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Casio Exilim EX-Z90
The Casio EX-Z90 is a compact little camera that comes with a brushed metal finish and weighs just about 121 g – which makes it extremely light to carry around. Moreover from the looks of it the Z90 comes by as a very simple point and shoot camera that is aimed at consumers on a budget. Besides, the Z90 comes with just 3x of optical zoom but features a decent 12 MP CCD sensor. Whether or not it can capture images at that resolution is a task that needs to be tested. However for its diminutive size the Z90 manages to accommodate a decent 2.7-inch LCD display which works well without any sort of panning issues but seems a little too reflective. However the camera comes fitted with a normal 35mm lens.
A feature that we are beginning to see in most digital cameras these days is the addition of the calendar mode. And just like most other cameras these days the Casio Z90 is no different. In fact the interface of the calendar mode can very well be rated second to the Sony W380 – reviewed a month back. However with that being said the rest isn’t quite the same. The overall interface of the camera is just about average and will take time to get used to. Moreover the menu color can be changed to any of the six predefined colors and trust me when I say that the colors are bright enough to blind you. Speaking about interface, the camera comes with a total of six operational buttons towards the rear along with a navigational pad. And unlike other conventional cameras the Z90 comes with a dedicated record button for video. The “Set” button can also be used to quickly access and change settings via the menus found towards the right side of the screen.
The camera gives you the freedom to choose from over 31 different modes. A few special modes that are worth mentioning are the Multi-motion image, ID photo and dynamic photo. As the name suggests multi-motion basically records multiple images and combines them into one single image while ID photo creates multiple images of various sizes. Features don’t only end there; the Z90 also features an Intelligent Auto mode but doesn’t fall under the same name. This mode comes in as “Auto Best Shot” but isn’t without a few minor flaws. For instance the camera had to be repositioned time and again for it to be set to Macro mode automatically.
Surprisingly the Z90 allows video to be recorded in 1280 x 760, which basically means that the camera supports HD recording. The major setback is the camera's ability to record beyond 24 fps. So even though there is overall sharpness in the video the playback suffers as there is a lot of stutter and lag when panning or when recoding fast moving objects.
To be honest, the overall color reproduction for a camera such as the EX-Z90 is pretty much acceptable for an entry level camera. However the reds appear a little oversaturated but on the whole the camera does a good job at balancing the colors out.
Overall sharpness and details left a lot to be desired as the picture appeared washed out at 100 percent. Moreover there is also a certain amount of noise that comes with the image but then for being a budget camera you cannot ask for much. However the image is quite usable when scaled down to 50 percent.
The camera's ISO performance wasn’t too good as the overall image looked grainy at almost all ISO levels. The camera's night mode was a disappointment since most shots called for at least a 2 second shutter speed. That’s insane considering that the camera will need to be held cause you can’t obviously carry a tripod wherever you go. The picture taken below was taken with a 4 second shutter speed with the ISO at 64.
Shooting in macro was a big disappointment since the minimum range that the camera called for was a good 4 cm. Now that’s really far for a macro shot! However, fringing was well under control and the camera performed well in well lit areas.
With a price tag of Rs. 9,995 the Casio EX-Z90 makes for a decent general purpose camera for family occasions, vacations, so on and so forth. Moreover the overall performance is not all that bad if you compare it to other entry level cameras. What you get is a compact sized camera that can be carried wherever and whenever irrespective of the occasion.