Casio's QV-R62 has plenty of features in a petite package. This 6-megapixel camera, only slightly thicker than a deck of cards, fits easily in your pocket; in fact, several times it was so unnoticeable in my pocket that I thought it had slipped out.
Its 2-inch LCD--spacious for a small camera--occupies most of the rear side. The big display is well lit and easy to view in all but the strongest sunlight. Even in such conditions, however, framing photos and reviewing shots was still possible.
If you're interested in taking only basic snapshots, the QV-R62 is simple to use. If you want to go beyond that and access some of this camera's more advanced features, though, it gets a little trickier. The unit's small size means that it's short on buttons. Via the buttons you can review photos, turn the flash on and off, and change the focus option (from Auto Focus to Infinity or Manual Focus); all other features are in the menus, which, though easy to read, can be deeply layered. The option for changing the white balance, for example, requires scrolling through two menu screens, while toggling the digital zoom requires accessing an item buried in the third menu screen. Activating the self-timer, changing the shutter speed or exposure, and changing image resolution are also deep in the menus.
The on-camera buttons are small and can be difficult to operate, especially if you have bulky (or gloved) fingers. On several occasions, we had to press twice to turn the camera on or off; we eventually found it easier to use a fingernail to access the tiny power button.
The QV-R62 offers standard 3X optical zoom and 4X digital zoom; the hurdle between the two formats is apparent, as the camera hesitates slightly. The zoom feature itself is somewhat shaky, and we found setting it to the precise distance we wanted difficult. A continuous shooting function lets you take up to three photos in 1 second. Shutter lag time was minimal.
We gave the QV-R62's image quality and battery life each a score of Fair in our tests. Photos taken with the camera's default automatic settings produced varied results. Overall sharpness was a little below what we've seen from other 6-megapixel cameras, as we noticed some softness in our 8-by-10 prints. Our still-life photo was underexposed, while our flash portrait was overexposed. Our outdoor San Francisco Bay scene was just about right. We noted a faint purple cast to a white background, and we saw visible noise--typically speckling in dark, solid colors.
Running on two AA batteries, the QV-R32 lasted just 73 minutes, or 135 shots.
The included software, Casio's Photo Loader 2.2 (for transferring photos to your PC) and PhotoHands (an editing application), is rudimentary and unintuitive. PhotoHands offers basic quick fixes but lacks desirable extras, like an easy way to crop photos.
Still, the QV-R62 provides plenty of features for an average photographer. It supplies 23 scene modes to help set up your shots, including a mode that lets you combine two shots into one, so you can, for example, shoot the background and then snap some people to place in front of the background. Also included is a manual white-balance option, in addition to the usual list of presets.
This compact camera won't weigh down your pockets, and it's easy to use. It lags in image quality and battery life, however.
6.0 megapixels, 2816 by 2112 maximum resolution, 39mm to 117mm focal range (35mm equivalent), f2.8 to f4.8 maximum aperture range, shutter speeds from 4 seconds to 1/2000 second, optical and LCD viewfinders, USB connection, 9.7 MB internal flash memory plus SD Card slot, two AA batteries, 10 ounces with batteries, Casio Photo Loader and Photo Hands software. One-year parts and labor warranty; 13-hour weekday, 8-hour weekend toll-free support.