Casio Exilim EX-Z1200
- Very sharp pictures, Lots of features, Sturdy design
- Some exposure issues
If you subscribe to the theory that more megapixels is better, then Casio's Exilim EX-Z1200 will be right up your alley. Sporting a 12.1 megapixel sensor, it captures extremely crisp pictures and offers a range of manual shooting options combined with a sturdy design, making it a strong all around choice.
Price$ 649.00 (AUD)
For some companies, it appears that 10 megapixels just isn't enough. In a field where specifications mean everything, companies are constantly striving to outdo each other with higher resolutions, faster response times and more features. So with this in mind, Casio's latest advanced camera, the Exilim EX-Z1200 was a logical progression. Sporting a huge 12.1 megapixel sensor, it captures some of the highest resolution still images you'll get from a compact digital camera. It does exhibit some minor image quality issues in other areas, but for the most part the pictures are impressive. It also sports a stylish design and robust feature set, making it a great all purpose camera for those that regularly make large size prints.
As this was the first 12.1 megapixel sensor we've had the chance to test, we were particularly looking forward to running it through our Imatest testing software. It didn't disappoint. The sharpness score of 1759 is exactly the kind of score we were anticipating from this unit and indicates its pictures will be perfectly suitable for sizeable enlargements. People who need a relatively compact camera to capture poster sized prints will be satisfied with the Z1200. Our test shots were all clean and crisp, with razor sharp edges.
There was a little chromatic aberration evident, but it mostly just appeared as haloing in areas of high contrast and wasn't too problematic. In most real world shooting situations it won't be apparent. Imatest gave the unit a score of 0.090% here, which is a good result and in line with competing models.
Noise performance was also quite strong, with the Z1200 scoring 0.65% in our noise test at ISO 100. This is a strong result and our test shots were clean and free from speckling. Furthermore, the level of noise scaled quite well with higher sensitivity; even running at ISO 400, our pictures were perfectly fine for small magnification prints.
One area that left us somewhat concerned was colour, but this had a fair bit to do with the camera's fickle auto exposure. Several times when shooting in our indoor test lab, shots came out quite over or under exposed. This wasn't as problematic when shooting outdoors, but it was noticeable elsewhere. That said, the unit's score of 11 for colour isn't a terrible result, although it is a little behind some of the competition. Imatest revealed minor inaccuracy across most of the spectrum, but it was only slightly noticeable in our test shots.
On a different note, the Z1200's feature set is rather impressive. Most new entries into the camera market come sporting optical image stabilisation and face detect, and this model is no exception. The stabilisation is great for keeping your shots sharp when using the zoom and face detect is the ideal mode for people who regularly snap pictures of family and friends. You can even tailor it to give priority to specific faces if you wish, which is a new option we haven't seen before.
There are aperture and shutter priority modes (although aperture priority is limited to f/2.8 and f/8.0) as well as manual mode. White balance presets are on offer along with a custom option and there is a 3.5 frame per second burst mode. ISO sensitivities are a little disappointing however, capping at ISO 400, which is quite low compared to new units from other companies. Also present are a massive 31 scene modes, ranging from portrait through to old photograph and business card. Every preset you can think of is covered here, which is great for less experienced photographers who want to be able to use the camera on auto pilot.
In our speed tests the Z1200 performed quite well. Its 0.06 second shutter lag is quite impressive and the two second power up time and 2.1 seconds between shots should mean you won't miss much of the action.
Aesthetically the unit is constructed of chrome coloured metal and has a stylish look to it that befits a 12 megapixel advanced camera. It feels sturdy and is quite heavy, which may not be ideal for all users, but it does ensure it rests comfortably in your hands. The controls are intuitive and the interface should prove no trouble to most users.
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