Just when you thought the megapixel war was over, the Casio EXILIM ZOOM EX-Z1000 offers a whopping 10 megapixel resolution from a 1/1.8″-type CCD sensor, coupled to Casio’s proprietary EXILIM Engine image processor. Sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to 400 equivalent by default, with the ability to extend to ISO 800 in “Anti-Shake” mode. Casio’s non-mechanical Anti-Shake increases sensitivity, and hence shutter speed, at the expense of image noise and/or reduced image detail. Finally, the camera’s sensitivity maxes out at ISO 3200 equivalent in the “High Sensitivity” Best Shot mode. Certainly, at 1/1.8″ the EX-Z1000’s sensor is a bit larger than those in many digicams, but still significantly smaller than any DSLR sensor. Still, it offers image resolution and a maximum sensitivity that not many DSLRs exceed.
The Casio EX-Z1000 couples its sensor to an EXILIM-branded 3x optical zoom lens with a fairly standard equivalent focal length range of 38 to 114mm — a moderate wide angle to a moderate telephoto. There’s no optical viewfinder, so images are framed on the camera’s LCD display — which is larger and has higher resolution than most at 2.8 inches and 230,400 pixels. Curiously, the LCD display has a 14:9 aspect ratio — which doesn’t perfectly match up with any of the aspect ratios offered by the imager, although it is fairly close to the 3:2 mode.
Images are stored on Secure Digital or MultiMediaCards, while 8MB of built-in memory will let you try the Casio EX-Z1000 out when you open the box — and little else. With a maximum file size of around 4.2MB, you’ll probably only fit a single shot at maximum resolution / minimum compression in the built in memory — so expect to buy a high capacity flash card along with the camera.
Power comes from an NP-40 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery which is included in the Casio EX-Z1000 bundle, and should be good for capturing 360 still images or a little over three hours of movies, or for a generous 13 hours of reviewing still images. Connectivity is via an included camera cradle, and consists of both video output (type unspecified), and USB 2.0 Full Speed connectivity — not to be confused with the USB 2.0 High Speed offered by many cameras these days (Full Speed is only 12Mbits per second, while High Speed is capable of 480Mbits per second).
The Casio EX-Z1000 also offers a few more unusual features. A “Rapid Flash” function allows up to three shots per second, where most cameras require much longer to recharge the flash strobe; but note that the speed comes at the expense of a 50% reduction in flash range in this mode. What Casio is calling a “Zoom Continuous Shutter mode” allows the user to see both a wide-angle and cropped “telephoto” shot on screen at once, and to capture both at the same time with a single press of the shutter button. A Quick Zoom function on the Casio EX-Z1000 allows you to return the camera to a preset zoom level with a single button press. Finally, a “Revive Shot” mode is designed for taking images of faded photo prints, and attempts to restore the faded colors.
The Casio Exilim EX-Z1000 hit U.S. stores priced at $399.99 in June 2006.