The Casio Exilim EX-Z1080 is a bit of a dark horse with only 3x optical zoom and a small body. It houses a menacing 10Mp sensor, face detection that memorises people and a hi-speed continuous shooting that can take 60 images in 10 seconds.
Casio Exilim EX-Z1080 Specification
- Image resolution: 10.1Mp effective
- Zoom: 3x Optical/4x Digital
- Storage: 11.4Mb/SD/SDHC
- Movie: Yes and YouTube capture mode
- Modes: 41 Preset modes (Landscape, Sports etc.)
- Screen: 2.6in TFT LCD
- Lag: 0.006 second (after focus lock)
- Output: USB 2.0
- Size: 91.1 x 57.2 x 24.2mm
- Stabiliser: Yes
With an SRP of around £180, most other cameras in this price are similar specification. The Canon IXUS 75 at £159 has a better macro as does the Panasonic DMC FX12 also at £159.
Casio Exilim EX-Z1080 Modes and features
The lens is only 3x optical and is not a wide angle view either which would at least off set the disappointment of the low zoom range. Only the small, thin flash and AF assist beam accompany the lens on the front of the camera.
The top is just as barren with only the shutter release and indented power button which has to be depressed using the thumb nail to be comfortable. It's a hard clicky button, not the softer less resistant type that is found on other compacts and I prefer this one. The shutter release button is the standard chrome effect plastic button and the zoom wraps around it like a constrictor waiting for the death of its prey.
Looking at the back, there's a lack of access buttons which could be a good thing if the menus are organised. The top buttons just over the screen are to choose between taking a picture and reviewing pictures already taken.
Sat below is the 2.6in monitor and with the Menu and Best shot buttons either side of the navigation pad, completes the back of the camera.
Starting the camera for the first time allows you to set the language, the continent you live on and your home city. This is a little misleading as I couldn't select my home city, I had to choose London. It should ask to choose your country's capital. The Date & time details can then be input before the camera is ready to go.
The Menu button has three main tabs across the top of the board and these are for Recording, Quality and Set up. Recording has three pages of options and includes things like Focus options, Drive, AF area selection, Digital zoom, Grid display and Review options. There is also an option for Memory in the Record tab and this opens a sub menu for customising the way the camera will start up.
The Quality tab is not just for resolution as the title suggests, but also changes Exposure compensation, regulates White balance and ISO ratings as well as adjusting the Metering, Sharpness, Saturation and Contrast.
The Set up tab goes a little more in-depth than the previous tabs. Changes that can be made include the display panel on the screen, File number, Time & date, Language, Auto power off as well as the Video type and Formatting the card.
The main screen has a small quick access menu down the right side which can be removed in the Menu under the Set up tab. The quick access menu allows changes to the resolution, Flash functions, Focusing, Face detection on/off, anti shake, ISO ratings, White balance and Exposure compensation.
The Face detection has a really cool feature. It allows you to take a picture of family or friends and store them in memory. Then the Face detection has a family face priority setting which will search for the family members in storage and prioritise them in the picture. This is quite astonishing and I have never seen this on any other manufacturers camera. It's just unfortunate that it doesn't work all the time.
The Casio Exilim EX-Z1080 also has a YouTube capture mode specially designed for uploading video to YouTube. The mode is found in the Best Shot menu and is just the same as normal video which is 300,000 pixels at 25fps. This mode will save the files to a special folder to make them easier to find for uploading.
The BS button is for the pre-set Modes of the camera and stands for Best Shot. A few of the 41 Modes that have been included are Portrait, Landscape, Children, Sports, Candlelight, Party, Pets, Flower, Natural Green, Autumn leaves, Flowing water, Splashing water, and Collection.
The integration of the Family first face detection and YouTube capture is a great step forward, but the camera has only a 3x optical zoom and 10cm macro which is by no means advanced. I think that a 4 or 5x optical zoom and even just a 5cm macro would make the camera twice as appealing.
I contacted Casio regarding this issue and David Hodgkinson, Casio Brand Manager replied: "Casio's product development is shaped by a number of elements, including consumer feedback on existing products, pricing, and new technologies. All of which we balance out to achieve the most technically advanced yet cost effective products. The EXILIM Zoom EX-Z1080 is a family compact camera designed for ease of use and portability, and is an upgrade model to the very successful EX-Z1050 model, which has consistently been a Monthly Top 20 best selling model in the UK this summer. Therefore, the feature set incorporated in the EX-Z1080 builds on that of its well received predecessor and adds new features such as Face Detection, and a YouTubeTM Capture Mode unique to EXILIM. Other higher specification models are available within the EXILIM high zoom product range, including the EX-V8 which features 7x optical zoom."
So it all boils down to price, which is a good way to look at things as we all want the best deal we can get.
Casio Exilim EX-Z1080 Build and handling
The Casio Exilim EX-Z1080 has a metal casing with a black finish which makes a fantastic change to the usual barrage of silver. The buttons are few and the ones that are present feel good to the touch.
The battery door is solid too and as I test the camera I am getting a general feeling that this camera is very well made.
I will say that I am consistently surprised by manufacturers inability to produce a camera that has a large resolution and a decent zoom. It seems to be one or the other unless it costs a fortune. The Casio is no exception with only 3x optical and it seems that they are very proud of the sensor that they have fitted to the Exilim EX-Z1080 as they have illustrated it on the back of the camera as well as the front.
Casio Exilim EX-Z1080 Flash options
The bottom button of the navigation pad doubles up as access to the Flash options and they comprise of Auto, Off, On, Soft and Red-eye reduction. These features can also be got to through the quick access menu found on the screen.
Casio Exilim EX-Z1080 Performance
Casio claim that the Exilim EX-Z1080 has a shutter lag of 0.006 seconds which is certainly impressive and after testing, I agree to the claim.
The continuous shooting test proved impressive as well. There are two settings, Normal continuous and Hi-speed continuous shooting. The Normal continuous mode took 7 images at 10Mp in ten seconds. The camera appears to have no buffer as it downloaded each image straight after shooting.
The Hi-speed continuous shooting knocks the resolution down to 2Mp, so the quality is not as good, but the camera managed to take 61 pictures in ten seconds. This is also an indication to the power of the Exilim Engine processor as it downloaded all those images straight after taking each one.
The canal image shows an improvement in the sky and grass colour compared to the program mode which suggests that Casio have boosted earthy tones for the landscape mode and have done a good job of it. Looking at the high contrast areas, it is difficult to see any fringing until the image is looked at full size, then a minor amount can be detected on the curve of the white bars. Good detail has been recorded on the winch with both pictures.
One of the features that the Casio Exilim EX-Z1080 has is Natural green. I took two shots of a line of shrubs at my local church, one with the Natural green setting and the other in Program. The Natural green mode has saturated Green in the image and also sharpens the image slightly, to bring out more detail to the leaves. This is a nice feature, but the shrubs in the background do look over saturated and sickly.
The portrait mode shows a distinct boost in warmer tones and the flash has balanced out the exposure nicely. The Program mode shot shows a cooler result with blues dominating the overall image.
The flash evens out the exposure and the portrait mode has warmed the image all over.
Program mode gives a cooler effect which is noticable on the wall.
Earthy tones are boosted to help with typical landscapes.
No fringing is apparent on either image.
Casio Exilim EX-Z1080 Noise test
ISO80 and ISO100 give excellent results with a super smooth image and great details. This result is carried though until ISO400 where sharpening of the noise becomes apparent, but only when viewed at full size.
The sharpening of noise continues through to the highest rating. Purple and Green blobs start to appear at ISO800 and become gradually more definite through the ratings.
The results are still very good although ISO3200 struggles, but that is understandable.
The ISO80 test.
| The ISO100 test.
| The ISO200 test.
The ISO400 test.
| The ISO800 test.
The ISO1600 test.
The ISO3200 test.
Casio Exilim EX-Z1080 Verdict
The Casio Exilim EX-Z1080 is certainly one unusual camera. It offers excellent features like the high resolution, family first face detection and an easy to use interface. Completely contrasting those features are a poor zoom and pathetic macro feature. This might not seem like much, but these are features that have been present on cameras since the early Triassic period and shouldn't need to be held back.
The unique features, good performance and great noise results puts the Exilim EX-Z1080 as a firm favourite of mine and you wouldn't be disappointed buying this camera.
When you are deciding what camera you want, think about what is most important to you. Do you want a reasonable zoom or new features? For the time being, it seems that you won't get both.
Casio Exilim EX-Z1080 Plus points
Amazing face detection
Easy YouTube uploading
Good shutter lag
Casio Exilim EX-Z1080 Minus points
Because of the Face detection, YouTube capture and overall good quality of the Casio Exilim EX-Z1080, it has received our coveted Highly recommended award.
The Casio Exilim EX-Z1080 costs around £180 and is available via www.exilim.co.uk.
Take a look at your friendly neighbourhood ePHOTOzine shop for other cool Casio products.