Casio Exilim EX-Z850 review
I recently got a Casio EX-Z850 for my birthday and uploaded the improved HQ video firmware, v1.1B, before putting it through its paces.
I did a lot of reading about the Z850 and Z750, which gets more favourable comments for both its photo and video quality, and I was very tempted to exchange it for the Z750, but didn't and don't mind that I didn't either.
The Z850 is my first digital camera and I'm impressed! The screen is big and bright, the battery life is immense and it's intuitive to use with all settings and modes quickly accessible. The picture quality is great and the HQ video is much better with the new firmware; the difference between both qualities on the Z850 and Z750 is very noticeable until the HQ firmware is applied, but you do lose 40% of the field of vision (just stand a bit further back). I've recorded for over 10 minutes in HQ mode, but that's since the firmware update and I never tried this before updating, so I'm not sure if this cap was removed with this firmware or if I just got lucky with my camera. NQ remains worse than the Z750. It's a very quick camera to use; from off I could turn it on and take a picture in a couple of seconds, which is ideal for those unexpected moments. The build quality feels sturdy and like it will survive lots of use. Overall I'm very happy and the quality is more than good enough for me.
As a still camera I would give it 5 for image quality, but taking into account the video quality, which was a strong point on the model this replaces, and despite the firmware fix for HQ only, I have given this category 4. The HQ video is now great, while NQ remains worse than the Z750.
28 April 2009 - I installed firmware 1.3B recently, which makes the HQ video mode's field of vision even narrower than previous firmware, but I haven't done any recording yet to see how the quality compares.
Apart from the well known video quality issue, which is a strange step backwards, but it is primarily a still camera after all and Casio have addressed it, I haven't had any actual problems with the camera and hopefully never will.
29 August 2008 - Nearly two years of use and still no problems.