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Casio QV-8000SX
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This is the new Casio QV-8000SX, a 1.3 megapixel digicam that yields 1280 x 960 or 640 x 480 pixel images in one of three JPEG (Exif v2.1) compression levels.  It features a wealth of real camera controls like Program AE, Shutter priority AE (1/2000 to 64 seconds), Aperture priority AE (F3.2, 4.8 or F8) and manual exposure. Multi-pattern, center point and spot metering options.   It even has real manual focus and white balance too.

Recording features are also rich and include one-shot, continuous, in-camera panorama and 10-sec movies, timer, macro, landscape, night scene and portrait modes.  And the new QV-8000SX comes with a high-speed USB port for PC or iMac compatibility.

Jump to the QV-8000SX Specifications

Casio QV-8000SX

The QV-8000SX sports the largest LCD of any 1.3 megapixel camera, it is a 2.5-inch TFT, low-glare color HAST type with 122,100 pixels, resolving 555 x 220.   Of course along with a big LCD comes a proportional power drain.  It has no optical viewfinder so be sure to carry an extra set of charged NiMH batteries with you at all times.

Casio QV-8000SX

I've found a new home for my Hoodman H200 Sunshield, it's a perfect fit on the QV-8000.  In direct or even indirect sunlight that big LCD is as unusable as the rest of them.  I don't know what the designers were thinking when they came up with a 8X telephoto (obviously for outdoor use) and a LCD viewfinder (obviously for indoor use.)

Casio QV-8000SX

Where have we seen this "swiveling lens" feature before?  Even before the Nikon Coolpix 900 and 950 there was the Agfa ePhoto 1280 and 1680 cameras which also lacked an optical viewfinder.

Casio QV-8000SX

But no Nikon or Agfa digicam has ever been mated to an 8X optical zoom lens!  With this bad boy you can get really close to things and still be a long way away.  This is a 6-48mm (40-320mm 35mm equiv) F3.2 to 3.5 zoom lens that also has a 4X digital zoom feature.

Normal focusing range: Wideangle 1.3' to infinity, Telephoto 3.3' to infinity. The macro range is limited from 1.0x to 1.6x and covers from 0.4" to 19.7" (1cm - 50cm).  Manual focus covers 3.9" to infinity.

The lens is threaded for 43mm filters and attachments.

Casio QV-8000SX

The bottom is clean and flat and mounts well on a tripod.   The socket is plastic.   Access to both the battery compartment and the CompactFlash card slot require the camera to be taken off the tripod first.

Casio QV-8000SX

Any size CompactFlash card may be used in the Type I slot. The plastic door flips open from the front, the card is ejected by a release button that is pushed in and pops up and then pushed down again to eject the CF card.

Casio QV-8000SX

The battery door has a positive sliding latch and the batteries can be quickly and easily removed by just tilting the camera.

Casio QV-8000SX

Access to the QV-8000's I/O ports is via a small, plastic door on the top of the camera. From left to right we have the 6v DC input, USB, Video Out (NTSC or PAL), and the Digital (serial) I/O port.

Casio QV-8000SX

The user controls are minimal as most advanced options must be accessed via the color LCD. The power On/Off switch is on the outside of the shutter button and requires an definite effort to activate it.

The "+" and "-" buttons serve multiple functions, in recording mode they adjust the EV compensation and control the manual focus, in playback mode they let you scroll through the stored images and they also let you navigate the menu system. The Menu button obviously activates the menus.

The command dial options are (counter-clockwise from top): timer mode, panorama mode, movie mode, normal mode, night scene mode, portrait mode and landscape mode.

Casio QV-8000SX

The rest of the controls are on the back, below the color LCD. On the left is the status LED that indicates various system conditions by being steady or blinking in red, green and amber.

The other buttons from left to right are: Flash modes (and folders), Manual Focus / Infinity / Macro, selftimer and the Display button that controls how much information is put on the LCD screen in both record and playback modes.

Casio QV-8000SX

The zoom control lever is mounted on the front, below the shutter button.  I find it easy to go to the telephoto side but for some reason my finger fumbles a bit making it go to wideangle.

Casio QV-8000SX

The QV-8000 comes with a wired remote control that controls almost all of the important camera features in both record and playback mode.   It plugs into the Digital (serial) I/O port when needed.

And if you look at the camera behind the remote you will see the REC / PLAY switch located just below the command dial. You can really quickly go back and forth between these two operational modes with a flick of your thumb.

Continue on to
Menus & Playback Features


Steve's QV-8000 Sample Pictures

Steve's Conclusion

The Casio QV-8000SX is a great camera that is handicapped by the lack of an optical viewfinder. The 8X optical zoom lens is nothing short of fantastic but is rarely needed for indoor use where this camera performs the best. The big 2.5" LCD is all but useless outdoors unless you have it shielded with something like the Hoodman and even then it's far from optimal.

Because everything is dependant on the use of the LCD, the battery life is rather on the short side. In addition to the Hoodman shade it would be wise to purchase an external battery pack like the ProPower NiMH Pack or carry several sets of charged NiMH AA cells with you. If you do all of your shooting indoors then this camera will suit you well, Casio does not include an AC adapter or rechargable batteries.

This camera has many powerful and useful features and takes really great pictures. Used as a point and shoot in automatic mode it performs almost flawlessly. To access the advanced features one must wade through multiple levels of menus which often confused me even though I had the manual at hand. Even to delete a single image you must activate the menu, choose the delete option, choose which delete option you want, select the image to delete, confirm the selection and then press the shutter button -- simple huh?

As with the QV-2000UX, the QV-8000SX stores its files on the memory card and builds an HTML index of them. This means you can use your favorite Internet browser to "browse" your newly created photo album. You can select one of four different styles of HTML albums to suit the capabilities of your browser. This is a very nice way of doing things and other companies would be doing us all a favor if they followed Casio's lead.

The USB port is fast and allows you to download your images to the computer without the need or expense of a card reader. The QV-8000 is loaded with real camera controls; selectable shutter speed from 1/2000 to an unbelievable 64 seconds, selectable apertures (F3.2, F4.8 or F8), matrix / center / spot metering, true manual focusing and manual white balance. All of these features require you to go through several layers of menus to select the desired options, it's tedious to say the least. If Casio had 3 or 4 memory locations to store user's shooting options it would make this camera 1000% more user friendly.

The macro mode is nothing short of fantastic and rivals that of the Nikon 950. Minimum shooting distance is an incredible 1cm, you can get so close that the lens itself blocks the light on your subject. After using 3X zoom lenses on most of the digicams I test and evaluate it was a pure joy to use the QV-8000 with that really long 8X zoom. It's amazing how close you can get to things with an 8X zoom lens. I really like the wired remote control, it controls most major functions of the camera and is highly useful when shooting macros or viewing slideshow playbacks on the TV set.

I'm really torn trying to categorize this camera as a winner or a loser. On one hand it takes great pictures and that 8X zoom leaves you feeling inadequate when you switch back to another camera that has only a 3X zoom on it. But, there's no getting around the limitations of an LCD-only viewfinder, especially when used in a place like sunny Florida. It's up to the user to determine whether or not he can live with the limitations of this camera -- there's no denying that Sharp has sold one helluva lot of LCD-only camcorders. I guess it's up to the consumer to decide if this camera will fit his or her needs or not.

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