The Casio Exilim EX-Z80 is a YouTube-friendly pocket camera that has a huge LCD screen, an unfrightening price tag, and features galore.
The tiny Casio Exilim EX-Z80 packs a lot of features for £129 (cheaper if you shop around), going above and beyond much of its competition. About the length and width of a credit card and just half an inch thick, this camera fits into a pocket with the ease of a flip phone.
Encased in a combination of sleek brushed metal and matching faux-metal plastic, the EX-Z80 is available in a range of metallic colours. And at 8Mp, it produces acceptable prints at 8x10in, with nice colours but a bit of blur.
By forgoing a viewfinder and relying on very small buttons elsewhere, Casio was able to fit an impressively large 2.6in LCD on the Casio Exilim EX-Z80. The back of the camera sports a handy button dedicated to video, eliminating the archeological exploration of menus that many other cameras require.
But with the streamlined form comes a sacrifice: the Casio Exilim EX-Z80's miniature buttons nest very close together, and the video button is so close to the top right corner that a clumsy dip at the end of each clip became a signature motif of my video work. In addition, if you aren't particularly dexterous or haven't grown out your fingernails, you may have trouble pressing the buttons at all.
Its drawbacks notwithstanding, the Casio Exilim EX-Z80 is a solid little snapper, highly intuitive to navigate, and impressively fast at autofocusing. It offers some interesting 'Best Shot' scene modes to supplement the expected sunset, night portrait, landscape, and food options. These included a helpful eBay mode and the entrancing pastel and star-effect modes.
Also uncommon in a camera of its price are the Casio Exilim EX-Z80's advanced custom controls, such as flash output adjustment, white balance, and spot metering.
You can program the joystick on the back to change various settings, such as metering methods. In addition to providing several face-recognition focus options, the camera automatically reduces blur when panning along with a subject. Or you can arrange for the camera to trip the shutter only when the subject stays still or smiles. These features didn't always work in our informal tests, but they did help stabilise images.
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