Thu, 21 Sep 2006 Casio Exilim EX-Z600
Long battery life and a bright LCD are the highlights of this compact digicam
- Manufacturer: Casio
- Pros: Compact, large LCD that’s bright and easy to see in daylight, convenient Best Shot button, built-in perspective correction, reasonable price, great battery life
- Cons: No optical viewfinder, mediocre image colour, exposure and sharpness, some controls are hard to use
- Price: £249
- Star rating:
Casio’s Exilim EX-Z600 is an ultra-compact camera, yet it has a bright, large 2.7in LCD. That’s important because this camera lacks an optical viewfinder, and when shooting in bright sunlight, images on the Casio’s display are perfectly visible.
While informal shots look pretty good, the camera’s images earned below-average scores for colour accuracy and sharpness. The EX-Z600 doesn’t rate highly in exposure accuracy either, especially compared with other point-and-shoot cameras we have looked at.
Usability is always a concern with pocket-sized cameras – especially those with big LCDs that take up a lot of space – and the EX-Z600’s controls are definitely a mixed bag. The zoom selector is well designed – the ring surrounding the large shutter-release button is easy to locate and operate when composing shots. The dedicated Best Shot button jumps you into a selection of 33 scene modes, one of which is the novel eBay mode (it’s not explained in the CD-based manual but is detailed on Casio’s website). In a test shot, it cut the resolution to a relatively low 1,600 x 1,200 pixels – perfect for posting images online.
The settings menus are fairly deep, but well organised and easy to interpret. On the other hand, the four-way selector button – used for navigating through the menus and images – is uncomfortably small for large fingers; as is the
tiny OK button that sits in the middle of the four-way selector.
One of this camera’s more unusual features is its built-in perspective (keystone) correction. Applied to images in playback mode, this effect does a nice job of squaring a rectangular object photographed at an odd angle, so that it looks more like you shot it straight-on. The feature probably can’t fix an out-of-kilter shot of a room, but it did fix a photo of a document we took. The corrected image is saved as a new file, so your original is left unmodified.
One place where the EX-Z600 really excels is battery life. You might expect this camera’s batteries to drain quickly because of the large and bright LCD. But the EX-Z600 lasted the maximum of 500 shots in our tests, and that’s far above the average of 271 shots.