and gives info on how many pictures are available, histogram or no information at all. The basic information is always displayed in a separate area on the right of the screen and remains whatever the setting which seems a little unusual but explains the screen as the camera will only take what is on the screen, not the actual screen width. The down button changes the Flash functions and the back of the camera is finished with two more buttons which are the Menu button and the Best shot button.
The Best shot gives the user access to Casio's enormous library of preset functions available which are Auto, Movie, Portrait, Landscape, Portrait with Landscape, Children, Sports, Candlelight, Party, Animals, Flowers, Natural Green, Autumn leaves, Flowing water, Splashing water, Sundown, Night scene, Night scene portrait using flash and a slow shutter, Fireworks, Food, Text, Collection for you Ebayers, Auction, Backlight, Anti-shake, High sensitivity which uses a higher ISO rating, Underwater, Monochrome or black & white to mortals, Retro which is sepia cast, Twilight, Old photo, Business Cards and documents, White board, Audio and an option of setting your own best shot. The Best shot options are generally a good idea, they will give you a decent shotfor nearly any situation you may think of. Scrolling through them coupled with the menus can get tedious and after a while, my brain started to hurt.
In the menu, the Casio gives three pages headed Record, Quality and Set up. The Record screen has three pages alone which give you the chance to change the focusing from AF to Macro for close ups, Pan focus which constantly has everything in focus, Infinity focus for landscapes or Manual focus. You also get the choice of continuous shooting, Self timer, Anti shake, changing the AF area from spot focusing to multi area focusing, switching the Easy mode on which will be covered later on, L/R key on and the opportunity to set the left and right keys to change the Metering, Exposure compensation, White balance, ISO, Self-timer or have it switched off. Also available is a quick shutter option for speedy response time, Audio snap to take a picture and record audio with it, Grid on or off to switch on a rule of thirds grid, Digital zoom on or off, Review on or off which will show you your picture for a few seconds after taking it. Switching this off will save battery power. Two more options are Icon help to switch on or off and Memory.
I hope you're not exhausted yet because the Quality page and the Set up page also have 3 pages each to them. The Quality page allows you to change the Size, Quality, Video quality, EV shift, White balance, ISO rating, Metering changes of Multi, Centre weighted and Spot, Filter mode changes the colour of the image between Black & white, Sepia, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Pink and Purple. The Sharpness can also be amended as can the Saturation, Contrast, Flash intensity and Flash assist.
The Set up screen allows adjustments to be made to the core features of the camera like the panel on the side of the camera can be turned off, the images on playback can be resized for illustration, the sounds of the camera can be adjusted, the Start up image can be adjusted once images have been saved to the camera, File no can be continuous or if you dare, can be changed to reset all the time which is good if you rename all your pictures. The World time can also be adjusted after it has been set at first start up, the Date, Date display and Language can be changed as well as the Sleep mode being extended, Auto power off, Rec/Play to power on or off or disable, USB mode can be adjusted to Mass storage for a computer or a Pictbridge compatible printer for direct printing, Video out can be changed from PAL to NTSC as well as choosing from 4:3 or 16:9 ratio and finally the option of formatting the card or resetting all the changes you have just made in the last nine pages.
To top it all off, a lot of these functions for the Record part of the menu are available on the options down the side of the screen. Quality, Flash, Self timer, Anti-shake, ISO, White balance, Exposure compensation, Easy mode and the display time can all be changed by pressing the Set button when not in the menu.
The Easy mode is a typical fully auto mode. The camera does everything for point and shoot simplicity. Only the flash, Resolution, Self timer and Easy mode on/off can be amended and the display colour changes to green so you know it's in easy mode. Amusingly, the Easy mode is signified by a four leaf clover. I am unsure of the stance Casio take on this message, but to me says that Easy mode is so foolproof, even the Irish can use it. Not too good for international relations especially as the four leaf clover is nothing to do with being easy to use.
The camera comes with a 3x optical zoom which is not overly brilliant considering the Z from Z series stands for zoom. The argument could be that the 3x optical zoom is in a slim body, but then so are the S series which also come with 3x optical.
Casio Exilim EX-Z75 Build and handling
Measuring a scant 16.2mm at it's thinnest point, the Casio is a thin camera. Unfortunately, the camera is quite unstable when stood on its own and can fall over easily which is not a good thing for your shiny screen. It is made from metal which is always a good thing. It is heavy and solid and looks well built. Movement of the lens is quiet and smooth and if it wasn't for the immense size of the menus, it would be easy to navigate and quick to move around in. The USB port is also located at the bottom of the camera next to the battery/card slot which means the camera must be placed on it's back or front to upload using the lead.
The battery is Lithium-Ion and will take 230 shots from full charge which is not the best I have seen. The card is also located in the battery slot and is not easy to get out. In fact it is a pain because the battery door gets in the way.
Casio Exilim EX-Z75 Flash options
The flash options available on the EX-Z75 is Auto, Flash off, Flash on, Soft flash for portraits and red-eye reduction. It would be nice to see the soft flash with the red-eye in the same option.
The distance range on the Casio is 0.1 to 3.5m at wide angle and 0.6 to 1.9m at telephoto. These distances are not very good compared to some others but fall within acceptable parameters.
Casio Exilim EX-Z75 Performance
The burst mode managed eight shots in 10sec. And the camera seems to download before taking the next picture so doesn't appear to have any buffer memory.
The zoom is regular speed. It's not the fastest, but won't have you twiddling your thumbs, the only thing that could slow you down would be the focusing as 40cm is terrible and not easy to judge. Therefore if you want to crop in where the zoom just won't go, their's not much point in moving closer to the subject either as the camera will groan at you.
Once in the menu system, it is easy enough to navigate and if you have a good memory, you will be able to use all the features to full effect. In my opinion, whilst all the features the camera has are great and I can see that Casio want to cover every corner, I would be a little put off if I were the consumer being bombarded with options, menus and features.
The colourchart has saturated the primaries, boosting the warmer colours and cooling the blues. The portrait mode has warmed the whole picture compared to the auto setting. The lock picture has brought out some lovely colours with good definition in the low key areas and giving the grass a lush colour. The macro is only 10cm so doesn't perform brilliantly but the colours are rich and their is good depth of field.
Casio Exilim EX-Z75 Noise test
The Casio Exilim EX-Z75 has five ISO settings including Auto. The other four are ISO50 and this was in fine detail if not a little dark even with the studio lights on at full power. Their is no way to override the shutter speed on this camera. ISO100 gave a smidgen of noise whilst ISO200 and ISO400 gave typical results of those ratings. I am surprised to see only four overriding values. Most cameras have more than that as standard these days.
Casio Exilim EX-Z75 Verdict
The Casio Exilim EX-Z75 is a little under specification compared to others in the price range. I am surprised to only see a 3x optical zoom as I know Casio can put more into a camera. It is a good all round performer and the colours come out great.
I am a little confused by who Casio are aiming this camera at. The Easy mode and lack of ISO ratings suggest that it is aimed at happy snappers whilst the vast menu suggests users who want to expand. If you are after a camera to stick in your pocket, that has a ton of preset features, a point and shoot mode and you aren't bothered about the zoom, then this camera will be ideal. The Exlilim EX-Z75 will be able to cover nearly every scenario you find yourself in, but Casio may have shot themselves in the foot making the camera so easy to use it has cycled back round to difficult again.
Casio Exilim EX-Z75 Plus points
Fast access to quick menu
Large amount of preset modes
Lovely colour reproduction
Casio Exilim EX-Z75 Minus points
Unstable when stood alone
Stupidly large menu
Difficult access to memory card
The Casio Exilim EX-Z75 costs £149 and is available from the ePHOTOzine shop here .