Casio EX-V8 Review

 
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Casio EX-V8 Exposure


Color

Saturation & Hue Accuracy
Very good overall color and hue accuracy, with minor oversaturation of some colors.

In the diagram above, the squares show the original color, and the circles show the color that the camera captured. More saturated colors are located towards the periphery of the graph. Hue changes as you travel around the center. Thus, hue-accurate, highly saturated colors appear as lines radiating from the center.

Saturation. The Casio Exilim EX-V8 produces nearly accurate saturation, avoiding the common oversaturation of strong reds. Blue tones are pushed just a little, however. Some consumers who prefer more vivid color may find the EX-V8's color a little flat at the default saturation setting, though the camera does offer an adjustable saturation control to boost vibrancy. Most consumer digital cameras produce color that's more highly saturated (more intense) than found in the original subjects. This is simply because most people like their color a bit brighter than life.

Skin tones. The EX-V8 produced slightly pinkish skin tones, though overall results here were still within acceptable limits. Where oversaturation is most problematic is on Caucasian skin tones, as it's very easy for these "memory colors" to be seen as too bright, too pink, too yellow, etc.

Hue. The Casio EX-V8 showed a few color shifts relative to the correct mathematical translation of colors in its subjects, the strongest being a heavy push of cyan toward blue, resulting in piercing blue skies. Reds shifted toward orange and greens toward cyan a little, but overall color still looked pretty good and natural. Hue is "what color" the color is.


See full set of test images with explanations
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images

Sensor

Exposure and White Balance

Indoors, incandescent lighting
Very warm color with the Auto and Incandescent white balances, but more accurate color with Manual white balance. About average positive exposure compensation required, though exposure is on the bright side.

Auto White Balance
+1.0 EV
Incandescent White Balance
+1.0 EV
Manual White Balance
+1.0 EV

Color balance indoors under incandescent lighting was quite warm with both the Auto and Incandescent white balance modes, with strong orange-pink casts. The Manual option produced more accurate results, though it too had some pinkish tints in the highlights and in the skin tones. Though the overall exposure is a little bright with very strong highlights, I preferred the shot at +1.0 EV overall, as the image at +0.7 EV was just a little too dim. Overall color with the Manual white balance setting is nearly accurate, though the blue flowers are quite dark and purplish. (Many digital cameras reproduce these flowers with a dark, purplish tint, so the Casio EX-V8 definitely struggled here.) Our test lighting for this shot is a mixture of 60 and 100 watt household incandescent bulbs, a pretty yellow light source, but a very common one in typical home settings here in the U.S.

 

Outdoors, daylight
Good, if slightly dark, color, and pretty good overall exposure, despite high contrast.

Auto White Balance,
+0.3 EV
Auto White Balance,
Auto Exposure

Outdoors, the Casio Exilim EX-V8 performed fairly well under the very harsh lighting, though contrast is high. Highlights are very bright, with lost detail. The strong shadows show almost no detail in their darkest points, and what detail is present is quite soft. Definitely take advantage of the EX-V8's adjustable contrast setting in situations like this. Color is pretty good, though just a little dark, with vibrant greens and blue sky. Reds appear a little undersaturated in the house shot, and slightly orangish.

See full set of test images with explanations
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images

Resolution
Moderately high resolution, 1,200 lines of strong detail.

Strong detail to
1,200 lines horizontal
Strong detail to
1,200 lines vertical

Our laboratory resolution chart revealed sharp, distinct line patterns only down to about 1,200 lines per picture height in both directions, with extinction at about 1,700 lines. Use these numbers to compare with other cameras of similar resolution, or use them to see just what higher resolution can mean in terms of potential detail.

See full set of test images with explanations
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images

Sharpness & Detail
Fairly sharp images overall, with only minor edge-enhancement on high-contrast subjects. Noise suppression limits detail in the shadows.

Definition of high-contrast
elements is limited by
noise suppression and there's
evidence of minor
edge enhancement.
Subtle detail: Hair
Noise suppression blurs
detail in areas of subtle contrast,
as in Marti's hair here.

Sharpness. The Casio Exilim EX-V8 captures good detail, though definition is negatively affected by noise suppression. Slight enhancement artifacts are visible on high-contrast subjects such as the crop above left. Edge enhancement creates the illusion of sharpness by enhancing colors and tones right at the edge of a rapid transition in color or tone.

Detail. The crop above right shows fairly high noise suppression, with darker areas of Marti's hair showing limited detail, where the individual strands are practically lost in smudgy color. Noise-suppression systems in digital cameras tend to flatten-out detail in areas of subtle contrast. The effects can often be seen in shots of human hair, where the individual strands are lost and an almost "watercolor" look appears.

ISO & Noise Performance
Low to moderate noise at the normal sensitivity settings, though a jump in noise with strong blurring at the higher settings.

ISO 50 ISO 100 ISO 200
 
ISO 400 ISO 800

Noise is moderate at the Casio Exilim EX-V8's lower sensitivity settings, though still a little higher than average at the lowest, ISO 50, setting. At ISO 400, noise levels jump up with strong blurring and less detail definition. At ISO 800, noise pixels dominate the image, affecting color, saturation, and detail very strongly.

Extremes: Sunlit and low light tests
Moderately high resolution with good overall detail, though very limited detail in the shadows and high contrast. Good low-light performance, capable of capturing bright images in near darkness.

Default Exposure +0.3 EV +0.7 EV

Sunlight. The Casio Exilim EX-V8 had some difficulty dealing with the deliberately harsh lighting in the test above, producing very high contrast with washed-out highlights and deep shadows. Detail is lost in the highlights of the white shirt, which border on being too bright. Shadow detail is very limited as well. The camera required less than average compensation to get proper exposure of skin tones, at +0.3 EV, but unfortunately blows the detail in the shirt, a clear indication of excessive contrast preventing capture of a good sunlit image. Consider reducing the contrast setting with the EX-V8, and be sure to use fill flash in situations like the one shown above; it's better to shoot in the shade when possible.

Because digital cameras are more like slide film than negative film (in that they tend to have a more limited tonal range), we test them in the harshest situations to see how they handle scenes with bright highlights and dark shadows, as well as what kind of sensitivity they have in low light. The shot above is designed to mimic the very harsh, contrasty effect of direct noonday sunlight, a very tough challenge for most digital cameras. (You can read details of this test here.)




  1 fc
11 lux
1/2 fc
5.5 lux
1/4 fc
2.7 lux
1/8 fc
1.3 lux
1/16 fc
0.67 lux
ISO
50
Click to see EXV8LL0503.JPG
5 sec
f3.4
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10 sec
f3.4
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20 sec
f3.4
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30 sec
f3.4
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60 sec
f3.4
ISO
100
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2.5 sec
f3.4
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5 sec
f3.4
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10 sec
f3.4
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15 sec
f3.4
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30 sec
f3.4
ISO
200
Click to see EXV8LL2003.JPG
1.3 sec
f3.4
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2.5 sec
f3.4
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5 sec
f3.4
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8 sec
f3.4
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15 sec
f3.4
ISO
400
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0.6 sec
f3.4
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1.3 sec
f3.4
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2.5 sec
f3.4
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5 sec
f3.4
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8 sec
f3.4
ISO
800
Click to see EXV8LL8003.JPG
0.3 sec
f3.4
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0.6 sec
f3.4
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1.3 sec
f3.4
Click to see EXV8LL8006.JPG
2.5 sec
f3.4
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4 sec
f3.4

Low light. The Casio Exilim EX-V8 performed pretty well on the low-light test, capturing bright images at the lowest light level with the lowest sensitivity setting (ISO 50). Noise is high depending on the sensitivity level, but less obtrusive at ISO 50. Color balance was pretty good with the Auto white balance setting. The camera's autofocus system worked well also, as it was able to focus on the subject almost down to the 1/8 foot-candle light level unassisted, and down to the darkest light level with the AF assist enabled. Keep in mind that the longer shutter speeds here demand a tripod to prevent blurring. (A useful trick is to just prop the camera on a convenient surface, and use its self-timer to release the shutter. This avoids any jiggling from your finger pressing the shutter button, and can work quite well when you don't have a tripod handy.)

How bright is this? The one foot-candle light level that this test begins at roughly corresponds to the brightness of typical city street-lighting at night. Cameras performing well at that level should be able to snap good-looking photos of street-lit scenes.

NOTE: This low light test is conducted with a stationary subject, and the camera mounted on a sturdy tripod. Most digital cameras will fail miserably when faced with a moving subject in dim lighting. (For example, a child's ballet recital or a holiday pageant in a gymnasium.) For such applications, you may have better luck with a digital SLR camera, but even there, you'll likely need to set the focus manually. For information and reviews on digital SLRs, refer to our SLR review index page.

Flash

Coverage and Range
Limited flash range, not strong enough to match the camera's 7x optical zoom. Our standard shots required slightly lower than average exposure compensation, coverage was pretty uniform.

38mm equivalent 266mm equivalent
Normal Flash
+0.7 EV
Slow-Sync Flash
+0.7 EV

Flash coverage was slightly uneven at wide angle, with falloff in the corners and at the edges of the frame. At full telephoto, the target was too far away for the flash to illuminate it. In the Indoor test, the Casio EX-V8's flash underexposed our subject just a little at its default setting, requiring a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment to get reasonably bright results. Even here, the exposure is just a little dim. The camera's Slow-Sync flash mode produced more even results, but a slightly dimmer exposure at +0.7 EV, with a very slight warm cast from the background lighting. Actually, many cameras produce a very strong orange cast in Slow-Sync mode, so the EX-V8 performs well in this regard.

Flash Range: Wide Angle
6 ft 7 ft 8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft
Click to see EXV8FL06W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.4
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL07W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.4
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL08W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.4
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL09W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.4
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL10W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.4
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL11W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.4
ISO 100
12 ft 13 ft 14 ft 15 ft 16 ft
Click to see EXV8FL12W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.4
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL13W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.4
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL14W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.4
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL15W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.4
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL16W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.4
ISO 100

Flash Range: Telephoto
6 ft 7 ft 8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft
Click to see EXV8FL06T.JPG
1/60 sec
f5.3
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL07T.JPG
1/60 sec
f5.3
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL08T.JPG
1/60 sec
f5.3
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL09T.JPG
1/60 sec
f5.3
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL10T.JPG
1/60 sec
f5.3
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL11T.JPG
1/60 sec
f5.3
ISO 100
12 ft 13 ft 14 ft 15 ft 16 ft
Click to see EXV8FL12T.JPG
1/60 sec
f5.3
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL13T.JPG
1/60 sec
f5.3
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL14T.JPG
1/60 sec
f5.3
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL15T.JPG
1/60 sec
f5.3
ISO 100
Click to see EXV8FL16T.JPG
1/60 sec
f5.3
ISO 100

ISO 100 Range. At wide angle, flash shots at ISO 100 remained fairly bright out to a distance of about 8-9 feet, decreasing in brightness from that point on. At full telephoto and ISO 100, the target at 6 feet was dim, and flash power continued to decrease from there.


Manufacturer-Specified Flash Range
Wide Angle Telephoto
Click to see EXV8FL_MFR085WA0200.JPG
8.5 feet
Auto ISO 200
Click to see EXV8FL_MFR056TA0200.JPG
5.6 feet
Auto ISO 200

Manufacturer Specified Flash Test. In the wide angle shot above, the Exilim Hi-Zoom EX-V8 performs close to Casio's claims, producing a fairly good exposure at the rated distance with its ISO set to Auto (which selected ISO 200). At telephoto, results are also fairly good, though the camera again boosted ISO to 200. Our standard test method for flash range uses a fixed setting of ISO 100, to provide a fair basis of comparison between cameras. We've now also begun shooting two shots using the manufacturer-specified camera settings, at the range the company claims for the camera, to assess the validity of the specific claims.

Output Quality

Print Quality
Average print quality, good 11x14-inch prints at ISO 50; good 8x10s at ISO 100. ISO 400 shots good at 5x7, ISO 1,250 shots too soft at 4x6.

The Casio EX-V8's print quality fell victim to the camera's over-aggressive noise suppression. Still, ISO 50 shots are good at 11x14. Noise suppression shows its influence at ISO 100, with soft results at 11x14 that get better at 8x10. ISO 200 images require further reduction to 5x7 to keep image quality, and ISO 400 images are decent at 5x7, with slight oversaturation of colors starting to creep in. ISO 800 images are way too soft for 5x7-inch prints, and still displeasingly fuzzy at 4x6. ISO 1,250 images are just too soft even for 4x6-inch prints. Printed results from the Casio EX-V8 reveal that it's better to restrict your shooting to ISO 400 and below.

Testing hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell just so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we now routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon i9900 studio printer, and on the Canon iP5200 here in the office. (See the Canon i9900 review for details on that model.)

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Casio EXILIM Hi-Zoom EX-V8 Photo Gallery.

Recommended Software: Rescue your Photos!

Just as important as an extra memory card is a tool to rescue your images when one of your cards fails at some point in the future. We get a lot of email from readers who've lost photos due to a corrupted memory card. Memory card corruption can happen with any card type and any camera manufacturer, nobody's immune. A lot of "lost" images can be recovered with an inexpensive, easy to use piece of software though. Given the amount of email I've gotten on the topic, I now include this paragraph in all my digital camera reviews. The program you need is called PhotoRescue, by DataRescue SA. Read our review of it if you'd like, but download the program now, so you'll have it. It doesn't cost a penny until you need it, and even then it's only $29, with a money back guarantee. So download PhotoRescue for Windows or PhotoRescue for Mac while you're thinking of it. (While you're at it, download the PDF manual and quickstart guide as well.) Stash the file in a safe place and it'll be there when you need it. Trust me, needing this is not a matter of if, but when... PhotoRescue is about the best and easiest tool for recovering digital photos I've seen. (Disclosure: IR gets a small commission from sales of the product, but I'd highly recommend the program even if we didn't.) OK, now back to our regularly scheduled review...

Not sure which camera to buy? Let your eyes be the ultimate judge! Visit our Comparometer(tm) to compare images from the Casio EXILIM Hi-Zoom EX-V8 with those from other cameras you may be considering. The proof is in the pictures, so let your own eyes decide which you like best!

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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