Casio EX-Z800 Review

January 19, 2011 | Mark Goldstein | |

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 5Mb.

The Casio EX-Z800 produces images of above average quality. The biggest issue is noise and loss of detail at relatively slow ISO speeds. The 1/2.3 inch, 14.1 megapixel sensor recorded noise-free images at ISO 50-100, but there's already some noise and slight softening of detail at ISO 200. ISO 400 shows a little more noise and colour desaturation, and ISO 800 and 1600 are significantly worse, with obvious loss of fine detail, colour desaturation and even more noise. The fastest setting ISO 3200 isn't worth using at all.

The Casio EX-Z800 handled chromatic aberrations quite well, with fairly limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations and generally at the edges of the frame. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with a little red-eye and adequate overall exposure. The night photograph was poor, with the maximum shutter speed of 4 seconds not being long enough for most after-dark shots, resulting in under-exposure.

Macro performance is also disappointing, only allowing you to focus as close as 8cms away from the subject. The images were a little soft straight out of the Casio EX-Z800 at the default sharpening setting and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting. Anti-shake is a feature that works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the moderate zoom range.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Casio EX-Z800. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 50 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso50.jpg iso100.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso400.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso1600.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

 
iso3200.jpg  

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)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Focal Range

The Casio EX-Z800's 4x zoom lens provides a focal length of 27-108mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

27mm

108mm

focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

File Quality

The Casio EX-Z800 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

14M Fine (5.63Mb) (100% Crop) 14M Normal (3.00Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The Casio EX-Z800 suffered from some fairly obvious chromatic aberrations during the review, with purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

Macro

The Casio EX-Z800 offers a Super Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 8cms 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

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg

Flash

The flash settings on the Casio EX-Z800 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 (27mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (27mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (108mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (108mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. As you can see, both the Auto and Red Eye Reduction settings caused a tiny amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg
   

Red-eye Correction

Red-eye Correction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Night

The Casio EX-Z800'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 2 seconds at ISO 100. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Anti Shake

The Casio EX-Z800 has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/5th / 27mm antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg
1/3rd / 108mm antishake2.jpg antishake2a.jpg

Single Frame SR Zoom

Single Frame SR Zoom electronically extends the Z800's zoom range by a factor of 1.5x to 6x.

Off

On

sr_zoom_off.jpg sr_zoom_on.jpg

Single Frame SR Quality

Single Frame SR Quality promises to deliver images with improved clarity and resolution.

Off

On

sr_quality_off.jpg sr_quality_on.jpg

Lighting

You can use this setting to optimize the balance between bright areas and dark areas when shooting images. You can choose from three settings, Off, On and Extra.

Off

On

lighting_off.jpg lighting_on.jpg
   

Extra

 
lighting_extra.jpg  

Landscape Mode

The Landscape mode makes colours more vivid, filters haze, and performs other processing that enhances the beauty of natural scenery. You can choose from two settings, Vivid Landscape or Mist Removal, with Off, +1 (Weak) and +2 (Strong) strengths available for both. Here is an example of the Vivid Landscape setting.

Off

Vivid Landscape +2

landscape_off.jpg landscape_on.jpg

Make-Up Mode

The Make-up mode smoothes the skin texture of the subject and softens facial shadows caused by harsh sunlight for better looking portraits. You can set one of 13 levels in the range of 0 (no correction) to +12 (maximum correction).

Off

Standard +6

makeup_off.jpg makeup_on.jpg