02 May, 2012

Casio Exilim EX-ZR200 - Basics

Finally, out of the competitors and features I wanted, I've chosen my next camera. For my third camera, I've decided on the Casio Exilim EX-ZR200. This camera has a unique feature - high speed video recording.


Casio's site


Not a complete list, these are the features that attracted me
  • High speed startup
  • High speed burst mode - 30 fps
  • High speed picture cycling
  • High speed video mode - up to 1000 fps (at reduced resolution)
  • Long zoom - 12.5x
  • Long battery life - 480 shots
  • USB charging
  • Wide angle and macro lens
Compared to other cameras, it was the speed and USB charging that made this one seem more suited for carrying with you everyday and taking candid shots.


For me, it was down to this camera or Canon's S100. In the end, I thought this camera was good enough.
  • Higher image quality
  • Higher ISO - 6400
  • GPS
  • Cheaper
  • Faster
  • Longer battery life
I was also considering Sony's HX10, which was similar to the S100, but slightly cheaper and without a high speed mode, and Sony's WX50, which was cheap; both had a whopping 12800 ISO.


This is supposed to be Casio's flagship camera of 2012, yet it's quite hard to find. Some stores sell other Exilims, but not this one. You'd think the flagship model would be the most available. If you decide on this camera (or any Casio camera really), I advise you to get it at one of the technology shows, at the last one this camera came with a bundle of gifts and another video camera for free!

Other reviews

There aren't many reviews of this camera. Maybe it's not popular enough. Hopefully this review will help. A good reference is http://www.digitalcamerainfo.com/ - they don't have a ZR200 review, but they have a ZR100, and there's not much difference between the 2 cameras. They also have a review of the S100 if you want to compare. http://www.digitalversus.com/digital-camera/casio-exilim-ex-zr200-p12580/test.html has a good, to-the-point review.


Package contents

  • Camera
  • Battery
  • AC to USB adapter and power cable (I wonder if it has the intelligence to charge, say, an iPhone?)
  • USB cable (proprietary)
  • Basic reference guide (like quick reference guides)
  • Hand strap
It doesn't come with any software or full manual? Well at least this means the manual has to be available online. USB charging is convenient, but that means you can't charge spare batteries. There is an optional battery charger. According to the manual, charging time is 240 mins. When charging from computer, there is an indicator light when full, which is a 4 in my charing indicator hierarchy (6 grades, 1 is the best). If charging from a USB power supply, the light shuts off when full, which is a 5.
The right one is the Exilim's USB plug, and on the left is the standard USB plug. Testing macro mode. The USB port also functions as an AV port, so using a proprietary plug is understandable. It still makes me nervous relying on one cable for charging though.


The ZR200 is quite big, for a compact camera. It's actually slightly bigger and heavier than the S100. It seems quite solidly built. The shutter button is oriented flat, but the mode dial is tilted slightly towards the user.
It has dedicated buttons for start/stopping movie recording and turning high speed mode on/off. The photo button doesn't seem to do much except turn the camera on or switch to shooting mode (which you can do with the on/off button and half-pressing the shutter, respectively). You can set the photo and playback buttons to do nothing, turn the camera on, or turn the camera on and off.
When fully extended, the 12.5x zoom lens protrudes almost twice the thickness of the body.


3", 960x480 = 460,800 pixels. By my calculations, that's 358 ppi - enough to be considered a Retina display. Maybe I'm fooling myself, but I think I still can see the pixels. The viewing angle is very good. There is also an automatic brightness mode for the LCD, which works quite well.

Mode Dial

The modes on the Mode Dial are, clockwise from current mode:
  1. Auto
  2. Premium Auto Pro (this analyses the picture and guesses what scene mode to apply. The modes it chooses don't seem to come from those you can choose in Best Shot. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Best not to use if you're in a hurry. This mode also optionally applies a "make-up" filter to faces. Seems to use HDR sometimes. Face detection not so good.)
  3. Best Shot (this is just like scene modes in other cameras. There are some interesting ones.)
  4. Slide Panorama (stitches photos together to make a panoramic image. Sony has a better, 3D version)
  5. Multi SR Zoom (this is an interesting feature. Optical zoom goes up to 12.5x, but by taking several pictures and combining them together, this allows you to zoom in 25x without affecting image quality, and up to 50x. Going to write a full post on this.)
  6. Manual Mode (I think including manual mode shows they're targeting this camera at those who know a bit more about photography)
  7. Shutter Priority
  8. Aperture Priority
  9. HDR Art
  10. HDR
I think what modes Casio chose to put on the dial show their priorities in this camera (e.g. no night or blurred background). They're really emphasising HDR in this camera. There is no high speed mode, but there's a high speed button, so in a way it's more prominent.

I'm splitting this review into several parts to post anything on time.

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