In the digital camera market Casio is best known for its popular range of ultra-slim compacts such as the excellent EX-S12 or the tiny EX-Z85. These are good cameras, with excellent design, specification and performance, but while they represent outstanding value for money they're not exactly status symbols. People shopping for a luxury camera are far more likely to choose something more expensive like a Canon IXUS 110 IS or Panasonic FX60. Casio would no doubt like a bit of that action, and to that end it has launched the Exilim EX-Z2000, a stylish and technically advanced premium ultra-compact which, were it not for the Casio brand name, could easily be mistaken for a new Canon IXUS.
The Z2000 has an impressive specification. It is equipped with a 14.1 megapixel CCD with sensor-shift image stabilisation, a high quality 5x zoom lens with a very useful zoom range equivalent to 26-130mm, 1280 x 720 30fps HD video recording, a superb three-inch monitor with a resolution of 460,000 dots (double the resolution of most compact monitors) an anti-glare surface and an extremely wide angle of view in all directions. It is currently selling for around £180 from several retailers, which compares extremely well with other comparable cameras. The Nikon S640 is also around £180, while the Canon IXUS 110 IS is around £225, and the Panasonic FX60 is around £200.
The EX-Z2000 is, to put it mildly, a great looking camera. It has a sleek all-metal body with very clean modern lines, highlighted with just the right amount of chrome trim. Like most of Casio's range it is available in a number of colours including red, violet, pink, blue, black and the metallic silver seen here. It measures 100.5 x 58.5 x 19.8mm, which is a bit bigger than some of Casio's other models but still comfortably into ultra-compact territory. At 149g it's a little heavier than usual too, but it has a solid feeling of quality and is very comfortable to handle.