One feature that is lacking from the Z75’s specification is any sort of image stabilisation. It has a feature that Casio calls “Anti-Shake DSP”, but all this does is increase the ISO setting in low light or at telephoto zoom to produce a faster shutter speed, reducing the effects of camera shake or movement blur, but at the cost of reduced picture quality. I really wish camera companies would stop doing this. By giving a fancy high-tech-sounding name to a simple sensitivity increase they are making a cynical attempt to fool the less-informed buyer into thinking that the camera has features and capabilities that it simply doesn’t have. Fortunately you read TrustedReviews so you’re not so easily fooled, but I’ve no doubt that some people will buy this camera thinking that “Anti-Shake DSP” is the same of a proper optical or moving-CCD anti-shake system, which it patently isn’t. In fact, like the thrice-accursed digital zoom, I’d recommend turning off any such ISO-boost anti-shake systems and manually setting the ISO to minimum, thus ensuring maximum picture quality. If you need extra stability, brace the camera on a solid surface or buy a pocket tripod.
This kind of cheap marketing tactic is doubly annoying, because there are plenty of other reasons to buy the Z75. It’s a great little camera with plenty going for it. It has the same on-screen menu system first seen in the superb Exilim EX-S770, which is very quick and easy to use. It has 33 Best Shot modes, including options for restoring colour to old photos, or for copying business cards. It even has an optional waterproof case, secure to a depth of three metres, ideal for holiday snorkelling.
It also has extremely good image quality. Casio used to use Pentax or Canon lenses in its compacts, and the lens on the Z75 does look very similar to the lens on the Pentax Optio M30. The level of detail is very good, and overall sharpness is also good although it does drop off in the far corners of the frame at wide angle. There is also noticeable barrel distortion at wide angle, although to be fair it’s about average for a pocket compact.
Exposure metering is superb, and colour rendition is spot on, even under unusual lighting conditions. The camera also uses very low compression in Fine quality mode, resulting in JPEG image files which average around 4MB, very large for a 7MP camera, but also producing no problems with compression artefacts. Noise control is also very good, with usable images at 400 ISO, although the maximum 800 ISO is best avoided except under extreme circumstances. Unfortunately the Anti-Shake DSP function can and will set 800 ISO to give a faster shutter speed, so it’s worth avoiding for this reason. Thankfully there is a menu option to turn it off, in which case the auto ISO function doesn’t seem to go above 200.
Another outstanding pocket compact from Casio, the Exilim EX-Z75 is an ideal camera for general and social snapshot photography. It is well made, sensibly but attractively designed, very easy to use and has much better performance than its low cost would suggest. Picture quality is very good as well. It may lack a few features such as image stabilisation and an AF assist lamp, but on the whole it is excellent value for money.
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