Casio Exilim EX-Z550 Digital Camera
I received the Casio Exilim EX-Z550 Digital Camera in time for Fantasy Fest in Key West. That event gave me many interesting people and places to work with. The EX-550 has been available for a while but I needed a camera that was setup for EYE-FI, a product that uses wireless connections to download photos to a computer or a web destination. Unfortunately the EYE-FI tests did not work well but the camera did. The EX-Z550 is a sturdy camera. It looks like most other point and shoot cameras. In this case looks were somewhat deceiving. The camera weighs in at 4.0 Oz with battery and memory card. Size is 3.9"(W) x 2.1"(H) x .83"(D). The EX-Z550 comes in Black, Blue, Purple, Red, or Grey. At $169.99 it might seem a little pricey until you look under the hood. The EX-Z550 goes beyond the basics.
In the Box
Charger cable and charger
Quick Start Guide
The Z550 is a 14.1MP camera that performed well indoors and out. The 4X Optical Zoom was fine if short. The 4x Digital Zoom brings you out to 16X and that created some shake and distortion when handheld. I seldom go beyond the center of the ZOOM slide bar when testing any camera unless I have something to lean against or a tripod. The majority of the sample photos were taken using the AUTO setting. Over 200 test photos and videos taken with the Z550 during Fantasy Fest this year are available on my Flickr site. CLICK HERE. There are also some family shots in a different set. CLICK HERE The samples include low light as well as daylight shots so you can get an idea of the range of capability. I found the BEST SHOT feature to be expansive with 42 possible choices including Dynamic Photo, Art Shot Function, Multi-motion Image, YouTube Voice Recording, Face Detection, and Auto Shutter) For more details go to the end of the article.
Some night shots with moving targets were blurry until I went to anti-shake. Using Video was better in those situations. Low light shot indoor sometimes had a slight blur in them when using full flash in close-up situations. This improved when using the softer flash option or no flash at all. It was not a major issue.
ZOOM TEST IN SHADOW AND DAYLIGHT
Resolution: 14.10 Megapixels
Lens: 4.00x zoom (26-104mm eq.)
LCD Size: 2.7 inch
Max Aperture: 2.6
For technical Specifications CLICK HERE
The Casio EX-Z550 camera shows a movement to greater capability without making the basics more difficult. You can start simple and, after getting used to the camera or bored with your results, you can dabble in some quirky options that will make your results look more artistic.
The Casio EX-550 is a good point and shoot camera with some fun add-ons that can give you some enjoyable moments. If you are looking for a camera it should be on your list of decent prospects.
For more details on all Casio products CLICK HERE
Below is an explanation of additional functions that Casio has included that help to bring the EX-Z550 beyond the usual point and shoot camera. Detail provided by Casio. Due to a short test period I did not test all of these.
DYNAMIC PHOTO ANIMATED e-GREETINGS- Place your subject on any background
Thanks to the high-speed image processing capability of the new engine, a moving subject can be cut out of a number of images that have been shot and combined with a different still shot that forms the background. A unique digital camera image where only the main subject in the photo is moving can be created using just the camera, with no editing on a computer.
HIGH-DEFINITION MOVIE - DVD-quality video
The EX-Z550 lets you shoot beautiful 1280 x 720-pixel HD movies. After your video is recorded you can view it by connecting your camera directly to a TV for big screen viewing.
ART SHOT -
Makes use of the image processing technology in the Exilim Engine 5.0 to create photos for scenery or human subjects that have the feel of a painting. The view in the LCD screen of the subject in front of the user can be switched between and oil painting, a crayon drawing, or a watercolor picture, allowing the user to select the preferred art style in which to photograph the scene
INTELLIGENT COLOR -
Automatic adjusting of multiple levels of white balance improves images for both human and background under night scene
PREMIUM AUTO -
Premium Auto enables the camera to automatically analyze the scene being photographed - including distinguishing night scenes, back lighting, a blue sky, green trees or a sunset - as well as sensing whether there is a face in the frame, the movement and position of the subject, and whether a tripod is being used. It simultaneously optimizes settings for exposure, ISO, sensitivity, focus location, photo blur correction, tonal range and color balance, and level of noise reduction.
CCD STABILIZATION -
This feature stabilizes the image mechanically during recording whenever camera movement is detected. Images come out crisp and clear, even under conditions that are prone to camera movement.