The first thing you need to know about the Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z50 is that using it will not, by itself, make you more attractive. It will, however, make you feel pretty damn slick. It’s slim and light enough to fit into a shirt pocket or a tuxedo without mussing your lines. And when you pull it out, it powers on quickly so that you can snap pictures of the other swells at the club. If you’re in a real rush, you can turn it on and take a shot within 2.6 seconds, but that first shot will be blurry and poorly focused. After that, however, shutter lag is a mere 0.2 seconds and the second shot fires in 2.1 seconds.
Image quality from the EX-Z50 is decent overall, and the camera excels at taking well-lit outdoor shots and indoor photos with the flash on. Like most ultracompact cameras, however, it struggles with low-light photography, producing blurry, poorly focused shots with the flash off. Curiously, it lacks a burst mode. If you want to capture motion, use the movie mode.
The EX-Z50’s menus are cleanly organized and extremely easy to use. One nice touch: The menus appear translucently over the live image on the LCD, so you can keep an eye on the action while you adjust your camera. A variety of options lets you specify creative features such as ISO speed, exposure, and white balance.
If you’re looking for a superportable camera that doesn’t compromise too much on image quality, the Exilim Zoom EX-Z50 is a great choice. –Dylan Tweney
Best Feature: Sleek, svelte design
Worst Feature: Low-light shots only so-so
Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z50
Weight: 5.2 ounces
Size: 3.5 x 2.4 x 0.9 inches
Specs: 5 megapixels; 3x optical zoom; 320 x 240-pixel, 15-fps AVI video recording; 2-inch LCD; SD card slot; 9.3MB of internal memory
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Link: Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z50
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