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Casio Exilim EX-Z3 3 Megapixels and Smaller
Submitted by Uncle Kenny a Intermediate from Atlanta, GA
Date Reviewed: August 17, 2003
Strengths: Small, small, small--as can practically be produced to actually use. Zoom lens. Movie mode; "Best Shot" feature to toggle through pre-programmed shot scenarios (works like its supposed to work, too); Lithium Ion battery, which doesnt' get eaten like other digital camera horror stories I've heard. Easy to use docking and recharging station. BIG, BIG 2 inch LCD screen. Aesthetically pleasing and solid body.
Weaknesses: None detected so far. However, it is more expensive than a lot of other 3+ mp digital cameras, but not for the same size parameters. Like a laptop, you pay for smaller size. My value rating is a 5 because comparing it to the few others that meet size and quality, its as good or better.
I had been holding out to get a digital p/s till the price and features got right. That was sub-$400 for very small 3+ mp with zoom and other fun features such as mini-movies. The Casio met the parameters and the timing was right for me. After only a week, I'm sold. This is a fantastic little camera to carry all the time and snap off a shot when it "happens."
I haven't been disappointed. Actually the first picture I took was of some flowers and a butterfly. It took it at full res in fine mode. The print from my Epson 1280 was far higher quality than I ever expected. Don't think I'm saying bag you film camera either good 35 mm p/s (like my Leica C1) or a quality SLR. I'm not. Digital just isn't there, yet. But for the intended purpose of a handy camera to catch the moment, this camera is exceptional.
Duration Product Used: 21+ years
Price Paid: $399.00
Purchased At: Sharper Image
Similar Products Used: Minolta Dimage X
Type of photography: Outdoor
Submitted by Kelvin a Expert from Pretoria
Date Reviewed: July 6, 2003
Strengths: Compact size
12x zoom (3x optical & 4x digital)
Vastly improved shutter lag vs competition
Feature packed and includes sound
Ergonomic hardware layout
Intuitive & easy menu interface
Solid build quality with neat design
Rivals competition for price vs features
Convenient exposure modes (incl B&W Sepia)
Good battery life
As close to ideal as a digial camera gets for me.
Weaknesses: For its price, build quality and features, I can say nothing bad about this camera.
I have waited a long time to go digital, mostly due to pricing and my fondness for film. I have kept an eye on the market, watching the price drop and the features increase. I wanted a digital camera for "happy snaps" and I continue to use my Nikon F80 for more serious photography. Digital for me is all about convenience and making good practical use of technology without sacrificing quality.
I do not see the need for digital cameras to follow conventional camera design. If all the features can be made to fit in a compact package, all the better. There is no question that the EX-Z3 is exceptionally well designed with good overall ergonomics in terms of the hardware and software. If small size could be a nuisance then ensure that the buttons suit you. This camera is a boast of compact technology, so dont expect to crit it for being too small.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the screen as large or larger than the competition. It is bright, contrasty and more than adequate for reviewing the photos/vids taken.
A selling point was definitely the zoom lens (3x optical/4x dig) and the sound capability, excluded from others in the same price range.
This camera is packed with handy features, all of which are conveniently accessible from the menu or buttons. I found the software manual only necessary for general interest and some of the more advanced features and for the most part was able to use the camera within seconds from startup. The menu system is very intuitive to navigate and very accessible. The 20 preset photo modes under Best Shot are completely practical including some outstanding features to preshoot a photo and then allow the photographer to be included in the same scene. Without going into excessive detail, there are many other handy features and perhaps the only gimick is the alarm clock feature.
The start up time is refreshingly fast and the shutter speed easily the best I have used so far on digital. My biggest complaint on digital cameras has been the terribly slow shutter lag, not so with the EX-Z3.
Casio has a reputation for budget end consumer goods, packed with every bell & whistle possible. The Exilim is a complete turn around. It is a sleek and sophisticated little package with very little/no gimickry or redundant features. It neither looks nor feels cheap and the quality of the photos it takes is right up there with its top competitors.
The battery life is seriously good for its size, easily lasting up to an hour and taking only an hour to recharge.
Accepts SD or MMC flash cards and has an easy download function via the included cradle which also allows a handsfree slideshow on the LCD.
If convenience and functionality have stopped you taking photos before, the EX-Z3 should be the change to that.
Duration Product Used: 11-20 years
Price Paid: $430.00
Purchased At: Geant - Bahrain
Similar Products Used: Various Sony, Olympus and Nikon digital cameras borrowed from friends.
Type of photography: Outdoor
Submitted by Aylmer a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: June 21, 2003
Strengths: Size, quality, versatility, utter coolness
This camera is truly sweet. It's well made and ergonomically awesome. My one recommendation is, if you buy this cam, load it with memory! I bought a 512 meg SD memory card to use with this cam, and it really brings out the cam's power. I can store 279 maximum quality, maximum resolution still images on that card, or about 130 thirty-second 320x240 pixel resolution AVIs with audio. Give this camera memory to romp in, and it's even more fun! Image transfer to your PC is fast and easy, especially with XP.
It fits easily in a shirt pocket, and it's up and ready to go within a second of turning it on. It has both a bright LCD display AND a standard optical viewfinder. What's great is that you can turn the LCD off if you want, as the optical viewfinder zooms in and out along with the lens.
It comes with a combination USB docking bay that doubles as a recharging station for the camera's proprietary Casio rechargeable battery.
This camera has the fastest turn around and the best battery performance of any digital cam I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot. At max resolution (about 2048x1536) and the highest quality (a.k.a. lowest compression) I can get off two to three shots a second. I shot over 100 still images today as well as a few AVIs and the battery indicator only dropped a little.
You can mix stills of different sizes and AVIs freely. Digital video is treated as just another shooting mode, except the resolution and compression is fixed. The max time for a digital video is 30 seconds, but you can just keep hitting the shutter button and stack consecutive AVIs until you run out of memory. After downloading them to your PC, you can edit them into one longer movie via Adobe Premiere or some other desktop video editor.
The camera is excellently built, with an all metal body. The Pentax zoom lens extends out from the body about an inch when you're ready to shoot, and has a self closing protective cover when it's retracted.
It has some fairly sophisticated firmware that features a real time histogram and a programmable custom shooting settings option. There are three main operating modes, normal, Best Shot, and Digital video. The Best Shot mode features twenty preselected shooting modes including Text Copy, Grayscale (awesome), Night Time, Color Saturation, and more. The A.I. supporting these special modes is very impressive.
I mentioned above that you should load the camerawith memory, but if you don't or if you can't, it does have 10 megs of Ram onboard. The included software supports Mac OS9, Win 98, 2000, and XP.
If you want a pocket digital camera that can deliver great imagery and is loaded with advanced features you would be hard pressed to do better than this.
Price Paid: $400.00
Purchased At: Fry's
Similar Products Used: Nikon, HP, Minolta, Kodak, etc.
Submitted by Kim Sanderhoff a Casual from Korea
Date Reviewed: May 31, 2003
Strengths: The size and the speed. It's a very quick camera... always ready to take pictures quick and the autofocus is also very quick. And easy to use. The LCD is also big which is nice.
Weaknesses: Well, the LCD while being quite big, is not very clear... the resulotion is just to low. And when recording videos an annoying sound always appear. And the camera CAN'T autofocus in poor lightning.
I bought the camera because I wanted a small camera that still included a zoomlens. The exilim z3, is a very good camera for its size... well actually it's pretty similar to the opsio s. I don't have any big complaints about the camera, since it pretty much always gets the job done.
(However if you want a camera with better quality and still very small the Canon Ixus 400 has better pictures.)
I didn't expect to get a camera with super pictures when I bought this little nice one, so I can't really comepare it to the bigger and more expensive cameras, and say that the picture quality is bad. However there are a few things that can seems a little annoying, however all in all I don't regret bying it. As I said earlier.. it gets the job done!
Price Paid: $123.00
Purchased At: Young San
Similar Products Used: ...bla bla
Submitted by Jim a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2003
Strengths: Pros: Size. Nothing beats it for the size to feature ratio. VERY easy to use and very easy to carry. Photo quality is outstanding. Battery seems to last a long time relative to other cameras I have owned. The download software works very well- push 1 button - all pictures are downloaded. Very simple. Also, turns on quickly and time between shots is very quick. A Great value.
Weaknesses: Not too many. I wish it had a video out jack (it does not) and the download software looks like (look and feel wise, not functions) it was written by a high school kid. They need to polish up the software interface--and not use times roman fonts.
Overall, an outstanding product. I love this camera. I mostly take family snapshots and an occasional 'special' shot I would consider framing. This camera exceeds my requirements and the size makes it really easy to carry and therefore, get photos when I need them. (It does me no good to have a great camera that is too big for me to take with me). It is very easy to use and I read the manual and understood all the features and options within a couple of hours. The picture quality is excellent. The Zoom is what made me buy this camera- it is not just a novelty , but a real camera you can use for your snapshots and more. A highly recommend it.
Price Paid: $399.00
Purchased At: radio shack
Similar Products Used: Have owned Kodak Easy Share cameras. Very good camera and excellent easy to use software...Kodak camera just too darn big.