Here at Crave, we tend to get excited about anything shiny with an on/off button, yet even we occasionally tire of all these grey 8-megapixel compact cameras with 3x zoom and yet another 64mm (2.5-inch) screen. Even image stabilisation and face detection are becoming a bit yeah, whatever. So we got very excited when Casio lobbed the Exilim Z-1200 through our office window like a black stealth brick.
This is a 12 -- count 'em -- 12-megapixel camera with a giant 71mm (2.8 inch) LCD screen. How big? You 'eard. The Z-1200 will cost just over £200. It's slim but feels quite heavy. The metal body has a matte-black rubberised feel with uncluttered controls, most of the space being taken up by that great big screen.
The extra real estate on the screen is taken up with an options sidebar that makes changing settings a simple matter of quickly scrolling up or down with the click pad and pressing OK. This frees up your settings from being buried in the interface, and gives you control of your pictures without frantic button-pressing and menu-sifting. The sidebar can be turned off to fill the giant screen with image, but even with it on there's still loads of space for your subject.
Of course, it's easy to get carried away with the megapixel hype, so we're going to reserve judgement until we've had a chance to assess the issues thrown up by this surfeit of megapixels, such as picture quality, noise and speed.
But it's hard not to be excited about a compact that looks so tidy and packs optical image stabilisation -- moving the CCD sensor to compensate for the vibration of shaky hands -- and a face-recognition system that actually recognises faces. Take a photo of your nearest and dearest and the Z1200 will look for them in future pictures, and prioritise the focus on them. Cute idea -- look out for the full review soon to find out if it actually works. -Rich Trenholm