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Point Shoot Yields Art

Reviewing: Casio Exilim Ex Z1080  |  Rating:
compeek By compeek on
Badge: Author | Level: 2 | Cameras Expertise:

A couple of weeks ago, I decided it's time I get a digital camera for myself. Members of my family own digital cameras, but I've never had one myself. I'm mostly interested in photography for the art aspect (finding that perfect shot of a landscape) rather than documentation (this is what we did on our trip), but it's nice to have a record of things too. Long story short, I want the cheapest option I could find that would still produce beautiful images. A friend recommended me to the Casio Exilim EX-Z1050, which is the previous model before this one. I searched around on Amazon, eBay, etc, and ended up finding a Z1080 for $150 shipped on Amazon. It was marked as Used - Like New, and the description said it was simply an open box. I believe the camera currently sells for around $200-250 new. With the camera I also ordered a SanDisk Ultra II 4GB SDHC car for around $18 shipped.

I got the camera and SD card in the mail on October 3, which is two weeks ago as of this writing. So of course I charged up the battery and everything then went out to take some pictures. I took a lot of random shots of my yard, the road, etc then came back inside to take a look at them. I was stunned by the quality of the pictures. At 10MP, the images are extremely clear. The coloring is excellent.

The camera has a slew of options that should suit anybody who needs a camera they can easily take with them to record parts of their life, so to speak. You can change the quality of the images and video (yes it takes video, at max res of 640x480, or the similar widescreen res). You can set white balance to auto, a variety of presets, or manually. The same goes for EV, flash, etc. The one setting that seems to be missing is shutter speed. As far as I can tell, it is only determined automatically by the camera.

Casio models like this one feature "Best Shot" modes. These are basically preset "themes" you can use for different types of pictures. Choosing one will automatically set the settings a certain way. An example is sunset mode, which will turn off the flash, and change other settings to produce a nice picture of a sunset. I don't use these modes very often, but they can come in handy.

The battery life is very good. It comes with a Lithium Ion battery with a capacity of 1300mah. A full charge will last me at least a couple hundred pictures. Even when the battery bar drops down to empty, you still get 30 or so shots before it turns itself off and you have to recharge. Charging time is about 2 hours with the included charger. You do have to remove the battery to charge it, which may or may not be a bad thing. I personally don't mind, but some may find it inconvenient.

The camera comes with a USB cable for transferring files. When plugged in, the camera basically acts as a media card reader, and you can view/edit files on the SD card in the camera. This is nice because you don't have to have a separate media card reader if you don't want. One thing I don't like is that the USB plug on the camera end of the cable is not standard. This seems to be because the USB jack on the camera is also used for plugging in the AV cable (which lets you view pictures and video on a TV). You do not seem to be able to charge the camera through USB power.

Overall, I am very pleased with this camera, and I believe I made a great purchase at a great price.

If you are considering buying a Casio point and shoot, I recommend you look for one of these instead of one of the newer models such as the S10. The reason is that after some research, I found that most people were happier with the 1050 and 1080 models rather than the newer ones. Reviews on this one seemed to be mostly positive, but reviews on the newer models are split between good and bad.

Update On Aug 29, 2010: After having the camera for probably almost three years, it suddenly and unfortunately stopped working completely. Pressing the power button makes it beep, but otherwise nothing happens and it seems to turn off right after beeping. The lens is also now stuck open.

It was a great camera, and I'm quite disappointed that it quit working for no apparent reason. It only had a 1-year warranty, so I'll probably just end up buying a new point-and-shoot sometime. It's possible I didn't treat it as carefully as I should have, and I'd still entirely recommend it since it's a great product.