Casio Exilim EX-Z850 Review
Conclusion - Pros
- Good resolution, natural accurate color, fairly subtle processing
- Huge, comprehensive feature set with real photographic control
- Lots of control over image parameters
- Wide selection of scene modes
- Excellent user interface
- Excellent all-metal construction
- Good white balance
- Very compact
- Big bright screen
- Very responsive operation, very low shutter lag
- Fast focus
- More customization options than normal in this class of camera
- Excellent battery life
- Comprehensive flash modes
- Improved burst mode
- ISO 1600 option (though see below)
- Good price
Conclusion - Cons
- Default settings do not necessarily produce the best results
- Default sharpening is a bit high (can be reduced)
- Macro mode doesn't get as close as some competitors
- Highlight clipping and some red channel clipping in wide dynamic range scenes
- Fairly consistent (but mild) over exposure in bright outdoor conditions.
- Intrusive noise reduction at ISO 400
- Only two aperture settings
- ISO 800 and 1600 not manually selectable, results not very good
- Have to use the docking cradle to charge battery and use AV output (or buy another lead)
- MPEG movies suffer from jaggies and other artefacts; not as good as the EX-Z750
Like the EX-Z750 before it, the EX-Z850 has much to commend it to the more serious photographer wanting a truly pocket-sized camera with real photographic control - in fact more so, given that the default settings produce images that lack the over-processed Technicolor look of its predecessor. It's also got a much better screen, much better flash and a few genuinely useful new tricks up its sleeve to boot.
Although we haven't had room here to cover in full the immense range of features on offer (there are, after all 34 'Best Shot' modes) I hope you've got an idea of just how much functionality Casio has shoehorned into the EX-Z850's slim, compact all-metal body. There simply isn't another camera this small on the market that offers such a wealth of photographic tools and fun - though ultimately often rather pointless - features. These include not only scene modes covering every conceivable shooting scenario but clever tools for everything from shooting - and straightening out - business cards shot at an angle to restoring old photos, special effects and high sensitivity modes (albeit high sensitivity with seriously questionable image quality). Going through the menus and options you sometimes get the feeling that Casio's engineers just didn't know when to say no!
Features aside the output from the EX-Z850 is a slightly more mixed bag, and shows this is a camera much better suited to the more experienced user than the wealth of scene modes might suggest. To get the most out of it you really do need to either play a little with the various parameters (the tendency to overexpose means AE-compensation is often called for) - or do some post processing; something the occasionally rather flat results lend themselves well to. The parameters you can control - saturation, contrast and brightness - really need some tweaking to get the best results. It would be ideally suited to an SLR user wanting something they could carry easily on the days when they don't fancy lugging a lot of heavy gear around, or for anyone who wants a 'point and shoot' model that can, if need be, allow them to experiment with manual settings as their knowledge and expertise grows.
So then, a camera that improves on its highly capable predecessor, and one that proves anyone writes off Casio because it is better known for cheap watches than high performance cameras is ignoring one of the most innovative manufacturers in the market. But it is also a camera with a few infuriating - though far from fatal - flaws that mean it can't be considered 100% foolproof, and though capable of some of the best results in its class the EX-Z850 doesn't necessarily supply them using its default, fully automatic settings, which is unfortunate.
Also unfortunate is the - doubtless marketing led - decision to increase the pixel count to 8 million pixels for no good reason. Not only does the resultant need for higher noise reduction actually reduce the resolution marginally, but the new sensor (in this camera at least) suffers from poor movie quality and is very sensitive to highlight clipping - a real problem when combined with the mild overexposure. I would have been much happier to see the EX-Z750 with all the operational improvements but the same sensor (or even the new 6MP 1/2.5 CCD, which certainly has lower noise than this one).
In the final analysis, however, the EX-Z850 has more to recommend it than many sub-compact models - not least for the huge feature set (which will give you months of fun), and the comprehensive photographic control. It's beautifully made, fast, has a stunning screen and is really enjoyable in use. It's frustrating that Casio has come so near - and yet remained so far - from creating the perfect 'serious' sub-compact in both this model and its predecessor, but the fact remains that - in experienced hands - it still comes closer than any of its competitors. We can't give it a Highly Recommended for all the reasons mentioned above, but I have no qualms about recommending it to anyone wanting something that offers a lot more than just 'point and shoot' functionality in an attractive, and truly pocketable package
|Waffles with fruits by Coolinarka|
from Food photography (desserts)
|Vestrahorn Frozen Reflection by Will B Milner|
from Ice cold
Google has updated its Photos mobile apps to support the recently announced service for creating and printing physical photo books.
Europeana Photography is a new online image archive that includes more than 2 million historical photographs from European collections in 34 countries, covering the first 100 years of photography. Read more
Manufacturers love to state CRI (color rendering index) numbers to prove that their LED lights will provide great color, but a single CRI score doesn't tell the whole story.
NASA's Juno spacecraft is sending back its first images from Jovean orbit, and they're beautiful. Read more
We got our hands on the first zoom lens available for Fujifim's new digital medium format system. Check out the samples
As summer really gets going over here in the Northern hemisphere, the team at Imaging Resource has put together a list of the best cameras for backpacking.
The Ukrainian Parliament banned statues of Lenin in 2015. Two years later, the monuments no longer adorn public buildings or stand watch over town squares, but they're still there.
If you had to choose one camera to bring along for the ultimate West coast road trip, what would it be? DPR's Sam Spencer choose the X100F. Read more
The a9 boasts impressive capability. As more examples of it in practice pour in, Sony's claims hold up. Watch the a9 track and maintain focus on a rapidly approaching basketball.
Last week, more than a million tonnes of Californian coastline slid into the ocean, taking part of Highway 1 with it. Check out the remodeling in photos taken before and after the landslide.
Even after eighteen months of reviewing the latest, greatest, shiniest and must-buy-me-est new gear, DPReview staffer Carey Rose has continued to use older DSLR cameras for his freelance work. But now, that might be changing. Read more
Sony is the world's leading mirrorless camera brand but remains third for ILCs overall, it's said in a presentation to investors. A focus on high value cameras and lenses should boost operating income, it says. Read more
It's nicknamed the 'Cycloptic Mustard Monster,' and is a 3D printed medium format camera. Read more
The new NanGuang LED lights are battery powered and come with accessories including filters and diffusers.
Have you been telling yourself, "Hey, I really need one of those 8K displays?" A video about Dell's new 8K monitor shows you what to expect. Is it really that much better?
Tamara Lackey, a Nikon ambassador USA and pro shooter, discusses embracing self-consciousness as a means of connecting with subjects.
There's a new Spiderman movie coming out and the poster been generating a lot of online chatter. Mostly about how it looks like the creation of a fevered teenager that just discovered Photoshop.
An honest defense of the system's merits, with photos as proof.
Copyright disputes are no fun at all. 'Binded' is a new startup that aims to simplify the process of registering - and enforcing - copyright for photographers. Read more
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.
What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste.