Casio Exilim EX-Z40
At a Glance
About the size and weight of a deck of cards, Casio's little silver Exilim EX-Z40 offers style, scene modes, and great battery life. It weighs just 5.5 ounces and measures 3.4 by 0.9 by 2.2 inches, so it's compact enough to fit into all but the smallest pockets.
However, any attraction we felt for this camera was undone by its ho-hum image quality: Of the 14 cameras in our test batch, the EX-Z40 ranked near the bottom in color, exposure, sharpness, and image distortion. Our outdoor shot had good tonal range but also a strong blue cast. Meanwhile, the flash shot of our mannequin showed good color accuracy but lacked the vibrancy of competing cameras, and we saw noticeable artifacting in the solid blues and purples of her blouse and scarf.
Our impressions while using the EX-Z40 were mixed: The buttons and four-way navigation wheel are well placed and depress easily, but some buttons are a bit on the small side. And while the camera's 2-inch LCD is great in concept, the one on our model produced snowy, grainy images.
The startup time, the processing time between pictures, and the 3X optical zoom time are quick enough, so you shouldn't miss those unexpected shots. The camera comes with 9.7MB of internal memory for storing images, and an SD Card slot. (Casio doesn't supply a card with the camera.) The unit's battery life, usually short on small cameras, was stellar: Taking 450 shots on one charge, the EX-Z40 ranked first among our test models.
The EX-Z40 has some nifty features, too, such as a charging cradle that contains the USB port for connecting to your computer. The camera sits in the cradle backward, and a photo button on the cradle lets you start a slide show on the LCD screen. The EX-Z40 comes with 21 scene modes (called Bestshot modes) for capturing pets, flowers, night scenes, food, text, sunsets, candlelight parties, scenery, and other specific situations. One interesting scene mode was Natural Green, which gave a vibrant color to verdant shots that were otherwise yellowish. The camera also has a full complement of manual settings, such as aperture and shutter priority.
Unless you want to read the same 16 pages in seven languages, ditch the paper manual for the comprehensive PDF version stored on the CD. The disc also contains Casio's Photoloader import software and Photo Hands, a basic image editor.
The stylish Casio Exilim EX-Z40 boasts great battery life, creative scene modes, and a cool cradle/charger, but its images are no better than snapshot quality.
Casio Exilim EX-Z40
4 megapixels, 2304 by 1728 maximum resolution, 35mm to 105mm focal range (35mm equivalent), f2.6 to f7.7 aperture range, shutter speeds from 4 seconds to 1/2000 second, optical and LCD viewfinders, USB 1.1 connection, 9.7MB internal memory plus SD Card slot, one rechargeable lithium ion battery, 5.4 ounces with battery; Photohands, Photo Loader software. One-year parts and labor warranty, 13-hour weekday toll-free support.