Casio Exilim EX-Z120 review
This is a great compact camera.
Resolution and edge to edge sharpness are excellent at ISO 50--comparable almost to my Olympus E-300 with 14-45mm lens. I have also owned the Olympus 8080 among other cameras, and I believe the Z120's resolution and sharpness, at ISO 50, also hold up well against the 8080's.
Note ISO 50 on this camera is really more like ISO 80-100, in reality.
Some details are lost at ISO 200 due to in-camera noise reduction, but very acceptable for the most parts.
Color balance is a little on the cold side, but OK. Casio has adjusted the default sharpness, contrast, and saturation from that used on the Z750 (which I owned briefly, and has similar image quality to the Z120 with the exception of noiser ISO 200 on the Z750).
On the Z120, I set them to -1, -1, +1, respectively. The -1 setting for contrast is particularly important because, otherwise highlights are more more easily blown, particularly for indoor flash picutres.
The manual controls are very handy. For many indoor shots, I will use an external flash with a slave trigger (Sunpak PZ5000AF) and shoot at f4.0 and ISO 50. Indoor group shots come out very well with this setup.
The lens does have a limited wide angle, at 38mm on the wide end. However, it has much less barrel distortion and almost no corner softness, compared to other compacts with 35mm wide angle.
AF is fast, even though there is no AF light. An AF light would be handy if you need to shoot in almost total darkness. Otherwise, the lack of AF light does not detract from the camera's focusing ability.
This camera is available at many outlets for under $250. It is a great value for that price.
Suggested improvements for the firmware:
- provide a more granulated distance scale for manual focusing
- allow "shutter priority" so that camera switches from playback mode to picture taking mode, upon half press of shutter
- fix a bug in the custom Best Shot programming whereby aperture f4.0 cannot be used in a custom Best Shot
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