Casio has today announced a 'megapixel upgrade' to its EXILIM EX-Z3 model, the new EX-Z4 is essentially the same camera but now features a four megapixel 1/2.5" type CCD sensor. The EX-Z4 is powered by a dedicated Lithium-Ion battery which it charges on the supplied cradle stand. Storage is provided by the built-in 10 MB of flash RAM and an optional SD/MMC card. The EX-Z4 just like the EX-Z3 and S3 has a huge 2.0" LCD monitor (although it's resolution isn't fantastic).

Phil: I'm loath to be too enthusiastic about these 'megapixel upgrades', recycling the same camera with a higher resolution sensor isn't really what people need. I doubt anyone will notice a significant improvement from the EX-Z3 to Z4 and indeed if anything you're simply requiring more of the lens and probably increasing noise. Then again at least the EX-Z3 was a good starting point.

Press Release (Casio UK):

EXILIM pushes the boundaries of style and function even further with the launch of the EX-Z4

CASIO introduces new 4 megapixel EXILIM ZOOM with 12x seamless zoom

Following on from the outstanding success of the EXILIM EX-Z3, CASIO Electronics Co. Ltd has announced the latest model in its acclaimed EXILIM ZOOM range - the EX-Z4. This latest addition to the award winning* range is expected to take the Christmas market by storm and will undoubtedly add to the number of stylish EXILIM owners. The EXILIM EX-Z4 has a resolution of 4.0 million effective pixels and is packed with features to enable users to take fantastic pictures whatever the occasion.

A combination of outstanding design, portability and high performance has put EXILIM ZOOM at the forefront of the market trend for compact, stylish and thinner digital cameras. Cutting edge technological developments such as CASIO's stack MCM* chip mounting technique and the 3 segment telescopic zoom mechanism have enabled the EX-Z4 to retain the distinctive EXILIM 'credit card size' height and width. The new EX-Z4 is a mere 23.1mm at its widest point and only 19.7mm at its thinnest.

The well-loved ability to integrate short movies with sound has now been enhanced by allowing recordings of up to 60 seconds, and a new built-in speaker allows for audio playback. New features such as still image with audio and voice recording capabilities have also been added, and an improved lower power design has extended the battery life of the EX-Z4, allowing longer continuous recordings.

An extra-large 2.0" TFT LCD, which features CASIO's unique digital interface, can be used both as a viewfinder for composing images, as well as a portable album for viewing images instantly.

The EX-Z4 also features CASIO's quick response technology that has become a feature of all its digital cameras. CASIO's technology not only enables the camera to power up and be available to shoot in just over a second, but also a shutter release time lag of 0.01 second, resulting in almost instantaneous image capture after pressing the shutter release button.

The EXILIM EX-Z4 will be available from Casio@Carnaby (020 - 7437 - 1441) and at all good digital camera retailers from October 2003.

* The European Imaging & Sound Association (EISA) named the EXILIM EX-Z3 Digital Mini Camera of the year 2003 / 2004 at the 2003 IFA fair in Berlin

* Stack Multi-Chip Module (MCM): A technique that makes high density mounting possible by stacking chips, reducing size requirement by approximately 40% (compared with the MCM mounting method used for the EXILIM EX-S2 and EX-M2)

Casio EXILIM ZOOM EX-Z3 Specifications

Sensor 1/2.5" 4.23 million pixel CCD (primary CFA)
Effective pixels 4.0 million
Image format JPEG (EXIF 2.2)
Image sizes

• 2304 x 1728
• 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 1280 x 960
• 640 x 480

Movie clips 320 x 240, max 60 sec clip, AVI (Motion JPEG codec)
Lens • Pentax lens, six elements in five groups
• 35 - 105 mm equiv, 3x optical zoom
• F2.6 - F4.8
Focus modes • Auto focus (Normal / Macro)
• Manual focus
Focus range • Normal: 40 cm - Infinity (1.3 ft - Infinity)
• Macro: 6 - 50 cm (2.4 - 19.7 in)
Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 50
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
Exposure compensation +/-2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps
Shutter speed 1 - 1/2000 sec
Apertures Two, at wide angle: F2.6 / F4.3
White balance • Auto
• Preset (four modes)
• Manual
Self timer 2 or 10 seconds
Flash modes • Auto
• Fill flash
• Flash cancel
• Red eye reduction
Flash range  Wide angle: 0.4 - 2.3 m (1.3 - 7.5 ft)
Storage • 10 MB Internal flash memory
• Secure Digital / Muti Media Card (SD/MMC)
Viewfinder Optical
LCD Monitor • 2.0" TFT LCD
• 84,960 pixels
Connections USB cradle connector
Power Lithium-Ion battery (charger included - via cradle)
Dimensions 87 x 67 x 23 mm (3.4 x 2.6 x 0.9 in)
Weight (no batt) 129 g (4.6 oz)
Included accessories • Lithium-Ion battery
• USB cradle
• USB cable
• AC adapter / charger
• Strap