Casio EX-P600 Review
Casio's first Exilim "Pro" camera, the Pro EX-P600 combines a high-resolution 6 megapixel effective imager with a fast Canon 4x optical zoom lens. The EX-P600 is a great full-featured camera that has an Auto record mode for point-n-shoot ease as well as Aperture priority, Shutter priority, and full Manual modes for the more experienced photographer. The 25 pre-programmed "Best Shot" scene modes optimize the camera's settings for specific shooting conditions and users have the ability to create their own Best Shot scene with the Register Favorites function. The EX-P600 has 6 image sizes to choose from (2816x2112, 2816x1872(3:2), 2048x1536, 1600x1200, 1280x960, 640x480). The 2816x1872 image size mode is set at a 3:2 aspect ratio, which is ideal for printing 4x6-inch prints without having to crop any of the image.
The EX-P600 is ready go in approx. 2 seconds. When pre-focused, it is quite the performer with a very minimal 1/10 of a sec. shutter lag. From first press of the shutter to full auto focus is a fast 2/10 of a second. The camera has three Continuous modes (Normal, Fast, Multi). In Normal mode I was able to capture 10 frames in approx. 15 seconds. Fast mode captured 6 shots in an amazingly fast 2.5 seconds. Multi continuous mode captured 25 frames in 1.6 sec. and saved them as a single 1600x1200 image. 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. Since most of our testing was done with a SanDisk Ultra II 512MB SD card, our timings may differ.
The EX-P600 is the first Exilim to offer Audio-Video out capability as well as a standard PC flash sync port for connecting external flash units. The new Ex Finder display was "cool" to show off to our friends, but during test shooting it was difficult to see what I was framing with all of that overlay information in the way. Someone at Casio must have a lot of free time on their hands to have created the "Image Roulette" mode that cycles images like a slot machine on the LCD, before stopping at one of them. At first, images scroll at high speed, then the scrolling slows down gradually until a single image is stopped on the screen. The EX-P600 offers a wide variety of helpful menus screens that make the more advanced shooting modes like Aperture priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual easier to use by less experienced users. You can see illustrations of these menu screens by going to our Record Modes page.
The image quality of the EX-P600 is very good, it captures sharp and well saturated pictures. Flesh tones were very accurate and well exposed. The 4x Canon zoom lens covers a 35mm equivalent of 33-132mm 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 10 feet. This will pose some problems when trying to illuminate large rooms like at weddings, but thanks to its built-in PC flash sync port, you can make use of more powerful external flash units.
The EX-P600's large 2-inch color LCD monitor covers almost two-thirds of the back and makes it easier to use in bright sunlight. 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 the included BC-L30 rapid charger in 2 hours or less. The EX-P600 shares the new 3.7v 1230 mAh pack with it's 'lil brother the EX-Z40, which allows an increase in battery life of up to 2.5 times over past models. We had no problems shooting all afternoon before the battery was close to being exhausted. The EX-P600 has only 9MB of internal memory, so you should consider purchasing a large SD card like the SanDisk 512MB Ultra II SD card we used for our tests. Currently a Sandisk 512MB SD card can be had for $170 or less and will serve you well.
The Casio Pro EX-P600 makes a great choice for anyone who wants a compact, full-featured, durable,
and extremely fast camera . The controls are well placed and functional. The overall
image quality is very good and with its 6 megapixel resolution you can easily produce
high-quality 13x19-inch size prints, it's sure to please. Be sure to check out our Olympus C-60 and Kodak DX-7630 reviews,
these are the first group of 6-megapixel cameras for 2004.
Casio has posted a firmware 1.01 update for the EX-P600 camera. It allows for high-speed night scene recording and zooming of portrait mode images (without changing them to landscape orientation):
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