• 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. 
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. 
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.
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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