• Price: 323

  • Company: Casio

  • Pros: Great screen, intelligent layout, and sturdy build. Plenty of handy scene-based presets, including high-sensitivity mode

  • Cons: Noisy images at ISO 400 and above. Expensive.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

If you thought the megapixel war between camera makers was over, you’ll be surprised to learn of Casio’s 10.1-megapixel EX-Z1000. Fortunately, there’s more to this pocket-camera than the number of photo-diodes.

It’s not the first to sport a 16:9 widescreen 2.8-inch LCD. However, it puts the oversized display to intelligent use. The screen permanently displays icons for the most-used features – such as ISO values, exposure compensation, and flash – on a panel down the right-hand side.

You can use the Z1000’s traditional menu system if you prefer, but the screen-based icon system is clearer and quicker to use, and you can see at a glance what settings are selected. The camera can perform super-fast scrolling during playback, too – an addictive feature that can come in handy when searching through your shots.

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Like other Casio models, the quality of the build is admirable, and it’s versatile for such a slim camera. You can manually change metering patterns, focus area, and white balance presets, and there’s even simple WB custom option that just takes a second to adjust. 
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There are 37 scene-based modes, termed Best Shot by Casio. Features include a few oddities such as voice recording, and a couple of shooting modes optimized for business cards and white boards. A high-sensitivity option that’ll peak at ISO 3200 is more useful, and there’s a backlight mode that fires a burst of flash to fill-in. 
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It all works well, though the faux image stabilization feature hikes ISO values to suit. Naturally, noise becomes an issue in low-light – our test shots were heavily speckled, and not just in areas of shadow. Outdoors, with low ISOs, there are no complaints.
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Metering accuracy is good, the 3x optical zoom is sharp, and white balance is fine, except in low-light where an unexpected blue-tinge required adjustment. Otherwise, image quality was impressive for a point-&-shoot. At around £400, you shouldn’t expect any less.
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