Review: Casio QV-4000
Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2001
Wednesday, November 21, 2001
it or not, Casio has been an innovator of consumer digital cameras
for longer than almost anyone. Back in the days when the DCRP site
was just getting started, they were shipping VGA resolution cameras
with swiveling lenses and LCD displays. Casio was the first to introduce
a 3 Megapixel camera, and was one of the first to ship a 4MP camera.
That camera is the QV-4000
($699), the current top-of-the-line camera in Casio's lineup. Though
it shares the same lens as the QV-3500 (see
our review), it has received a lot more than just a CCD upgrade,
as you'll see in this review!
in the Box?
QV-4000 has an excellent bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
4.0 (effective) Mpixel Casio QV-4000 camera
AA NiMH rechargeable batteries
featuring Casio PhotoLoader and drivers
page camera manual plus software manual (both printed)
you need is right in the box with this camera. Unfortunately, the
16MB CompactFlash card is way too small for a camera with this many
pixels. I will remind our readers that Canon includes a 32MB card
with their 4MP camera. I recommend at least a 64MB card for "real
use" of a 4MP camera.
includes 4 rechargeable (AA size, 1600mAh) NiMH batteries with the
QV-4000. I like this for two reasons. The first is that these standard
sized batteries are inexpensive compared with proprietary batteries.
The second is that if you should run out of juice in these, you
can buy regular alkaline batteries to keep you alive until you can
also a "rapid charger" included in the box, though I'm
not sure just how rapid it really is. The batteries themselves should
last for about 100 minutes of recording photos, according to Casio.
includes a lens cap and strap, to protect the camera's lens.
lens is threaded, and can use lens accessories sold by Canon (since
it's the same lens). First, you'll need to buy the LU-35A conversion
lens adapter, which Casio
sells for about $18. Once you've got that, you can buy close-up,
telephoto, and wide-angle lenses, and more. The camera also supports
external flashes (more on this in a bit) and a remote shutter release
QV-4000 is sort of compatible with Mac OS X (I'm running v 10.1.1).
The first time I connected it, the camera mounted as a disk on the
desktop. After formatting the card and taking some more pictures,
the next time I used it, Image Capture did start. Who knows? The
PhotoLoader v 1.1 software runs in the Classic environment in OS
PhotoLoader software is very mediocre... it's good enough for photo
transfer and not much else.
neat trick that Casio cameras can do is create HTML photo albums
in the camera. You just copy the folder to your computer and upload
it to the web! While this is a little dated, you should get an idea
as to what it looks
manual included with the camera is about average.
first glance, the QV-4000 reminds me of the Sony DSC-S85 (see our
mid-sized camera has more buttons and switches than any Casio camera
I've tested thus far. The body itself is made of both metal and
plastic, both of which feel "high grade". The camera can
be used one-handed, as it's easy to hold. It's a little too large
to fit in most pockets.
dimensions of the camera are 4.6 x 2.9 x 2.5 inches, and it weighs
355 grams empty. Let's start our 360 degree tour of the QV-4000
we'll start off, like we always do, with the front of the camera.
The camera has the now familiar F2.0 Canon lens that we've seen
on many other cameras. The lens is a 3X optical zoom with a focal
range of 7 - 21mm, which is equivalent to 34 - 102mm. If you desire,
a 3.2X digital zoom is also available, but keep in mind that it
reduces the quality of your photos.
I mentioned earlier, the lens is threaded.
northeast of that lens is an AF illuminator, for focusing in low-light
situations. This is a new feature on the QV-4000 and is most appreciated.
flash on the camera has a working range of about 0.5 - 3.5 meters.
The QV-4000 is the first Casio camera that allows the use of an
external flash. Since there is no hot shoe, you'll need to buy a
flash bracket, which uses the tripod mount. Any external flash can
be used, as long as it meets the following requirements:
duration less than 1/1000 sec
of 33mm (35mm equivalent) focal length lens
now is the back of the QV-4000, which is packed with buttons.
1.8" LCD is average size, and is bright and fluid. I couldn't
find a way to adjust the brightness, however.
above the LCD is the optical viewfinder. It has diopter correction
for those of you with glasses, and is good-sized. Nose smudges on
the LCD will be a problem if you use your left eye here.
the right of the optical viewfinder is the menu button, which invokes
the menu system.
four buttons to the left of the LCD work in a "SLR sort of
way". In other words, you hold down these buttons while turning
the command dial to change settings, rather than just pressing them
once to change a setting. I say that it's "SLR style"
since most "real" SLR cameras do it the same way. These
(Multi-pattern [matrix], center-weighted, spot)
Balance (Auto, daylight, shade, tungsten, fluorescent, manual)
(Multi-area AF, spot AF, manual focus, infinity, macro)
(holds the exposure settings)
last buttons also doubles as the delete photo button in playback
mode. I actually like how Casio resisted having each button do two
or three other functions, which most other cameras do.
you can see, the QV-4000 has a wealth of manual controls. With manual
white balance, you can shoot a white or gray card/paper to use that
as "white" for your photos. Multi-area AF is your normal,
everyday auto focus mode. If you want more control, try Spot AF,
which lets you choose one of nine areas on the LCD for the camera
to focus on. If you want real manual focus, you can do that too.
Unfortunately, there is no guide telling you the current focus distance
-- you have to eyeball-it on the LCD. If you turn on Focus Expansion
in the menu, the area the camera is focusing on will be "blown
up" so you can check the focus.
on the other side of the LCD, you'll find the zoom control, four-way
switch (or should I say, stick), preview button (shows the last
photo taken), and display button (toggles LCD on/off). The display
button also toggles what information is shown on the LCD, including
you open it from the side, the CompactFlash slot is actually on
the back of the camera. This is a CompactFlash Type II slot, which
means it's fully compatible with the IBM Microdrive (shown at left,
is the top of the QV-4000, which is quite busy. There are two layered
dials on the left, which control mode and "drive".
top dial controls which mode the camera is in. These include:
Record - auto everything
Mode - mostly automatic, but you can change many settings
Priority Mode - you choose aperture, camera chooses shutter speed
Priority Mode - you choose shutter speed, camera chooses aperture
Manual Mode - you choose shutter speed and aperture
Best Shot mode has more scenes than ever before on the QV-4000.
There are a total of 100 scenes available (on the CD-ROM) that you
can use. The deal with scene mode is that after you pick a "scene",
the camera will use the appropriate settings for that situation.
Experienced photographers will probably skip over this feature,
but it's great for beginners. You can create your own scenes as
well, if you want.
are a selection of scenes available on the QV-4000:
aperture priority mode, you can choose from F2.0, F2.3, F2.8, F4.0,
F5.6, and F8.0. In shutter priority mode, the range is 60 to 1/1000
sec. There is also a bulb mode which keeps the shutter open for
as long as the shutter release button is held down.
lower dial chooses from one of these drive modes:
bracketing will shoot 3 or 5 images in a row, each with a different
exposure compensation value. This is a good way to make sure you
get the perfect photo. Continuous shooting mode will record one
image about every second (or so) which is pretty slow. Panorama
mode is a tool to assist in making panoramic images -- just remember
to use a tripod for best results.
back to the top of the camera now -- the LCD info display on the
top of the camera shows not only the number of photos remaining
and flash setting, but also focus mode, shutter speed, and aperture.
to the right of the LCD info display are buttons for flash and self-timer.
Just right of that is the mode dial (off, playback, record) and
shutter release button. Finally, below that is the command dial,
which you rotate to change various manual settings.
this side of the camera, you'll find the I/O ports. The four you
see in the center of the picture are normally protected by the plastic
cover you can see at the bottom. The four ports here are:
(for optional remote shutter release cable)
in (for optional AC adapter)
at the lower right, you'll find the external flash sync terminal.
the other side, you'll find the latch for the CompactFlash slot
here is the bottom of the QV-4000. Down here, you'll find a metal
tripod mount, as well as the battery compartment, which holds four
the Casio QV-4000
QV-4000 takes just under five seconds to extend the lens and "boot
up" before you can start taking pictures. The LCD is on by
default. When you depress the shutter release halfway, the camera
locks focus in about one second. When you press the button all the
way down, the photo is taken after a short, but noticeable shutter
lag. Shot-to-shot speed is excellent -- the camera can take another
photo in under two seconds. Writing an uncompressed TIFF files will,
however, lock up the camera for 30 seconds.
zoom mechanism is smooth and responsive, though a little slower
than I like.
record mode, the LCD shows all kinds of info -- including a histogram
are a few resolution and quality options available on the QV-4000.
The chart below shows you how many photos you can store on the included
memory card, or the highly recommend 1gb Microdrive.
images on 16MB CF card
images on 1GB Microdrive
you needed any justification for buying the 1gb Microdrive, that
chart should do it.
QV-4000 has a new menu system that uses the traditional hierarchical
system found on most digital cameras. It's easy to use, though I'll
miss the cute animated menus on the older Casio models.
menu choices are:
Size (see above chart)
Enhancement (off, red, green, blue, flesh tones)
(off, black & white, sepia, red, green, blue, yellow, pink,
(+2 to -2)
(+2 to -2)
(+2 to -2)
Setting (EV shift, num. of exposures) - set up AE bracketing
setting (front-curtain, rear-curtain) - set when the flash is
intensity (strong, normal, weak)
speed (fast, normal, slow) - choose the shutter speed used when
the flash is fired (1/125, 1/60, 1/30 respectively)
expansion (on/off) - blows up the focus area on the LCD so you
can check focus
(on/off) - shows a 9 square grid which helps you compose your
stamp (on/off) - the camera will record the date on your photos
in a number of formats.
are a few setup options as well, but I'll leave those to the manual.
take a look at our test photos now.
QV-4000 did a fine job with our macro test. The red color is a bit
over-saturated, but otherwise it looks great. At full wide-angle
you can get as close as 6cm in macro mode. At full telephoto, the
minimum is 20cm. The maximum distance in macro mode is 50cm.
camera also did a great job at the night shot test -- one of the
best I've seen in a sub-$1000 camera. Obviously it was a good night
for the photo, but the fast lens and manual controls really helped
the photo quality was very good on the QV-4000. Colors seem accurate
and the images correctly exposed (without the flash). I noticed
two issues: First, flash pictures seemed a bit underexposed (see
gallery, #11 vs. #12). Second, I found
some chromatic aberrations (see gallery,
#10) in one photo. Take a look at the photo
gallery and see if you like the photo quality too.
movie mode feature has changed on the QV-4000. Gone is the ability
to use "past" mode, which recorded the 10-15 seconds prior
to the shutter release being pressed. Now it's just a regular,
silent movie mode.
are recorded at 320 x 240, using the M-JPEG codec. Files are saved
in the AVI format. Movies can be as long as 30 seconds.
audio is not recorded, you can use the optical zoom while filming.
a very boring sample movie for you:
QV-4000 has as full-featured playback mode. Basic features such
as DPOF print marking, image protection, thumbnail mode, and slide
show are here.
other features include zoom & scroll (as I call it) and resize.
Zoom and scroll lets you zoom, in steps, up to 3.2X times. Along
the way you can use the four-way switch the scroll around in the
image. This scrolling is a lot choppier than on older Casio cameras
but it's still better than most.
lets you easily create a 640 x 480 image from a larger one. The
old, large image is saved.
camera moves between images quickly -- it instantly shows a low
res version (still good quality) and about two seconds later, the
high resolution version covers it.
you want more info about your photos, the QV-4000 delivers. You
can see the various settings used, plus a histogram and the file
Does it Compare?
in the old days of digital photography (and this site), I told people
to steer clear of Casio cameras. The opposite is true now: they
are getting better and better. While the QV-4000 isn't as good as,
say, the Canon PowerShot G2, it's still a superb 4 Megapixel camera,
and for $200 less too. That money could be spent on a Microdrive
instead, which gives virtually unlimited storage capacity. The camera
has a good amount of manual controls, very good photo quality (in
most cases), Microdrive support, and a low price. The negatives
are the before mentioned flash underexposure and occasional chromatic
aberrations, and the silent movie mode. Even with those issues,
the QV-4000 is still highly recommended.
good photo quality
for CompactFlash Type II cards and Microdrive
best shot mode helps you take photos in 100 situations
AA batteries - rechargeables included in the box
in record and playback modes
I didn't care for
sound in movie mode
continuous shooting mode, startup times.
4 Megapixel cameras to consider include the Canon PowerShot G2
FinePix 6900 Zoom (I guess), Minolta
DiMAGE 7 (actually 5MP), Nikon
Coolpix 5000 (also 5MP), Olympus
Optio 430, Sony
DSC-F707 (5MP) and DSC-S85,
and the Toshiba
always, I recommend a trip to your local camera store to try out
the QV-4000 and its competitors before you buy, assuming you can
out the QV-4000 photo gallery!
a second opinion? How about a third?
Digicams has a review
of the Casio QV-4000 that you'll want to read. If that's not enough,
DP Review has one
welcomes your comments or questions. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to my limited resources, please do not e-mail me asking for
a personal recommendation.