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Christmas Gift Guide
Cameras

Photos: Hands-on with the classy Casio Exilim EX-Z200

The Casio Exilim compact camera brand is becoming synonymous with quality, and the feature-packed 10-megapixel EX-Z200 is all kinds of classy

The Exilim brand is fast becoming a watchword for compact camera quality, and the Casio Exilim EX-Z200 is no exception. From the moment we caught a glimpse of the Z200 alongside the stunning EX-F1 at CES 2008 to the moment it wafted into Crave Towers this week, it's been fairly clear that this 10-megapixel snapper is class in a glass.

The metal frame, sleek silver accents and range of colours take care of the looks, but there's all sorts of lens-y goodness going on inside the Z200 as well. For starters, it has a wide-angle 35mm film camera-equivalent of 28mm, which is plenty wide for fitting more in at the sides of your pictures. If you'd prefer to hone in on something, a 4x optical zoom takes care of things further away.

The 1/2.3-inch CCD sensor is shifted infinitesimally to compensate for shaky hands. The sensor's sensitivity can be adjusted from ISO 50 all the way up to ISO 1,600, if you really want to ruin your pictures with grain. How the Z200 deals with image noise will be one of the things we test in our in-depth review.

Face recognition is here, of course, and allows you to record and prioritise family and friends' faces to pick them out in the frame. Other features include a soft flash to maintain that cosy look in lower light, a long 4-second night shutter for turning moving lights into fancy patterns or capturing the stars, and a triple self-timer. This counts down from 10 seconds, complete with on-screen countdown -- handy if you're using the timer to avoid camera shake, not so much if you're scampering down the beach to join the fixed-grinning family -- and captures three images a second apart, to save on constant to-ing and fro-ing.

The Casio Exilim EX-Z200 is in the shops and online now for around £195. To find out more, and to see how Casio is continuing the good ideas on the video front, click for the next page. -Rich Trenholm

Update: Read our full Casio Exilim EX-Z200 review.

The Casio Exilim EX-Z200 sports a gigantic 69mm (2.7-inch) LCD screen. Controls include two buttons for switching between playback and shooting -- why, Casio, why?! -- and a best shot, or scene mode button. Also included is a dedicated movie button, which is an idea so simple that we wonder why no one thought of it sooner. Another great idea that's turning up more and more is prerecord video mode, which records video constantly and when you press the shutter, saves the previous 5 seconds of video.

The Z200 records H.264 video, with 30 frames per second at 640x480 pixels. These can be uploaded to YouTube or watched in 16:9 on your television.