Casio EX-Z200 Review
The Casio Exilim EX-Z200 introduces a couple of new features never before seen on an Exilim model. The first is a new 4x wide optical zoom lens. This gives you the ability to shoot at a wide angle with the 35mm equivalent of 28mm. It also has advanced "auto shutter" shooting modes that allow the camera to take pictures without you pressing the shutter release. The camera also features a 10.1- megapixel imaging sensor, 2.7" SuperClear LCD screen, advanced face detection software, and YouTube and For Ebay best shot modes.
Casio's face detection software is very advanced and gives you several different settings to make sure that you get the pictures that you want. There is a Standard face detection that will locate and focus on faces like all others do. The very unique Family setting, allows you to record your family members faces' into the camera. When Family is set as the priority the camera is able to distinguish their faces and take priority over other faces. You can also set higher priorities for some of the faces that you have saved within the camera.
The Z200 is a stylish compact camera that is available in 3 stylish colors. It has a very sturdy feel and fits comfortably in one hand. Operation is easy with one or two hands, even using the zoom with one hand is not a problem. The controls of the back of the camera are well labeled and make navigating the well thought out menus a snap. Casio has added an instant record button to the top right corner of the camera that allows you to record video instantly no matter what shooting mode you are in. The 2.7" SuperClear LCD screen has a wide format that allows for the shortcut menu to stay on the screen at all times. This is great because it allows you to change these settings at the push of a button without going into the menu. This feature can be turned off in the settings menu.
Performance from the Z200 is ok for a 10-megapixel camera in this price range. It was a little slower than the S10 when starting up, taking 2.4 seconds to capture its first image. The shutter lag is outstanding, almost instantaneous when the camera is pre-focused and as fast as 2/10 of a second when allowing the auto-focus to work. In single shot mode the camera was able to capture 5 images in 13 seconds and 16.2 seconds with the flash, again a little slower than the S10. It also has 3 continuous shooting modes. In normal continuous, I was able to capture 5 images in 7.5 seconds without and 9 seconds with the flash. In high speed continuous, the camera shoots at the 2-megapixel resolution but is able to capture 28 images in just 10 seconds, almost 3fps. Then there is the flash continuous mode. It snaps 3 images with the flash in just 8/10 of a second at the full 10-megapixel fine resolution. Our tests were completed using a Lexar Professional 133x speed 2GB SD memory card, Auto shooting mode, ISO Auto, flash off, anti shake off, and all other settings at the factory defaults. Times may vary depending on lighting conditions, camera settings, media, etc.
The quality from our outdoor shots was pretty good. The exposures were descent, but slightly overexposed in some of the clouds. Most of the images were crisp and clear with very little edge softness. The colors were also vivid and natural. The 4x wide optical zoom lens is outstanding for landscapes with the 28mm equivalent. The zoom with an equivalent (35mm) of 112mm is great for framing and picking out an individual in a group. At the wide end you will see a little more barrel distortion than normal due to the extra wide angle. The chromatic aberrations have also been well controlled, barely showing any at 100%, and they wont be able to be seen on any standard sized prints.
Our indoor quality was also pretty good. The auto white balance did an excellent job maintaining natural looking colors. When shooting the portraits in portrait mode, it did take the camera little time to recognize faces, especially of kids. The built-in flash did an excellent job of not overexposing its subject and with a range of almost 11', it has more power than the other Casio models. It even does a good job adjusting for macro mode and not blowing out the subject. When shooting at ISO 50, the detail in the pictures is outstanding (slight noise in the dark areas), but is quickly lost as the ISO goes up and the noise starts to appear and increase.
Movies are recorded as a H.264/AVC MOV. file, which are compatible with iTunes and your Ipod. This is a high quality video compression that greatly reduces file size while keeping a high level of quality. The videos run very smoothly with no compression artifacting when shooting in UHQ quality. The camera also does an excellent job of recording audio without a lot of ambient background noise. The camera also has a wide record mode, that has a resolution of 848x480, that will fit with today's wide screen tv's.
Powering the Z200 is a monstrous 3.7v 1300mAh rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery pack. This battery has allowed me to capture 160 images, several videos and complete all of our tests and the battery icon on the camera still shows a full green battery. This is an outstanding battery life and is great if you will be going away for a while and won't have a place to recharge. We still recommend a second battery as a backup though, just in case.
Bottom Line - Casio has added some great features to the Exilim series with EX-Z200. The 4x wide zoom lens and face recognition and auto shutter features are great additions to the camera. The size and performance are also good for a 10-megapixel model. With an MSRP of US$300 we feel this camera is worthy of your consideration.
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