Casio EX-ZR10 Review

February 11, 2011 | Gavin Stoker | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Casio EX-ZR10 is a new travel-zoom camera offering a 7x wide-angle zoom lens with a focal length of 28-196mm and CCD-shift image stabilization mechanism. The 12 megapixel ZR10 also offers a back-illuminated CMOS sensor, full 1080p HD movies, HDR function which combines multiple frames, a fully automatic Premium Auto mode for beginners, and a Slide Panorama option for creating 360° panoramic images. Available in silver, grey and purple, the Casio EX-ZR10 retails at £249 in the UK and $249.99 in the USA.

Ease of Use

Yet another contender for your next 'travel zoom' camera, the 12.1 megapixel Casio EX-ZR10, announced at last September's Photokina and not to be confused with the recently launched EX-ZR100 or EX-ZS10 (or even Pentax's Optio RZ10), is one of its more sophisticated looking Exilim compacts to date. It has a classy feel that the matt black finish of our review sample accentuates, and is one of the first fruits of the company's attempt to market the Exilim range under the umbrella term 'Amazing Gear'.

In fact the ZR10 resembles a Sony Cyber-shot in size and form, specifically the previously reviewed WX5, complete with its top mounted stereo microphone. And in that respect it's slightly more conventional in its rectangular design than other Exilims of recent months, which is no bad thing. As held in the palm, build quality feels high and the blend of metal and plastic reassures that the camera is rugged enough to feel like it would withstand the odd knock despite its fairly diminutive, pocket-sized proportions. It's not a great deal wider than the average business card. Official dimensions are 102x69x27mm and it weighs a manageable 176g with battery and card inserted, so another candidate for whipping out from the trouser pocket or handbag when that photo opportunity presents itself.

Once again though there's nothing at all resembling a handgrip on this model. Your forefingers slide about on the smooth surface of the faceplate with only the raised 'Exilim' logo providing scant purchase. At the back there's similarly nothing, the thumb of the right hand seeking to squeeze into a small vacant space between the LCD screen and a dedicated video record button top right, and avoid pressing on it accidentally. Another gripe is that Casio is up to its usual tricks with the EX-ZR10's quick reference manual, printing instructions in three languages on each page which slows down the ability to find what you require in a hurry.

So much for what makes this camera, with a UK asking price of £299, similar to what has gone before - what about what makes it different?

Casio EX-ZR10 Casio EX-ZR10
Front Rear

Well, in spite of its model number the ZR10 has seen fit to shoehorn in not a 10x but rather a 7x optical zoom starting out a wide-angle 28mm equivalent into its relatively slender frame. There's the opportunity however to boost this further to an equivalent 14x, thanks to what Casio is terming its 'Multi Frame SR Zoom', which, as it sounds, combines a number of images to produce one clear shot. Also combining several frames in the hope of an even exposure, and in the manner of similar features on Canon (iContrast), Nikon (Active D-Lighting) and Sony models, is the Casio's own high dynamic range (HDR) technology. Found among the Best Shot modes, there are both standard HDR settings and the grandly named HDR Art setting - as they sound the first provides a subtle treatment of blending different exposures, with the latter providing a more weird and wonderful, at times psychedelic-looking effect. Each to their own, but at least the inclusion provides a point of difference and is a change from the now ubiquitous miniature and fisheye lens style effects on rival compacts.

Also of note are a 3-inch, 460k-dot LCD displaying little in the way of lag or ghosting whilst utilising indoors, albeit requiring the usual cupping of hands around the screen when outside, plus Full HD 1920x1080 'movies' capability with side-mounted HDMI output and the option to use the optical zoom when recording. There are three further options to shoot in slow motion - albeit at lower res - and get that walking-through-treacle effect thanks to selectable capture speeds of up to 480 frames per second. Unsurprisingly then most of its BestShot scene modes, whether aimed at video or stills photography, also revolve around action photography.

Indeed Casio is calling this a high speed rather than high zoom model, with the ability to capture 40 frames a second at 10 megapixels, or 10 frames a second at full resolution 12 megapixels - either way pretty impressive specification for those looking to capture some action snaps, and courtesy of the camera incorporating dual image processors as well as a new 'HS' engine, to reduce shot-to-shot time. One advantage of this is that it's possible to shoot the sequence of shots that comprise its HDR images on this Casio handheld, whereas others require tripods to do such settings justice. The Casio's burst of shots is so rapid that there's little chance of image blur creeping in even if your hand does wobble slightly between exposures.

Also improving image quality/sensitivity, which here extends from a manually selectable ISO100 up to ISO3200, is a back-illuminated CMOS sensor, whilst the picture enhancing Premium Auto option exists among the standard Casio Best Shot' scene and subject modes, here - rather mystifyingly - better hidden than on previous iterations of Exilim. Never mind the lack of a traditional mode wheel, they don't even get their own dedicated button.

But if you can find them, you can, er, 'hire' them, and here they include the impressive 360° 'slide' panoramic shooting option we recently saw on the Exilim EX-H20G. Again it's a near match in terms of feature set for the Sony Cyber-shots' own Sweep Panorama function, and in fact betters it in our eyes (if you don't need the WX5's added 3D capability) for the ability to sweep in a full circle.

Casio EX-ZR10 Casio EX-ZR10
Front Top

With the above setting the scene, let's take a tour of the camera, examining more closely its feature set, responsiveness and general handling. From the front, as we've noted, the EX-ZR10 is pretty much a textbook point and shooter, lens mechanism folded and barrel retracted within the body when the camera is switched off. Top right of the lens we get a tiny porthole for the AF assist/self timer lamp, and over at the other side of the lens we find a narrow lozenge shaped window for the built in flash. So much so standard issue.

The camera's top plate is marginally more unusual. Here, as mentioned, we find stereo microphone slots, not unheard of on a point and shoot, but more often than not mono instead. Like Panasonic Lumix point and shoots which feature top-mounted intelligent Auto mode buttons, here the Casio also features its own one-touch auto capture button, a press of which lets users quickly swap between regular auto and premium auto capture. Also on the top plate is a further capture mode button, this time marked with 'HS' indicating high-speed continuous capture. However a press brings up not only this option on screen but the rest of the formerly hidden Best Shot modes, of which there are 17 in total and in addition to the two previously indicated auto modes.

There's no mistaking the other two controls on the top plate; the springy shutter release button, here slightly raised and encircled by a lever for operating the optical zoom, the lip of which juts out to falls beneath the forefinger whilst not extending beyond the rim of the camera body itself, plus a small and marginally recessed on/off button that requires fingertip activation. Give this a press and the EX-ZR10 powers up in just over a second - zoom near instantly shooting outward from the body with the briefest of mechanical whirrs to maximum wideangle setting, whilst the rear screen blinks into life with a cheery bleep a moment later. Whilst still not quite a match for a DSLR, it almost is, which is pretty darn fast for a humble compact.

Press the shutter release button down halfway and after the briefest of pauses the Casio picks out its target, AF point highlighted in green with a cheery bleep of affirmation that the user is free to press down fully and take the shot. Do this and a full resolution JPEG image in single shot mode is committed to memory - here removable SD/SDHC/SDXC media card with modest internal capacity used up mainly by a pre-loaded demo video - in possibly quicker a time than it takes you to blink. The Casio EX-RZ10 is certainly no slouch for those who want to be up and moving on to the next shot without a second thought, and in this respect is very impressive for a sub-£300 compact. Previous settings aren't retained when the camera is switched off though - so say you had HDR Art mode selected before you turned it off, you'd find the camera had switched back to regular Auto mode when you activated it again.

The back of the camera is where the rest of the EX-ZR10's controls fall and it's a fairly minimalist layout, which at least makes for a certainly clarity even if as expected some of the buttons - notably for recording video and accessing menu, are on the small side. What isn't modest is the LCD screen, brazenly takes up four fifths of available real estate in the predictable absence of any optical viewfinder. This means the five attendant buttons plus usual four-way control pad are shunted to the camera's right hand edge, and the thumb of your left hand comes to rest on the screen itself if steadying the model with both hands. That said, fingerprints are hidden reasonably well by the screen's finish.

Casio EX-ZR10 Casio EX-ZR10
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

The button layout at the back is simple as well as minimal. From the top we get the aforementioned one touch video record button, beneath which is a larger but also red button - this time with camera icon - for switching to stills capture mode. Immediately below is the multi directional control pad with familiar set button at its centre for effecting any functional changes. At 12 o'clock on the pad is a means of adjusting the display - with the option of either dropping all information from the screen or adding a live histogram to what's already there with subsequent presses. At six o'clock on the dial is a means of adjusting the camera's flash settings - on, off, red eye reduction, auto - or deleting duff images on the fly, indicated by the familiar trashcan icon.

A press of the central 'set' button when changes aren't otherwise being made also brings up a Canon IXUS a-like tool bar of key settings that runs down the right hand side of the screen. Options here include the ability to adjust image quality /resolution and aspect ratio (with 3:2 and 16:9 being the alternatives), as well as control exposure (+/- 2EV), and, like the top plate 'HS' control, dip into the camera's BestShot settings. All pretty intuitive and familiar stuff.

Bottom right of the camera back, right near the base, are the last pair of controls - for playback/review and menu. A press of 'menu' when in playback and the user is presented with the usual slideshow and image trimming options, plus, via the 'dynamic photo' option, add little animated drop-ins to your stills, like fluttering doves bursting out of a cone. All a bit unusual. In capture mode a press of menu brings up the usual ability to turn the AF assist light on or off, activate the digital zoom or call up a nine zone compositional grid, as well as make more detailed quality adjustments and dip into the set up folder. There are three folders in all to choose from, and all are logically presented with legible white type on black background, overlaying whatever image is in front of the lens at that time.

With both sides of the camera featuring alternative lugs for attaching a wrist strap, and the right hand side (if viewed from the back) a plastic flap protecting adjacent ports for combined AV/USB and separate HDMI output, the ZR10 is pretty much as you'd expect to find it. That includes a shared compartment for the battery and removable SD media at the base and a slightly off-centre screw thread for attaching a tripod, next to which is, rather more unusually, the built-in speaker.

So what of the Casio's image quality? Are its quick on the draw qualities conducive to high art, or are we left feeling that it's all a bit of a flash in the pan (or cam), and that a little less haste may in fact be called for?

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4Mb.

Image wise the EX-ZR10 is a bit of mixed bag. Pictures have an overly digital 'processed' look on occasion, results from the 'extended' zoom merely resemble the softened low res offerings that come from use of a digital zoom, whilst familiar bugbears like a loss of definition towards the corners of the frame when shooting at maximum wide angle, and pixel fringing between areas of contrast, rear their head.

Unfortunately this means that there's a lack of consistency there that, whilst fine for occasional snaps, doesn't make the ZR10 the most able tool if all you want to do is point and shoot and let the camera do its best - or are going on that onetime-only trip of a lifetime.

Colours, this being a Casio, do however look particularly vibrant, punchy and lush if there's plenty of available light, so on that score at least there's a chance to make your friends and neighbours jealous on your return from tropical climes.

In terms of low light ISO performance, the ZR10 is actually pretty impressive. Even at ISO1600 we're not getting much in the way of serious noise, images looking as clean - and in fact clearer - when viewed full size as some rivals manage at ISO800. Even if detail has inevitably softened further when we move up the scale to ISO3200, we'd argue this setting is still perfectly usable, as hopefully our test samples indicate.

So, to sum up, better than expected in low light and the HDR effects are fun, but disappointing loss of focus toward the edges when shooting at maximum wideangle.


There are 6 ISO settings available on the Casio EX-ZR10. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso200.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso800.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso3200.jpg


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

Chromatic Aberrations

The Casio EX-ZR10 kept chromatic aberrations largely under control 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-ZR10 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 2cms 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-ZR10 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 (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (196mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (196mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. Both the Auto setting or the Red Eye Reduction option 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


The Casio EX-ZR10'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 1/60 second at ISO 250. 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


The Casio EX-ZR10 allows you to capture 360 degree panoramas.


Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Casio EX-ZR10 camera, which were all taken using the 12 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 1920 x 1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 25 second movie is 47.6Mb in size.

Product Images

Casio EX-ZR10

Front of the Camera

Casio EX-ZR10

Isometric View

Casio EX-ZR10

Isometric View

Casio EX-ZR10

Rear of the Camera

Casio EX-ZR10

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Casio EX-ZR10

Top of the Camera

Casio EX-ZR10

Bottom of the Camera

Casio EX-ZR10

Side of the Camera

Casio EX-ZR10

Side of the Camera


Casio EX-ZR10

Memory Card Slot

Casio EX-ZR10
Battery Compartment


Whilst lacking the GPS facility of the Exilim EX-H20G to make it a fully rounded travel zoom, the EX-ZR10 makes up for it by being quick off the mark and featuring a more sophisticated and simply less quirky body design.

While outwardly looking the part though, its performance when it comes to image making lacks consistency and so it may not make for the most reliable traveling partner for the touristic photographer. In this respect its near look-a-like the Sony WX5 would prove a safer overall bet, we feel.

That said, there were unique features of the ZR10 that we came to admire, such as its HDR Art settings, even if they do resemble the 'gone crazy with the vision mixer' excesses of a 1980s pop video at their worst, plus the expansive 360° panorama function that any traveler is going to find useful.

Our biggest disappointment then was probably the noticeable loss of focus at wide-angle settings - a setting that most of us are going to be wanting to use that setting if taking in new sights. This is in part made up for a better than expected showing at higher ISOs and the visual gizmos under its bonnet.

Whilst not perfect then nor an enthusiast's dream by any means, the Casio EX-ZR10 looks good, is priced reasonably fairly, is simple to use and moreover fun.

4 stars

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

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Casio EX-ZR10 from around the web. »

The 12.1-megapixel Casio Exilim EX-ZR10 comes in at around £250. These days, it's possible to pick up a higher-resolution camera for much less, but it isn't always about the pixels. The ZR10 has a longer-than-average zoom and offers a number of eye-catching features, including fast continuous-shooting modes and 1080p high-definition video capture. Could it be the compact camera that serious photography enthusiasts have been waiting for?
Read the full review »


Number of Effective Pixels 12.10 million
Image Sensor   1/2.3-inch High-sensitivity CMOS sensor (back-illuminated type)
Total Pixels 12.75 million
File Format Still Images JPEG (Exif Version 2.3, DCF 2.0 standard, DPOF compliant)
Movies MOV format, H.264/AVC, IMA-ADPCM (stereo)
Built-in Flash Memory (Image Area)*1 62.1 MB
Recording Media SDXC Memory Card, 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), 10 M (3648 x 2736) 8M (3264 x 2448), 5M (2560 x 1920), 3M (2048 x 1536), VGA (640 x 480)
Hi-speed Movies (HS) HS 480 (224 x 160) 480fps / HS 240 (432 x 320) 240fps / HS 30-240 (432 x 320), 30 - 240 fps switchable
FHD Movies 1920 x 1080 (30 fps)
STD Movies 640 x 480 (30 fps)
High-speed Continuous Shutter Selectable HS CS Speed: 40 fps, 30 fps, 15 fps, 10 fps, 5 fps, 3 fps (Maximum continuous shutter shots at 10 MP (3.648 x 2.736 pixels): 30 shots, further selectable: 20; 10; 5 shots per sec.)
Recording Capacity (With Still Image at Maximum Image Size Setting) Still Images (JPEG) Built-in Memory Approx. 8 shots (Fine) / 15 shots (Normal)
SD Memory Card 1GB*2 Approx. 122 shots (Fine) / 234 shots (Normal)
Movies Recording Time Maximum Recording Time per File: 29 min.
SD Memory Card 1GB*2 Approx. 8 min. 17 sec. (FHD) / Approx. 5 min. 3 sec. (HS480fps) / Approx. 3 min. 59 sec. (HS240fps) / Approx. 29 min. 13 sec. (HS30 to 240fps)
Operating Speed Start-up Time*4 Approx. 2.0 seconds
Shutter Release Time Lag*3*4*5 Approx. 0.024 second
Image Playback*3 Approx. 0.1 second/image
Shot to Shot Time*2*5 Approx. 0.37 second intervals
Auto Focus Speed Approx. 0.15 second (At full wide angle; Auto Focus Speed measure conditions defined by CASIO)
Continuous Shooting Speed High-speed CS*2 (3fps) Approx. 3 frames per second (With 10MP, shutter speed 1/320 sec. and normal image quality).
High-speed CS*2 (10fps) Approx. 10 frames per second (With 10MP, shutter speed 1/320 sec. and normal image quality).
High-speed CS*2 (40fps) Approx. 40 frames per second (With 10MP, shutter speed 1/320 sec. and normal image quality).
F High-speed CS*2 (3fps) Approx. 3 frames per second (With 12MP, shutter speed 1/320 sec. and normal image quality).
F High-speed CS*2 (10fps) Approx. 10 frames per second (With 12MP, shutter speed 1/320 sec. and normal image quality).
Lens (Still Image) Construction 8 lenses in 7 groups, including aspherical lens
F-number F3.0 (W) to F5.9 (T)
Focal Length   f = 5.0 to 35.0mm
35mm Film Equivalent Approx. 28 to 196mm
Zoom 7x optical, 10.5x Single SR Zoom, 14x Multi SR Zoom (10MP), 4x digital, max. 111.6x digital (In combination with HD Zoom (VGA size)
Focusing Focus Type Contrast Detection Auto Focus
Focus Modes Auto Focus, Macro Mode, Infinity Mode, Manual Focus
AF Area Intelligent, Spot or Tracking
AF Assist Lamp Yes
Focus Range*6 (From Lens Surface) Auto Focus Approx. 2cm to Infinity (W)
Macro Approx. 2cm to 50cm (W) (First step from widest setting)
Infinity Mode Infinity (W)
Manual Focus Approx. 2cm 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   CMOS electronic shutter, mechanical shutter
Shutter Speed*7 Auto 1 to 1/2000 second
Night Scene (BEST SHOT) 4 to 1/2000 second
Aperture*6 F3.0 (W) to F8.8 (W)*8
White Balance Auto WB, Daylight, Overcast, Shade, Day White FL, Daylight FL, Tungsten, Manual WB
Sensitivity (SOS/REI)*9 Still Images Auto, ISO100, ISO200, ISO400, ISO800, ISO1600, ISO3200
Movies Auto
Other Recording Functions Image Stabilization Mechanism CMOS-shift image stabilization
Prerecord Continuous Shutter Yes
BEST SHOT   Yes, 23 scenes and 17 HIGH SPEED BEST SHOT scenes
High-speed Continuous Shutter BS*10 Children, Pet, Sports
High-speed Movie BS Children, Pet, Sports
High-speed Night Scene and Portrait*10 Yes
High-speed Night Scene*10 Yes
Slide Panorama Yes, (360°)
Multi SR Zoom*10 Yes
Single SR Zoom Yes
HDR function*10 Yes
HDR Art function*10 Yes
High-speed Anti Shake*10 Yes
High-speed Best Selection*10 Yes
Lag Correction*10 Yes
Pre Record Movie Yes
Dynamic Photo Yes
YouTube™ Capture Mode Yes
Face Detection Yes
Self-timer 10 seconds, 2 seconds, Triple Self-timer
Built-in Flash Flash Modes Auto, Flash Off, Flash On, Red Eye Reduction
Flash Range*6 Approx. 0.3 to 3.7m (W), approx. 0.6 to 1.9m (T)
Flash Charge Time Approx. max. 5 seconds
Monitor Screen 3.0-inch TFT color LCD (Super Clear LCD), 460,800 dots (960 x 480)
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, daylight saving time
Input/Output Terminals   USB/AV port (PAL/NTSC), HDMI™ output (Mini) (1080/50i output is not supported for PAL output using an HDMI™).
USB Hi-Speed USB
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Monaural
Power Requirements Rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP-110; 1200mAh) x 1
Battery Life (CIPA Standards) Number of Shots*2*12 (CIPA Standards) Approx. 290 shots
Continuous Playback*2*12*13 (Still Images) Approx. 3 hrs 45 min.
Continuous Movie Recording Time*2*12*14 Approx. 1 hrs. 55 min. (Hi-speed Movie)
Continuous Movie Recording Time*2*12*14*15 Approx. 1 hrs 30 min. (FHD Movie)
Dimensions (CIPA Standards) 101.9 (W) x 58.7 (H) x 27.4 (D) mm, 22.6mm thick excluding protruding parts
Weight (CIPA Standards) Approx. 176 g (including battery and memory card*3)
Approx. 149 g (excluding battery and memory card)
Bundled Accessories Rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP-110), lithium ion battery charger (BC-110L), AC power cord, USB cable, AV cable, strap, basic reference, CD-ROM

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