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Old May 9, 2005, 8:50 AM   #1
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Now when Casio introduced the new EX-S500 - this post, review and camera is now out dated ( unless you realy need 7MP ) :!:



MY FIRST IMPRESSION WITH THE Casio EX-Z750

This is my third digital camera:

Casio EX-Z750
Casio EX-S100
Canon Powershot A40

I choose to compare my new camera with the EX-S100 which I had for 3 months now. ( Comparing the Z750 with the Powershot A40 is like comparing a 386 laptop from 1995 with the latest Centrino laptop on the market ).

The camera construction is similar to the EX-S100. A plastic core body with form-pressed metal plates wrapped around as a shell - very good idea. Sony use the same concept. The pressed plate on the EX-S100 is steel, I´m not sure about the EX-Z750 if it is steel or aluminum plate ( I think its a compound of steel since you cant do this with aluminum ). You can easily observe this by opening the battery port - you see clearly the plastic core and the metal plate as the shell of the camera - amazing piece of engineering ( I did enclose a close-up below ). This should in theory make the camera more flexible and more elastic in case you incidentally drop it on the floor, and give less mechanical shock to the vital parts inside the camera. I have no intention to try it out. A stiff camera construction may brake more easily, and will shock the internal parts, especially the LCD.

I was excited to see how the design would be in comparison to the EX-S100, especially the very front of the camera with those lines on it, as seen on various photos of the camera. The lines are hardly noticeable, so don't worry about that - you have to take a close look to see them.

The overall look and feel of the EX-Z750 is quite good and timeless, personally I like this kind of conservative timeless design, not with a lot of curves and trending design. In terms of slimness, appearance, look and feel the EX-S100 is in a class of its own, and the new EX-Z750 doesn't reach quite its class, and that goes for any other camera I have seen so far too.

I hoped for a slim camera like the EX-S100, but I knew that it would be 6mm thicker, and I must say the extra 6mm makes quite a difference when you put it into your pocket - the Z750 simply looks bulky when lined up next to the S100 ( the Canon SD500 would look even more bulky with its 10mm thicker design ). Again the comparison to the EX-S100 is perhaps not a fair thing to do, but this is how I personally measure the EX-Z750, from what I got.

Comparing the optics, the EX-Z750 has a much bigger optics, which explains the much thicker camera housing. So in theory the EX-Z750 should give better picture quality, especially in low light conditions.

I shot some pictures both with the EX-S100 and the EX-Z750, so far picture quality in daylight out-door appears quite similar for me as a casual shooter. Indoor pictures without flash are much better than the S100, dark colors have less noise, this was expected due to the larger optics. An easy walk around for the S100 users is to use flash when you shoot in-door pictures. But I will experiment with both video and pictures and post more, with links to photos comparing the EX-S100 and the EX-Z750. I also made some video clips, and they are superb for such a small camera.

The 7M pixels doesn't impress me. This pixel count is far beyond the cameras optical limits, and only increase the file size to 4.2M file size and demands more powerfull processor and increase power consumption. The 3.2M pixels in the S100 gives a 1.6M file size which is manageable and a good resolution for this type of camera. You can ofcause downsize the image size in the Z750, but when you modify resolution you loose information in the picture. Probably a direct copy of the CCD image gives the best picture quality, or if you half the pixel count in each direction. You will always have to downsize your image to a printable or viewable format ( unless you want to print a poster ). You could argument to crop an area of the image and enlarge, but the optics will set the limit and not the pixel count when you are above 3M pixels - who want an unsharp picture anyway ? This is of cause my personal opinion. Check for your self if pixel count influence the picture quality at the link further down on this page, where pictures taken with S100 and Z750 are compared side by side.

I did test the video clips on my 32" 100Hz Sony Black Trinitron TV, and I must say the video quality is fantastic for this small camera. I would say better than a VHS, and equal or close to a Camcorder for video clips of people. I think that for videos of landscapes, Camcorders still will be better due to the larger optics - but not much better.

The battery is much bigger in the Z750, which gives extended battery life to power the larger LCD display and the need of more power for handling 7M pixels.

The Z750 has a small view finder, the S100 dont have one. It shows what the CCD see, thus if you zoom the optical view finder zooms too. Some might find this view finder practical, I never use it. Perhaps if its completly dark, but then the view finder dosnt help anyway - or if its very sunny, Im pretty good at "shooting from the hip" anyway.

In terms of user interface, one big big improvement is the mechanical selector of shooting modes. In the EX-S100 you had to enter into a menu in order to switch from video mode to picture mode. So if you switch between video and picture mode frequently, this is a great improvement from the EX-S100. Also you have a selection for BS BestShot mode both for picture and video, and by pressing the SELECT button ( the one in the center ), you get the BestShot menu immediately - that's a real improvement from the EX-S100, where you have to enter the menu system first.

When you start the camera or select a new shooting mode on the mechanical selector, BestShot selection pops up for a few seconds so you can scroll to another BestShot mode if descried - nice and practical new feature compared to the S100.

If you consider the EX-Z57, then go for the Z750 cause the mechanical selector - ( and the MPEG4 video ) !

Functionality is almost the same as the EX-S100, I swapped the old SD card from EX-S100, and it worked without any problems, also the download worked without any changes on my PC, so the two cameras use the same PC software.

The docking station has a video-out which is useful but overestimated. I have red that you can get a direct cable for video from Casio, next time I buy something from the web, I will include this cable. Or perhaps an extra docking station ?

The 2.5" LCD seems massive compared to the 2.0" LCD in EX-S100. Compared to the Canon SD500, the larger LCD is a big plus. If the menus were clear and big in the S100, they appear huge in the Z750, you don't need glasses to read the menu even at a distance of 1 meter. The LCD in the Powershot A40 looks silly small compared to both Casio cameras, and the menu text with a size usually found on the back of contracts.

So far the EX-Z750 operates perfectly and even I haven't looked closely into the menus and all the features hidden deep inside, I have this confident feeling that what ever I should need and what ever kind of motive or video I want to shoot, the camera will do it well and have the function to make it as perfect as you can expect from a ultra compact camera today.

I´m in love with my EX-S100, and the new bigbrother is welcome in my family since we need the MPEG4 video quality. I´m sure that in time I will adopt the Z750 just as I did adopt the S100, but it will take a little time to get used to this more bulky camera.


CONCLUSION
This is a very nice camera, which will make any casual shooter happy. Packed with features only found in more expensive cameras, and a impressing MPEG4 video quality.

The three main features which distinct this camera from the other members of the Exilim family are:

- MPEG4 video
- Mechanical selector + shortcut to BS on SELECT button
- 2.5" LCD ( except the Z57 which has a 2.7" LCD )

Casio have done it again - I rate this camera a 5 star top ultra compact camera, and probably the front runner among ultra compact cameras today May 2005. You cant go wrong with this camera.


HOWEVER
If what you want is slim and small - and If you don't need high quality video, and you don't use video clips often, and you find the picture quality sufficient at

http://viking7130.tripod.com/casio/

then I recommend the EX-S100 any time for its very slim and very nice feel and look. If Casio make a mark II of the S100 with MPEG4 - then I relay have a problem, especially if they include a short cut to best shot menu on the SELECT button, and a extra button for switch between video and photo.

After I baught the Z750 and wrote this post, Casio introduced the S500, which is an upgrade to the S100 with the functions asked for above. Now I will handle over the S100 to my daughter, my whife gets the Z750, and I wil go get the S500 :G ( the dog gets the A40 ).


Casio EX-Z750 compared to Canon SD500
If I compare the Z750 with the Canon SD500, I would have to add 4mm more to the thickness, which is a very bulky camera compared to the S100, and you only get a 2.0" LCD. Furthermore the SD500 hasn't got MPEG4 video. I cant see any real arguments to go for the SD500. Some SD500 fans argues for coating on LCD and other minor issues, but compared to the above differences my choice was clear - the Z750 is simply a better camera. Also during my research I red many places that users seems to have problems with the SD cards on Canon cameras, seems to be a driver problem in the Canon cameras, and they complain about the LCD cracks easily.


I enclose a photo comparing the Z750 with the Canon SD500 for LCD size comparison.
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Old May 21, 2005, 11:57 AM   #2
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After using the camera for 2 weeks, I have so far not found any cons on the camera except from a minor issue with the tactile switch making noice when you start and stop the video.

You can hear a "click" on the video when it starts and when it stops. A little bit dissapointing that Casio havnt found a way around this - for example to cut the sound of the first and last 1/2 of second. Or perhaps its possible, but I havnt found out how to eliminate the "click" sound ( editing afterwords is realy not an option ).

However after writing this, I got an answer from Casio Support Team:

"The microphone of the camera is very sensitive and therefore it might pick up
some extra sounds.

We suggest to use the infinity zooming (symbol is like an 8, horizontal) or the
Pan Focus (page 78 from the instruction manual in the CD-Rom. This ones
deactivate the auto focus and you will reduce (or will not have) the noises in
the movie."


I find that my use of digital cameras has changed dramaticaly since I got this camera. Before with the S100 I would shoot 100 pictures and 1 video, now I shoot 10 videos and 1 picture, in most cases the picture is taken by mistake when the selector was not set right :-)

I enclose a close up of the battery port, the shell is easely seen.
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Old May 29, 2005, 8:51 AM   #3
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I made a small picture comparison between the Z750 and the S100. I have more but Tripod only allows up to 20MB.

In general picture quality is quite similar in out door conditions. The Z750 is better for in door shooting cause of its larger optics.

S100 is strongest in macro mode, where the Z750 has a very narrow focus area.

Z750 in general ( like most other digital cameras ) "enhance" the colors, and under expose - which some rates as better colors and picture quality - I call it the sun glass effect. You judge for your self.

( I noticed afterwords the girl on the beach photo - I dont know if she looked at me or the Z750 )

http://viking7773.tripod.com/Z750_S100/


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Old Jun 3, 2005, 6:44 PM   #4
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Look at this incredibly detailed and well researched review.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/casio/exz750.htm#intro
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Old Jun 4, 2005, 5:38 AM   #5
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jimr wrote:
Quote:
Look at this incredibly detailed and well researched review.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/casio/exz750.htm#intro
Great review !

I like this guy, he also made a great review of the S100.
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Old Jun 12, 2005, 6:13 AM   #6
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Now when Casio introduced the new EX-S500, this post, review and camera is now out dated ( unless you realy need 7MP ) :!:
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Old Jun 12, 2005, 8:03 AM   #7
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viking7 wrote:
Quote:
Now when Casio introduced the new EX-S500, this post, review and camera is now out dated ( unless you realy need 7MP ) :!:
Very interesting comment. With all due respect...they are different classes of camera. The S500 is a 5 MP without shutter priority...missing many of the manual controls and overrides that the Z 750 has. Read the spechs carefully. The S500 is an appealing point and shoot with many best shot modes. The Z 750 is a camera with all that.... and many many extra modes and manual overrides suitable for both beginners and sophisticated photographers.

As the brand new dpreview test (June 10 th)of the Z 750 said, "In fact I'm going to stick my neck out here and - even with the underpowered flash - put my money on the Casio EX-Z750 as the best ultra-compact 7 megapixel on the market today for the serious photographer. Perfect? No. Very impressive? Certainly."


By the way, the flash range can be easily extended with very little increase in noise. Set the ISO at 50 (not auto) and turn on Auto Flash Assist in the menu. The flash range is notably extended.
















The S100/S500 is not the same class of capability as the Z 750. Not competition. Never meant to be.

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Old Jun 12, 2005, 9:47 AM   #8
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You are propably right about the manual settings, some might want a camera with manual settings, I never missed them on the S100, and never use them at the Z750. I just point and shoot, ocationlay I use a BS mode, but thats more for the experiment. BS mode should replace manual settings for 90% of the special shootings.

The all importence is SIZE in pocket cameras, if its too big you will never bring it along. Else I think the best is to get a medium sized camera with bigger optics and better picture quality especialy in low light condition.

As a casual user, I´ll go with the S500 any time for its size, and sacrifice the less amount of features. Any S100 user will agree, once you have tried to use a 15mm thin camera you cant go back, the Z750 is a very nice camera - but appears bulky compared to the S100/S500. In my case this is not a choice to buy this or that, this is a choice of buying a new camera despite I just baught the Z750 !

Anyhow, I shoot practicaly no pictures any more, but video clips - one little video clip tells much more than 10 pictures.

Thanks for the flash tip, I will check it out.

"Not the same class. "
True - in terms of size and appearence the S100 is in a class of its own, and the new S500 also made in stainless stell and as slim as the S100 is in this same class.
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Old Jun 17, 2005, 2:21 AM   #9
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It should be noted* that the video function of this camera is useless for Macintosh users. Casio's choice of a Windows-centric, MPEG-4 codec is designed to decode in Windows Media Player on PC hardware ONLY!* Mac users are basically out of luck if they buy this camera and plan to use Mac applications like Quicktime, iPhoto and iMovie to view, manage and edit their video shot on a Casio camera.* Every other digital camera manufacturer on the market is compatible with both Windows and Mac... Not Casio.* Let me clarify, photos will transfer fine, video won't.* Not a very smart move on Casio's part.* *Other points I would disagree with in the original review is regarding the LCD display... Yes Casio's is bigger with 2.5 inches but it also has less pixels than Canon's 2 inch LCD.* 115,000 compared to Canon's 118,00, not to mention that the Casio leaves no room whatsoever to place a thumb or finger on the back of the camera unless you want prints all over your LCD.* This makes it very difficult to comfortably take pictures with.Additional*reasons someone may want to choose The SD500 is for the significantly stronger flash and overall image quality. *Though Casio's pictures look nice, Canon's image quality is much more natural.* The Casio pictures tend to suffer from too much internal sharpening and the color saturation is WAY too much.*Bottom line: Both cameras have their pros and cons.* As a Mac user, Casio made the decision easy.* Non-Mac support is a deal breaker.* The Canon SD500 with it's cross-platform support, better overall image quality, much stronger flash, and an anti-glare LCD that "powers-up" in low-light situations make it a much better choice that the Casio Z750 in my opinion.*
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Old Jun 17, 2005, 7:44 AM   #10
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The Canon SD 500 suffers from one fatal flaw. No high speed shutter program (the Kids and Pets program hasonly continuous AF). No shutter priority. Few manual overrides. If you take a picture of any moving subject using the Canon...good luck! You can in no way force a high shutter speed. As for image quality..that is debateable. After many on the dpreview form..examined images over a period of time...sometimes the overall look of the Casio was preferred, sometimes the Canon. They both use the identical 7 MP Sony sensor. Flash range on the Casio can easily and significantly be extended by turning on the built into the camera Flash Assist software..while locking the ISO to 50 or 100. The Canon is an overpriced simple point and shoot...the Casio a photographers flexable tool. I would never buy the Canon for itslack of shutter speed control and for its lack of flexability. Oh yes...the Casio allows you to choose 5 levels of sharpness, 5 levels of saturation etc. IF you prefer less saturated image or a less sharp image, set the camera that way. I am a Fuji Film user and prefer the greater saturation that the Casio has at the default setting. At any rate, with the Casio..you have a choice of your own preferences.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/casio/exz750.htm#intro

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