One thing that stood out in the press release for the QV-3000EX was the fact that it had a Canon lens. Unlike previous Casio's (and many other digicams from non-camera manufacturers) which normally use an OEM lens, this Casio is blessed with a good quality, fast lens (F2.0).
The next bit of good news comes again from the lens, the camera suffers only very very slight barrel distortion (really hardly noticeable) at full wide and no pincushion at full tele. So as far as getting a quality image onto the CCD we're ok. The rest is down to the quality of the CCD, associated electronics and the processing algorithm. All of which do a pretty good job. Of all the digicams I've reviewed I'd put the QV-3000EX's image quality in the top five.
Colours are neutral and well balanced (if you like a brightly coloured image then just push the saturation up in the menu), white balance is generally good though the camera can sometimes get confused (using manual override solves this). Images down to a pixel level are fairly sharp, though I did get the feeling they could have been a little sharper, also in some cases the bottom end of the dynamic range was a little lacking, black wasn't quite black. But these really are niggles and don't detract from a camera which can produce some stunning images.
Noise is also fairly low, some visible at slower shutter speeds and of course if you increase sensitivity, the night mode with its noise reduction was an interesting addition though longer exposures (than 1 second) would have been more appropriate.
Compared with the Canon S20 & Nikon Coolpix 990
The following scenes were shot with each camera from the same tripod, same lighting within minutes of each other. Cameras were set to automatic white balance. The 990 used here is full production firmware v1.0 but non-QC.
In the first set of samples below each 100% (1:1) crop was taken out of unaltered images, remembering that each of these cameras has different pixel counts you need to look at the image quality and amount of definition rather than size of details.