Casio EX-Z80 Digital Camera
Tiny, Tiny,Camera but Very Usable
Casio’s EX-Z80, with 8.1 Megapixels, 3x optical zoom, is a little camera that does a decent job in a small package. The 2.6 inch LCD wide screen is clear and easy to view in most condition. Like many cameras the EX-Z80 Screen is very hard to see in sunny light. Photos are clear under most conditions. The 3X optical zoom plus (4X digital) is more than adequate for point-and-shoot cameras in this price range. The inclusion of a dedicated movie button on this and other Casio products makes shooting video simple.
The street price at around $159.00 seems fair. To see more details and features of the EX-Z80 click here. I used this camera for a little over a month at various locations and lighting conditions. Here is a breakdown of that experience.
IN THE BOX PER CASIO
Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery (NP-60)
Lithium Ion Battery Charger (BC-60L) with AC Power Cord
Basic Reference Material
I have covered many Casio Exilim camera functions in other reviews so will only comment on the new ones that made an impression.
First Take on Exterior and Function
The 4 buttons are rectangular and close together compared to previous cameras like the Ex-S10 that I use. The Rocker/Thumb button is circular. The center button on that is slightly recessed. At first it was difficult to press it and get the expected results. It fit in a small pocket with room left over. Find a pocket without the keys or coins in it. A button-down flap is best. The Left/Right keys of the rocker button can be programmed to control 5 basic setting for easy access. I did get used to the size and placement of the buttons. I guess “small” works after all. The overall result is a compressed version of previous EXilim line cameras that takes a little getting used to.
Can be set to detect blur and wait for the subject to stop moving, detect a smile, or any panning of the camera. I found this feature did help to reduce blur in some cases but it was not a total success.
This is a great way for most point-and-shoot users to set up their camera to shoot with fewer confusing menu options. This is in addition to the usual Best Mode option with 30 pictures that, when chosen, will set the camera to accommodate those conditions. In other words you find the scene that approximates your needs just click it and then take your shots. Remember to set it back to auto when done.
The EX-Z80 comes with the ability to start recording video 5 seconds prior to when you press the movie button. This is a good feature in many ways. At times it recorded things I did not want. At times I though I had turned the video on but I had not. Therefore I lost the opportunity of catching that moment. This is mostly due to having to change quickly from still to video and back during things like parades, kids at play, and other times when I want both video and stills.
The card fit into the battery compartment easily. I suggest formatting the card in the camera so as to have the proper folders available. The EX-Z80 handles SDHC Memory Card, SD Memory Card, MMC (MultiMediaCard), MMCplus. It is time to move up to 2 or 4 Gig Cards as pricing has dropped. Carry your old 1 GIG cards for emergencies.
How did it work?
I found the EX-z80 is great with daylight photos. Colors were very good. Focus and zoom worked well until I got to the far end of the digital zoom. Flash shots often did not do colors justice. Videos in outdoor light were very good. Low light video was sometimes dark and a little grainy. I have placed a number of test photos and videos on my Flickr site. Click here to judge results for yourself.
Taking into consideration its great pricing and compact size, I feel the EX-Z80 to be a better than good camera for first time buyers and a great pocket solution for the rest of us who feel our cell phone camera is lacking but don’t want to carry a larger camera.
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