Operation and controls

There are few ultra-compact cameras offering the range of controls and features Casio's designers have squeezed into the Z750, and yet the interface is so well designed that it rarely feels daunting - even when you first pick it up.

Rear of camera

The rear of the Z750 is of course dominated by large 2.5-inch screen, and every available square inch of surface area is taken up with buttons and controls, which means very few important controls are buried in menus. The only downside - inevitable in a camera this small - is that there isn't really anywhere 'safe' for your thumb to rest if you're shooting single-handedly.

Top of camera

The top of the Z750 is home to the power (on/off) button, shutter release and zoom rocker. As you can see from this shot, this is a very slim camera indeed.

Display and menus

Casio has gradually refined its menu and control system over several generations of Exilim cameras, but the Z750 sports essentially the same interface as models from a couple of years ago - no bad thing, as it works very well and is surprisingly easy to navigate and use. There are so many options, features and functions that we've only room here to give you a taster.

Apologies for the low quality of some of these screenshots, the EX-Z750 does not support video out in record mode, so the screen was photographed directly.

Pressing the display button cycles through three display modes; basic (AF frame only, shown here), advanced and advanced with histogram. You can also turn off the LCD entirely and use the optical viewfinder. Finally the setup menu offers the option for a 3x3 Grid overlay, great if you struggle with getting your horizons horizontal. The most advanced record screen gives you comprehensive shooting information at a glance, though the sheer amount of screen 'clutter' can be slightly distracting when you're attempting precise framing. One nice touch is the on-screen AE-compensation display (the left and right arrows change the setting, though you can change what these keys do in the record menu).
Half-press the shutter and the display changes to indicate the focus area(s) selected, and the exposure (aperture and shutter speed) chosen (the screen shown is in basic display mode). The Z750 has three focus modes, single (center), multi and 'free' - the focus point can be placed anywhere in the frame). Turning the mode dial to 'M' allows you to choose between aperture priority (though there are only two apertures to choose from), shutter priority (60 secs to 1/1600th) and manual. The interface is a little fiddly (but you soon get used to it), and there's no metering as such in manual mode, but it's still a rare treat to have this much control in an ultra-compact camera.
Casio likes to cover every conceivable shooting scenario with its extensive scene modes (known as 'Best Shot' modes), so the EX-Z750 has no less than 30 (plus one custom 'user' mode), covering everything from the usual portraits, landscapes and night scenes to pets, 'splashing water' and food to special effects and modes for copying documents and text that remove perspective distortion. In each case a brief description is shown on-screen to explain how and when to use it (example). Pressing the small 'drive mode' button on the side of the camera brings up this small menu allowing you to choose from one of the Z750's three continuous shooting modes.
The EX button acts a little like Canon's FUNC button, offering fast and easy access to the most commonly used controls; Image size (though not quality), white balance, ISO and AF area. Pressing the menu button in record mode brings up three tabbed menus, each with two or three pages of options. The REC tab (shown above) has basic shooting settings as well as allowing you to change what the left/right keys control.
The quality tab is where you'll find menu options for image size, quality, AE-compensation, white balance, ISO, metering mode, sharpness/saturation/ contrast and flash level. Finally the setup tab (also accessible in playback mode) has the usual settings for customizing the interface, sounds, date and time, language and so on.
The final option in the REC menu allows you to choose which of 11 settings are remembered when you power off the camera (flash, focus, white balance, AF area, metering, self-timer, flash intensity, digital zoom, manual focus position and zoom position). As in record mode you can choose from three levels of information overlaid on your images when in playback. You can also view your images by the date they were taken using the calendar mode.
Pushing the zoom lever to the left (wide) brings up - very quickly - a page of 3x3 thumbnails. You can also magnify images up to 8.0x by moving the zoom lever to the right. The four directional keys let you scroll around the image.
Pressing the menu button in playback mode displays two tabs of menu options (Setup, is the same as in record mode). The Play menu gives you the usual options for slideshows, printing and protecting, as well as more advanced options (rotating, trimming, resizing) and a couple of very unusual options for changing the white balance or brightness of saved shots. The white balance change is not perfect, but it's useful if you don't do post-processing. Few stills cameras offer the range of movie options found on the Z750. There are four basic MPEG4 movie modes; standard (up to 30 fps / 640x480); Short Movie mode (each press of the button records a short - 2 to 8 second - movie that starts up to five seconds before you actually press the shutter; Past Movie (uses a 5 second buffer to start recording a normal movie before you press the button) and Best Shot movie mode. This has six options covering portraits, scenery, night scenes, fireworks, backlight and 'silent' (a black and white old-style film). You can use the digital zoom whilst recording movies.