capsule review

Casio Exilim EX-S600

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Casio Exilim EX-S600 Compact Camera

    TechHive Rating

    Ultrathin model boasts long battery life and high ISOs, but lacks a control dial so you have to push too many buttons.

Casio Exilim EX-S600
Artwork: Rick Rizner, Chris Manners

At just over 0.6-inch thick, Casio's Exilim EX-S600 is one of the thinnest cameras I've seen--it's small enough to slip into a shirt or pants pocket without causing any unsightly bulges. The model costs $350 (as of 2/6/06) and is available in three colors to coordinate with your outfit: "sparkle" silver, "fiesta" orange, and "mistral" blue.

The slinky 6-megapixel camera's image quality is also pretty appealing. In our tests, its shots were of above-average quality, with strong, bright colors that remained true to life. I found the sharpness a bit lacking, however, as fine details were often lost in a haze.

The camera's images were also prone to noise, especially with the ISO setting at its maximum of 400. Areas of flat color had an almost bumpy appearance from the noise in the images. The EX-S600 includes an antishake mode, but it doesn't involve optical stabilization. Instead, it works by boosting the sensitivity of the camera to light, though at a cost--pictures taken in this mode are prone to the same noise problems as the ones taken at high ISO settings. A huge selection of other shooting modes is available, however; you get 34 in all, including an interesting mode that is designed to boost the colors of old photos. Rather than using a scanner for color correction, you take a picture of the old photo and the camera performs the task.

In general, the camera is small, light, and pretty easy to handle, but those with big hands might find its thin profile a bit uncomfortable. With the zoom control situated on the back, gripping the camera can be a little difficult, as it's hard to hold the camera and adjust the zoom. All of the other controls are accessible through buttons on the back, too. Since there's no control dial, however, you end up pushing buttons a lot to reach some features and settings. No controls, except the shutter button, sit on the top of the camera.

Having all the controls on the back can be a bit of a pain, especially because changing shooting modes is a two-handed job (and scrolling through the 34 different modes takes some time if you don't remember where to find the one you want.) The 2.2-inch LCD screen is clear and seems significantly brighter than those on previous Exilim cameras.

Like most cameras, the EX-S600 can also double as a camcorder, shooting movies at up to 640 by 480 resolution at 30 frames per second in MPEG-4 format. The EX-S600 is unusual in that it allows you to use the shake reduction mode while taking movies. There is also a past movie mode in which the camera is constantly recording video, allowing you to effectively start shooting a movie 5 seconds before you press the record button. This feature adds a nice touch, but you do have to remember to set the past movie mode before you can use it.

Battery life is often a compromise with smaller cameras such as this one, but the EX-S600 didn't seem to have this problem. We measured the battery life at 415 shots, pretty impressive considering the small size of its rechargeable lithium ion battery; many larger cameras don't last half as long.

With its fairly good image quality and compact design, the EX-S600 would be a good choice for people who need a camera they can grab and take on the run.

Richard Baguley

This story, "Casio Exilim EX-S600" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    Ultrathin model boasts long battery life and high ISOs, but lacks a control dial so you have to push too many buttons.

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