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Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z77 and Card EX-S880: Taking the 'Tube

Casio has announced the 8.1-megapixel Exilim Card EX-S880 and 7.2-megapixel Exilim Zoom EX-Z77, two cameras designed to optimise video for YouTube

Is YouTube taking over the world? Samsung has pipped LG to the post on the YouTube phone with the L760, while Apple's announcement of YouTube functionality on the iPhone was seen as yet as another iRabbit out of the iHat by Steve Jobs. Now Casio has announced the first cameras squarely aimed at making things easy for YouTubers: the 8.1-megapixel Exilim Card EX-S880 and 7.2-megapixel Exilim Zoom EX-Z77 boast a dedicated YouTube mode.

Not only do both these puppies look the business, their YouTube capture mode optimises your videos for publication to the Web, and to YouTube's standard specifically. Videos are encoded in the MPEG-4 H.264 video codec with a resolution of 640x480 pixels at 30 frames per second. Videos can also be prepared in wider format, or with a smaller file size.

With the content prepared, publication is made easy by YouTube Uploader software bundled with the cameras. Oh, and you get a YouTube sticker.

Web video shenanigans aside, the specs look healthy. The Card S880 boasts 8.1 megapixels, a 3x optical zoom and 71mm (2.8-inch) LCD screen, and will be available in red or black.

The Zoom Z77 packs 7.2 megapixels, and a 66mm (2.6- inch) widescreen LCD display. We're not sure how a bog-standard 3x justifies the word Zoom in the name, but never mind. It will be available in silver, black, blue and pink flavours.

Both cameras have a choice of SD, SDHC, MMC and MMC Plus memory. Face detection and digital image reduction are included on both.

On top of optimising your video for the Internet, these cameras join a number of others in the Exilim range that optimise your photos for the Web -- or, more specifically, for eBay. The S880 and the Z77 include eBay Best Shot Mode, which sizes your images for easy display on the auction site. So when you've shot a video of yourself blending your iPhone, you can take a snap of the remains and auction it off to some other loon.

We'd like to see Wi-Fi or even multimedia messaging capability in our cameras for truly instant uploadability, but hey, it's a start. The S880 will cost £249.99, and the Z77 a bargain £149.99, and both are planned to be in shops from the end of July. Look out for our full review soon. -Rich Trenholm