Casio EX-Z450 Review

November 16, 2009 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Casio EX-Z450 is a 12 megapixel compact camera with a 4x wide-angle zoom lens offering a focal length of 24-112mm, complete with CCD-shift image stabilization to help combat camera shake. The EXZ450 boasts a battery life of 550 shots, plus a large 3.0-inch LCD monitor and the ability to record 720p 1280x720 HD movies. The new Intelligent AF function automatically detects the photo subject even if it is not a human face and determines the focus and exposure area accordingly. The EX-Z450's Dynamic Photo feature cuts out images of a moving subject that have been photographed and combines them with a different still image that forms the background. Available in silver, champagne, brown, pink and red, the Casio EX-Z450 retails at £199 in the UK and $199.99 in the USA.

Ease of Use

The Casio EX-Z450 is an extremely well-made, fairly compact digital camera, with a shiny silver metal body and excellent overall finish. It's small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, and for storage inside either a trouser or shirt pocket or handbag. Casio boasts that the EX-Z450 can take 550 shots on a single battery charge - we managed just over 475 shots and the usual amount of image reviewing before the battery icon began to flash.

The Casio Z450 features a 4x optical zoom lens that's equivalent to a focal range of 24-120mm in 35mm terms. The 24mm wide-angle focal length provides an entirely new outlook that can only increase your creativity. You won't want to go back to a "standard" 35mm zoom after using the 24mm lens on the EX-Z450. The 4x zoom lens provides quite a versatile focal range, especially as it is coupled with Casio's effective anti-shake system, which helps to ensure that the majority of photos taken in good light are sharp. The Z450's lens is fast at the wide-angle setting, with a maximum aperture of f/2.6, but not so good at the 112mm telephoto setting, with a maximum aperture of f/5.8.

As with almost every Casio camera that we've reviewed before, the EX-Z450 is one of the better models around in terms of build quality, despite being made predominantly of plastic. The overall finish is excellent, looking and feeling much more expensive than its price-tag might suggest. There's no hand-grip on the front and only s tiny thumb-grip area on the rear, which makes it difficult o get a good grip on the camera. The plastic tripod mount is nearly in the centre in the bottom of the camera, but changing cards or batteries is not possible while the Z450 is mounted on a tripod because the compartment door hinge is too close to the tripod socket.

The Casio EX-Z450 has relatively few external controls, just 12 in total, which reflects the fact that this is a simple camera in functionality terms, with very limited photographic possibilities on offer. All the controls are clearly labeled using industry-standard symbols and terminology, with just a couple of Casio-specific buttons that require a quick read of the manual.

Casio EX-Z450 Casio EX-Z450
Front Rear

Located on top of the EX-Z450 are the On / Off button and the tactile Zoom Lever and Shutter button. There is also a button above the LCD screen offering two special modes. 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. 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).

On the bottom of the EX-450 are the tripod mount and lockable battery compartment, which also houses the SD memory card slot. On the rear is the large 3 inch LCD screen, with a number of controls to the right, including a traditional round navigation pad. You can directly access the various flash options by clicking down on the navigation pad, whilst up is used to toggle between the various Display modes (no information, shooting info, shooting info with histogram). The Set button in the middle performs two main tasks - it selects menu options, and also accesses the EX-Z450's Control Panel.

This is a vertical list of options displayed on the right of the LCD screen, which provides quick access to some of the camera's more important options, including image size, ISO speed, auto-focus area, and continuous shooting. You can also pick and choose the settings that you want to show in the Control Panel from 14 different options. This system is a good compromise given the size of the camera's LCD screen and therefore the limited space for external controls. It takes a little while to get used to the presence of this on-screen list, but you can toggle it off using the Display mode if it proves too distracting.

Directly above the navigation pad are the self-explanatory Playback and Camera buttons, which switch between the two modes. Above these buttons is the very welcome inclusion of a dedicated Movie button, which makes it quick and easy to shoot a movie without missing the start of the action. The EX-Z450 can record HD movies at 1280x720 pixels at 24 fps, standard quality movies at 640x480 pixels at 30fps, and VGA movies at 320x240 at 15 fps, all in the AVI format.

Casio EX-Z450 Casio EX-Z450
Front Top

There are some limitations to the EX-Z450's movie mode. The AVI format choice results in some massive file sizes that quickly fill up your memory cards, and the length of a movie is bizarrely limited to only 10 minutes. The sound quality is not that great, with the usual background noise that accompanies movies shot with cameras that only have mono sound. Even worse, you can't use the optical zoom at all during movie recording (although there is a digital zoom setting available).

The Menu and Best Shot buttons are positioned below the navigation pad. The menu system on the Casio EX-Z450 is perfectly straight-forward to use. Quite a lot of the camera's main settings are accessed elsewhere, so the main menu system isn't actually that complicated. A row of 3 icons along the top of the LCD screen represent the Record, Quality and Set Up sub-menus, with most of the options being the kind that you set once and then forget about. Due to the large and bright LCD screen, the various options are easy to access and use, especially as only 6 are shown onscreen at one time.

Accessed via the Best Shot button, the Casio EX-Z450 offers Auto and a comprehensive range of 38 different scene modes aimed at the user who just wants to point and shoot, making this camera particularly well-suited to the beginner, although picking the most appropriate one can get confusing! BS Auto mode will do its best to pick the most appropriate mode for the current scene, although it doesn't choose from all 38 modes.

There is a single port on the right side of the Casio EX-Z450 (when viewed from the back) which accepts both the USB interface cable required to connect the camera to a printer or computer, and the AV cable. There are no controls on the left side of the EX-Z450. Overall the camera body feels very well-designed and not at all cluttered, despite the presence of the large 3 inch LCD, which has a wide viewing angle from left to right, average resolution of 230,000 dots, and is visible in most conditions. There is no optical viewfinder on this model.

If you have never used a digital camera before, or you're upgrading from a more basic model, reading the comprehensive and fairly easy-to-follow manual before you start is a good idea. Unfortunately Casio have chosen to cut costs and only supply the full manual as a PDF on a CD, rather than in printed format. Not much use if you're taking pictures and need to find out what a particular option does.

Casio EX-Z450 Casio EX-Z450
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

The start-up time from turning the Casio EX-Z450 on to being ready to take a photo is fairly quick at around 2 seconds, and it takes about the same time to zoom from the widest focal length to the longest. Focusing is very quick in good light and the camera happily achieves focus indoors or in low-light situations, helped by the green focus-assist lamp. It takes about 0.5 second to store an image, allowing you to keep shooting as they are being recorded onto the memory card - there is a very quick LCD blackout between each image.

In Continuous mode the camera takes a respectable 2.8 frames per second at the highest image quality, which is fast for this class of camera, with the shooting rate maintained until your memory card is full. There are also two High-speed Continuous Shutter modes, which shoot at 10 frames per second at 1280 x 960 pixels (up to 20 shots) or 4 frames per second at 1600 x 1200 pixels (up to 8 shots), and a Flash Continuous Shutter mode, which takes 3 frames per second at 1600 x 1200 pixels (up to 3 shots).

Once you have captured a photo, the Casio EX-Z450 has a good range of options when it comes to playing, reviewing and managing your images. You can instantly scroll through the images that you have taken, view up to 25 thumbnails onscreen at once, and zoom in and out up to 8x magnification. You can view slideshows with different effects and interval settings and set the print order and the transfer order, and also protect, rotate, resize, trim, and copy an image.

For editing your images and movies in-camera, options include Dynamic Photo which extracts images of a moving subject and combines them with a still image to form a new background, Movie Editing for trimming your movies, Lighting, Red Eye correction, White Balance, Brightness, Keystone and Color Correction. The Display button toggles detailed settings information about each picture on and off, such as the ISO rating and white balance, and there is a small histogram available during shooting and playback which is helpful in evaluating the exposure. A third press of the Display button shows just the image with no information displayed.

In summary the Casio EX-Z450 is a well-built and compact point-and-shoot digital camera with the main attractions being the large LCD screen, HD movies and wide-angle zoom lens.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12.1 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

The Casio EX-Z450 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, 12.1 megapixel sensor recorded noise-free images at ISO 64-200, but there's 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-Z450 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 little red-eye and adequate overall exposure, although the red-eye redution mode is very aggressive. 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, allowing you to focus as close as 10cms away from the subject. The images were a little soft straight out of the Casio EX-Z450 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.


There are 7 ISO settings available on the Casio EX-Z450. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso64.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)



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-Z450's 4x zoom lens provides a focal length of 24-112mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.



focal_range_1.jpg focal_range_2.jpg

File Quality

The Casio EX-Z450 has 3 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.

10M Fine (4.96Mb) (100% Crop) 10M Normal (2.61Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg
10M Economy (1.80Mb) (100% Crop)  

Chromatic Aberrations

The Casio EX-Z450 handled chromatic aberrations quite well during the review, with some 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


The Casio EX-Z450 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 10cms 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


The flash settings on the Casio EX-Z450 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 (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (112mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (112mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. As you can see, the Auto setting caused a tiny amount of red-eye, which the Red Eye Reduction option removed at the expense of fine detail and colour fidelity.

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


The Casio EX-Z450'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 4 seconds at ISO 64. 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-Z450 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)

1/4th / 24mm antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg
1/2th / 112mm antishake2.jpg antishake2a.jpg

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Casio EX-Z450 camera, which were all taken using the 12.1 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1280 x 720 pixels at 24 frames per second. Please note that this 17 second movie is 49Mb in size.

Product Images

Casio EX-Z450

Front of the Camera

Casio EX-Z450

Front of the Camera / Turned On

Casio EX-Z450

Isometric View

Casio EX-Z450

Isometric View

Casio EX-Z450

Rear of the Camera

Casio EX-Z450

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Casio EX-Z450

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Casio EX-Z450

BRear of the Camera / Main Menu

Casio EX-Z450

Rear of the Camera / Set Menu


Casio EX-Z450

Top of the Camera

Casio EX-Z450
Bottom of the Camera
Casio EX-Z450
Side of the Camera
Casio EX-Z450
Side of the Camera
Casio EX-Z450
Front of the Camera
Casio EX-Z450
Front of the Camera
Casio EX-Z450
Memory Card Slot
Casio EX-Z450
Battery Compartment


The Casio EX-Z450 is a likeable enough compact camera, offering a good package of compact dimensions, versatile wide-angle lens, large LCD screen and HD movies, but ultimately it fails to excite.

The 4x, 24-112mm lens is versatile enough, covering everything from wide-angle landscapes to head and shoulder portraits. We have reviewed other comparably sized compacts with bigger ranges though, such as Panasonic's DMC-ZX1 with its 8x zoom. The LCD screen is appealingly large, but suffers from a rather average resolution of 230,000 dots, while the HD movie mode is hamstrung by a 10 minute time limit, large file sizes, average sound quality and most importantly the inability to use the optical zoom lens during filming.

Image quality is only satisfactory, with noise and loss of detail at relatively slow ISO speeds, limited maximum shutter speed of 4 seconds, and a disappointing macro mode. This isn't the camera to buy if you're looking for the best ever image quality, but the EX-Z450 does produce well-exposed and accurate photos that will please the majority of its target audience.

Which leaves us with a well-built, fairly compact and stylish little camera that doesn't offer enough features or image quality to stand out from the crowd. The Casio EX-Z450 is only really worth a look if you can find it at a discounted price.

3.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3.5
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 3.5
Value for money 3.5


Number of Effective Pixels 12.1 million
Image Sensor   1/2.3-inch square pixel CCD
Total Pixels 12.39 million
File Format Still Images JPEG (Exif Version 2.2, DCF 1.0 standard, DPOF compliant)
Movies AVI format, Motion JPEG, IMA-ADPCM (monaural)
Audio (Voice Recording) WAV format (monaural)
Internal Memory 35.7 MB
Recording Media SDHC Memory Card, SD Memory Card
Number of Recorded Pixels Still Images 12M (4000 x 3000), 3:2 (4000 x 2656), 16:9 (4000 x 2240), 8M (3264 x 2448), 5M (2560 x 1920), 3M (2048 x 1536), VGA (640 x 480)
STD / LP Movies 640 x 480 (30 fps) / 320 x 240 (15 fps)
HD Movies 1280 x 720 (24 fps)
YouTube™ 640 x 480
Recording Capacity (Max. Resolution) Still Images (JPEG) Built-in Memory Approx. 4 shots (Fine) / ca. 8 shots (Normal) / ca. 13 shots (Economy)
SD Memory Card 1GB *1 Approx. 122 shots (Fine) / Approx. 234 shots (Normal) / Approx. 350 shots (Economy)
Movies Recording Time Max. recording time per file: 10 minute
Built-in Memory Approx. 11 second (HD)
SD Memory Card 1GB *1 Approx. 5 min. 27 second (HD)
Operating Speed Start-up Time *2*3 Approx. 1.6 second
Shutter Release Time Lag *2*3 Approx. 0.009 second
Playback Speed Approx. 0.1 second / image
Shooting Interval *3*4 Approx. 3.1 second intervals
Normal Speed Continuous Shooting *4 Approx. 2.8 second
4fps Continuous Shooting *5 Approx. 4 frames per second
10fps Continuous Shooting *6 Approx. 10 frames per second
Flash Continuous Shooting Speed *7 Approx. 3 frames per second
Lens / Focal Length Construction 7 lenses in 6 groups, including aspherical lens
F-number F2.6 (W) to F5.8 (T)
Focal Length   f= 4,9 to 19,6 mm
35mm Film Equivalent Approx. 28 to 112mm
Zoom Ratio Optical Zoom 4X
Digital Zoom 4X (16X in combination with optical zoom)
HD Zoom Max. 25X @VGA
Focusing Focus Type Contrast Detection Auto Focus
Focus Modes Auto Focus, Macro Mode, Pan Focus, Infinity Mode, Manual Focus
AF Area Intelligent, Spot, Multi or Tracking
AF Assist Lamp Yes
Focus Range *8 (From Lens Surface) Auto Focus Approx. 10cm to Infinity (W)
Macro Approx. 10cm to 50cm (W)
Infinity Mode Infinity (W)
Manual Focus Approx. 10cm to Infinity (W)
Exposure Exposure Metering Multi-pattern, center weighted, spot by imaging element
Exposure Control Program AE
Exposure Compensation -2EV to +2EV (in 1/3EV steps)
Shutter Type   CCD electronic shutter, mechanical shutter
Shutter Speed *9 Auto 1/2 to 1/1000 sec.
Night Scene (BEST SHOT) 4 to 1/1000 sec.
Aperture *10 F2.6 (W) to F7.0 (W) *11, auto
White Balance (WB) Auto WB, Daylight, Overcast, Shade, Day White FL, Daylight FL, Tungsten, Manual WB
Sensitivity (SOS/REI) *12 Still Images Auto, ISO64, ISO100, ISO200, ISO400, ISO800, ISO1600, ISO3200
Movies Auto
Other Recording Functions Image Stabilization Mechanism CCD-shift image stabilization
Landscape Mode Yes
Make-up Mode Yes
Lighting Yes
Handheld Night Scene Yes
BEST SHOT   Yes: 39 scenes
Dynamic Photo Yes
Multi-motion Image *13 Yes
Pre Record Movie Yes
YouTube™ Capture Mode Yes
Voice Recording Yes
Face Detection Yes
Auto Shutter Yes
Self-timer 10 seconds, 2 seconds, Triple Self-timer
Built-in Flash Flash Modes Auto, Flash Off, Flash On, Soft Flash, Red Eye Reduction
Flash Range Normal: Approx. 0.1 to 4.5m (W), approx. 0.5 to 2.0m (T)
Continuous Shooting: Approx. 0.4 to 2.2m (W), approx. 0.5 to 1.0m (T)
Flash Charge Time Max. approx. 4 sec.
Monitor Screen 3.0-inch TFT color LCD (Super Clear LCD), 230,400 dots (960 x 240)
Timekeeping Functions Date and Time Recorded with image data
On-image Time Stamp Function Yes
Auto Calendar To 2049
World Time 162 cities in 32 time zones, city name, date, time, summer time
Input/Output Terminals   USB/AV port (PAL/NTSC)
USB Hi-Speed USB compatible
Microphone Monaural
Speaker Monaural
Power Requirements Rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP-40) x 1
Battery Life Number of Shots (CIPA) *14 Approx. 550 shots
Continuous Playback (Still Images) *15 Approx. 9hrs.
Continuous Movie Recording Time *16 Approx. 3 hrs. 40 min.
Continuous Voice Recording Time *17 Approx. 13 hrs.
Dimensions (Excluding Projections) 96.9 (W) x 57.6 (H) x 21.4 (D)mm
Thinnest part: 19.5mm
Weight (Excluding Battery and Accessories) Approx. 130g
Bundled Accessories Rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP-40), lithium ion battery charger (BC-31L), AC power cord, USB cable, AV cable, strap, CD-ROM
*1. When using Panasonic (Matsushita) Pro High Speed 1GB SD Memory Card.
*2. When using built-in memory.
*3. With built-in flash off.
*4. When set at maximum image size and normal image quality.
*5. Max. recording capacity: 8 images, shutter speed 1/250 sec., image is fixed at 2M (1600x1200) pixels and normal image quality.
*6. Max. recording capacity: 20 images, shutter speed 1/250 sec., image is fixed at 1.2M(1280x960) pixels and normal image quality.
*7 Max. recording capacity: 3 images, shutter speed 1/250 sec., image is fixed at 2M (1600x1200) pixels and normal image quality.
*8 Range is affected by optical zoom.
*9. Shutter speed range may be different depending on the BEST SHOT scene.
*10. Using optical zoom causes the aperture to change.
*11. F7.0 is the aperture when an ND filter is being used.
*12. SOS: Standard Output Sensitivity. REI: Recommended Exposure Index.
*13 Image size 2048 x 1536 pixels.
*14. Auto Mode, standard brightness monitor setting.
*15 Continuous playback conditions: Temperature: 23°C (73°F), scroll one image about every 10 seconds
*16. Continuous movie recording without zoom.
*17. Voice recording times are based on continuous recording.

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