Casio EX-Z550

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The last Casio camera that we reviewed was the Exilim Z-90. It was small and compact enough to fit just about any pocket. Now, the Exilim Z550 is just as small as the Z90, probably a little wider, but what we need to look into is the performance of the Z550.

The EX-Z550 is compact little camera that has a mix of the usual combination of plastic and metal in its construction – which makes it solid and quite durable. As from the size of it the EX-Z550 fits plum in your palm with no fuss what so ever. However the overall grip is what the camera lacks as the brushed metal finish feels a little too slippery for comfort. Nevertheless what you get is a decently sized camera that measures just about 99.5 x 55.4 x 22.4mm in size and weighs 140 g which makes it light enough to carry around. The camera features a high resolution 14.1 MP CCD sensor that comes combined with a decent 4x optical zoom. In addition to this the Z550 boasts of a wide angle lens (26mm) that allows you to capture a much wider aspect of the subject. The camera manages to accommodate a decent 2.7-inch LCD display which works well without any sort of panning issues when shooting. However the screen feels a little too reflective when used under a well lit area.

A mode that has made its mark in almost all cameras is the calendar mode which allows you to view pictures by the date it was captured on – the EX-Z550 does it with utmost perfection. There is nothing much to the interface to get used to as it is quite simple to comprehend. Changes such as Flash, ISO, Timer so on and so forth are easily accessible via the menu system placed towards the right. Casio has also thrown in an option to change the cameras menu color to any of the six predefined colors. The Casio EX-Z550 has a very plain rear with just the required buttons in place. Here you’ll find the preview/camera button, the menu/mode selection button along with the directional keys that also double up as display and flash button. And just like the Z90 the Z550 comes with a dedicated record button for video capture.

What makes the Z550 a no brainer when it comes to usage is its overabundance of preset modes – 43 to be precise. Now that’s a whole lot of modes to choose from which makes this a simple point and shoot. Most modes remain the same as the previously reviewed Z90. However there were only a handful of modes that were worth mentioning such as the Multi-motion image, ID photo and silent. Here the silent mode basically gives you the freedom to record video in black and white eliminating the audio. However the overall film effect gives a feel of an old time silent movie. Just like all cameras there is the obvious Intelligent Auto mode which can be recognised as “Auto Best Shot”.
Video recording is not the cameras strongest feature as there are panning issues. There is also a visible amount of noise when capturing video under low light. However the playback quality is smooth along with a decent amount of sharpness.

The Z550 does a good job at capturing color and doesn’t go overboard by trying to enhance the overall picture. However there are instances where colors such as red and yellow tend to look a little too dull. Nevertheless the picture is sharp and well balanced.

Overall sharpness and details is not something that we can write home about as there is a considerable loss in details when the picture is viewed at full 100 percent. For instance if you look at the picture below the details of the leaves appear smudged and washed out. However this only holds true for subjects that fall far into the background.

There isn’t much that can be said about the performance of the camera under low light conditions. As you can see the image tends to be a little too blotched and hazy. Also the image tends to have more of yellow tinge along with a slight reduction in color.

Macro mode seems to be the cameras strong point. In addition to the normal macro mode the Z550 also comes with a Super Macro mode that allows you to take close up shots from a distance of 2 cm though 1 cm would have been ideal for such a mode.

The Casio EX-Z550 is a very straight forward point and shoot which is aimed at users who just need a camera for various occasions. What you get is a wide range of shooting modes that takes care of almost all aspects of shooting. Moreover the camera is also capable of recording video in HD but the overall quality falls short of being rated as an HD video as it feels a little too grainy. But with an asking price of Rs. 10,250 one cannot ask for much. All in all the Casio EX-Z550 is an affordable camera with whole lot of interesting preset modes.

Published Date: Jun 23, 2010 02:08 pm | Updated Date: Jun 23, 2010 02:08 pm