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'Casio releases three new Exilim digital cameras'

Casio struggles to make Exilim release exciting.

Culture
Casio Exilim EX-Z300 Casio

I put quotes around the headline on this post because I took it from the press release announcing these new compact cameras, proving that even Casio didn't know how best to get attention for them. Even the deck is kinda lackluster: "EX-Z300 and EX-Z250 Features New Imaging Engine for Superb Photography; EX-Z85, a Stylish New 9.1 Megapixel Camera." Not exactly awe-inspiring stuff, but I'll give you the details, since they do have a couple features worth mentioning.

The Exilim EX-Z300 and EX-Z250 are nearly identical; the Z300 is a 10.1-megapixel pocket camera and the Z250 is a a 9.1-megapixel camera. Both feature a 28mm to 112mm (35mm film camera equivalent), 4x optical zoom lens, CCD shift stabilization to help you while holding the 230K-pixel, 3.0 inch LCD out in front of you to take pictures, and the ability to record video in the iPod-friendly H.264 video codec (the Z300 can do HD video).

Also--as mentioned a couple of sentences ago--there's a new Casio Exilim Engine 3.0, which, according to the announcement, is "an image-processing module that packages a new, dedicated high-speed image processing CPU (central processing unit) with the high-performance CPU used to date." That's a lot of processing for one sentence, but it sounds promising, as it enables the cameras with some new functions, like Handheld Night Scene (pretty self explanatory), Lighting to help with contrast and shadows, and Multimotion (Z300 only), which takes a series of 3-megapixel shots of something in motion and then merges them into a single shot. Lastly, there's the Makeup function that allows you to make ugly people beautiful (finally!). Oh wait, actually no; it allows you to use up to 12 levels of image-processing hocus-pocus (there's that processing again) to do things like smooth skin appearance or adjust for facial shadows.

Available for retail in October, the EX-Z300 will go for $299.99 in silver, black, and pink, and the EX-Z250 will command just $249.99 and can be had in silver or black.

Casio Exilim
Casio Exilim EX-Z85 Casio

The 9.1-megapixel EX-Z85 comes across as a pretty basic ultracompact camera: small (3.5-inches tall by 2-inches wide by .8-inch deep), very lightweight at around 4 ounces, and attractive, with a smattering of convenience features: a 3x optical zoom, and a 2.6-inch widescreen LCD--all good things for a pocket or a purse. It has face detection for up to 10 people in a shot and an Auto Shutter option that works not only for capturing smiles on sight, but will snap when it detects less hand shaking, too. The Z85 has a slightly customizable interface as well. You can choose from six different menu colors and you can change the traditional focus box to a heart shape or a butterfly. (Sounds fun, but I'm probably not the target.) It'll sell for $179.99; look for it in October, too.

Press release and full specs for the EX-Z300, EX-Z200, and EX-Z85.

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