DCRP Review: Casio Exilim EX-Z1050
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The Casio Exilim EX-Z1050 ($269) is a compact camera featuring a 10 Megapixel CCD, 3X optical zoom, 2.6-inch "wide and bright" LCD display, and long battery life. It's the replacement to the EX-Z1000, and the little brother to the 12 Megapixel Exilim EX-Z1200. While the Z1050 lacks manual exposure controls, it's loaded (and I mean loaded) with scene modes.
To say that the compact camera space is crowded is an understatement. With so much competition, the EX-Z1050 has a lot of work to do to come out on top. How does it perform? Find out now!
What's in the Box?
The Exilim EX-Z1050 has an average bundle. Inside the box you'll find:
Like most cameras these days, the EX-Z1050 comes with built-in memory, instead of a bundled memory card. Casio has put 15.4MB of memory into this 10 Megapixel camera, which holds just two photos at the highest quality setting. Needless to say, you'll want to buy a large memory card right away. The camera supports SD, SDHC, MMC, and MMCplus memory cards, and I'd suggest starting with a 1GB SD card. While it's worth spending the extra bucks for a high speed card, you don't need to go overboard.
The EX-Z1050 uses the same 4.8 Wh NP-40 lithium-ion battery as its predecessors. Casio has always been very strong when it comes to battery life, and the Z1050 is no exception. Here are its battery life numbers compared to other cameras in its class:
The EX-Z1050 easily wins the battery life competition here, and by a very large margin. I don't know how Casio does it, but some of the other manufacturers could certainly learn from them.
Two quick notes about the proprietary lithium-ion battery used by the EX-Z1050 and cameras like it. Extras are expensive (priced from $40), and you can't use an "off-the-shelf" battery when your rechargeable croaks.
When it's time to charge the camera's battery, simply insert it into the included external charger. It takes around 150 minutes for the battery to be fully charged. Do note that this isn't one of those "plug it right into the wall" kind of chargers -- you must use a power cord.
As is the case with all ultra-compact cameras, there's a built-in lens cover on the EX-Z1050, so there's no lens cap to worry about.
The EX-Z1050 is fairly light in the accessories department. Probably the most interesting item is the EWC-90 underwater case ($200), which lets you take the camera up to 40 meters beneath the sea. There's also the BC-30L travel charger (priced from $41), which plugs right into the wall (instead of requiring a power cord). Finally, Casio offers two camera cases for the Z1050, ranging from $18 to $20.
Casio's bundled software was never very good, and I'd argue that this all-new version (known as "Photo Loader with HOT ALBUM" is even worse. It's still totally basic, with only image viewing, printing, and e-mailing functions. The software appears to be Flash-based, and it's awkward and slow to use. It's also for Windows only, so my fellow Mac users will want to use iPhoto.
Features on the main screen include slideshows, variable thumbnail sizes, calendar view, and print ordering -- well, sort of -- the camera just puts the photos you want to print on a memory card or CD. There's also an album feature ("HOT ALBUM") that lets you create a CD-ROM containing a slideshow, complete with the music of your choosing. If you pony up for the "premium version" ($3 for two years), you can burn the images onto CDs and DVDs as well.
Want to edit your photos? Well, you won't be doing it with this product. You can rotate photos, and that's it. In the year 2007. Get with it, Casio!
I am not a big fan of Casio's manuals, either. Inside the box you'll find a very basic manual, with just 12 pages of actual information, If you want more details (and you will) then you'll need to open up the PDF file on your computer, which camera owners really should not have to do. The quality of the manuals themselves is just average.
Look and Feel
The basic design of the Exilim Z-series cameras hasn't changed much over the years. They've gotten a little less boxy, but if you've used an older model, you shouldn't have any trouble with the Z1050. The camera is very compact, and made almost entirely of metal. The camera fits nicely in the hand, though you need to watch your right thumb, as it sits right on the menu button and four-way controller.
Casio has been at the forefront of the multi-colored camera fad for years, so you shouldn't be surprised to see that the EX-Z1050 comes in four colors. They include blue, pink, black, and silver.
Now, let's take a look at how the EX-Z1050 compares to other cameras in its class in terms of size of weight: