The most obvious feature on the back of the camera is the big 2.6-in widescreen-format LCD monitor, although with only 114,960 pixels it’s relatively low resolution. The Z1050 has the same sidebar menu system as the EX-S770, with a row of icons always visible down the right hand side of the screen. I really like this control interface, because it makes routine adjustments of common camera features extremely quick and easy, requiring only a touch of the D-pad to select any of the options. Included on the menu are picture size and quality, flash mode, AF mode, self timer, Anti-shake DSP mode, ISO setting, white balance and exposure compensation.
As well as this the camera also has Casio’s Best Shot mode, common to all of the company’s cameras. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically a scene mode system with 38 pre-set options, including some new ones I’ve not seen before. I particularly like the Auto-framing mode, which as far as I know is unique to this camera. It’s a difficult thing to describe, but basically it puts a frame on the screen which you position around your subject. You then half-press the shutter button and the camera will keep the frame centred on your subject even if you move the camera a bit, or your subject moves within the frame. When you fully press the shutter button, the picture that is recorded is automatically cropped to the size of the frame. It’s an odd feature, but I can see that it could have its uses for photographing quick-moving subjects such as children or animals.
The Z1050’s general performance is quite impressive. It starts up very quickly in just over one second, and in high speed continuous shooting mode it can rattle off an impressively fast six frames a second, although this is restricted to 2MP (1600 x 1200). In normal speed mode it can shoot at about one frame a second at full resolution. It also has a three-shot burst mode using the flash on every shot, and a unique “zoom continuous” mode which takes a shot, but also saves a second version of it with 4x digital zoom applied. I guess it must have seemed like a good idea to someone…
Battery life also appears to be very good, not surprising considering the large 1300mAh Li-ion rechargeable that powers the camera. Casio makes no particular claims, but I took over 200 shots while testing the camera and the battery indicator was still reading full.