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Casio EXILIM EX-ZR10 review
|DATE REVIEWED: 2nd Apr 2011||Add Camera To Comparison Chart|
|Camera Type||Compact||Shutter Speeds||4 - 1/2000 sec|
|RRP||£249||ISO Range||100 - 3200|
|Megapixels||12||Focal Length||28 - 196mm|
|Weight||176g||Aperture||f3 - 5.9|
|Dimensions||102 x 69 x 27mm (WxHxD)||Focus Distance||2cm - inf|
|LCD Size||3 inches||Zoom (Opt)||7x|
|Zoom (Dig)||7x||Storage||SD / SDHC|
|Max Resolution||4000 x 3000||Battery Type||Li-Ion|
First impressions can often be quite wrong, and that’s certainly the case with the new Casio EX-ZR10. On the face of it, it’s a fairly automatic, slender compact – nice build quality, 12MP resolution from the CMOS chip, a decent wide-angle lens at 28mm and a reasonable 7x optical zoom to take the reach up to 196mm equivalent. Nothing unexpected or out of the ordinary there. However, turn it on, press the button marked HS and it’s like squirting nitrous oxide into your car engine. What’s under the bonnet of the ZR10 is a high-speed processing engine that enables all manner of technical tricks. The headline-grabbing one is that it can shoot an astonishing 40fps for 30 shots. The caveat, if you could consider it one, is that the resolution drops to 10MP – still plenty – and the quality to Normal. The ZR10 can also shoot video, regular 1920 x 1080 full HD at 30fps, 432 x 320 at 240fps and finally 224 x 160 at an incredible 480fps. The advantage of using these high speeds is that, on playback, you get super slow motion and incredible detail that you would otherwise miss.
There are no specific photography modes like Aperture Priority or manual. Standard shooting uses normal auto where ISO, exposure compensation, metering and white balance can be adjusted. There’s also Premium Auto, where the camera attempts to detect what kind of scene you are shooting and implements the mode for that.
There are the usual scene modes in a best shot menu, but there’s also an HS best shot menu as well, and this is where things get interesting. Because the ZR10 can process images so quickly, Casio has put this to more use. There are the expected scenes for capturing action, kids, dogs etc, but there’s also an HDR and an anti-shake mode. The HDR mode takes two pictures, one after the other, and combines the highlights and shadows for an HDR picture. It does it so fast you can hand-hold the camera while shooting. At really low light levels, where it is impossible to get a handheld shot, the camera takes a rapid sequence at around 1/13 or 1/15sec and then combines them to produce a sharp image. And yes, this actually works. We tested it in a dark mill, and time and time again it produced images from the gloom.
In terms of quality you have to pay for high resolution in small spaces, so there are noticeable artefacts even in ISO 100 shots. They rapidly get more noticeable as the ISO increases, but then at ISO 800 the noise suppression starts to take hold. There is some loss of detail, but even as it reaches ISO 3200 it’s very effective. This is some of the best noise suppression on a compact we’ve seen.
The lens performance is pretty much what you would expect. The centre is sharp with falloff to the edges, on wide angles there’s the expected distortion but at the end of the telephoto there’s good sharpness and little distortion. The shift-CMOS anti-shake system is effective to a degree, and colour fringing is not a problem on normal days; you have to shoot dark objects against bright skies to produce it.
Our final impression of the ZR10 is that it’s all serene on the surface, but it really does have hidden depths. The menu system might be messy, but the beauty portrait mode, face detection and the high-speed functions are all winners. You wouldn’t even pigeonhole the ZR10 and say it’s one for sports fans or those with active kids. It offers some really clever functionality – there’s something for everyone here.
Be prepared to change your expectations of what a compact can do. Super-fast shooting and HDR with ease married to user-friendly modes and a slender body
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|Be prepared to change your expectations of what a compact can do. Super-fast shooting and HDR with ease married to user-friendly modes and a slender body|
Duncan has a long history in photography as a portrait/wedding photographer, a published author of no fewer than 13 photography books and member of Royal Photographic Society.
|Total Camera Reviews||7|
|Average Camera Rating||3.4|
|Duncan's Last 5 Reviews|
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