capsule review

Casio Exilim EX-Z57

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Casio Exilim EX-Z57 Compact Camera

    TechHive Rating

    The small, attractive EX-Z57 offers lots of scene modes, very long battery life, and a 2.7-inch LCD, but few manual controls.

Casio Exilim EX-Z57
Photograph: Rick Rizner

The $380 Casio Exilim EX-Z57 makes a fashion statement with its large 2.7-inch LCD and thin silver alloy chassis. The EX-Z57 weighs just 5.2 ounces, so it's light enough to carry comfortably in a shirt pocket. It sports a 3X optical zoom and shoots 5-megapixel images. The big LCD fills the back of the camera, barely leaving room for the controls, which are so small that I sometimes found them frustrating to use with my broad fingertips. You have to use the LCD to frame your shots because there is no optical viewfinder.

You'll enjoy using the large LCD to show off your snaps to friends, and you won't have to worry about wearing down the battery when doing so: In our tests the EX-Z57's lithium ion battery was still alive after we took 500 shots, the point at which we turn out the lights out and let our lab tech go home. This was well above what we usually see from current point-and-shoot cameras, a group that averages 350 shots in this test.

People who rely on scene modes will find plenty to toy around with: the EX-Z57 includes 23 of them. The sundown mode emphasizes red hues, the twilight mode emphasizes magenta, and the retro mode creates a sepia-toned image. Some of the modes are more offbeat, such as the food mode, which saturated the colors in my photo of an apple and made my hand look unnaturally red. There is also a mode for photographing white boards, but its suggested crop boxes often excluded some of the text I had included in my frame. You can adjust the exposure value on the camera, but beyond that you are stuck with what the scene modes give you: There isn't a manual mode, much less aperture- or shutter-priority modes. You're limited to point-and-click photography.

As you might expect from such a small camera, the EX-Z57 didn't wow the judges with its image quality. Overall, it scored below most other point-and-shoot cameras. However, its outdoor shots scored higher than the ten other point-and-shoot cameras in this test set. If you mainly take quick snapshots of friends and family, you'll likely be pleased with the quality. The pictures I took indoors at a baby shower weren't for hanging on a gallery wall, but they were good enough for making 4-by-6-inch prints and handing them out to family members.

The EX-Z57 comes with a cradle for charging the camera's batteries. But while sitting in the cradle, the camera can also play a slideshow of your shots, transfer new photos to a PC, or transfer album pages that you've created with the camera's menus to a Web site.

The small EX-Z57 offers plenty of scene modes for the point-and-click crowd, and very long battery life, but users desiring manual controls will feel stifled.

Casio Exilim EX-Z57


5.0 megapixels, 2560 by 1920 maximum resolution, 35mm to 105mm focal range (35mm equivalent), f2.6 to f7.7 maximum aperture range, shutter speeds from 4 seconds to 1/2000 second, LCD viewfinder, USB connection, 9.3MB internal memory and SD Card slot, rechargeable lithium ion battery, 4.6 ounces with battery, Casio Photo Loader and Photo Hands software. One-year parts and labor warranty, 13-hour weekday, 8-hour weekend toll-free support.
$380
800/836-8580
www.casio.com

Eric Butterfield

This story, "Casio Exilim EX-Z57" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    The small, attractive EX-Z57 offers lots of scene modes, very long battery life, and a 2.7-inch LCD, but few manual controls.

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