This is a curio, a very interesting and appealing curio, but a curio nonetheless. A couple of months back I previewed the stunning Casio Exilm Card EX-S500. It was due out in July, but stock has really only just started to filter through (and the first of that mostly to the Dixons/Currys chains). Strange then that Casio has an upgrade already on the way? Move over S500, here comes the Z500.
With revised styling, the Z500 creates quite a stir. The semi-sunken look of the S500 has been replaced by cleaner, yet wider lines (20.5mm compared to 16mm). That said, the footprint is actually slightly smaller (89 x 57mm to 90 x 59mm) than its predecessor and the weight has reduced ever so slightly by 3g to 112g.
The big news, however, is the display which has been boosted from a perfectly acceptable 2.2in to a massive, class leading 2.7in. This incredible screen boasts 153,000 pixels, a 640 x 240 resolution and takes up nearly all the back of the camera. On top of this, the battery life has undergone some quasi-magical reinvention to leap from a credible 200 shots to an incredible 500 shots on a single charge.
Away from this most things haven’t been fiddled with: Five megapixels, video is still filmed in VGA at 30fps with compression via the AVI format, it still takes SD/MMC Cards, has over 30 preset “Bestshot” modes, 3x optical zoom, 0.9 second start-up time, Anti Shake DSP to reduce blurring caused by shaking hands/crappy photographers, and so on and so on.
In fact, the only people who will be annoyed looking at the Z500 will be recent owners of the S500 (which is still scheduled to be sold alongside it). How well the older of the two models will do, however – given that the young(er) pretender is set to debut at the same sub £300 price tag – remains to be seen. Loosen your wallets and start preparing a small pedestal in your house for the Z500 now: it is due out in September.
Also interesting, but without the same intriguing back story, are three new Casio Z series cameras. The EX-Z10, EX-Z110 and EX-Z120 (shown above, left to right) are virtually identical looking cameras apart from their megapixel ratings, which rise from five to six to 7.2 respectively.
Unfortunately, the Zs don’t feature the same corking 500 shot battery life as the Z500, instead being limited to a far more normal 170, but they do all come with 2in screens, Anti Shake DSPs, VGA 30fps video and – for the traditionalists – viewfinders. You’ll find the Z10 and Z120 in shops from September, with the slowcoach Z110 dragging its heels until October. As for pricing, it remains a complete and total flaming mystery.