Casio Exilim EX-ZR10 Review - Design and Features Review

The Casio Exilim EX-ZR10 weighs a solid yet not too intrusive 176g including rechargeable lithium ion battery and an SD, SDHC or SDXC media card inserted. Build quality is high, with a greater proportion of metal in the chassis than plastic. We admired its magnesium alloy-a-like strip across the top plate, which drops down at either side, and we actually prefer its overall more rugged feel to its smaller, sexier Sony WX5 rival.

Perhaps inevitably, given the high demand for cameras majoring equally in style and substance, the EX-ZR10 doesn’t feature anything that could be advertised as a handgrip. The slightly raised and rough textured Exilm logo at the front is the only thing that stops fingers from sliding around the smooth faceplate, though this is probably accidental, while there’s no pad or indentation for the thumb at the rear either. Instead your digit falls slightly awkwardly on the one-touch button for recording video. Instinctively then, you raise your left hand to grip the other side of the camera, the thumb inevitably finding its way onto the otherwise clear 3-inch, 460,800-dot resolution LCD screen (960 x 480 pixels), which, in fact, hides any smears better than most.

Like the rest of the Casio range, the EX-ZR10 features a select of subject and scene specific BestShot modes. Here we’re provided with 17 in total, but whereas other models feature a dedicated BestShot mode button, it is not immediately obvious how to locate them on the ZR10. In fact a press of the ‘HS’ (High Speed’) button on the top plate displays the available choices, so some exploratory prods are required when you first pick up the camera. Apart from the aforementioned Slide Panorama option, the other BestShot modes are in the main heavily biased towards action photography, even if that does boil down to photographing the kids’ tennis matches or the family dog leaping about.

Slightly more excitingly for those who want to get creative, the Casio features two high dynamic range options: a regular (and rather subtly done) HDR mode which to all intents and purposes resembles a realistically even exposure, plus the even more visually dynamic HDR Art. The latter throws subtlety out of the window, combining a rapid burst of frames (so avoiding any hand wobble/image blur) to provide a more obviously processed image that gives the everyday an ‘acid trip’-like treatment with heightened colour and contrast. That said, it can give a drab subject much more impact, if you don’t mind a result more akin to a visual effect than a photograph.

With this feature again fully automatic once you’ve made your selection, this isn’t really the camera for those who want manual control. Aside from the ‘BestShot’ selections, there is only the ability to adjust the likes of light sensitivity – ISO 100 through ISO 3200 – white balance, exposure compensation ( /- 2EV), flash settings and that’s basically it. Look to the Casio Exilim EX-H20G if you want marginally more control. Like that model, key shooting options are presented in a toolbar that runs down the right hand side of the camera’s screen, each setting highlighted as the user tabs up or down, via the usual intuitive four way control pad.

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