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On Tuesday I reviewed the Exilim EX-Z100, Casio's first ultra-compact camera with a 28mm-equivalent 4x zoom lens. It must have been a busy week in Casio's design department, because today I'm looking at another first for the company, the EX-Z200, which is the first camera in the Exilim range to feature mechanical image stabilisation, and one of the smallest cameras on the market to feature such technology.
Apart from its new IS technology the Exilim EX-Z200 looks very much like a typical Casio ultra-compact. In outward appearance it closely resembles the successful EX-Z700, and in terms of its specification it is almost identical to the Z100, with a 1/2.3-inch 10.1-megapixel CCD sensor, 2.7-inch 230k widescreen monitor and 4x zoom lens with a wide-angle end equivalent to 28mm.
The introduction of proper image stabilisation technology is a very welcome addition to the Exilim range. Previously Casio had relied on ISO-boost to counteract camera shake, with its attendant image quality problems. Most of the other manufacturers have been including IS systems in their ultra-compact cameras for some time, so the Z200 is the first Exilim model that competes with the likes of the Canon IXUS 860 IS (£200), the Panasonic Lumix FX35 (£180) and the Nikon CoolPix S600 (£165). The EX-Z200 is currently priced at £165 but will probably fall over the next few months, which neatly undercuts most of its competitors.
As with other models in the Exilim range the overall design of the Z200 is simple but attractive. It has a strong all-metal body that is small and light enough to slip into a shirt pocket, weighing 154g including the battery and measuring 93.0 x 55.0 x 22.7mm, less than a millimetre thicker than its sibling the Z100. In the UK the Z200 is available in either a dark mahogany brown, metallic red or the anodized silver finish of my review sample. Despite its small size the camera is comfortable to hold and operate, with plenty of room on the back for your thumb to grip it.
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