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Jack of all trades

Finally, a general, all purpose aim and shoot camera that does a good job of capturing all special moments.

tech reviews Updated: Apr 20, 2010 18:52 IST
Sandeep Balachandran

Casio is known for making products that are rugged, compact and eye-catching. The Z90 that we have here might not be as eye-catching as other Casio cameras but in general, is quite an attractive piece. The Casio EX-Z90 is a compact little camera that comes with a brushed metal finish and weighs just about 121 g — which makes it extremely light to carry around. Moreover, it comes across as a very simple point and shoot camera that is aimed at consumers on a budget.

Form
For its diminutive size, the Z90 manages to accommodate a decent 2.7-inch LCD display, which works well without any panning issues but seems a little too reflective. The camera is fitted with a 35 mm lens.

A feature that we are beginning to see in most digital cameras now, including the Casio Z90, is the calendar mode. The interface of its calendar mode can be rated second to the Sony W380 — reviewed a month ago. However, the similarities end there. The overall interface of the camera is just average and takes time to get used to. The menu colour can be changed to any of the six predefined colours that are bright enough to blind you.

Interface
The camera has six operational buttons towards the rear along with a navigational pad. Unlike other conventional cameras, the Z90 comes with a dedicated record button for video. The “Set” button can also be used to quickly access and change settings via the menus found towards the right side of the screen.

The camera lets you choose from over 31 different modes. A few special modes that are worth mentioning are the Multi-motion image (recording multiple images to combine into a single image), ID photo (multiple images of many sizes) and dynamic photo.

The Z90 also features an Intelligent Auto mode that’s called the “Auto Best Shot” but isn’t without a few minor flaws. For instance, the camera had to be repositioned time and again for it to be set to Macro mode automatically.

Video
The Z90 also allows video to be recorded in 1280 x 760, which means that the camera supports HD recording. The major setback is the camera’s ability to record beyond 24 fps. So even though there is overall sharpness in the video, the playback suffers as there is a lot of lag when recording fast moving objects.

The Casio’s overall colour reproduction is acceptable for an entry level camera. The reds do appear a little oversaturated but on the whole, the camera does a good job of balancing the colours.

Overall sharpness and details can be much better as the picture appeared washed out at 100 per cent. There is also some noise with the image. However the image is quite usable when scaled down to 50 per cent.

Performance
The camera’s ISO performance wasn’t too good as the overall image looked grainy at almost all ISO levels. The camera’s night mode was a disappointment since most shots called for at least a two-second shutter speed.

That’s highly impractical considering that the camera will need to be held because you can’t carry a tripod wherever you go.Shooting in macro was a big disappointment since the minimum range that the camera called for was a good 4 cm. Now that’s really far for a macro shot! However, fringing was under control and the camera performed fine in well lit areas.