Review: Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z1000 Part1

Good things come in small packages (October 23rd, 2006)

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Product Manufacturer: Casio

Price: $349.99

The Good

  • Plenty of menu options. Fantastic battery life. Huge, bright screen. Excellent price for feature set.

The Bad

  • Average picture quality in some settings (See Part 2). Treat screen with care.

Over the course of the last few months, I have used the Casio Exilim EX-Z1000 a lot, because there are a lot of ways to use it. I am a consumer photographer, trying to work my way up to prosumer, but I can still use help, and that is what the Z1000 offers, in bulk.

Settings for Every Occasion

There are no less than 37 different style settings available in the "Best Shot" menu, a list so vast it is almost humorous. Sure, you expect a Portrait, or Landscape setting, but I was tickled to also find Candlelight Portrait, perfect for blowing out birthday candles, or Backlight, for standing in front of a window, and a Sports setting. I was astounded to find settings such as Soft Flowing Water, Old Photo, and Fireworks. I discovered the latter, on July 4th, just when I needed it most. Accessing these settings could not be simpler; they all hide under a button unfortunately labeled BS. Other Best Shot highlights include Autumn Leaves, Sundown, Food, For eBay, and Cross, which creates a cross-hatching effect on over-exposed light sources. None of these will make you a professional photographer, but if, like me, you are stuck in the quagmire of aperture settings and white balance adjustments, these settings are a welcome addition.

Ilene chimes in with the caution that the only problem with all these settings is that you do not know exactly what they do to the various settings on the Casio Exilim EX-Z100. The manual is useless, so you have to hunt and peck through all the settings to actually see what is changed in each setting. This is, of course, the only way to advance your photographic knowledge. Then again, you may not care what the settings are, as long as your pictures come out ok. In most cases, they will. In the next article, we will look at some of the shots Phil and I took.

Three Buttons Do It All

In addition to the Best Shot settings, you can manually set almost every aspect of the camera. Under the Menu button, you set features for Recording, Quality, and Set Up, which includes time stamping. There are three screens of options for each of these settings.

A Display Menu button (DISP) on tops includes options for setting the Display Layout, An Info. Setting to display a Histogram, a Brightness Setting, and Type of Light in which you want to see the Display. For the price, this camera simply has an astounding number of features.

While you compose your shot, a number of settings, such as size, flash, focus, timer, anti-shake, ISO, white balance, exposure value, and date are immediately available. A click on the toggle wheel scrolls through the options. I used these even more than the Best Shots settings.

Sized for Use

Phil thinks it seems almost redundant to talk about the physical size of the Exilim EX-Z1000 or the megapixel count. Needless to say, the camera is pleasantly small and Phil kept it in the pocket of jean shorts for most of its tenure with him. The sensor is conveniently large, at 10.1 megapixels, which produces a 3648 X 2736 image. The screen is huge at 2.8 inches, and brighter by far than any I had seen. It only has a 3x optical zoom, but that is fine for most of your needs. While Ilene agrees that the camera is conveniently small, it is also just heavy enough to hold steady in your hand. Some cameras are so light that they are hard to hold.

Preserve Your Investment

Unfortunately, the stint the Exilim EX-Z1000 spent in a pocket was not without repercussions. By the time Ilene received the camera, the screen was very cloudy, as if it had been rubbed the wrong way. In addition, some of the finish was damaged on the top and sides of the camera. The lesson here is, do not put this camera in a pocket without some kind of covering. A small felt bag is enough protection. I found an open-topped iPod case with a belt clip by Sumo was perfect for quick access. When the camera is in my purse, I use a bargain I found at Walmart for 50 cents. This is simply a rectangular case with a Velcro closure.

So, there you have our first look at the camera itself and its amazing features. It is one of the few products in which the marketing is not hype, but truth. In part two Ilene will show you some of our pictures and cover other important facts about the Casio Exilim EX-Z1000.

by Philip Berne and ilene Hoffman


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