Product review: Casio Exilim EX-Z1050

9 May 2007

Summertime is officially here. If you’re going away on holidays you’ll want a small, compact camera that works as well in a dimly lit restaurant as it does on a sunny beach.

The Casio Exilim EX-Z1050, as recommended by Cantec Carlow, is probably the slimmest 10.1-megapixel camera on the market, at 24.2mm deep.

It is powerful enough to take good-quality poster-size pictures, with a maximum resolution of 3,648 x 2,736 pixels, and small enough to slip into your pocket.

This sleek and stylish camera has a big, bright 2.6-inch TFT screen and a 3x optical zoom. Surprisingly it didn’t come with a case and I was very conscious of the screen getting scratched.

I’m not one for reading instruction booklets so I appreciated that it was quite simple to use. There is one button for display mode and one for shooting mode, along with a navigation and menu button, and of course the zoom/click button.

I was looking forward to testing it out but as soon as I had taken four pictures, the 15MB internal memory was full.

Casio should have at least included a small 64MB external memory card so that the punter could go happy snapping before having to shell out for another purchase.

Memory card aside, I put all 10.1 megapixels to the test. The camera has a feature called ‘non-deterioration zoom’, which means that you can essentially zoom in up to 17.1 times.

When the camera zooms in, the light sensors at the edge of the chip are switched off, so that the middle of the scene can be enlarged, and the actual lens zoom goes to 4.3 times magnification.

The lighting is superb and the picture sharpness doesn’t suffer in dark environments, as can happen with some digital cameras. I took a picture in a very dark pub at an ISO of 800, and it turned out crystal clear and vibrant.

One thing a friend pointed out is that it has soft flash, which she intends to use when visiting the Sistine Chapel this summer, as guides prohibit the harsh glare of regular camera flashes that would fade the frescoes.

How many pictures end up blurred because of an unsteady hand or because your subject moves while you are snapping? The anti-shake function on the EX-Z1050 stabilises this digitally, producing perfectly focused pictures.

It also has Auto Tracking AF, so it follows moving subjects, keeping them in focus.

Printing straight from the camera is hassle free via USB 2.0 and the pictures are in JPEG file format.

Photo transfer and editing software come with the Exilim, for storing, tweaking and printing them from your computer but most people want to be able to print straight away.

In this case you can make use of the usual on-camera editing functions but I liked the unique keystone editing feature that guesses the key or central object in a photo and re-centres the picture based on this.

It worked perfectly on my beautiful shot of several election campaign posters in a row on a telephone pole, but I won’t tell you which one it picked as the centre of focus.

Price: €329

Pros: Compact, with powerful zoom and auto focus features
Cons: No memory card or carry case included.

By Marie Boran