Casio EX-Z40 Review
Casio's newest addition to their Exilim series, the EX-Z40 uses the same 4 megapixel imager and 3x optical zoom lens found on the EX-Z4U. The EX-Z40 brings back the ability to record movies at 320x280 (15fps) with sound, limited only by the capacity of the memory card. This credit card-size camera is loaded with features that are usually found only on larger and more expensive cameras. The EX-Z40 is a great point-n-shoot camera that has adjustments for ISO, White Balance and Exposure Compensation. There are 21 pre-programmed "Best Shot" scenes modes that optimize the camera's settings for specific shooting conditions and user has the ability to create their own Best Shot scenes using the Register Favorites function.
The EX-Z40 is ready go in approximately 2 seconds when using the internal memory only. Since most of our testing was done with a 512MB SD card, our timings may differ. When pre-focused, the EX-Z40 is quite the performer with a very minimal 0.2 sec. shutter lag. From first press of the shutter to full auto focus requires approx. 0.5 second. The EX-Z40 has no Continuous mode, but I was able to shoot 10 frames at an interval of approximately 2.1 seconds per frame with preview on. With preview off the interval was around 1.8 seconds per shot. The camera is very robust when reviewing your images. By holding down either the Left or Right buttons on the 4-way selector, you can zip through your images at lightning speed (approx. 12 frames/sec.).
The image quality of the EX-Z40 is very good, it captures sharp and well saturated pictures. The 3x Pentax zoom lens covers a 35mm equivalent of 35-105mm and has a 4x digital zoom feature. There is moderate barrel distortion at full wide angle but almost no pin cushioning at full telephoto. The zoom lens is quick and smooth as it goes from wide angle to telephoto. The indoor shots were also well saturated but not as sharp, maybe due to a lack of a focus assist lamp for low light shooting. The flash range is limited to a maximum of about 11 feet. Flesh tones were very accurate and well exposed.
The EX-Z40 utilizes a large 2-inch color LCD monitor which covers almost two- thirds of the back and makes it easier to use in the bright sunlight, where as most compact cameras use a 1.5-inch LCD. Since the monitor is larger than most, the menu text is bigger and more legible. This camera uses a proprietary lithium battery and we recommend the purchase of a second battery, you never know when it might come in handy. The battery is charged in-camera whenever it's in the included docking cradle. With the EX-Z40's new power source (which is a 3.7v 1230 mAh pack compared to the EX-Z4's 3.7v 680mAh pack) it allows an increase in battery life of up to 2.5 times. We had no problems filling up a 512MB SD card one afternoon before the battery was close to being exhausted. The EX-Z40 only has 9.7MB of internal memory, so you might want to consider purchase a larger SD card. Currently a 256MB card can be had for $90 or less and will serve you well.
The EX-Z40 makes a great choice for anyone who wants a fast, durable, and extremely pocketable camera . It's easy to hold and operate with just one hand. The controls are minimal, well placed and functional. The overall image quality is very good. Its indoor snapshots are great as long as you stay within the limits of the flash range. It's excellent for all types of outdoor daylight photography, and with a price tag of under $400 dollars, the EX-Z40 makes a great choice for your gift list.
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