Casio Exilim EX-V7
- 7x optical zoom, Manual features
- Some image quality issues, Burst mode is a little slow
Casio's Exilim EX-V7 is a decent, but not outstanding compact camera. It comes with a large 7x optical zoom and manual features, both of which are great inclusions, but its image quality does have some issues.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
In a sea of 7Mp cameras with 3x optical zoom lenses, companies strive to make their products stand out from the crowd. In the case of the Exilim EX-V7, Casio has thrown in 7x optical zoom lens, allowing for a little extra creativity when shooting. Aside from that, this model is fairly standard, capturing some good, but not outstanding pictures and offering a few manual features for more experienced users.
One thing you'll notice about this model is that despite having a larger than normal zoom range, the lens actually doesn't protrude at all from the camera's body, which is a little unusual. Instead, it is concealed behind a sliding panel, which also doubles as an on and off button. This design is becoming more prevalent; it's a good solution to help protect the lens and it's an intuitive way to switch the camera on.
However, we aren't all together impressed with how the unit looks. Compared to other Casio cameras, which tend to be suave and stylish, this model looks a little chunky. It is far from unattractive, but fashion conscious buyers will most likely want to look elsewhere.
Of course, design always takes a back seat to image quality when it comes to cameras, and while the EX-V7 does have a 7.2Mp sensor and captured some decent photographs, there were noticeable errors in a number of areas. As usual, we took a host of test shots, in addition to using our Imatest software, to help gauge the quality of the camera's images.
In our sharpness test, the EX-V7 scored 1466, which is roughly within our expectations for a sensor of this resolution, but perhaps a little towards the low side. However, Imatest also picked up some under-sharpening, with a rating of 16%. In general, our test shots were clear, although they had a somewhat soft look to them, which may displease some users. At small and medium magnifications, these pictures should make crisp prints, but anyone looking to make sizeable enlargements should look elsewhere.
There was some chromatic aberration evident with strong haloing in areas of high contrast, particularly towards the edges of the frame. Imatest's score of 0.141% reflects this, and puts the EX-V7 a little behind the competition in this regard, most of which score 0.08-0.12%.
Colour accuracy was also about middle-of-the-road, with this unit achieving a result of 10.1. Colours tended to be slightly under-saturated and bright areas such as blocks of yellow exhibited a little colour bleeding. However, with a bit of exposure adjustment, we corrected these issues somewhat.
Noise performance was generally quite good. At ISO 100, our shots exhibited some very minor speckling, but it wasn't really visible until we viewed the picture at very close range. At normal magnification, it won't be an issue. Imatest gave the EX-V7 a score of 0.56% for noise, which is a good result and in line with our test shots. At higher sensitivities, the noise gradually became more prevalent, but everything up to ISO 400 is usable for standard 4x6in prints.
The features list is fairly standard, including ISO sensitivities up to 800, and both custom and preset white balance modes. There are aperture and shutter priority modes as well as full manual shooting, but they are a little more limited than you'll find on an SLR or more robust advanced camera; for example, only three aperture settings are available. Advanced photographers may find this unit a little lacking, but those looking to add a few more options to their photography experience will find this model is well suited to the task.
In our speed tests, the EX-V7 did quite well. It exhibited 0.08 seconds of shutter lag and a very speedy 1.2 seconds from power up until first shot. Shot-to-shot time was also quite quick at 1.6 seconds. The burst mode, however, was a little disappointing, capturing just shy of two frames per second. This can be cranked up using the high speed mode, but that significantly reduces the resolution at which the pictures are captured, and really isn't useful in most circumstances.
Also of note, like many other Casio cameras, the EX-V7 connects to your PC via a dock, rather than using a standard USB cable. We find this to be a big pain as there is a lot of setup involved to simply transfer your photos, and it is particularly problematic if you ever want to use the camera away from your regular PC. It does, however, make charging easy.
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