Thursday, June 19, 2008

CASIO EXILIM Z1080 Review

CASIO EXILIM Z1080
S$149 (R.P.: S$549)
73% OFF

VISIT OFFICIAL WEBSITE
CASIO EXILIM Z1080 In September 2007, Casio Computer Co., Ltd., released the EXILIM Z1080 to their arsenal of "EXILIM" Zoom series digital cameras that packs functionality into a compact size. As with all CASIO EXILIM digital cameras, the EXILIM Z1080 is another feature-rich digital camera sporting a 10.1 megapixel CCD sensor, 3x optical zoom, 2.6-inch bright widescreen LCD display. EXILIM Z1080 incorporates the EXILIM Engine 2.0 high-performance image processing module, which allows fast image processing and high quality movies to be recorded at the high compression rate of MPEG-4 H.264 standard, which ultimately translates into smooth and fast operation. The "YouTube™ Capture Mode" allow users to shoot and save movies at the optimum settings for YouTube™, which can be uploaded via exclusive "YouTube™ Uploader for Casio" software. The combination of Face Detection technology developed from OKI's Face Sensing Engine (FSE) and the auto-tracking AF system using motion analysis technology ensures optimises the capture of a human face. The EXILIM Engine 2.0 image processing module utilizes motion analysis technology to sets the most appropriate ISO sensitivity and shutter speed settings. Anti-Shake Digital Signal Processing (DSP) reduces blur attributed to handshakes and slight subject movement by using high shutter speeds and high sensitivity settings. The movie mode benefits with an electronic image/movie stabilization function. EXILIM Z1080 utilizes SD/SDHC memory cards and a Li-ion Super Life battery. The 41 "BEST SHOT" (BS) Scene modes has a setting for every purpose.

CLICK ON BANNER OR HERE TO VIEW COMPLETE GALLERY


2 weeks ago, I saw an advertisement with just one line of text showing the CASIO EXILIM Z1050 on clearance sale at S$149 (Usual Price: S$549). I was curious, so I ran a search on that model and realised that the EXILIM Z1050 is an America version. I was surprised that this recent though not latest model is on clearance sale at 73% OFF the launch retail price! The specifications and samples from the Z1050 are impressive and can definitely match up or probably better than many of the latest models. Nevertheless, I know that some electronics store likes to clear their old models at ridiculously cheap prices. But most of the time, they are less popular and budget-performers, never such a good performer such as the EXILIM Z1050. I immediately recommended a few friends to check it out and consider getting it, even if as a spare. None of my friends scored it. Last week, another sale was on and this time the Asia version of the same model, CASIO EXILIM Z1080 is on sale at the same price. Once again, I notified my friends but in the end, I was the only one who scored it! I guess they were probably not convinced by my recommendations. I knew I had to score it because this is one solid performer and a 73% discount is just no justifiable! This offer is simply too good to be true! I did not have to consider long, despite the poor service that I received since I was buying a 'cheap' camera. The service officer probably did not know that it was an insanely good deal.
Since I recently bought myself a new compact digital camera to replace my aged Canon IXUS 40 at a damn good price too, I had no reason to buy the CASIO EXILIM Z1080. I thought I should buy it for Fio as a gift, who inherited my Canon IXUS 40. She does not deserve my aged IXUS 40's faulty zoom lever. Since she had used an EXILIM for a brief few months in 2006, I thought that she would appreciate this EXILIM Z1080. Ultimately, it was just an excuse for me to score the EXILIM Z1080 and not miss out on this 'deal-of-the-year'! Nevertheless, it is PINK for the lady!

HERE IS A MINI-REVIEW OF THE CASIO EXILIM Z1080

EXILIM Z1080 PRODUCT GALLERY







Standard Bundled Casio Accessories:

1. CASIO EXILIM Z1080
2. Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Battery (NP-40)
3. External Battery Charger
4. AV Cable
5. USB Cable
6. Strap Larnyard
7. CD-ROM
8. AC Power Cords
9. Basic Reference & Warranty Documents




The Super Long Life Lithium-ion rechargeable battery promises 340-370 shots in a single charge. This is about 1.5x more juice than most digital compact cameras.




FULL SPECIFICATIONS
File Format
Still Picture: JPEG (Exif Ver. 2.2), DCF1.0, DPOF.
Video: AVI File Format, Motion JPEG.
Voice: WAV.
Recording Media:
Built-in Flash Memory 11.4 MB , SDHC/ SD Memory Card, Multi-Media Card, Multi-Media Card Plus
Number of Pixels:
3648 x 2736/ 3648 x 2432 (3:2)/ 3648 x 2048 (16:9)/ 2560 x 1920/ 2048 x 1536/ 1600 x 1200/ 640 x 480.
Video: 848 x 480 (UHQ Wide/HQ Wide)/ 640 x 480 (HQ)/ 512 x 384 (Normal)/ 320 x 240 (LP).
Image Deletion:
One image / all images with Memory Protection Function
Effective # of Pixels:
Approx. 10.1 Megapixels
Imaging Element:
1/1.75 CCD" Square Primary Color CCD, Total 10.3 million pixels
Lens:
F2.8 - 5.1, F=7.9 - 23.7mm (equivalent to 38 - 114mm for 35mm film)
Zoom:
3x Optical Zoom, 4x Digital Zoom (12x with both Optical & Digital Zoom)
Focusing Control:
Contrast Detection AF, Auto Focus, Macro Mode, Pan Focus (Video Recording Only), Infinity Mode, Manual Focus;
AF Area: Spot, Multi or Tracking;
with AF Assist Lamp
Focus Range:
Focus Range: Auto: Approx. 40 cm - infinity (1.3' to infinity).
Macro: Approx. 10 cm - 50 cm (3.9"* - 19.7").
Infinity Mode: Infinity. Manual: Approx. 10 cm - Infinity (3.9" - Infinity).
*Using the Optical Zoom causes the above ranges to change.
Exposure Control:
Metering: Multi pattern/ Center Weighted/ Center Spot by CCD;
Control: Programmed AE; Exposure Compensation: -2EV - +2EV (by 1/3 EV Step)
Shutter/Shutter Speed:
CCD electronic shutter and mechanical shutter, 1/2 to 1/1000 second;
*Shutter Speed Range may be different depending on the following BEST SHOT scenes:
Night Scene: 4 - 1/1000 second;
Fireworks: 2 seconds (fixed).
Aperture:
Auto F2.8/ F8.0*.
*F8.0 is the aperture when an ND filter is being used.
*It varies on some Optical Zoom.
White Balance:
Auto/ Fixed (6 Modes)/ Manual.
Sensitivity Setting:
Snapshots (standard): Auto/ ISO 80 100 200 400 800 1600 3200.
Snapshots (when Anti-Shake setting is "Auto"): ISO6400 (maximum).
Snapshots (when BEST SHOT scene is Anti-Shake): ISO6400 (maximum).
Video: Auto
Self-Timer:
10 Second Countdown, 2 Second Countdown, Triple Self-timer
Built-in Flash:
Flash Modes: Auto/ Flash On/ Flash Off/ Soft Flash/ Red Eye Reduction.
Flash Range: 0.1m - 3.3m (W), 0.5m - 1.8m (T).
Flash Continuous Shutter: Approx. 0.4m - 2.0m (W), Approx. 0.5m - 1.1m (T).
*ISO Sensitivity: Auto.
*Depends on zoom factor.
Recording Functions:
Snapshot (with Audio), Macro, Self-Timer, Continuous Shutter, BEST SHOT mode, Video (w/ Audio), Voice Recorder.
*Audio recording is monaural.
Audio Recording Time:
Time: Still Pictures w/Voice: 30 sec. / 1 Snap;
Voice Recorder: Approx. 48 Min. (Built-in Flash Memory);
After Recording: 30 sec. / 1 Snap
Monitor Screen:
2.6" Digital Interface TFT Color Wide LCD, 114,960 (479 x 240) Pixels
Playback:
Enlarge (8x), Resize, Trimming, Video Playback, Video Edit, MOTION PRINT, 12-Picture Display, Rotate, White Balance, Brightness, Color Correction, Calendar, Slide Show, Customizable, Startup Screen, AV Output
Finder:
LCD Monitor
Input/Output:
USB/AV Connection
Microphone/Speaker:
Monaural Microphone / Monaural Speaker
Power Source:
1 x Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery (NP-40)
Battery Life:
Approx. 370 Images w/Li-Ion Battery (CIPA Standards)
Approx. 9 Hrs. 50 Min. with Li-Ion Battery @normal recording
Approx. 2 Hrs. 50 Min. with Li-Ion Battery (video) @continuous playback
Approx. 12 Hrs. 20 Min. with Li-Ion Battery (voice) @continuous video recording
Battery Charge:
Approx. 150 Min.
Power Consumption:
3.7V DC, Approx. 3.8W
Dimensions:
3.6" (W) x 2.3" (H) x .95" (D) (excluding projections, .81" at thinnest part)
Weight:
Approx. 4.4 oz (excluding battery and accessories)






THE FINER DETAILS GALLERY
From left to right, top to bottom:
Warning label on battery compartment; battery compartment with product information;
Best Shot (BS) button; Four-way cursor with SET button and MENU button;
Busy LED, Playback button and Snapshot button; Speaker;
On/Off button, Zoom Lever and Shutter button; Flash;
Lens in stall; Lens in shooting;
AF-assist lamp and Microphone; USB/Accessory Port and Eyelet.









EXILIM SIZE COMPARISON
Size comparison with a few items:
Nokia N73, LG KS20, Canon IXUS 40, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, standard card.






SUPPLEMENTARY ACCESSORIES
Foam digital camera case and LCD screen protector for S$4.
The quality of these budget Japanese products are actually rather impressive.





EXILIM Z1080 TEST SAMPLES
Test shots were done using the "Fine" Quality settings at maximum 10 MegaPixels resolution
Click on images to view test shots are available in full resolution 3648 x 2736 (unless specified otherwise).
WARNING! Large file sizes of around 3-5MB.

TEST #1: ISO MAP
Shows the amount of noise at all selectable ISO settings.
ISO: 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Shot wide on tripod using AUTO mode.



TEST #2: Manual Focusing

Manual Focusing can be selected for selective focusing.
ISO: 800
Shot wide on tripod using AUTO mode.



TEST #3: Flash

Compulsary Flash and Soft Flash modes.
ISO: 100
Shot wide handheld using AUTO mode.



TEST #4: MACRO mode

At minimum focusing distance (MFD) of 10cm, camera auto activates MACRO mode.
ISO: 200
Shot wide on tripod using AUTO mode.


TEST #5: Anti-Shake

100% cropped sample of image shot handheld at minimum ISO (left) and Anti-Shake mode (auto-selected ISO800, right)
ISO: 80, 800
Shot wide handheld using AUTO mode.



TEST #6: 16:9 format

Wide 16:9 format for panoramic style images.
ISO: 80
Shot tele handheld using AUTO mode.



TEST #7: ISO 800 Samples

Shows the amount of noise at ISO 800 producing usable images.
ISO: 800
Shot wide handheld using AUTO mode.





TEST #8: Test Video Wide Format
Video sample shot using UHQ (848 x 480) Wide format with digital image stabilization activated.
Note: Compressed when uploaded to YouTube™, hence not actual resolution.
Video sample is available by email requests.
Shot wide handheld using UHQ Wide format.




VERDICT
Digital cameras that are on clearance are usually very low-end models that usually cannot impress a photography enthusiast. Nevertheless, every now and then, there is one or two discontinued earlier models that are of mid-range and even high-end specifications, going on clearance. Retailers would usually know how to benchmark its clearance price against other clearance models. However, on extremely rare occasions, there will decent camera that is cleared at an insanely low price. I just happened to chance upon this random clearance model, CASIO EXILIM Z1080. After doing some online research, reviews (see above) show that the EXILIM Z1080 is in fact a very good compact digital camera with excellent performance. As I have mentioned earlier, I did not have to decide long that I must get this camera at a S$149, a whopping 73% discount off the launch retail price! I did not even have to test out the image quality at the store, but just do simple functionality tests.

In terms of performance, I was taken aback that the EXILIM Z1080 faired incredibly close to my FujiFilm FinePix cameras at controlling the noise levels (TEST #1). TEST #1 shows how well the EXILIM Z1080 controls the noise, making pictures at ISO 800 and even ISO 1600 very useable. The capability of Manual Focusing is a bonus as it allows selective focusing to add more creativity to the shots (TEST #2). During Manual Focusing, a digital magnification is shown on the screen to aid fine focusing. The normal flash is as most digital compact cameras, producing harsh contrasts, while the Soft Flash simply produces a slightly underexposed version which is not too useful (TEST #3). The macro is quite standard for most compact digital cameras, since it can only go up close to 10cm MFD (as shown in TEST #4). Anti-shake is mediocre as it utilizes DSP and compensates shake/blur using high ISO and not CCD-shift image stabilization (TEST #5). The benefit of the good noise control makes the anti-shake slightly more useable. 16:9 format shooting is already common in most digital cameras. Telephoto at ISO 80 produces commendable quality (TEST #6). ISO 800 produces very useable photos (TEST #7). One bonus of the EXILIM Z1080 is the capbability of recording videos in 16:9 Wide Ultra High Quality (UHQ) compressed into an MPEG-4 H.264 format. The operation speed is smooth and minimum shutter lag and shot-to-shot delay, such that no shots are missed! I like the customizable Left and Right cursor allows you to assign: AF Mode, WB, EV Compensation, ISO, Metering Mode, for quick changes on-the-fly. On-screen Grids can be activated to assist focusing. I particularly love the availability of a Live-Histogram in shooting mode, which is a very useful feature for higher-level users to evaluate the metering and make necessary EV compensations to achieve a proper exposure. Not many cameras have a Live-Histogram.
The only greatest flaw of the EXILIM Z1080 is the 114,960 pixels LCD screen, which is considered low resolution compared to, for example, those 230,000 pixels LCD screens used in Canon IXUS cameras. I find that I cannot trust the preview before shooting. I would rely on the Live-Histogram all the time to get my exposure right and immediate post-shot reviewing.

In Steves Digicams Review, the EXILIM Z1080 of the same color is "Made In China" while I scored one that is "Made In Japan". Though there is absolutely no difference, but it psychologically gives more satisfaction! The EXILIM Z1080 must never be considered as a budget compact camera, and putting this camera at such an insane 73% discount is a wrong move but benefits us consumers! I get a great deal more kick scoring such a damn good deal at S$149 ONLY! Ultimately, its spells the end of blurry images for the recipient of this gift, Fio.


EXILIM IN HANDS




The Advert
Scanned from 13th of June 2008, ST



Quotes
"It uses a larger 1/1.75" sensor as compared to other Casio 10mp cameras tat uses a smaller 1/2.3" sensor, tat with the lens produces a rather soft photo. Becoz of the large sensor, less noise in dim light too... In day time, the photo is very sharp, with little distortion at either end. Very good photos. The LCD screen resolution is not important to me. How the photos are when they are on my P.C is more important. The screen has 160K resolution i think, instead of 230K resolution for so called better screens in other cameras. ...for it's photo quality. Beats every other compact cameras that have smaller 1/2.3" - 1/2.5" sensors."
-
wrx_sti_22b (ClubSnap)



DISCLAIMER
Please respect the copyrights of the photographs and content in this post. Please support my work by linking back to this post via this address:
http://mybearbrick.blogspot.com/2008/06/casio-exilim-z1080-review.html
This is an individual and independent user review, for more information on the official product, please refer to: http://exilim.casio.com/browse_cameras/exilim_zoom/EX-Z1080/

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8 comments:

chengsun said...

seems like u got a real good deal. by the way, is the sale still on? and where did u get it?
thx

WILLIAM TAN said...

the sale was only for 3 days last weekend.
not sure if it will still be available this weekend.
keep a lookout for adverts from Courts this weekend.

Laurens said...

fio meimei is such a lucky lady

WILLIAM TAN said...

Laurens said...
fio meimei is such a lucky lady


she sure is...
because it is a good camera at a damn good price!

neoconvoy said...

damn ! nice score bro ! wish i had seen this earlier...i would hve got it...

WILLIAM TAN said...

The identical model EXILIM Z1050 is on sale at HN Funan at S$299.

Anonymous said...

One of the most important items for portable electronics is the interface.

Please note this Canon EXILIM Z1080 camera uses a decidedly non-standard USB connector. It is NOT a standard mini-usb A connector!

Therefore, when you most need it, you won't be able to get pictures off your camera using a standard USB cable. For this reason alone, I would not get this camera.

I'm shocked the review did not mention this fact.

WILLIAM TAN said...

Interesting point.
I never mention this because it seems more pratical to carry a smaller multi card reader around.
even one of the year's best compact camera (as reviewed by dpreview), uses a non-standard mini-usb A connector and no complaints on that.
nevertheless the Z1080 is not the best camera, but undoubtedly the best deal! I am certain even now, no place can match S$149 for this cam!