2008 Photokina Tradeshow
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Casio's EXILIM Zoom EX-Z85 digital camera. Courtesy of Casio, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Casio: Three new EXILIM digicams
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 06:43 EDT)

Casio America Inc. has introduced three new digital camera models for its EXILIM Zoom series.

The Casio EXILIM Zoom EX-Z85 and Casio EXILIM Zoom EX-Z250 both sport 9.1 megapixel 1/2.5" CCD imagers, while the Casio EXILIM Zoom EX-Z300 boosts this to 10.1 megapixels from a 1/2.3" CCD. All three cameras have EXILIM-branded optical zoom lenses - a 3x zoom with a rather tight 38mm wide angle for the Casio Z85, while both the Casio Z250 and Casio Z300 sport 4x optical zooms with a useful 28mm wide angle. Both the Casio EX-Z250 and Casio EX-Z300 offer CCD shift-type mechanical image stabilization to help fight blur, while the Casio EX-Z85 saves a little cost by foregoing any form of mechanical stabilization.

Another area where the EX-Z85 helps keep the price down is its LCD, a 2.6"-type with 114,960 dots of resolution versus the larger and higher-res 3.0" 230,400 dot LCD display featured in both the EX-Z250 and EX-Z300. The Z85 isn't quite the lowest-spec of the three in all areas though - it includes 41.2MB of internal memory, versus 38.5MB in the Z250 and Z300. All three cameras supplement this with an SD card slot which is also compatible with SDHC, MMC, and MMCplus cards. All three cameras also use proprietary Lithium Ion batteries, with the Casio EXILIM Z85 yielding 240 shots off an NP-60 battery, the Casio EXILIM Z250 providing 300 shots from an NP-40 battery, and the Casio EXILIM Z300 capable of 280 shots off its NP-70 battery.

All three of Casio's new cameras will be available this October. The Casio EXILIM EX-Z85 will be the cheapest at around $180, with the Casio EXILIM EX-Z250 striking the middle ground at a $250 pricetag, and the Casio EXILIM EX-Z300 the highest-priced with a $300 MSRP.

For more details, browse the specifications, product photos, and press release below - then read our Casio Z85 preview, Casio Z250 preview and Casio Z300 preview.

Casio EXILIM Zoom EX-Z85
Casio's EXILIM Zoom EX-Z85 digital camera. Courtesy of Casio, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
General
Camera Type Ultra Compact
Manufacturer Casio
Model Number EX-Z85
Dimensions 3.5 x 2.0 x 0.7"
90.0 x 52.0 x 19.0mm
Weight 100.0 g
3.5 oz
Planned Price $179.99
Planned Availability Oct 2008
Image Capture
Sensor Type 1/2.5" CCD
9.30 megapixels (total)
9.10 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Aspect Ratio 4:3, 3:2
Image Dimensions 3456 x 2592 (9.0 megapixels)
3456 x 2304 (8.0 megapixels)
3456 x 1944 (6.7 megapixels)
3072 x 2304 (7.1 megapixels)
2304 x 1728 (4.0 megapixels)
1600 x 1200 (1.9 megapixels)
640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
Image Quality 3 levels
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder No
LCD 2.6", 114,960 pixels
Lens
Lens Type EXILIM Optical; 6 elements in 5 groups, including aspherical element
3x optical zoom
Focal Length 6.3 - 18.9mm (actual)
38 - 114mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/3.1 to 5.6 (wide) / f/5.9 to ?? (tele)
Focusing System Contrast detect with face detection; Spot, Multi or Tracking
Manual Focus possible (0) steps
Focusing Range Normal: 16" - infinity (40 cm - infinity)
Macro: 4.1" - 20" (10 cm - 50 cm)
Exposure
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
Shutter Speed 4 - 1/2000 second
Metering Modes Multi-pattern, center weighted, spot by imaging element
Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Overcast, Shade, Day white FL, Daylight FL, Tungsten, Manual, Manual
Internal Flash Modes: Auto, Flash Off, Flash On, Soft Flash, Red Eye Reduction
Range: Normal: Approx. 0.33’ to 8.53’ (W), approx. 1.97’ to 4.60’ (T)
Creative
Scene Modes 30 "Best Shot" scene modes
Digital Zoom Up to 4x
Self Timer Yes, 2 or 10 seconds
Movie Format MOV, H.264/AVC, AAC with audio
Storage
Recording Medium SD/MMC, Built-in
File System FAT16, FAT32, complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format JPEG (EXIF 2.2)
Connectivity
Video Yes, NTSC / PAL switchable
Computer USB 2.0 Full (LOW) Speed
Power
Battery Type Lithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary NP-60
Product Bundle
Software Casio CD-ROM
Battery / Charger 1 x Proprietary NP-60 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory 41.2MB Internal
Other
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mount Yes
Remote Control No
 



Casio EXILIM Zoom EX-Z250
Casio's EXILIM Zoom EX-Z250 digital camera. Courtesy of Casio, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
General
Camera Type Ultra Compact
Manufacturer Casio
Model Number EX-Z250
Dimensions 3.8 x 2.2 x 0.8"
97.0 x 57.0 x 20.0mm
Weight 119.0 g
4.2 oz
Planned Price $249.99
Planned Availability Oct 2008
Image Capture
Sensor Type 1/2.5" CCD
9.30 megapixels (total)
9.14 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Aspect Ratio 4:3, 3:2
Image Dimensions 3456 x 2592 (9.0 megapixels)
3456 x 2304 (8.0 megapixels)
3456 x 1944 (6.7 megapixels)
3072 x 2304 (7.1 megapixels)
2304 x 1728 (4.0 megapixels)
1600 x 1200 (1.9 megapixels)
640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
Capture Speed Continuous: 4.0 frames per second
Image Quality 3 levels
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder No
LCD 3.0", 230,400 pixels
Lens
Lens Type EXILIM Optical; 7 elements in 6 groups, including aspherical element
4x optical zoom
Image Stabilization Yes
Focal Length 4.7 - 18.6mm (actual)
28 - 112mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/2.6 to 7.7 (wide) / f/5.9 to ?? (tele)
Focusing System Contrast detect with face detection; Spot, Multi or Tracking
Manual Focus possible (0) steps
Focusing Range Normal: 16" - infinity (40 cm - infinity)
Macro: 2.0" - 20" (5 cm - 50 cm)
Exposure
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Shut er Speed 4 - 1/2000 second
Metering Modes Multi-pattern, center weighted, spot by imaging element
Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Overcast, Shade, Day white FL, Daylight FL, Tungsten, Manual, Manual
Internal Flash Modes: Auto, Flash Off, Flash On, Soft Flash, Red Eye Reduction
Range: Normal: approx. 0.49’ to 12.47’ (W), approx. 1.97’ to 5.58’ (T)
Creative
Scene Modes 37 "Best Shot" scene modes
Digital Zoom Up to 4x
Self Timer Yes, 2 or 10 seconds
Movie Format MOV, H.264/AVC, AAC with audio
Storage
Recording Medium SD/MMC, Built-in
File System FAT16, FAT32, complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format JPEG (EXIF 2.2)
Connectivity
Video Yes, NTSC / PAL switchable
Computer USB 2.0 Full (LOW) Speed
Power
Battery Type Lithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary NP-70
Product Bundle
Software Casio CD-ROM
Battery / Charger 1 x Proprietary NP-70 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory 38.5MB Internal
Other
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mo nt Yes
Remote Control No
More Photos
Casio's EXILIM Zoom EX-Z250 digital camera. Courtesy of Casio, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
 

Casio EXILIM Zoom EX-Z300
Casio's EXILIM Zoom EX-Z300 digital camera. Courtesy of Casio, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
General
Camera Type Ultra Compact
Manufacturer Casio
Model Number EX-Z300
Dimensions 3.8 x 2.3 x 0.9"
97.0 x 58.0 x 23.0mm
Weight 131.0 g
4.6 oz
Planned Price $299.99
Planned Availability Oct 2008
Image Capture
Sensor Type 1/2.3" CCD
10.34 megapixels (total)
10.10 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Aspect Ratio 4:3, 3:2
Image Dimensions 3648 x 2736 (10.0 megapixels)
3648 x 2432 (8.9 megapixels)
3648 x 2048 (7.5 megapixels)
3072 x 2304 (7.1 megapixels)
2304 x 1728 (4.0 megapixels)
1600 x 1200 (1.9 megapixels)
640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
Capture Speed Continuous: 4.0 frames per second
Image Quality 3 levels
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder No
LCD 3.0", 230,400 pixels
Lens
Lens Type EXILIM Optical; 7 elements in 6 groups, including aspherical element
4x optical zoom
Image Stabilization Yes
Focal Length 4.9 - 19.6mm (actual)
28 - 112mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/2.6 to 7.0 (wide) / f/5.8 to ??? (tele)
Focusing System Contrast detect with face detection; Spot, Multi or Tracking with AF assist lamp
Manual Focus possible (0) steps
Focusing Range Normal: 16" - infinity (40 cm - infinity)
Macro: 4.1" - 20" (10 cm - 50 cm)
Exposure
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Shutter Speed 4 - 1/2000 second
Metering Modes Multi-pattern, center weighted, spot by imaging element
Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Overcast, Shade, Day white FL, Daylight FL, Tungsten, Manual, Manual
Internal Flash Modes: Auto, Flash Off, Flash On, Soft Flash, Red Eye Reduction
Range: Normal: approx. 0.67’ to 14.76’ (W), approx. 1.64’ to 6.56’ (T)
Creative
Scene Modes 38 "Best Shot" scene modes
Digital Zoom Up to 4x
Self Timer Yes, 2 or 10 seconds
Movie Format MOV, H.264/AVC, AAC with audio
Storage
Recording Medium SD/MMC, Built-in
File System FAT16, FAT32, complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format JPEG (EXIF 2.2)
Connectivity
Video Yes, NTSC / PAL switchable
Computer USB 2.0 High Speed
Power
Battery Type Lithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary NP-40
Product Bundle
Software Casio CD-ROM
Battery / Charger 1 x Proprietary NP-40 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory 38.5MB Internal
Other
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mount Yes
Remote Control No
More Photos
Casio's EXILIM Zoom EX-Z300 digital camera. Courtesy of Casio, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
 

Original Source Press Release:

CASIO RELEASES THREE NEW EXILIM DIGITAL CAMERAS

EX-Z300 and EX-Z250 Features New Imaging Engine for Superb Photography; EX-Z85, a Stylish New 9.1 Megapixel Camera

DOVER, NJ, AUGUST 20, 2008 - Casio America, Inc., in conjunction with it’s parent company, Casio Computer Co., Ltd. today announced the release of three new high-profile additions to its EXILIM family of digital cameras. The 10.1 effective megapixel EXILIM Zoom EX-Z300 and the 9.1 effective megapixel EXILIM Zoom EX-Z250 both deliver beautiful high resolution images and outstanding functionality made possible by a new Casio imaging engine for high speed image processing. The 9.1 effective megapixel EXILIM Zoom EX-Z85 camera features a stylish design and is packed with the kind of innovative features users have come to expect from Casio.

EX-Z300 and EX-Z250 combine high resolution and high speed image processing to produce beautiful photos of people and night scenes
Thanks to Casio’s new EXILIM Engine 3.0*, these two cameras produce beautiful image quality with low noise and moiré. Both are high resolution models, boasting excellent resolving power and offering precise, smooth rendering of images. The image processing speed and power of Casio’s new engine make possible entirely new functions that deliver fantastic photos of people’s faces, night scenes and other subjects that have challenged photographers for years. These cameras automatically detect and correct for difficult situations, such as night scene photography where camera shake could be a problem, or backlit subjects where faces often come out too dark. This all means that users get great, well-balanced photos of family and friends against any background with no more worry than it takes to press the shutter button.
* EXILIM Engine 3.0: This is an image processing module that packages a new, dedicated high speed image processing CPU (central processing unit) with the high performance CPU used to date. Digital cameras are constantly developing and evolving new levels of “beautiful imagery” and “convenient shooting functions.” This new module quickly processes complex images, making it possible for customers to shoot and view wonderful photos with simplicity and ease.

These cameras also feature a Makeup function that creates beautiful photographs of people’s faces: high end image processing can smooth skin and soften facial shadows caused by sunlight. The photographer gets to choose to apply such image processing at one of twelve levels, from weak through strong, and can shoot while checking the results of the effects in the LCD monitor. At last, a camera that brings out all the beauty of the human face, creating images worthy of holding onto for a lifetime.

EXILIM Zoom EX-Z85 — 9.1 effective megapixel camera with stylish design
The EX-Z85 comes with a Face Recognition function that can detect the presence of up to 10 people’s faces and then give priority to the faces of pre-registered people for correct focus and exposure, and an Auto Shutter function, which automatically takes a photo the instant camera shake ceases, as well as a Movie button that lets users easily record widescreen movies. The design of the focus frame and the color of the menu screen can be customized in accordance with each user’s wishes.  The EX-Z85 delivers high performance with a compact, stylish look.

“We are proud to welcome three new additions to the EXILIM family of sleek and attractive digital cameras,” said Bill Heuer, Vice President of Casio’s Digital Imaging Division. “The new EXILIM engine for high speed image processing takes these point-and-shoot digital cameras to a new level of functionality.”

The three new cameras will be available at retail in October in the following colors:  The EX-Z300, MSRP $299.99, will be available in silver, black and pink; the EX-Z250, MSRP $249.99 will be available in silver and black and the EX-Z85, MSRP $179.99, will be available in brown and orange. 

More details on the powerful features of the three new cameras are provided on the following pages.

EXILIM Zoom EX-Z300 and EX-Z250 — Two high quality digital cameras with excellent functionality that allows users to take beautiful pictures of people’s faces and night scenes

One model with 10.1 effective megapixels and the other with 9.1 effective megapixels
The two new cameras are the 10.1 effective megapixel EX-Z300 and the 9.1 effective megapixel EX-Z250. Thanks to Casios original image processing technologies, these cameras achieve an extremely precise, smooth rendering of high-resolution images, reducing a great deal of noise in pictures taken at high sensitivity levels. This is the result of Casios pursuit of the beautiful image quality that users expect from cameras with very high resolution.

28mm wide angle, 4X optical zoom lenses
These lenses zoom from 28mm to 112mm (35mm film camera equivalent). Users can enjoy a wide range of shooting options, from wide angle photography that is convenient when shooting large objects or many people in a small space, to telephoto shooting which brings distant subjects close.

New functions that take advantage of the high speed image processing of Casios newly developed EXILIM Engine 3.0:

Handheld night scene: The cameras can automatically detect night situations where there would normally be camera shake if a tripod wasnt used. Users get clear, bright photographs of both people and night scenes as the camera compensates for camera shake.

Lighting function: When blue skies are washed out, or when faces are dark because subjects have their backs to the light, these cameras are able to automatically detect such situations and select just the right balance between light and dark. Washed out and overly dark areas are controlled, allowing for a natural tonal range to be reproduced, so both people and backgrounds are evenly exposed.

Makeup function: When users want to smooth facial skin, or reduce the depth of facial shadows in sunlight, etc., they can apply image processing from a relatively low level 1 right through to a high level 12, all the while checking the effect of the processing level chosen in the LCD monitor. The higher-end model EX-Z300 also has a “Makeup button” that allows effects to be applied with one touch.

Multi-motion: Just as if multi-exposure had been used, the EX-Z300 (only) can take a series of shots of a moving subject and combine them in a single photo (image size must be set to 3 megapixels.)

CCD shift stabilization
Camera shake is compensated for by the mechanical movement of the imaging element in the camera. Of course, both cameras also incorporate Anti Shake DSP, which reduces photo blur due to moving subjects by raising the camera’s sensitivity and allowing faster shutter speeds.

EX-Z300 comes with HD Movie function, which enables high definition (1280x720 pixel) movie recording
The EX-Z300 comes equipped with a high definition movie recording function, which allows beautiful movies with an image size of 1280 by 720 pixels to be recorded with just a push of the Movie button. They also feature the H.264 video standard, which records beautiful, high quality movies in highly compressed video files.

iTunes-compatible H.264 video
Both cameras use the H.264 video standard, which utilizes the AAC audio codec widely used in Apple’s iPod and other mobile devices.

Large, high definition 230,000 pixel 3.0 inch LCD monitor
These cameras use a large, clear 3.0 inch LCD monitor. The high contrast screen produces sharp, bright images that can be viewed easily from any angle, and the monitor’s high brightness means that it can be easily viewed even when the surrounding light is bright.

EXILIM Zoom EX-Z85 — Stylish 9.1 effective megapixel digital camera

Compact 9.1 effective megapixel camera with 3X optical zoom
This high performing model with 9.1 million effective pixels takes high definition photographs. It features a stylish design contained within a compact size. Body measurements for the EX-Z85 are 3.53” wide by 2.04” high by .75” thick.

EX-Z85 features focus frames and menu screens that can be customized according to users’ preferences

Focus frames: In addition to the usual rectangular focus frame that is indicated on the LCD monitor, users can choose from frame designs featuring a heart shape or a butterfly, for example. When the scene is properly focused, a clear heart shape is displayed, and when the scene is out of focus the heart shape breaks up. This makes it easy to see when the picture is in focus, and users will enjoy it, too.

Menu screens: Users can choose their preferred option from six different colors (black, chocolate, cinnamon, rose, sky blue and olive) as the color for the menu screens.

Auto Shutter function on the EX-Z85 shoots automatically when the subject smiles or when there is no blur
Using blur detection technology, the EX-Z85 can automatically take a photo the instant that hand shake or subject movement stops, even without the need to push the shutter button. This reduces photo blur caused by the movement involved in pressing the shutter. The camera will also automatically release the shutter at the moment of a smile or the moment subject blur ceases in a panning shot. A shot can also be taken the moment the user’s face fills the frame when taking a self-portrait.

EX-Z85 records video in iTunes-compatible H.264 video standard
The camera uses the H.264 video standard, which utilizes the AAC audio codec widely enjoyed in Apple’s iPod and other mobile devices. It also enables recording of movies in an attractive wide-screen format. The camera also features a Movie Button that makes movie recording a snap.

EX-Z85 features automatic face recognition or face detection functions
The Face Recognition function in the EX-Z85 allows users to detect the presence of up to 10 people’s faces, and then, prior to shooting, the camera automatically recognizes the pre-registered face or faces that should be most clearly photographed, and gives those faces priority for correct focus and exposure.

Easy Mode makes it simple for beginners to operate the EX-Z85
The settings menu in the easy mode has been pared down to just three items — flash, self timer and image size — making it easy for even beginners to understand and use.

EX-Z85 features a 2.6 inch widescreen LCD
This camera comes with a highly visible 2.6 inch widescreen display. Information on camera settings is displayed in the “Control Panel” on the right hand edge of the screen, so settings can be changed quickly and easily.

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