Casio EXILIM EX-Z3 Review
Conclusion - Pros
- Average three megapixel resolution
- Good reliable metering, if slightly conservative (worth checking live histogram)
- Low image noise at ISO 50 and 100
- Excellent macro focus performance (for an ultra-compact)
- Wide range of preprogrammed best shot scene modes
- Histogram display in live view and play modes (not record review)
- Good auto focus speed, low light performance good considering lack of AF assist lamp
- Ultra compact, light weight
- Good build quality, case a little too easy to scratch
- Very fast startup time
- Large LCD monitor with anti-reflective coating (although see 'Con' below)
- Customizable record mode control (left / right on 4-way controller)
- Multi-function cradle makes it easy to charge / connect camera (no video out though)
Conclusion - Cons
- Lens softness, especially at corners of frame
- Blue and green color response darker than other cameras
- Color shift of overexposed reds
- No image parameter adjustment
- Blue cast to flash exposures
- Some chromatic aberrations visible (although average for this size of camera)
- Some vignetting / light fall off in right-hand corner of frame at maximum aperture
- No 'next shot buffer' means you must wait for image to be saved before taking next
- Only 10 MB internal flash storage included
- Limited night exposure capability (longest shutter 1 second)
- LCD monitor is big but has low pixel count
- Oversensitive shutter release ('trigger')
- No video out
Here's my rating of the Casio EXILIM EX-Z3: (3 megapixel ultra-compact)
|Detail||Rating (out of 10)|
|Lens / CCD combination||7.5|
|Ease of use||8|
|Value for money||8|
The EXILIM EX-Z3 is a very capable ultra-compact digital camera. It's small dimensions and relatively light weight mean that it can live up to the EXILIM 'wearable' tag line. It's a camera design to immediately appeal, and the big two inch LCD monitor is a good way to grab people's attention. Build quality is excellent and the camera has a solid, quality feel to it. Operationally it performs well with a fast startup, fast AF and responsive in menu and play modes. The EX-Z3 suffered the same 'niggle' as the Optio S, and that was a lack of a 'next shot buffer' which can mean you'll have to wait up to four seconds before the next shot.
The EX-Z3 did suffer a few problems, the lens wasn't all that sharp in the corners of the frame, we did note some chromatic aberrations and slight light fall off / vignetting at wide angle. I also wasn't a big fan of Casio's choice of color balance, it left blues and greens looking dull, this could be seen especially in blue skies. Weighing everything up however I can't help but Recommend the EX-Z3, it's just as pocketable as the slightly smaller Pentax Optio S and has just as many redeeming features, good for the price.
So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, the answer is that everyone has different requirements. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask other questions which I've not answered in these pages.
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