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Battery life appears to be excellent, however since it comes with a handy charger/USB cradle it’s hard to let the batteries run down during normal use. The built-in flash has a stated maximum range of a useful 3.6 metres, but I found that it actually quite a bit more than that.
The camera uses fairly light compression, resulting in image files that are around 4MB each, and a 1GB SD card provides enough space for 230 full-resolution shots
It takes more than just a big CCD to make a good picture. In fact above five or six megapixels lens quality and image processing are far more important. However a camera that has a good lens, a good processing engine and a huge 1/1.8-inch 10MP CCD clearly has a major advantage. The EX-Z1000 produces images that are sharper and more detailed than any other compact camera I’ve ever tried. I’ve included a 100 percent crop in the test shots. It’s interesting to compare it with the similar shot from my review of the Nikon D200 DSLR, which also uses a 10MP sensor. The D200 is sharper, but not by much.
The 3x optical zoom F2.8-5.4 lens on the Z1000 is very good lens, providing excellent sharp detail with no corner blurring and minimal barrel distortion at wide angle.
Focusing is quick and exposure nice and accurate even in difficult conditions, and the image processing engine produces excellent colour rendition in standard snapshot mode. Noise is very well controlled at 50 and 100 ISO, although there is some unobtrusive mid-tone noise at 200 ISO, which becomes more visible at 400. 800 and 3200 ISO are also available in Anti Shake and High Speed modes, but the former suffers badly from image noise, while the latter suffers from the over-application of noise reduction.
Despite, and not because of, the megapixel willy-waving, the EX-Z1000 is a superb camera. It possesses first class build quality, brisk performance, outstanding image quality and an innovative and easy-to-use control system that makes it ideal for a first-time user. As to whether you really need 10 megapixels, only you can decide.
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