My first thought when I saw the Casio Tryx was that Casio took a smartphone and turned it into a single-function device. It has the dimensions of a smartphone, a 3-inch touch screen, and a fixed-focal-length lens similar to what's on a mobile phone, but with better specs. Where the design differs from a smartphone or the average point-and-shoot is that the display can pivot through its frame a full 360 degrees while the screen itself can rotate 270 degrees. With its built-in orientation sensor, you can hold the Tryx in your left or right hand and the picture will right itself.
This swiveling, rotating design allows for a lot of shooting flexibility at different heights and angles. The Tryx can be its own tripod and when you rotate the screen it becomes perfect for self-portraits. You can use the frame to hang it on the wall for easy group shots or for a better grip when shooting. Plus, since it shoots movies in full HD, it can do all of these things for photos and videos.
|Key specs||Casio Tryx|
|Dimensions (WHD)||4.8x2.3x0.6 inches|
|Weight (with battery and media)||5.5 ounces|
|Megapixels, image sensor size, type||12 megapixels, 1/2.3-inchCMOS|
|LCD size, resolution/viewfinder||3-inch touch-screen LCD, 460K dots/None|
|Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length)||Fixed, f2.8, 21mm (35mm equivalent)|
|File format (still/video)||JPEG/H.264 AVC (.MOV)|
|Highest resolution size (still/video)||4,000x3,000 pixels/ 1,920x1,080 at 30fps|
|Image stabilization type||Digital|
|Battery type, CIPA rated life||Built-in li-ion rechargeable, 220 shots|
|Battery charged in camera||Yes|
|Storage media||SD/SDHC/SDXC, Eye-Fi SDHC card support|
|Bundled software||Casio Connect powered by Eye-Fi|
There are three separate pieces that make up the camera: the lens, the screen/body, and the frame. With the camera being only 0.6 inch thick there's really no room for an optical zoom. It has a fixed-focal-length lens similar to those on pocket video cameras or mobile phones; in this case it's an f2.8 ultrawide-angle 21mm-equivalent lens. That means the zoom is digital only, which for many will be a deal breaker. There's no optical or mechanical image stabilization either, so once the lights go dim you'll need to switch to a shooting mode that helps with low-light shooting and motion blur, and you'll probably stop holding the camera while it shoots. Next to the lens is a small, blindingly bright LED lamp, but no flash; you have to go into the main menu system to turn it on and off. (Note: Casio is planning a firmware update to make the LED function as a flash.)
The camera lens is shifted all the way to the left, making it very easy to get your fingers in your shot if you're not careful. On the upside, the flexible design means you don't have to hold the Tryx with the usual point-and-shoot pinch grip and, again, you can flip the camera over and work everything with your left or right hand. The only physical buttons are for power and the shutter release, with everything else handled via the touch screen. You can even skip using the button for taking photos if you want because the camera has a touch-activated shutter release that can be fired just by tapping on the screen.
The interface is easy to understand, but really unattractive. The screen is fairly responsive, but making selections will occasionally require extra taps. You can calibrate the screen to your touch, though, which helps some. Onscreen icons rotate with the display so they're easy to read whether you're holding it vertically or horizontally. However, this is inconsistent, switching back to vertical-only for some things, which makes the interface feel incomplete.
The body is sealed with no access to the battery. The Tryx is CIPA-rated for 220 shots. That rating is reached by basic use and doesn't take into account all of this camera's multishot shooting or full HD movie capture or a lot of touch-screen use. Still, my shot count while testing all the camera's features broke 200 before the battery was fully exhausted. That's not bad, but it's not great, either, and with the battery being built in, there's no option to carry a backup. Plus, repeated charging shortens battery life, so eventually you'll need the battery replaced. Also, the battery meter proved deceiving, never giving me an accurate feel for just how much time I had left.
Battery charging is done through a proprietary USB port located on the right side of the body and can be done either with a wall adapter or by computer. You can also connect to a computer to transfer photos and movies as well as to install the online-sharing software embedded in the Tryx.
Lastly, a Micro-HDMI port is built into the right side so you can easily connect to an HDTV to view your movies and photos straight from the device.
|General shooting options||Casio Tryx|
|ISO sensitivity (full resolution)||Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,600, 3,200|
|White balance||Auto, Daylight, Overcast, Shade, Daywhite Fluorescent, Daylight Fluorescent, Tungsten, Manual|
|Recording modes||Auto, Premium Auto, Slide Panorama, Motion Shutter, HDR-Art, Best Shot (HDR, Multi SR Zoom, High Speed Best Selection, High Speed Night Scene, High Speed Anti Shake)|
|Focus modes||Auto, Macro, Pan, Infinity|
|Macro||3.1 to 19.7 inches|
|Metering modes||Multi pattern|
|Burst mode shot limit (full resolution)||None|
While advanced camera users might find value in the Tryx's shooting options, the camera is for automatic snapshots with the camera doing the bulk of the decision making. The regular Auto mode has the most setting options such as ISO, white balance, and autofocus mode, but not much else. The Premium Auto is a scene-recognition auto mode; it worked pretty well, but I would not use it for portraits, as it goes overboard on skin softening.
On Casio's other cameras, its Best Shot scene mode selection is extensive, but that's not the case here. You only get five shooting options and they're all multishot types. What that means is the camera rapidly takes several photos and then combines them into one shot to improve some aspect. For the Tryx you get modes to improve dynamic range, digital zoom, night scenes, group portraits, and hand shake.