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Conclusion - Pros

  • Excellent resolution and good edge-to-edge detail
  • Excellent results at ISO 50 and 100
  • Slim all-metal body
  • Superb build and finish
  • Easy to use
  • Well designed control and menu system
  • Very fast startup, focus, shutter lag
  • Lots of scene modes and some in-camera effects / editing
  • Superb screen; very bright
  • Accurate white balance
  • Lots of on-screen information including exposure info and live histogram
  • Good battery life

Conclusion - Cons

  • Noisy at ISO 400+, almost unusable at ISO 800
  • High Sensitivity (up to ISO 3200) mode very very low resolution (pixel-binning)
  • Misleading 'image stabilization' mode simply increases the ISO
  • Noise reduction starts to remove low contrast detail at ISO 200
  • Underpowered flash
  • Consistent overexposure of bright scenery shots (use AE-compensation)
  • Cannot charge the battery or connect to PC without using the cradle
  • Lens only F5.4 at long end; camera shake an issue unless light is good
  • Images over-sharpened at default setting

Overall conclusion

Casio was the company that first gave the world a 'consumer' digital camera, way back in 1995 (when most of the big names were still convinced film would live forever), and since the launch of the Exilim range in 2002 the brand has become synonymous with the kind of ultra-slim, ultra-stylish cameras that marketeers like to call 'lifestyle' products. What a lot of people - including those who think Casio should stick to making cheap digital watches - forget is that these 'lifestyle products' are often also very good cameras with innovative features and class-leading performance.

The EX-Z1000 was, I must admit, something of a surprise for me; fast and responsive, user-friendly and a real pleasure to use but also capable of surprisingly good results - though only if you stick to ISO 200 or below (and preferably leave it fixed on ISO 50 when the light allows).

Ultra compact 'style' cameras such as this inevitably present potential buyers with some sort of compromise or another. In the case of the Z1000 the rather uninspiring high ISO performance (hardly unique to this camera), fairly basic exposure controls and slightly underpowered flash are offset by the excellent results at lower ISOs, comprehensive feature set and superb screen. Whether anyone looking for this type of camera actually needs 10 million pixels is of course a completely different matter, but such is 'progress'. The Z1000 is fairly keenly priced, but you are paying a slight premium for something you're very unlikely to ever make full use of (unless you're in the regular habit of producing poster prints). The new sensor looks promising at low ISO settings, but at ISO 400 - certainly on the evidence of this camera - it offers little, if any, advantage over 6 or 7MP versions.

The EX-Z1000 is a very easy camera to like; it's fast and responsive in use, user friendly and stylish, and capable of stunning results at low ISO settings. It also has one of the best screens on the market and a well-designed interface and control system. But it's far from perfect; the poor high ISO performance is disappointing (though with files this big you might not be that bothered for small prints) and using the long end of the zoom in anything but very good light results in more focus errors than we'd like to see and an ever-present risk of camera shake.

All in all then, an excellent 'carry always' pocket camera that's got an awful lot to offer - as long as you realize its limitations and are prepared to pay a little extra for the privilege of being able to boast about a double-digit megapixel count.

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Build quality 9.0
Ergonomics & handling 8.0
Features 6.5
Image quality 7.5
Optics 7.0
Performance (speed) 9.0
Value 8.0

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Casio EX-Z1000 Review Samples

26 images • Posted 17th September 2006 • View album
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