Casio EX-Z550 Review

4.0
May 6, 2010 | Gavin Stoker |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 14.1 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 7Mb.

Mostly the Casio EX-Z550 acquits itself well when it comes to delivering even exposures. Colours are generally well saturated and brought the best out of the scene before the lens at any given time - all that one can really ask for from a point and shoot model. Generally there was little in the way of visible blur from camera shake, though inevitably we did get the very occasional soft shot. Pixel fringing was also evidenced on close inspection between areas of high contrast, though again this can be expected and was not at a level we felt uncomfortable with.

We did experience a few white balance issues however - getting a cool blue tone indoors on one shot when taking a portrait using natural daylight, and then, a correct, warmer tone with the subsequent image - but such conditions would test most point and shoots. Slightly more serious was loss of definition towards the corners when shooting at maximum wideangle setting; again not totally unexpected, given the wider than average 26mm equivalent, but slightly disappointing nonetheless.

The same blue colour cast - due to daylight conditions - invaded our sample ISO shots, rendering them cooler in tone than the actual conditions were at the time; albeit this is an issue quickly dealt with via the application of Auto Levels in Photoshop. With a broad light sensitivity range starting out at ISO 64, up until ISO 400 a sharp level of detail is maintained, fractionally softening when we come to ISO 800, and more pronounced a degradation on close inspection between that setting and ISO 1600. The latter is still very usable however - not bad at all a performance from this class of compact. At top ISO 3200 detail has softened across the image to limit the appearance of noise and it is beginning to take on a fuzzy, watercolour-like effect. But again, it's not bad at all a showing, especially given the high pixel count on offer.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Casio EX-Z550. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

 
 

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Casio EX-Z550 handled chromatic aberrations very well during the review, with a small amount of purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Casio EX-Z550 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 5cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Casio EX-Z550 are Auto, Flash On, Flash Off, Soft Flash, and Red Eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (26mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (26mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (104mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (104mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. Both the Flash On and the Red Eye Reduction settings caused a small amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Correction

Red-eye Correction (100% Crop)

Night

The Casio EX-Z550's maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds in the Night scene mode, which isn't good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/2 second at ISO 400.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 720p, 14 megapixel, 2.7 inch LCD, 4x zoom, casio, ex z550, ex-z550, Casio EX-Z550 Review, z550

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