At just 0.7 inch deep and weighing only 5.1 ounces with battery and SD card, the EX-S880 cuts the same ultraslim, ultralight profile as the S770. It shares a layout almost identical to the S770's, with small, flat buttons and a flat joypad clustered around a 2.8-inch LCD screen while leaving ample space for a thumb to rest. On the other side of the camera, the S880 sports the same 35mm-to-114mm-equivalent, f/2.7-to f/5.2, 3x optical zoom lens as its predecessor.
The EX-S880 features an 8-megapixel CCD sensor and Casio's new Exilim Engine 2.0 image processor, compared to the S770's 7-megapixel sensor and original Exilim Engine processor. Beyond these two upgrades, however, the camera's hardware attributes are largely identical to those of its predecessor; as I stated above, both cameras share the same large LCD and 3x lens. The camera's menus and software-based controls keep the same convenient interface, while the new image processor and a few new features set it a bit above the S770.
Face-detection first appeared among Casio cameras in the Exilim EX-Z1200, but this is the first superslim Exilim S-series camera to offer the feature. Like the EX-Z1200, the EX-S880's face-detection system offers more than most other similarly equipped cameras. Besides automatically detecting faces and adjusting the focus and exposure to suit it, the camera offers a family-recognition mode, which lets you records family and friends' faces ahead of time on the camera so the detection function gives those faces priority. It's a handy feature when shooting large crowds.
Like every other Exilim camera, it incorporates Casio's Best Shot Selector and a myriad of scene presets. Besides the usual portrait and landscape presets, the camera also offers a new YouTube Capture video mode. While Casio promotes YouTube Capture as a new, specialized mode for the S880, it's really just a 640x480, 30fps MPEG-4 video mode, not unlike those found on most other snapshot cameras. A bundled application lets you automatically upload videos shot in this mode directly to your YouTube account. While it saves the hassle of going through YouTube's uploading page, this feature is really only useful if you put videos on YouTube often, and if you don't already have a decent camcorder--which would generally produce higher quality video than almost any still camera.
Besides taking still photos and shooting video clips, the EX-S880 can also store your documents. Casio promotes the S880 as a data storage device, capable of holding information other than photos and videos. Unfortunately, like the YouTube Capture mode, this feature is just a very slight variation to something nearly all cameras can do. Since the S880 uses SD memory cards, you can store any file you want, as long as the card is big enough. It comes with a utility for moving data between the camera and your computer, but once again it doesn't really do anything you can't already do yourself, especially if you have a card reader.
In our lab's performance tests, the EX-S880 showed mixed results. After a 1.5-second wait from power-on to first shot, we could snap a new photo every 1.8 seconds with the onboard flash turned off. With the flash on, however, that wait increased to 2.8 seconds. The shutter felt responsive enough, lagging just 0.5 second with our high-contrast target and 1.1 seconds with our low-contrast target. In burst mode, the camera captured 10 8-megapixel photos in 9.6 seconds, for a disappointing rate of less than 1.1 frames per second.
Softness plagues the EX-S880's photos. Noise stays low through ISO 400, but becomes a blanket of snow at the camera's maximum of ISO 800. The camera reproduces color fairly well, though it tends to oversaturate, making some colors look garish at times. The camera's automatic white balance does a good job in most lighting situations, but incandescent-lit shots can come out slightly too warm. Unfortunately, the massive softness nullifies most positive points, and Casio's noise reduction processing only exacerbates what looks like a soft lens to begin with. While the camera technically takes 8-megapixel pictures, very little appreciable detail finds its way past the blanket of blur, making things such as text and the textures of fabrics hard to discern when shooting at ISO 200 or above.
The Casio Exilim EX-S880 tries to slide by as an upgraded S770 with a higher resolution and a different image processor. Unfortunately, it doesn't meet the standards set by its predecessor. While a new image processor usually means faster performance, the S800 performs slower and photos are terribly soft compared to the older camera. The addition of face detection and YouTube uploading software present mildly handy features, but they really don't justify purchasing the S880 if you can still find an EX-S770. Alternately, you might want to look to another manufacturer. For example, Sony's DSC-W80 is in the same price range and only a little larger in size, and it scored well in our review.
|Typical shot-to-shot time||Time to first shot||Shutter lag (typical)|