Review: Casio QV-2900UX
Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Monday, July 16, 2001
Monday, July 16, 2001
camera that arrived recently without much fanfare is Casio's QV-2900UX.
This little camera looks a lot like a Nikon Coolpix 990, but the
similarities end there. The 2900 has an 8X optical zoom lens which
allows you to get a lot closer to your images than normal 3X zoom
with Casio's traditional "bang for the buck", the QV-2900UX
has a list price of only $499. Not bad for a Microdrive-capable,
2.1 Megapixel camera with a big zoom! Is the 2900 worth your attention?
Find out now...
in the Box?
My QV-2900 came in a white (non-retail) box. Your bundle may differ.
QV-2900UX has a decent bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
2.1 Mpixel Casio QV-2900UX camera
AA alkaline batteries
cap w/strap and holder
featuring Photoloader software and drivers
for camera and software
nice that Casio includes a 16MB CF card with the camera, considering
it's only 2 Megapixel. I wish we could get all manufacturers to
be so generous!
also kindly include a lens cap with strap, to protect the 8X optical
the negative side, the inclusion of alkaline (non-rechargeable)
batteries was not welcomed. You'll want to go purchase a pack or
two of NiMH rechargeables, which will last much (MUCH) longer.
other complaint is about the PhotoLoader software. It's ... not
great ... and that's being polite. It will get your photos off the
camera but don't expect miracles.
camera did not include a manual, so I'm not going to comment on
it in this review.
far as accessories go, the lens is threaded (43 mm), so you can
use any lens/filter that fits. Casio sells a Tiffen wide-angle lens
for the 2900.
QV-2900UX, I hate to say it, feels a bit cheap. There are solid-feeling
plastic cameras, then there are not-so-solid plastic cameras. This
one falls into the latter category - I guess that's one way to keep
the price down. The swiveling lens seems better built than the rest
of the body.
said, the camera is light and easy to hold. Just make sure you don't
plant your thumb on the LCD when taking pictures.
dimensions of the 2900 are 4.7 x 3.2 x 2.6 inches (W x H x D), and
it weighs 295 grams empty.
our tour with the front of the camera, you can see the big attraction
of the 2900, that 8X swiveling zoom lens. The camera has a "mirror"
effect, so if you turn the lens around to face you, your image will
appear correct on the LCD display. While some may think the swiveling
lens is a gimmick, I think it's great. Shooting over people in front
of you (or fences) is much easier. I think the popularity of the
Coolpix 900 series also confirms my belief.
F3.2 lens has a focal range of 6 - 48 mm, which is equivalent to
40 - 320 mm. The lens is entirely self-contained and never pops
out of its enclosure. As I mentioned, the lens is threaded for 43
flash just above the lens has a working range of 0.5 - 2.5 m. The
strength of the flash can be adjusted in the menu system.
the back of the QV-2900. The 1.8" LCD is grainy, especially
in low-light situations. The video itself is fluid and not choppy.
I found it pretty easy to smudge the LCD, since there's not a lot
of room for your fingers on the back of the camera.
you may have noticed, unlike with the Coolpix series, there's no
optical viewfinder to be found here. If I was in the market for
a digital camera myself, that would eliminate the QV-2900 from my
the LCD are four buttons which do various things depending on which
mode the camera is in (record or playback). That includes:
(for quickly changing camera settings) [record] / Info (get info
about picture) [playback]
[rec] / Change folder [play]
Infinity, Manual Focus [rec] / Resize photo [play]
(2 or 10 sec) [rec] / Delete photo [play]
the far right of the photo, you can see the switch which puts the
camera into record or playback mode.
that are the zoom controls, with the power switch just left of that.
looking at the top of the camera. Up here you'll find the shutter
release, +/-, and Menu buttons. It seemed a bit weird to have these
menu navigating buttons (+/-) up on top - I'm used to having them
on the back.
the middle of the camera, where it says "2.1 Mega Pixels",
you'll find a plastic door covering the I/O ports. Let's take a
here they are: USB, Video Out, Digital, and DC in. While my camera
didn't come with a serial cable, it appears to be supported (via
the digital port).
one side of the camera, with not much going on. You can see the
nice rubber grip on the lens which makes it easy to hold.
here's the other side. After you finally open the plastic door,
you'll reach the CompactFlash Type II slot. The QV-2900, with all
of Casio's cameras, fully supports the IBM Microdrive. The slot
is spring-loaded and the card easy to remove.
the bottom of the QV-2900, propped up by a lens cap. You can see
the battery compartment, as well as a metal tripod mount.
the Casio QV-2900UX
QV-2900 takes just 2 seconds to start up before you can start taking
pictures. It may take a few more if the flash has to charge. The
camera shoots exceptionally quickly. Locking focus takes a second
or less, and the shutter lag is minimal. Shot-to-shot is also very
fast - just one second, even in fine mode. The zoom mechanism is
quite fast as well, and precise too.
a look at the resolution and quality options available on the QV-2900:
images on 16MB CF card
images on 340MB Microdrive
that chart, I don't think I really need to sing the praises of the
IBM Microdrive. And that doesn't even show the 1gb version. If you
take a lot of photos, you want the Microdrive.
you'll see when taking a photo
QV-2900 also has an uncompressed TIFF mode. The 1600 x 1200 TIFF
takes up 5.5MB, so I figure you can get 2 or 3 on the 16MB card,
and perhaps 60 on the Microdrive. Do note that recording a TIFF
takes 40 seconds, and the camera is locked up until it's done writing.
You can abort the TIFF recording process, however.
BestShot mode is one of the newest and coolest features of the QV-2900
(and all new Casio cameras). You can pick one of 64 "scenes"
and the camera will pick the best settings for you! You can even
make your own scenes if you are so inclined.
are 28 scenes built into the camera, and there are 36 more on the
CD-ROM that you can put on the CompactFlash card and then use. Be
sure to lock those scene files first so they don't get erased if
you erase the memory card!
are a selection of scenes available on the QV-2900UX:
take a look at some more options on the QV-2900.
let's take a look at the menu options available on the QV-2900.
Casio has fancy, animated menus on the surface, and more traditional
menus underneath. The top level choices are:
- goes to more menus
(Past) - more on these later
- assists you in taking panoramic shots
- time lapse photography. you pick how many shots are taken, and
how often. AC adapter recommended for this trick.
Function brings up the more traditional menu, with the following
- see chart above
(ISO 80, 160, 320)
(Black & White, Sepia, Red, Green, Blue)
Mode (Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Full Manual)
- more below
(Multi, Center, Spot)
Balance (Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Manual)
(Off, Red, Green, Blue, Flesh Tones)
Intensity (Strong, Normal, Weak)
(Hard, Normal, Soft)
(High, Normal, Low)
(High, Normal, Low)
Zoom (Off, Auto, 2X, 4X)
various basic camera settings (date, etc.)
is this world coming to? Custom white balance and full manual controls
on a camera for under $500? I'm impressed that all of the features
from Casio's high end cameras have trickled down to the lower end
are four exposure modes, as I mentioned above. Here's a rundown:
Mode: camera picks best exposure settings
Priority: you pick aperture (F3.2, F4.8, F8), camera picks shutter
Priority: you pick shutter speed (60 sec - 1/2000 sec), camera
you pick both the shutter speed and aperture
camera also has a bulb mode, which keeps the shutter open for as
long as you hold down the button. A tripod is a must for things
first test is, as always, the macro test. It took me a few tries
to get this one right, using manual white balance and shutter priority
mode. The colors are accurate, but the image (as with most on the
QV-2900) is suffering from a case of the "jaggies". Check
out the edges of the figure to see what I mean. You can get as close
as 1 cm from the subject in macro mode on the QV-2900.
2900 did a decent job at my nightshot test, as well. There's quite
a bit of noise in the picture and the colors are a bit off, but
it did take in enough light.
the photo quality on the QV-2900 was average, or perhaps a bit lower
than that. I couldn't help but notice the jagged edges on the subjects
in my test photos, even at the "Fine" quality. It seems
like the camera is over-sharpening the images. I noticed this same
phenomenon on Steve's
Digicams photos as well, so it's not just my camera. Have a
look at my QV-2900 Photo Gallery to see
what I'm talking about.
made some of the first cameras with a movie mode, and sadly, it
hasn't improved much since. There's no sound recorded with the movies...
which some may consider useless, but I think it's a nice bonus.
nice thing is that you can use the optical zoom while filming --
now this is a rarity!
are two movie modes: regular, and past. Regular is the traditional
movie mode we all know, where you depress the shutter release and
film for 16 seconds. Past is kind of the opposite: you hit the shutter
release button to start filming, and it will keep going until you
hit it again. When you do, it will save the previous 16 seconds.
See the difference?
file format for these movies is AVI, using the M-JPEG codec. The
resolution is fixed at 320 x 240.
a somewhat exciting sample movie for you, looking towards Marina
to play movie (1.6MB, AVI format, M-JPEG codec)
playback mode has always been very good, and that continues here.
The basic features such as slide shows, DPOF print marking, and
image protection are all here.
is the "zoom and scroll" feature, which lets you zoom
into your photos 2X or 4X, and then "scroll" around in
them. The scrolling speed is the fastest out there, but it's hard
to move around without the usual four-way switch found on many other
feature that most camera makes skip over is the ability to delete
a group of photos, as opposed to all or one. I was pleased to see
that the QV-2900 has this feature.
can resize your photos to 640 x 480 easily, by just hitting the
"Resize" button on the back of the camera. The original
image is preserved.
can get a decent amount of information about your photos as well,
including exposure settings, resolution/quality settings, and even
neat trick that Casio cameras can do is create HTML pages containing
your photos and their specs. Here's a sample, from our classic QV-2000UX
Does it Compare?
the specification sheet, the Casio QV-2900UX sounds like a sure-fire
winner: 2.1 Megapixel, 8X optical zoom, full manual controls, Microdrive
support, and BestShot mode for under $500. While I appreciate all
those very nice features, there are two negatives that are deal
breakers for me: the lack of an optical viewfinder, and the less
than stellar photo quality. Obviously if you like the feature set
and are pleased with the photo quality, then you should ignore my
recommendation. But if you're looking for a "big zoom"
camera, I'd pay a little more for something better.
manual controls for under $500
zoom works in movie mode
I didn't care for:
average photo quality
sound in movie mode
you're looking for a big zoom camera, I recommend you check out
PowerShot Pro90, Fuji FinePix 4900
Zooms, Olympus C-2100
Ultra Zooms, and the Sony
always, I recommend a trip to your local camera store to try out
the QV-2900UX and its competitors before you buy!
how does the photo quality stand up? Check out the sample photos
in our photo gallery!
a second opinion?
sure to read Steve's
Digicams review of the Casio QV-2900UX.
welcomes your comments or questions. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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