With its 10-megapixel sensor and 4x zoom, the Casio Exilim EX-Z300, priced at around £190, hardly pushes the boundaries of optical science. But what it lacks in photographic innovation it makes up for in brains, with a list of features as long as your arm and so many different ways of automatically fixing things that you might wonder if you need to be there at all.
Where to start? How about the 'auto shutter' modes? We can take face-detection for granted these days (there are six different modes here), but in 'detect smile' mode, the shutter won't fire until your subject is wearing a happy face.
Seen it before? Okay, then how about 'panning' mode? It can be tricky getting a sharp picture when you're panning with a moving subject but, in this mode, the camera won't fire until the camera and subject movement coincide and there's no blur. In 'detect blur' mode, you can take shots in the dimmest light, safe in the knowledge that the shutter won't fire until the camera's steady. In these last two modes, a 'shake scale' on the LCD flickers up and down, showing you just how steady the camera actually is.
There's much more to play with on this camera too. Casio, as ever, offers a huge selection of 'best shot' modes (scene modes, in other words), all well illustrated with pictorial examples and brief descriptions. But you're more likely to want to play with the new 'make-up' function, which can give you the complexion of a porcelain doll via one of 12 different settings, or have a go with the new 'lighting' function, which can lighten up darker areas without affecting the rest.