Taking the resolution lead in Casio's QV series, the 6-megapixel QV-R62 comes outfitted with newbie-friendly features such as Casio's signature Best Shot scene modes and a pop-up help system. This nicely priced camera is easy to use and a good choice for snapshooters who want a little more from their camera than just the basic point-and-shoot. The Casio QV-R62 lags behind the competition in some ways--its Movie mode doesn't record sound and its shot-to-shot time isn't great, but if you're more likely to be shooting a tree than a car race, this won't be a problem. Well built, albeit a little boxy, the Casio QV-R62's compact aluminum body weighs 7.6 ounces with batteries and media card--a little heavy for shirt pockets, but the compact body should fit well in pant and jacket pockets. Despite the grip's low profile, the camera feels comfortable to hold.
With its 2-inch LCD, there's little room for extensive control buttons, but Casio has done a good job of keeping the layout simple and logical. The small power on/off switch is recessed into the top of the camera, making it difficult to operate. But dedicated record and playback buttons next to the tiny optical viewfinder provide an excellent alternative for directly accessing the play or record modes, while also powering the camera on/off.
The five-way switch provides the standard scrolling and selecting, as well as direct access to macro/focus and flash/delete functions. For convenience, the left/right arrows of the switch can be programmed to change the white balance, the ISO, the record mode, or the exposure-compensation settings, or to activate the self-timer. The only other control buttons are for the easy-to-navigate menu and excellent display options, which include a grid and a live histogram. Unlike many point-and-shoot models without manual aperture and shutter controls, the QV-R62 displays the f-stop and shutter speed so you can judge whether or not to handhold the camera for that particular shot. Snapshooters will love the Casio QV-R62's 23 Best Shot scene modes, especially since each mode is accompanied by a text explanation and photographic example. An equally useful rollover help system, which uses pop-ups to identify settings as you change them, is, thankfully, highly visible even when other LCD information is rendered invisible by bright sunlight. The pop-ups were particularly helpful when we were outside scrolling through focus modes: auto, macro, infinity, and manual.
Casio also attends to the needs of more-experienced users with a wide selection of tweaking tools. In addition to a choice of ISO and white-balance settings, you can also adjust attributes such as saturation, sharpness, and contrast. Adding to the camera's flexibility, you can adjust flash intensity and enable Flash Assist, which helps brighten areas that the small in-camera flash can't reach. The Flash Assist won't solve all your lighting issues, but it does provide a reasonable fix for what otherwise might be an unusable image.
Six options for size and three for compression provide additional control. Casio scores another point for displaying the suggested print size as well as the pixel dimensions. Among this camera's other notable features are a calendar that displays a thumbnail of the first picture taken that day so that you can quickly find the shot you want; a three-shot self-timer, which counts down to the first shot, then takes two subsequent shots a second apart; color filters for special effects; and a Favorites folder.
The camera comes equipped with 9.7MB internal memory, which holds only three high-res images. So you'll need to add a high-capacity SD card to your shopping list. Hearing that Casio had incorporated its excellent Exilim engine into the QV-R62, we expected performance a step above that of previous models in the QV-R line. The reality was a mixed bag, however.
Start-up to first shot was amazingly fast at around 1.2 seconds. And even without a focus-assist lamp, the Casio QV-R62's low-light autofocus was surprisingly fast and accurate. Its continuous-shooting speed of 1.5 high-resolution frames per second was more than fast enough to capture action. Unfortunately, the burst mode maxes out at 3 shots, regardless of resolution.
Shot-to-shot speed varied with nonflash time ranging between 2 seconds and 4 seconds. Using the flash was particularly frustrating as it took more than 6 seconds to recycle for the next shot. Even more exasperating, the camera's shutter and autofocus can operate while the camera is busy, so unless we paid attention to the blinking red light next to the optical viewfinder, we'd be fooled into thinking we had actually taken a picture.
The 3X optical zoom, which covers a 39mm-to-117mm range, was extremely responsive and moved smoothly through its six steps. Sometimes it was too responsive: we occasionally felt out of control as we zoomed past the target focal length. Flash coverage was generally good, and the ability to adjust its intensity is always welcome. We did, however, notice some intensity falloff in the corners of close-range shots.
Under average lighting situations, the LCD is adequately bright and sharp. It doesn't gain up in low light, however, so even though it can focus without much brightness, you can't really see what you're shooting.
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Color rendition was, with only a couple of exceptions, quite accurate. When color shifts did occur, it was more the tone than the hue--a deep blue looked lighter and brighter than it actually was, while a vibrant purple-and-red tree came out looking a little pink. In CNET's tests, manual white balance was a tiny bit cool and the tungsten preset was a bit warm, but both were quite acceptable. At ISO 125, noise became measurably though not visually high. Above that, it became increasingly nasty.