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Casio Exilim EX-Z800 Digital Camera Review

Casio's latest Z-series Exilim is an easy to use compact digital camera sporting a 14 megapixel CCD sensor and a 4x wide angle lens all for a recommended price of 149.

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ePHOTOzine verdict and ratings

Casio Exilim EX-Z800: Click on the thumbnail for the larger image.
Gary Wolstenholme takes a look at Casio's latest Z series Exilim, which offers 14 megapixel resolution, CCD shift stabilisation and a wide angle zoom lens for a very reasonable price.

Placed near the top of Casio's Z-series range of compact camera, the EX-800 packs a 4x wide angle zoom lens, a 14 megapixel stabilised CCD sensor into a relatively compact metal body. Casio's recommended retail price for this new arrival is only £149, which seems like good value with all those features taken into consideration. The camera will suit those after ease of use and compact size for a price that doesn't break the bank. The fashion conscious amongst us will be pleased to know that this camera is also available in a range of six colours.

Casio Exilim EX-Z800: Features
A 14 megapixel CCD sensor is fitted to record high resolution images that should be suitable for large prints if the quality is up to scratch. All those pixels also gives those who like big numbers something to talk to their mates about if keeping up with the Joneses is important. The 4x zoom lens covers a very useful range equivalent to 27-108mm on a 35mm camera, which provides a decent wideangle as well as enough telephoto for portraits and not-to-distant subjects. Those with shaky hands will be pleased to hear that a mechanical image stabilisation system takes care of ironing out at the longer end of the zoom. If the 108mm equivalent telephoto isn't enough, then Casio have developed a feature which reduces the resolution when the telephoto end of the zoom has been exceeded, which promises to provide an extra 2x extra zoom with little visible loss of quality.

Casio Exilim EX-Z800 Key features: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
The 4x zoom lens covers a range equivalent to a 27-108mm lens on a 35mm camera. A 2.7inch LCD screen fills much of the rear of the EX-Z800.
The camera is quite slim and compact and only weighs 124g with battery and memory card installed. Power is provided by a rechargeable NP-80 Li-Ion battery.

Casio's new Premium Auto Mode is also present on this model, which automatically applies the appropriate Best Shot Scene program to each shot. In theory this should give better quality results than the standard auto mode. When people are present in pictures the face detection system automatically activates in either mode taking care of focus and exposure.

A high definition video recording facility is also included, which can be accessed at the touch of a button. Video clips can be recorded for a maximum of 29 minutes at a time at 720p resolution.

Casio Exilim EX-Z800: Handling
The first thing that struck me about the EX-Z800 is how light it is, weighing only 124g with the battery and memory card installed. It is also very compact being only 91mm wide, 52.3mm tall and 19.5mm deep. It should happily slip into a pocket of purse and you'd barely notice it is there.

The fit and finish of the EX-Z800 is good, although the battery door on the silver model provided for review feels a little bit flimsy compared to the rest of the camera. The controls are all very well laid out and easy to operate, with the most common falling right under my index finger and thumb.

Casio Exilim EX-Z800: Performance
I found the EX-Z800 to be quite a responsive camera, focusing quickly in most conditions. The face detection system works very well also, locking onto faces in the scene very swiftly. Unfortunately when using some of the Best Shot modes, the camera takes a while to process the result after the image has been taken, which can be a little frustrating if you wish to take another shot quickly.

The metering system in the EX-Z800 performs very well in a wide variety of conditions, especially when the face detection system is active. Lightly coloured and backlit scenes pose few problems for the camera, which appears to take difficult lighting in its stride.

Images have pleasing contrast and colour saturation in most cases, making them ideal for print straight from the camera.

Casio Exilim EX-Z800 Performance: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Plenty of detail is recorded in images taken in good conditions. The exposure system coped especially well with this backlit scene.
Images are contrasty with good colour saturation. The metering system coped well with this predominantly bright scene.

ISO and noise performance

As is often the case with high megapixel compacts the EX-Z800 struggles at higher sensitivities. There is no significant noise at sensitivities up to ISO200, where a little noise can be spotted in the shadows if you look closely enough. Images taken at ISO400 show signs of noise reduction reducing image detail, but the results are still of acceptable quality for general use.

The image quality only degrades further as the ISO is increased, but results are still fair until ISO1600 where obvious coloured speckles start to take over and fine detail is smoothed over by the noise reduction system's attempts to salvage what image quality it can.

Casio Exilim EX-Z800 Outdoor ISO speed test: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
ISO50 ISO100 ISO200 ISO400
ISO800 ISO1600 ISO3200  

Casio Exilim EX-Z800 Test chart ISO speed test: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
ISO50 ISO100 ISO200 ISO400
ISO800 ISO1600 ISO3200  

The EX-Z800 turned out an impressive auto white balance performance with results under incandescent and the warm white fluorescents in our studio being virtually indistinguishable from those taken with the manual preset for each condition. A slightly amber cast is still present under incandescent lighting, but it is very slight.

Casio Exilim EX-Z800 White-balance test: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Auto white-balance in incandescent lighting Incandescent preset in incandescent lighting
Auto white-balance in fluorescent lighting Fluorescent preset in fluorescent lighting

Buffer read/write times
In the standard auto mode I measured the delay from shot to shot to be 2.2 seconds on average, which is typical performance for a camera of this level. With the Premium Auto Mode enabled the delay increases quite dramatically, taking up to five seconds in some instances before the camera would allow me to take another shot. I could imagine this would be quite frustrating if you wished to take another shot quickly.

Lens performance
The 4x optic attached to the EX-Z800 performed well during testing, producing images with good sharpness from edge to edge throughout the zoom range. Little distortion is present and the lens seems quite resistant to flare too.

Unfortunately the macro function is a little disappointing, only allowing the camera to be brought within 8cm of your subject, even in the Super Macro mode. Flare and ghosting is kept to a minimum, even in harsh backlit situations and Chromatic aberrations are kept to a minimum also.

Casio Exilim EX-Z800 Lens quality: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
The 27mm equivalent wide angle allows a broad scene to be captured. The 108mm equivalent telephoto provides enoguh telephoto for portraits and isolating not to distant subjects.
Closest focus is a paltry 8cm in the macro mode. Images are sharp from edge to edge due to the high quality optics used.

Casio Exilim EX-Z800: Verdict
The Exilim EX-Z800 is a well featured compact that is certainly capable of producing excellent results in the right conditions. The quality at higher sensitivities could be better, but the camera will suit those who tend to take most of their pictures outdoors in good light, or indoors with the flash at close distances.

With the camera priced at under £150 I feel it represents good value for money as the image quality, especially at lower ISOs exceeds many other cameras at this price point.

Casio Exilim EX-Z800: Pros
Good quality at low ISOs
Compact and lightweight
Easy to use
Good fit and finish
Easy to use
Excellent auto white balance performance

Casio Exilim EX-Z800: Cons
Limited macro capabilities
Delays when using Premium Auto Mode and some Best Shot modes
Noise at higher sensitivities
Flimsy battery door


Casio Exilim EX-Z800: Specification
Price £149.00
What comes in the box Rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP-80), lithium ion battery charger (BC-81L), AC power cord, USB cable, AV cable, strap, CD-ROM
Lens 6 lenses in 5 groups, including aspherical lens
Resolution 14.1Mp
Sensor size 1/2.3-inch
Sensor type Square pixel CCD
Max. Image size 4320 x 3240
Aspect ratio 4:3
LCD monitor size 2.7inch
Focusing system Contrast Detection
Focusing modes Intelligent AF, Spot AF, Multi AF, Tracking AF, Face Detection
File types JPEG
ISO sensitivity ISO50-3200
Metering system Multi-pattern (centre weighted for some BS scenes)
Metering modes Auto, Premium Auto, Dynamic Photo, Portrait, Scenery, Portrait with Scenery, Self Portrait, 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, Auction, Backlight, High Sensitivity, Oil Painting, Crayon, Water Colour, Monochome, Retro, Twilight, Multi-Motion Image, ID Photo, Business Card, Whiteboard.
White-balance Auto WB, Daylight, Overcast, Shade, Day White FL, Daylight FL, Tungsten, Manual WB
Exposure compensation +/- 2EV
Shutter speed range 4 to 1/2000 second
Anti-shake mode CCD Shift Shake Reduction
Movie mode HD: 1280 x 720
Media type SD, SDHC
Interface USB
Power Rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP-80)
Size (wxdxl) 91.0 (W) x 52.3 (H) x 19.5 (D) mm
Weight (with battery) 124g

The Casio Exilim EX-Z800 costs £149.

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