Thanks to both the new lens and Casio’s Anti Shake DSP (Digital Signal Processor) the image quality is also very good. The Anti Shake system allows an extra couple of stops for hand-held shooting at long exposures, down to about 1/15th sec.
The previous model suffered from blurring at the edges of the image at wide angle, but I’m happy to report that there is no such problem here. Image quality was excellent for a camera in this class, with superb colour reproduction, as well as quick and accurate focusing and exposure in most lighting conditions. The EX-Z500 has an AF illuminator, so it can focus in very low light, at least at close range. The flash is also good at medium range, but tends to drop off very quickly after about two metres, or over-expose horribly at ranges closer than about 50cm.
The problems which the Z50 suffered with image noise have been completely cured. The Z500 has excellent noise control, with usable images produced at 400 ISO, and beautifully smooth images at lower speeds.
There is one last thing worthy of note however. My review sample camera worked perfectly for a couple of days, but then the lens started making a loud rasping sound when focusing. It still worked perfectly, but it sounded like it wasn’t enjoying it. This is most likely an isolated problem, but one to watch out for.
The Casio Exilim EX-Z500 is a superb mid-range pocket snapshot camera at a competitive price. It has style, performance, a good list of features and the picture quality to match. The Best Shot mode will be useful for beginners, while the versatile menu options will appeal to the more experienced user. All in all, an excellent little camera.