640 x 480 • 2816 x 2112 • 2816 x 1872 • 2304 x 1728 • 2048 x 1536 • 1600 x 1200
320 x 240 (QVGA) • 640 x 480 (VGA)
AVI • Motion JPEG
1/2 - 1/2000 sec
Auto • Manual
Built-in • MMC Card • SD Card
Built-in Memory Size
Fine • Normal • Basic
JPEG • EXIF 2.2 • DPOF 1.1
File Size (High Res.)
3.63 MB (35 images on 128MB card)
File Size (Low Res.)
0.12 MB (about 1,067 images on 128MB card)
Auto • 50 • 100 • 200 • 400 • 800
Flash Off • Auto Flash • Fill-in Flash • Red-eye Reduction Flash
With LCD Panel
LCD Panel Size
LCD Screen Resolution
LCD Protected Position
Without LCD Protected Position
2 Sec. • 10 Sec.
With Built-in Microphone
With Built-in Speaker
With Tripod Mount
USB Cable • Video Cable • Lithium Battery • Battery Charger • AC Power Adapter • Strap
26 February, 2006
The simple to use EX-Z60 offers 6.0 megapixel images and a 3X optical zoom. The camera features a large, easy-to-see 2.5” LCD monitor, as well as the Anti Shake DSP. The EX-Z60 comes with many other convenient and user-friendly features, including Easy Mode and a simplified camera menu.
Introduction The Casio Exilim EX-Z60 competes against all the major brands in a tough market segment. Despite such challenges, the EX-Z60 offers a solid, all-around product at an attractive price for those who want the style and size of an ultracompact digital camera. In fact, I bought my wife the earlier Casio EX-Z50 for just this reason six months ago.
In a previous review, I mentioned that I normally don't get too excited about point-and-shoots. This is still true, but just to be sure I decided to give one of these new ultracompacts a spin to see if it would be worth toting one around instead of toting a standard compact point-and-shoot or DSLR. It's definitely fun to use such a small and capable piece of equipment. For simple snapshots, this Casio did a fine job. Nonetheless, this review approaches the Casio Exilim EX-Z60 from a DSLR perspective (specifically, thinking as a photojournalist).
Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z60 Features and Design
Some compact cameras aspire to function as their big DSLR brothers and sisters do. Others seek to keep it simple, and the Casio Exilim EX-Z60 is an excellent example of the simple approach. There are only a few buttons to think about, and when you toggle through the control menus, helpful reminder balloons pop up to confirm your changes. When I bought a Casio for my wife, this was one of the big selling points, because I knew she would not bother to memorize all the flash control options, focus modes, or whatever. With the helpful reminder system, you don't have to know anything other than "Push one of the buttons." This makes the system totally intuitive. Selecting a setting is "iPod-like," which basically means, "Click the center button to select." Easy, and that's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh, I like it.
In fact, although the automatic shooting mode is the default capture mode, Casio makes things simple by hiding all the other modes (movie, scene modes) behind the BS (Best Shot) button. And instead of a list of modes, Casio uses a grid of image icons to represent scene modes like "Landscape," "Night Portrait," etc.
One feature fast becoming standard on compact digital cameras is image stabilization. The Exilim EX-Z60 definitely gets an extra stop or two of "hand-holdability." I did not test the camera with image stabilization (IS) turned on; if you have it, you will most likely leave it on all the time. From years of using the IS feature on other cameras, I know that the limits of the technology, practically speaking, are around 1/5th to 1/15th of a second (handheld). Because of the sharpness of my Casio images made at these speeds, I am confident the EX-Z60's image stabilization works as advertised. (Keep in mind, however, that even with IS, sometimes you just have to shoot faster to get a sharp photo.)
Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z60 main menu Quality tab
Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z60 detailed playback display, with histogram
Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z60 Best Shot (scene modes) menu
Camera Performance and Image Quality The Exilim EX-Z60's autofocus performed very well for a compact camera, although I found that with landscapes and general outdoor situations, the single point autofocus worked better than the multispot mode. Indoors with people at parties, dinners, and so forth, the multispot mode worked fine. As they say, "Your mileage may vary."
As with anything designed for simplicity, you trade off some control for ease of use. One area that I found a bit frustrating was the autoexposure. Now I should say that for a casual point-and-shoot camera it probably performs well enough for most people who will buy it. However, compared to the trustworthy Leica D-LUX 2, which I also reviewed, the autoexposure performance is a bit erratic and easily thrown off by slight changes in the framing of the scene. Often I would shoot a few similar frames and get roughly halfstop variations between at least two of them. However, this is something most casual snapshooters probably won't even notice.
On a related subject, I found the exposure compensation to be somewhat inconsistent too. Although the results often were decent, I found it difficult to trust. In digital photography there's always the concern about maintaining highlight detail while simultaneously achieving enough brightness in the midtones. As with the autoexposure, the Casio's default color saturation may or may not be to your liking. The blues and reds in particular were a bit too bright and oversaturated for my taste (see below). But to be fair, the color wasn't so bad that I disliked the images. The camera does offer some in-camera sharpening, saturation, and contrast control so you can salt and pepper it to your taste. The Exilim ZX-60's 3x optical zoom lens is respectably sharp, and I think you'd expect as much. Distant objects, such as radio towers and windows in buildings, all had distinct definition when viewed at 100 percent. There is a slight oversharpening of edges visible in the files, but for JPEGs this is not out of the ordinary. In macro focus mode, the camera produced crisp images from edge to edge with pleasing focus fall-off (blur) in the background.
Just about every digital camera review nowadays gets tough on noise, and I'll make no exception for this review. Still, sometimes you just have to get the shot. The Casio EX-Z60's ISO 400 setting is usable, although there is apparent noise. The noise is most visible in the shadows and has a "chunky" feel (see below). As with all current digital cameras, more light generally helps. And since noise is a personal preference, download some sample files, look in the shadows and smooth tonal-areas, and decide for yourself. Remember that noise is one of the compromises that have to be made for compact cameras and their tiny image sensors. For snapshot purposes, I think the Casio is about average for noise.
Casio Exilim EX-Z60 noise samples. Click on detail photo (right) for high resolution sample.
Camera Experience Overall I was left with a very favorable impression of the Casio EX-Z60 for its snapshooting ability. Please bear this in mind if I seem to unfairly compare it to other makes and models.
The main problem I encountered with the EX-Z60 was the accuracy of the LCD monitor. To my eye, it does not provide an accurate display of the image when outdoors. The photos would look like they were exposed incorrectly when reviewed on-screen, but on the computer they'd look fine. So I learned to use the LCD review only for composition and to make sure the highlights weren't totally blown. I tried to use the histogram once in a while, but found the EX-Z60 doesn't really lend itself to serious histogram review.
On the positive side, the flash and macro modes work very well. Even with my large hands, the controls are simple to set and easy to use one-handed. (Of course, you'll have to remove your gloves with cameras this small.)
A few more samples - click on thumbnails to see photos.
Conclusion As you can see from the photos I took, the EX-Z60 gets around. I like the camera for what it offers. It's a solid performer for snapshots and an excellent option for those seeking a solid value for their money. The Casio EX-Z60 marries quality, ease of use, and simplicity in a handsome package that truly fits in your pocket.
Who Should Buy The Casio Exilim EX-Z60 Anyone looking for an affordable yet well-featured ultracompact camera should consider the EX-Z60. It is a bit too simple, however, for sports shooters given its limited zoom. And landscape photographers may want more control. On the other hand, capturing daily life moments such as kids or pets at play is easy and fun.
Contents of the Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z60.
Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z60 Digital Camera
Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Lithium-ion battery charger
AC power cord
About Laurence Chen Laurence Chen is a freelance editorial, commercial, and wedding photographer based in Seattle, Wash. His clients have included Fortune Magazine, Sunset Magazine, and America 24/7. Visit his portfolio at www.Lchenphoto.com and buy his e-book, "Take Control of Buying a Digital Camera", at http://www.takecontrolbooks.com/buying-digicam.html.
Strengths: Relatively high pixel count
Beautiful and elegant design
Sensor provides good quality up to 400ISO and reasonable even at 800
High res video clip capability limited only by the card's capacity
Nice and surprisingly effective picture presets
Weaknesses: LENS IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH: sharpness and color fringing are BADLY obvious at the periphery of the image
Insufficient level of control over functions
Digital zoom dramatically reduces image quality
Aperture range limited
A nicely designed, elegant "gadget camera". It is thin and small and sleek and provide high pixelage. Great for quick snapshots and a bit beyond. The built-in settings for special control of the camera (e.g.: night shot, water and streams, portraits etc.) is actually quite effective when you learn how to work it. It is quick and easy to operate but when it comes to serious picture taking it lcks both the control level and the optical performance to deliver what you may need.
In short - great for casual snapshots but not for advanced picture taking.
Strengths: There are plenty of pros to this camera:
very small, fits in your pocket - you can have it with you at all times;
very easy to use;
lots of settings to choose from (enhance green with a forest setting);
video use is pretty awesome (but don't bother using the zoom while recording);
fast picture to picture taking;
takes good motion shots - freezes image completely or very close to freezing
The only problem I had with this camera was that the picture quality was not what I had hoped for once reviewed on my computer. The quality is not horrible, just not what I was hoping for. (If you are a Nikon owner you may find this to be true as well.)
I bought the Casio Ex-Z60 to have a camera that fits in my pocket so I could have a camera with me at all times. I had it for about a week or so before returning it (had about 2 weeks to try before returning if need be). I know that isn't long, but mind you I took plenty of pictures/videos in various situations (indoors/ outdoors/night/fireworks/low light/bright light, macro, etc.) with it before deciding to return this camera.
I currently own a Nikon Coolpix 995, which is my first digital that my husband bought for about 4-5 years ago. There is no comparison at all to the picture quality when comparing the two. However, I loved that the Casio fit in my pocket and that it took great video clips and was at a toss up on whether or not to return it. However, I would rather lug around my bigger camera and get a higher quality pictures than average pictures. The Casio is not a bad camera, yet after having a camera that delivers high quality pictures....well, the Casio is just not for me.
However, if you are looking for average picture quality (my friend loves her Casio camera and doesn't see the lose of quality that I see), extremely compact, and simple to use then the Casio is for you. I almost kept it because of it's ease of use and the fact that I could carry it everywhere. Good little camera - I just wish the picture quality was at the level that I was seeking...
I hope this has helped you somewhat. This may or may not be the camera for you. You should definitely go to a store and try it out before purchasing. Good luck!