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Casio Exilim EX-Z600 review: Casio Exilim EX-Z600

Casio Exilim EX-Z600

Theano Nikitas

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4 min read
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Given the camera's small 3.5-inch-by-2.2-inch-by-0.8-inch body and large LCD, it's no surprise that the EX-Z600 has few dedicated control buttons. A tiny and low-profile power button sits on the camera's narrow top ledge, next to a small shutter button, which is encircled by the zoom control. On the back, playback and record tabs also power-on the camera, a feature we've come to appreciate for spontaneous shooting (or playback); two additional tabs provide access to the camera's clear and easily navigated menu system and 33 Best Shot (scene) modes. The up arrow on the camera's four-way controller cycles through display options; flash modes are accessed via the down arrow, which also doubles as a delete key in playback mode. The left and right arrows can be programmed for direct control over one of several features including white balance, exposure compensation, or ISO, otherwise most functions are only accessible via the menu.

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6.8

Casio Exilim EX-Z600

The Good

Small; responsive; broad feature set for point and shoot; affordable.

The Bad

Blur-reduction features result in excessive noise; generally average image quality; no optical viewfinder.

The Bottom Line

Although the image quality and performance of the stylish and ultracompact Casio Exilim EX-Z600 are decent for a snapshooter, watch out for image noise at high ISO settings--it quickly and easily gets out of control, turning pictures into mush.
Slide this little camera out of your pocket, and people are sure to and ahh over its large and bright 2.7-inch LCD. In typical Casio Exilim fashion, the 6-megapixel EX-Z600 is slender, stylish, highly portable, and easy to use--even for beginners. Its 3X optical zoom (38mm-to-114mm 35mm-equivalent) provides sufficient range for typical snapshot situations. And with its budget-range price--significantly less expensive than erstwhile competitors such as the Canon PowerShot SD630 and the Sony Cyber Shot DSC-T9--you can spend the extra dough on clothes. Ironically, however, its biggest 6-megapixel, ultracompact competitors to the Z600 are other Casio models, namely the S600 and the Z60.

Although strictly a point-and-shoot, the EX-Z600 has a well-rounded feature set. With the big selection of Best Shot modes and a built-in help system that explains each setting, the Z600 covers most common--and some uncommon--shooting situations. New this year from Casio is the eBay mode; although this does nothing more than capture a small-size image--you can achieve the same effect by setting the image size to 2 megapixels--this Best Shot mode may be an appealing option for those who don't want to fuss with setting changes.

Users can adjust sharpness, saturation, and contrast adjustments; the camera also features multiple autofocus modes, three metering options, manual white balance, adjustable flash intensity--including a special soft-flash mode to avoid overexposed close-up images--as well as various filter effects (black-and-white and colors).

As an alternative to scanning, the EX-Z600, along with other Casio models, offers built-in color correction so you can shoot old photos--such as those prints you have stashed in a shoebox or an ancient photo album--so they can be restored. There's also a keystone correction feature to eliminate the odd angles that come from shooting flat objects such as old photos or buildings. While it's convenient to have this feature built in, there's little leeway for correction. Part of this process includes cropping the image, and while you'd still have to crop when correcting the perspective using an image-editing program, be prepared to lose part of your picture.

The Casio Exilim EX-Z600 is generally responsive, with respectable start-up time regardless of whether the camera is turned on using the power button or the direct record/playback buttons. It zips along quite nicely from shot to shot, although using the flash--with the exception of the special Rapid Flash, that fires three times in a little over a second--slows the time between shots to a laggardly 4.7 seconds. But there's minimal shutter lag, and under really dark conditions, the AF locks in pretty quickly. High-speed continuous shooting is almost instantaneous, although capture is limited to three consecutive frames. For more than three images, the capture rate slows to a little less than one frame per second.

While we applaud Casio's attention to trying to eliminate blurry photos with its various special modes, boosting the ISO often delivers such high noise levels that the pictures are almost useless for anything but small snapshots. Red-eye reduction is a mixed bag, although we were told that one subject's light blue eyes always produced red-eye regardless of the camera used.

We noticed minimal purple fringing in our test shots, though, and colors were generally realistically pleasing. The camera has a tendency to blow out highlights, but managed to capture decent detail on a dollar bill. Unfortunately, the detail capture was less than razor sharp.

But snapshooters who maintain control over noise by keeping the sensitivity lower than ISO 100 to ISO 200 and don't make huge prints will probably be satisfied with the Casio Exilim EX-Z600's capabilities, and its low price doesn't hurt.

Shooting speed
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Typical shot-to-shot time  
Time to first shot  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Casio Exilim EX-Z600
1.7 
1.8 
0.4 
Canon PowerShot SD630
1.9 
1.4 
0.5 
Fujifilm FinePix V10
2.0 
1.5 
0.5 
Nikon Coolpix S5
1.8 
2.0 
0.5 
Pentax Optio W10
3.6 
3.5 
0.7 
Note: Seconds

Typical continuous-shooting speed
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Note: Frames per second
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6.8

Casio Exilim EX-Z600

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 7Image quality 6
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