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Casio Exilim EX-Z100 - Casio Exilim EX-Z100
The EX-Z100's performance is also quite good. It starts up in approximately 1.7 seconds and shuts down again in about the same. Shot-to-shot time in single shot mode and maximum image quality is a bit slow however, at approximately 2.6 seconds per shot. In continuous shooting mode it is a little better at approximately two seconds per shot, but this is still very slow in comparison to some of its market rivals. The bottleneck must be writing the large files to the memory card, because the autofocus system is, as is usual for Casio cameras, very quick. It is also good in low light conditions, hardly slowing down at all In dim indoor lighting, and focusing in the dark at a range of a couple of metres with the AF assist lamp.
Battery performance is exceptionally good, as one might expect with such a large battery. Casio claims 400 shots on a full charge, and my experience while testing the camera would seem to confirm this.
Image quality is sometimes a problem for Casio cameras. In the case of the Z100 it's not exactly a strongpoint, but it's not too bad either. The new lens performs quite well, with good centre sharpness and very little wide-angle distortion, however corner sharpness is not so good, especially in the upper right of the frame. This is something I've noticed before on Casio compacts, and I really wish they'd sort it out.
The overall level of detail from the 10.1-megapixel sensor is very good, and the compression rate is very low, with some image files over 7MB, very large for a point-and-shoot compact camera. Dynamic range and colour depth could be a little better, but they are no worse than average for a camera in this class. The exposure system tends to preserve shadow detail at the expense of burned-out highlights.
High ISO noise control is better than average. While there is visible noise from 200 ISO upwards, it is very smooth and granular, so rather than smearing out colour it takes on the appearance of film grain, and even images shot at 800 ISO don't look too horrible. 1600 ISO is pretty rubbish though, but then it nearly always is.
The Casio Exilim EX-Z100 is a good example of a modern mid-range pocket compact. It is well made and sensibly designed, reasonably well priced, has some useful features and produces very good images under most normal conditions. The 28mm wide angle and 4x zoom range give it greater versatility than previous models, and the exceptional battery duration is a real bonus if you're taking it on holiday. While it doesn't particularly stand out in a crowded market it certainly won't disappoint.