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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Casio Exilim EX-ZR20

Compact and fast
The Straits Times - March 7, 2012
By: Tan Chong Yaw
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Casio Exilim EX-ZR20

To say that compact cameras take snapshots is downright wrong. Most are nowhere near snappy. 'Slowshot' is a more apt label in many cases.

Casio has always been known for its zippy cameras. But with the ZR20, this conjurer of compacts has hoisted the bar even higher.

If I had not carried out the speed tests myself, I would not believe what this cute little thing is capable of. How little? It weighs little more than half a dozen AA alkaline batteries.

It can justifiably thumb its nose at many mirrorless cameras and even some DSLRs.

Five shots in sequence without calling on the burst mode took a sizzlingly average of less than 2.6seconds. This is faster than what you will find in mirrorless cameras.

But it was chickenfeed to the Casio. So I switched on the HDR mode, a software treatment, in which a single shot can choke much larger system cameras for a second or so. The ZR20 worked its guts out taking six to nine seconds to process the photo.

Ho hum, you say? There is a small but significant difference. Press the shutter button any time during the image crunching and this trooper is ready to shoot again with the same eagerness.

Bravo, Casio, for giving priority to the photographer instead of the 'Go away, can't you see I'm busy' signal that many other cameras would give when processing images.

Can every camera designer busily stuffing devices with fancy tricks please take note and put this high on your to-do list?

This is still a compact with an average sized sensor. The image quality is above average but does not match the camera's stellar speed.

The colours are tweaked for warmth and their vibrancy will surely please any compact camera user.

Casio pioneered the HDR Art mode. Colours are boosted to borderline psychedelic levels. Good fun, but the novelty may wear thin.

The hidden gem is its HDR mode. Colours are juiced up to be more lively but remain fairly natural.

Casio first featured slow-motion video four years ago, before others jumped in. The ZR20 still has the edge in the quality of such clips.

This would have been a DL Editor's Choice for its record speed and huge fun factor but for its high price tag.

HOT

  • Seriously speedy
  • Stuffed full of software tricks

NOT

  • Pricey

ABOUT THE PRODUCT

  • $499
  •  16.1 megapixels
  • 8x zoom, 25-200mm (35mm equivalent), f3.3-f5.9
  • 3-inch 460,800-dot LCD
  • 166g

 

 

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