• Casio Z55

New Camera Arrival

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Having just written an Ode to my Casios in Business 2.0, I had to try something new…. The prior three photos in my stream are freehand shots from this FX-7.

Since I try to never use the flash indoors, I was curious about the Optical Image Stabilization feature (Mega OIS) built into the Leica lens array, a unique feature for a pocket camera. I’m not sure if I have figured out the correct photo conditions to take advantage of this feature (I tried chasing a flying bug with it =) but the photo tests by dpreview were pretty impressive. I wonder if the Casio Z55 and Z3 do so relatively well in low light because they go to f2.6 vs. the standard f2.8 in pocket cameras.

Compared to the Casio Z55, the FX-7 has a slightly better macro zoom (5cm vs. 6cm) and it is smaller, lighter, and dare I say, more stylish. The OIS feature is the most important one, but I have not had enough experience to compare that yet.

Major drawbacks vs. Casio:
1) short battery life. The battery mAh is 42% lower, and the circuitry and/or screen are less power efficient (50% by my estimate). The camera heats up noticeably during use. I am looking for a better aftermarket battery.
2) No cradle. Pulling batteries out to recharge, and draining the battery during photo uploading compounds the pain of short battery life.

Points of parity: 5MP with 3x zoom seems to be the sweet spot for pocket cameras. Both have a great assortment of automation features to help the novice take better photos. Both have a 2.5” LCD, which is essential in a pocket camera, IMHO. The viewfinder is an anachronism in cameras this size, and the much smaller area 2” screen (e.g., Canon SD400) is a pain as a viewfinder. When the Canon gets a 2.5” screen, it will be enticing with a 3cm macro and 2x the video resolution.

Neil Austin, Glyn1, and 3 other people added this photo to their favorites.

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  1. complexify. 110 months ago | reply

    I'll third the congrats on the camera, as I know how much fun the arrival of a new toy is! I'll be interested to see how the image stabilizer performs, as I know you'll put it to good use. :)

    I love the portability of pocketable cameras, but I'm sometimes tempted to switch to something like the Canon S1 IS with a larger, image-stabilized lens. Something like the FX-77 might be a good compromise. Or maybe I'll just try to hold the camera more steadily...

    But in any case, will you be disassembling the Z55 for us to see? ;)

  2. Nell M 110 months ago | reply

    Congrats! Hope you bought a case for it ;)

    My camera has no viewfinder, just a big LCD too, and I find it more comfortable. I have used my camera to peek in places I can't reach, like the highest part of my closet. Heh.

    So how many cameras did you use for this photo? 3?

  3. jurvetson 110 months ago | reply

    Nell: I love that exploration. Yes, 3 cameras for this shot, two of which can be seen.

    complexify: disassembly will come a bit later... With a broken LCD, I've been using it as the "rugged camera", for mountain biking or lending to people with small purses. =)

    I can use the viewfinder or go "shooting blind" (that's how I took the picture of the birds).

  4. JKaljundi 110 months ago | reply

    Having a Panasonic GS400 3CCD video camera for underwater gear I can say they are just great, including the Leica lenses and OIS.

    The FX7 as I have read from reviews is also very good, although many complain about the batteries.

  5. Keri Leaman (birderkeri) 110 months ago | reply

    *scratching head*

    I'll have to read that again to see if it makes any more sense.

    Probably not.

    Heh heh.

  6. zenera 110 months ago | reply

    Super!! Leica is Leica, the best, it looks really chic too...did it come with a handbag? the photos you took with it are terrific

  7. complexify. 110 months ago | reply

    Jurvetson: glad the camera's still functional despite the damage of the tight purse. no hurry on the disassembly. we'll wait patiently. ;)

    The photo of the birds is all the more remarkable for being shot blind. The lack of a (working) display must bring back a bit of the "I hope it came out ok" anticipation of film cameras (even if "developing" only takes a few seconds in the cradle!). :)

  8. lotusutol 110 months ago | reply

    i saw the thumb and knew imeddiately what camera it was... mine! though mine's silver... =)

  9. lotusutol 110 months ago | reply

    to circumvent the battery issue i have 2 batteries, and i upload photos from my camera via a cardreader.

  10. scrame [deleted] 110 months ago | reply

    Have you tried Sony Cybershot DSC-T7 yet? I think that they will be great. (They are tiny 5MP cameras with 3x optical zoom, that apparently does OK video that are only limited by size of memory card).
    "A magnifying glass mode allows macro shooting up to 1cm from the object"
    Released in may.

  11. The Rocketeer 110 months ago | reply

    Steve, let me know what you think of this camera after you've had a chance to play with it awhile. I would like to get an upgraded camera to carry with me everywhere I go.

  12. _sarchi 110 months ago | reply

    Great review - this is warewereat hope to see further artics..thanks

    ..have you seen the latest flash cards only in sd format [WITH USB PLUG BUILT-IN]

  13. JKaljundi 110 months ago | reply

    setre: Sony Cybershot picture and color quality has been awful and I doubt if the new one will be better. You must make some sacrifises for the small form factor, and at such size and placement of a lens (and sensor) it is hard to get good quality out of it, even although it is a Carl Zeiss.

  14. scrame [deleted] 110 months ago | reply

    jkaljundi: Thanks! Your comment made me spend a few hours investigating further, it led to me cancelling a pre-order on the T7 and ending up with a SD400. I would have chosen the FX-7 (because of the stabilization and LCD) if it had better video support.

  15. jurvetson 109 months ago | reply

    Setre: I have seen similar problems with the Sony line. For the T7, a f3.5 aperature should make for blurry indoor shots. (That's where the Casio, at f2.6, shines)

    Let me know how the SD400 works, especially the 3cm macro zoom! It is thiner than the Lumix and Casio and has the best video resolution. When Canon gets a 2.5" LCD, I want to give it a try.

  16. _sarchi 109 months ago | reply

    ..that USB thing is here and some of my post is now broke, but has other-links..

  17. TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ 95 months ago | reply

    My brother got one of these yesterday! So today he came home and we performed live the Casio vs Lumix duel you wrote down here. :D

    *grin*

    ...hey, do you really think that this is more stylish that the Casio? No way! ...Oh wait... you were comparing it to the Casio Z5, not the exilim... OK, could be...

    For all other things... I dare say that I don´t understand a thing on technical aspects, but it is a nice cam the lumix. Yet it was some details I dislike, i.e. the menu and other info display on the screen... too big, too "noisy", don´t like the fonts used, neither the contrast: font color vs. background color. Bad taste on that. Casio´s display is nice(r)...

    Oh, and, it seems that the black panels of the lumix are made of plastic, while those of casio are of metal. Not sure of this... but really looks like that. -well, this could be the reason for the lighter weight-.

    Ok, hope my brother doesn´t read this... heheh... oh but I sent him the link, yikes!

    :-P

  18. TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ 95 months ago | reply

    voilá!

    bro's lumix

    (photo taken with a Casio Exilim S500)

  19. Ziaudeen 90 months ago | reply

    Just bought one (FX50) (25Nov06) model in Hong Kong. Superb camera. my 1st camera was Ricoh, 2nd was Sony and now the third is LIMUX. Complete satisfaction,

  20. Alex Merenkov photography 83 months ago | reply

    more like mega optical shitalization ive yet to see a camera that actually has image stabilization and by that i mean i can shake the crap out of the camera when im taking the shot and it will come out perfectly clear thats called image stabilization you know what i mean

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