February 21, 2006 - Casio UK today announced two new slim Exilim models, the EX-Z60 and EX-X850. Typical of Casio pocket cams, both models are less than an inch thick and boast over 30 scene modes. And typical of consumer point-and-shoots, both cameras sport 3x optical zooms with a 35mm equivalency of 38-114mm, 2.5" LCDs, and significant resolution—the EX-Z60 offers 6 megapixels, while the EX Z850 offers 8.1. Pricing and US availability has yet to be determined.
The 3.2 x 0.96 x 2.1-inch Casio Exilim EX-Z60 is the simpler and likely more affordable of the two, but that doesn’t mean it skimps on features. The Z60 provides 33 scene modes for the point-and-shoot enthusiast; if this is not sufficient, users can focus manually, select from three metering options of center, multi-pattern, or spot, select sensitivity from ISO 50 to 400, adjust the flash mode among 5 options and manually adjust white balance (or select from 7 presets including Auto). Like many compacts this year, the EX-Z60 also offers Anti-Shake; there is an additional ISO 800 setting available when coupled with this feature.
The EX-Z60 has an aperture range of f/3.1 in wide to f/5.9 in telephoto and a shutter speed range of 1/2 to 1/2000 sec., but no aperture or shutter priority mode. It does offer a continuous shooting mode, spot and multi AF, a pan focus mode, three self-timer options and an RGB Histogram, which are frequent on compacts but not always included. The EX-Z60 also offers exposure compensation and a 640 x 480 movie mode with sound, which are becoming essential in the increasingly competitive compact market.
In addition to the 33 scene presets, the EX-Z60 has a few other distinguishing features. It offers a Motion Print option for printing stills from in-camera movies, in-camera icon help, a reverse option for in-camera editing, and an alarm setting with a selectable image. The EX-Z60 runs on two AA batteries, is Hi-Speed USB 2.0 compatible, and comes with 8.3 MB of internal memory and SD/MMC compatibility.
The slightly smaller 3.1 x 0.8 x 2-inch EX-Z850 is also slightly more sophisticated. It too has 3x optical zoom and a 2.5" LCD, though Casio claims its LCD is a "Super Bright" LCD, as opposed to the Z60’s TFT LCD. The EX850 also has more resolution with 8.1 megapixels and just barely wins the scene mode war with 34 presets over the Z60’s 33.
The most significant difference between the two new Exilim cameras lays in manual control. The EX-Z850 easily offers more manual options over the Z60, including aperture and shutter speed control. The aperture range is greater, with maximum settings of f/2.8 in wide and f/5.1 in telephoto, and so is the shutter speed range: 1/2 sec. to a surprisingly fast 1/6000 sec. in Program mode. The basic ISO range is the same, but can be extended further up to 1600 with Anti-Shake engaged. Even the auto focus is beefed up, with an additional free AF area switching option and an AF assist light. The Ex-Z850 is also conversion lens compatible.
Like the Z50, the EX-Z850 also has exposure compensation in the usual +/- 2.0 EV range, continuous shooting modes, and the 640 x 480 movie mode with sound, but it adds Casio’s Past Movie and Short Movie modes as additional hybrid options. It also features an RGB Histogram and a Motion Print option. The only thing it lacks in comparison to the EX-Z60 is a reverse in-camera editing option and built-in memory. The EX-Z850 is SD/MMC compatible and supports Hi-Speed USB 2.0. It also runs on a more efficient proprietary lithium-ion battery.