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Casio compacts have always had excellent overall performance, and the V7 is no exception. It starts up in around 1.8 seconds, which is pretty quick, and shuts down again even faster. It has three continuous shooting modes: in high-speed mode it can fire a burst of three shots in just under two seconds, in flash mode it can do the same but fire the flash for all three shots, and in normal mode it can manage on average one shot every 1.3 seconds, although the actual speed is very inconsistent.
Like all of Casio’s compact cameras the V7 has a superb autofocus system. It has a nine-point AF array, and is impressively fast, locking on to subjects in a fraction of a second with virtually zero shutter lag. Low light focusing is also very good, thanks in part to a blindingly bright AF assist lamp mounted just under the lens, which also doubles as a video shooting light. The V7 has an excellent video mode, shooting at 848 x 480 wide-screen resolution and 30 frames a second, with stereo sound provided by two small microphones just below the lens. The zoom lens can also be used while shooting, which is fairly unusual.
Overall image quality is about average for a 7MP camera with a 1/2.5-in sensor, with the lens providing plenty of fine detail in the centre of the frame, although the edge sharpness at wide angle could be better. There is also significant barrel distortion at the wider end of the zoom range. Exposure and colour reproduction are both good, but as with many Casio cameras I’ve reviewed previously, noise is a problem at all but the lowest ISO setting. The flash range is also fairly limited, with a maximum of only 2.2 metres at wide angle, falling to a somewhat puny 1.4 metres at the telephoto end, which may limit the camera’s usefulness in social situations.
The Casio Exilim EX-V7 is a very unusual camera with a unique combination of features. Its combination of compact size, fast performance, wide zoom range, excellent video mode and manual exposure options will appeal to some, but its average picture quality and poor flash range are significant disadvantages. The relatively high price may also put some people off.
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