Cameras don’t have to be big and bulky to take great pictures. Digital cameras have come a long way, and the trend is moving toward smaller more compact cameras. Even though they don’t have interchangeable lenses and big zooms, you can still take a very high quality picture with these little cameras. One such camera is the Casio Exilim EX-Z29 digital camera. This camera has about the same dimensions as a deck of cards.
- 10.1 Megapixel CCD
- 2.7-inch TFT color LCD
- 3X optical zoom
- Stainless steel thin body
The Casio Exilim digital cameras actually come in three flavors (Zoom, Card, and Highspeed), and each has its own benefits. The Exilim Card is thin, lightweight, and very simple to use. The Exilim Zoom (EX-Z29) is slightly bigger than the Exilim Card, but it gives you a higher pixel count and longer zoom. The Exilim Highspeed is completely different than the others, in design. It does not offer as many pixels as the others but it has more professional features. The camera that I am reviewing is the Exilim Zoom EX-Z29.
The Casio Exilim EX-Z29 features things like a 10.1 Megapixel CCD, 2.7-inch LCD, SD Card slot, rechargeable lithium ion battery, and a sturdy stainless steel body.
It also has Unlimited movie recording. It is a pain to have to carry around both a video camera and a digital camera, but with unlimited movie recording you don’t have too. This is a feature that every digital camera should have. It seems like all cameras have some kind of video ability, but many are limited to 30 seconds in length. Even my really expensive Canon Powershot G6 can only take 30 seconds of video at a time. This Casio Exilim will record until the memory is all used up. This is great because it gives you full control over how long your movies are, because you never know when you will need more than 30 seconds of video.
This camera comes with several pieces of software. Photo transport is a program that simply transfers the pictures from your computer to your camera. YouTube Uploader, which as its name implies, uploads your videos to YouTube. The last two pieces of software are Adobe Reader 8 which we all know about and the electronic user guide.
There are two ways to transfer images from the camera to a computer. The first is to take the card out of the camera and put it into a card reader and the second is to use a USB cable. If you use the built-in memory to store images then you must use the USB cable to get the images out of the camera. It is not very common to see a camera include writable internal memory. This camera comes with approx. 17.8MB built-in flash memory. This is enough to store about 4 high quality pictures.
The Casio Exilim EX-Z29 is designed very well. When you first pick it up you will notice that it is put together in a way that makes it feel tough. You are not going to want to drop it, but it feels like it could survive a couple bumps. The camera comes in five different colors: blue, black, red, pink, and silver. The colors are not interchangeable, but you at least get a choice when you buy it.
The front of the camera is dominated by the lens. The lens has a built in lens cover. The lens cover opens and the lens itself extends out when you turn on the camera. When you zoom in or out you will see the lens adjust its length. Because the camera only has a 3X optical zoom the lens does not adjust very much. To the left of the lens is the Self-timer light. This is basically a light that lets you know when the Self-timer is turned on. Above the light is the flash.
The top of the camera is simple and contains the shutter and power buttons.
The back of the Casio Exilim EX-Z29 is basically the LCD screen with a few buttons on the side. The screen easily takes up two thirds of the back. There is no view finder, so you have no choice but to use the LCD screen to frame your pictures. The only problem I had with the screen is the plastic cover. The cover makes the screen very reflective and it is hard to see when you are outside and the sun is shining. I really like my Canon G6 because it has an LCD screen, but it is not glossy.
To the right of the screen are the buttons. Starting at the top are the Zoom, Display mode, Navigation, and at the bottom are the Menu and BS (Best Shot) buttons.
The zoom buttons probably don’t need any explanation, but I think the others need a little. The display mode buttons switch between picture taking and picture viewing. Picture viewing is great on the big 2.7-inch LCD screen. Since each button only had one function I found it interesting that Casio didn’t use just one button that switched between the two functions.
The next button is the circular hat switch with a set button in the middle. These buttons are mainly used for navigating and setting the menus, but they can also be used to alter the display. Pressing up on the circular button changes the overlay on the display. It cycles through three options, no overlay, current settings, and current settings with light meter.
The last two buttons will probably be the most used, they are Menu and Best Shot. The Menu button obviously gets you into the menu system. Under the menu there are sub-menus, REC, Quality, and Set Up. In REC you will find things like Face Detection on/off, Focus settings, Anti Shake on/off, and Digital Zoom on/off. The Quality Menu has things like Size, Quality, White Balance, and ISO. The Set Up menu has things like Eye-Fi, Sounds, Sleep, and Date/Time settings.
The Best Shot button is exclusive to the Casio cameras and when you press it you see a list of different types of pictures that you might take. Some of the options are: Movie, Portrait, Scenery, Children, Sports, eBay, and YouTube. There are 24 different options in this screen. Choosing one of these will automatically set the cameras aperture, ISO level and other settings so that the picture you take is the best for your situation. In the case of the Movie and YouTube options it will set the camera to record a movie when press down on the shutter button.
The bottom of the camera has a tripod hole.
The right side of the camera has a small cover that is over a mini USB port. There is also a larger cover that is over an SD card slot and a battery slot.
The left of the camera is completely void of anything interesting.
So how good are the pictures that the EX-Z29 takes? With 10.1 Megapixels you would expect to get a high quality picture, but with only a 3X zoom you will really need to be close to all your subjects. The camera has a digital zoom, but I always turn it off as soon as I get a camera. Digital zoom is one of the most useless features that any camera could have. I turn it off so that I don’t accidentally use it.
To test the quality of the pictures I took a couple with this camera and then took similar pictures with my Canon PowerShot G6. I know that these cameras are not even in the same class (the G6 is a more professional camera, but it is also a lot older), but it is a good reference.
Below you will see a smaller, cropped version of each image that shows the image at 100% size. To me it looks like the G6, despite its age and lower pixel count, was able to take a clearer picture, but for its small size the Exilim does a decent job. You can hardly tell the difference when you shrink the image down to the size of a photograph.
I also tested out the anti shake capability of the Casio, but I noticed that it seems to make the pictures a little blurry.
Warranty and Support
Casio warranties this camera for 1 year. Like I say in all the reviews, this is weak. I wish companies would stand by the products that they make.
For a camera this small I think it does a good job. It does not take the best pictures, but it does fall into the “good enough for an amature” category. This would be great for taking to a convention, amusement park, or anywhere else. This camera is perfect for putting in your pocket and taking out for a quick picture. I was able to find this camera on Amazon for only $119. For that low price, not having perfect pictures is not a problem. I believe that you will be happy with this camera.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|