• Price: 255

  • Company: Casio

  • Pros: Tiny & good-looking. Easy-to-use menu system. Antishake system.

  • Cons: Precise zooming difficult. Lack of sharp detail. Noise is obvious. Limited aperture range. No media provided.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 6 out of 10 We rate this 6 out of 10

Casio’s 5.1-megapixel EX-S500 may be one of the thinnest zoom lens-equipped digital cameras you can buy. It’s diddy at just 1.5cm front to back with its 3x zoom lens retracted – guaranteed to garner admiring and envious looks.

The size also makes the S500 small enough to take with you almost anywhere, although you do have to question its ease of use, as you couldn’t label it ergonomic.

The 2.2-inch LCD is slightly smaller than the 2.5-inch displays found on some competing models of comparable size, but it’s perfectly adequate for composing shots or sharing snaps with friends. The EX-S500’s small size and large LCD does mean that you’ll have to forgo the luxury of an optical viewfinder.

The EX-S500 starts up in less than two seconds and has minimal shutter lag.

 border=0 />At first glance, its stylish controls suggest a victory of form over function. But though the buttons are tiny, they are surprisingly simple to use. Menus are easy to navigate, too, and that’s a good thing, since almost all of this camera’s controls – including macro, self-timer, and white balance – reside in them.
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You can, however, set the right and left keys on the four-way thumb pad to launch your most frequently used controls, such as exposure value (the default), focus, ISO, self-timer, or white balance.
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Casio includes 29 scene modes for you to choose from when you press the dedicated Best Shot button. Each is illustrated with a sample image and a short description.
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An antishake feature helps keep shots sharp for long exposures or in low-light conditions. You can adjust settings for sharpness, saturation, and contrast, as well as flash intensity. A small window onto your current subject immediately displays the effects of menu settings.
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On the negative side, although the S500 includes an SD Card slot, it doesn’t come with media; the paltry 8.3MB of internal memory is enough for only two shots at the camera’s highest quality setting.
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I had some difficulty zooming precisely, and the instant review of each shot is so fleeting that you barely have time for a glance before it disappears. 
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In our formal testing, the S500 earned average scores for exposure and colour accuracy. The details in our resolution test, however, were noticeably less sharp than for other recently tested 5mp cameras.
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There was also a significant amount of noise (or speckling) in solid colours. The camera’s limited aperture range made it harder to capture composite shots with both the near foreground and distant background in focus. 
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Specifications:
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<b>CCD effective resolution:</b> 5mp<BR>
<b>Maximum output size:</b> 2,560-x-1,920<BR>
<b>Lens zoom:</b> 3x<BR>
<b>Lens 35mm equivalence:</b> 38-114mm<BR>
<b>Maximum aperture:</b> f2.7<BR>
<b>ISO sensitivity:</b> 50-400<BR>
<b>Storage media:</b> SD card<BR>
<b>Monitor size:</b> 2.2 inches<BR>
<b>External Flash:</b> none<BR>
<b>Accessory lenses:</b> no<BR>
<b>Weight:</b> 115g
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