The Z2000’s overall performance is also pretty good. It starts up quickly in approximately two and a half seconds, and in single-shot mode it has a shot-to-shot time of a little over two seconds. In the standard continuous shooting mode it can maintain a shot every two seconds, which is a bit on the slow side but it does check focus between shots. It has two faster continuous shooting options, one at 4fps and two megapixels, and one at 10fps at one megapixel. It also has a flash continuous option, which fires three two-megapixel shots in 1.8 seconds, but with flash for each shot. In normal single shot flash shooting, the flash recharges in approximately 6 seconds.
Casio’s autofocus systems have always been among the fastest on the market, and the Z2000 performs extremely well, focusing in a fraction of a second in all lighting conditions. Low light focusing is quick and accurate, but unfortunately the AF assist lamp is not terribly effective in very dark conditions, and only has a reliable useful range of about a metre.
One aspect of the camera’s performance is exceptional, and that is its battery life. The Z2000 is powered by a big 1200mAh lithium ion rechargeable, and Casio claims 580 still images on a single charge. Since the on-screen indicator was still showing a full charge after I’d taken around 200 test shots I have no reason to doubt this figure.
Premium compacts have to do more than just look nice to justify their high price, they have to work well too. Fortunately the Z2000 does not disappoint. I have had to criticise some previous Casios on the optical quality of their lenses, but this issue has obviously received some much-needed attention because the lens on the Z2000 is very good, providing sharpness from edge to edge with no barrel distortion and only a hint of chromatic aberration in the far corners of the frame. The 14 megapixel sensor captures an exceptional level of detail, and the very low compression preserves all of it. High quality JPEGS are over 8MB each.
Noise control is also much better than some previous Casio cameras, and is on a level with any of its premium compact rivals. Image quality is excellent up to 400 ISO, and only at 800 ISO does the noise reduction start blurring out some fine detail. Colour rendition remains faithful even at the maximum full-resolution sensitivity of 3200 ISO.
The Exilim EX-Z2000 is proof that Casio can make a luxury ultra-compact camera just as well as the bigger names in the market and still maintain its reputation for value. It is well made, looks fantastic, handles and performs well, has some great features and produces image quality comparable with any of its rivals. A real bargain.