Review: Casio QV-3000EX
Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Monday, March 20, 2000
Last Updated: Saturday, August 12, 2000
has come a long way from the days of the QV-10. This was probably
the first digital camera I ever used (perhaps I used an Apple Quicktake
first), and by current standards, it was terrible. I admit to warning
people away from Casio's cameras for several years, until the QV-2000
and 8000 models came out. Suddenly, they had cameras with the features
people wanted, for less money than the more famous names in digital
photography. Now there's the QV-3000EX -- which was the first 3.34
Megapixel camera on the market!
comes in three packages: A plain old 3000EX will cost $799, and
include a 16MB CompactFlash card. Then there's the QV-3000EX Plus
package, which costs $999: that "plus" is none other than
a 340Mb IBM Microdrive! Forget fitting just a few photos onto that
measly 16Mb card -- with the Microdrive, you can fit 245 2048x1536
photos, or over 1000 1024x768s in the highest quality mode! The
best value is probably the $1050 Pro package - which includes everything
that the Plus pack has, and adds an AC adapter and a NiMH battery
kit! [Updated 8/12/00]
in the Box
QV-3000EX Plus that I tested comes in a huge box packed with all
kinds of goodies.
the box for the camera, you'll find:
3.34 Mpixel QV-3000EX camera
340Mb IBM Microdrive (or a 16Mb CompactFlash card, if you didn't
get the Plus/Pro version)
NiMH rechargeable batteries and charger (Pro package only) [Updated
adapter (Pro package only) [Updated 8/12/00]
cover with strap
serial cable, with Mac adapter
package including Casio's PhotoLoader software
manuals for camera and software
to begin... well, for one, two big thumbs down to Casio for not
including rechargeable batteries with a $1000 camera! [Update
8/10/00: Apparently Casio is bundling rechargeable batteries, a
fast charger, AND an AC adapter now]
another sad note, Casio is still ignoring Mac users, although not
as much as they were a few months ago. Yes, there's a Mac version
of PhotoLoader included with the camera. It's not great, but it
works. There is NOT a version of the Panorama software for the Mac!
If you want to use this feature and only have a Mac, you are currently
out of luck!
the good news. The lens cap fits snugly over the lens, and isn't
going anywhere. In fact, be sure you take off the lens cap before
you turn the camera on, because sometimes the lens cannot push the
cover off (oops)!
best news has to do with the IBM Microdrive. These things normally
cost $400, but it's only $200 extra if you buy the Plus model.
Microdrive is a true engineering marvel. It's an honest-to-goodness
4500rpm hard drive that's the size of a CompactFlash card! If you
listen hard enough, it even sounds like one! Naturally, I had to
show everyone at the office this little guy, and everyone was amazed.
Even better, look at how many photos you can store:
that's a lot of rolls of film!
the manuals. Casio's camera manual is pretty good, with handy quick
reference guides at the front that cover things like recording,
playing back, and deleting images. The separate, skimpy software
manual is disappointing.
QV-3000EX is a solid-feeling, slightly heavy camera, that fits well
in your hand. Both hands have a place to rest, without blocking
anything important. Nose smudges on the LCD are only a problem for
those who are left-eye dominant. The lens is actually a f2.0 Canon
lens (see the top photo for proof).
back of the camera is pretty easy to figure out. First, note the
big optical viewfinder, with diopter correction. Below that are
buttons for navigating the menu system, as well as adjusting exposure
compensation (left and right on the 4-way switch). To the right
of that is the LCD (1.8"), which is fluid and bright (except
when you're outside, of course). The preview button lets you view
the last photo you just took, and it also deletes a single photo
in playback mode. Below that is the usual Display button for turning
the LCD on or off. Just above those is the zoom control, which I
did not care for. There's little range in movement which just feels
awkward when you use it. To top it off, the power switch around
the shutter release button is reminiscent of the zoom controls on
other cameras (see photo below), so I turned the camera off more
than once, while trying to zoom.
to the top of the camera. The LCD info display is standard-issue.
To the right is the shutter release (with confusing power controls),
buttons for flash, focus (manual, infinity, macro), self-timer (2
or 10sec--nice to have a choice for a change), and mode.
I must confess-- this is the same image that I used in the QV-2000UX
review -- but it's the same on this camera, I promise. This is what
you get when you push "mode" -- it's like the mode wheel
on most cameras, but electronic! Cool! Modes on the 3000EX include
Program, Movie, Panorama, Aperture-Priority, Shutter-Priority, Landscape,
Portrait, and Night Scene. I'll have more on these in the next section.
Looking now at the I/O section of the camera, we have ports for
the AC adapter (which was included with my camera, but shipping
models will not have one), "digital" out for serial cables,
USB, and video out. Everything is stored behind a sturdy plastic
I don't have a picture of it, the CompactFlash door is very secure
-- almost too secure. Also, getting the card out takes a few tries
on my camera for some reason.
the Casio QV-3000EX
3000EX is a camera that does the fun and easy stuff, like movies
and point-and-shoot photos, but it can also do the kinds of things
that hardcore photographers want, such as full manual control. There
are lots of different modes on this camera, and I haven't had a
chance to try them all yet, but I think you'll get the gist of it
from what follows.
record mode, you have three choices: Program (auto), aperture-priority,
or shutter-priority. Well, that's what Casio tells you, at least.
In reality, you have a full manual mode, that isn't mentioned anywhere
(as on the 2000UX). More on that in a second.
3000EX isn't a huge speed demon when starting up, taking about five
seconds before you can start shooting. But don't worry, it's plenty
fast after that -- it can take up to 3 photos in a row at the highest
quality settings with only about a second between shots. A continuous
shooting mode is also available.
you want more manual control than Program mode offers, put it into
shutter or aperture-priority mode.
shutter-priority mode, you can go as slow as 2 sec, or as fast as
1/1000sec. Or can you? Try this: Set the shutter speed as slow as
possible (2 sec). Then, hold down "set" and keep pushing
down. You'll pass through many slower speeds (up to 60sec!) and
then hit "bulb" mode! This is never mentioned in the manual!
aperture-priority mode, you can select from: f2, f2.3, f2.8, f4,
f5.6, and f8.
what if you want FULL manual control of both shutter and aperture
simultaneously? First, go back to shutter-priority mode. Then, hold
down the set button, and push to the right! Voila! You can adjust
both the shutter and aperture settings at the same time! Why Casio
doesn't mention this is beyond me.
3/28/00] Here's one pro feature missing from the 3000 though:
There's no hot shoe for a flash, nor is there a external flash sync
connector. There is a uncompressed TIFF mode available through yet
another backdoor. Check out Steve's
Digicams review for the details.
mode is great on the Casio cameras: You take the first frame, and
it then provides you with some help in where to point the camera
for the second frame by showing you what was on the right-side of
the first frame. Hard to explain, but easy when you use it.
haven't tried out the portrait, night scene, or landscape modes,
so I'm going to skip to movie mode next. The good news is that like
the other Casio cameras I've tested, the 3000 takes AVI video --
in 30 second segments. The bad news is that there is still no sound,
and that the codec these use seems weird, because a lot of people
have trouble viewing it on their computers. You'll find some samples
in the gallery to view (if you have trouble,
try the Quicktime versions I posted).
3/28/00] Steve's Digicams mentions a possible solution for Windows
users who cannot view the AVI videos (which uses the M-JPEG code).
You can go here
and download them, and install them (check out the read me for
instructions), and you should be able to view the videos!
play mode, things are just like the 2000UX. You've got slide shows,
"zoom and scroll", and quick removal of photos. You can
delete one, a few, or all photos. You can view your movies if you
want, or even the panoramas. Again, note that you can only stitch
them on Windows PCs, since there is no Mac version.
has two versions of their menus: a "basic" and "detail"
version. Yeah, I also ripped off this image from a previous review,
but it's almost identical on this camera.
record mode, there are lots of items in the menu for you to change:
Fine, Normal, Economy
2048 x 1536, 1024 x 768
Soft, Normal, Hard
Low, Normal, High
Low, Normal, High
mode": Single, Continuous
Multi, center-weighted, spot
balance (with cool real-time preview): Auto, daylight, shade,
tungsten, fluorescent, manual
intensity: Weak, Normal, Strong
Normal, +1.0, +2.0, +3.0 (I'm not sure what the ISO equivalents
Mode: Normal (30 seconds after button pressed), Past (10 seconds
prior to button press)
zoom (2X): Off, On
Color, B&W, Sepia
Stamp: Off, On
all the usual setup stuff that we're familiar with.
but not least, is the cool feature which lets the camera output
everything as HTML and images, so you just open it up in your web
browser. While I'm not going to do it for the gallery this time,
check out a previous
example to see what I mean. If you don't like it doing this,
you can turn it off, of course.
does it compare?
QV-3000EX is a worthy follow-up to the already excellent QV-2000UX.
When you add up all the features, it's a good buy -- but with
the IBM Microdrive, it's a great one. I should mention that my
usual macro test shots came out very dark. If you do a lot of
macro shots, be sure you have very strong lighting (or use exposure
Microdrive means virtually unlimited storage capacity
bundle (assuming you get the Plus or Pro version)
Mac software (what little there is)
control could be better
mode doesn't record audio, uses weird codec
I recommend the QV-3000EX highly! While it's only the second three
megapixel camera we've tested, it's right up there with the PowerShot
S20. The camera is full-featured, and everyone loves the Microdrive!
Mac users may want to consider something else if the lack of panorama
software really bothers you -- perhaps Casio will offer it one
of these days.
are tons of other cameras to consider: Nikon
Coolpix 990, Olympus
PowerShot S20, and the Fuji
FinePix 4700, to name a few. But only this one and the Canon
are close to shipping, so if you want to buy now, your choices
are limited! My advice, if you can wait another month or two,
is to do just that, to see what how the other offerings fare.
how does the photo quality stand up? Check out the sample photos
in our photo gallery!
a second opinion? Or maybe a third?
Digicams review of the QV-3000EX. If you still yearn for more,
the Imaging Resource Page has
welcomes your comments or questions. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.