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Casio EXILIM PRO EX-P600

6.0 megapixels, a Canon 4x zoom lens, and a host of features.

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EX-P600 Sample Images

Review First Posted: 07/30/2004

Digital Cameras - Casio Exilim Pro EX-P600 Test Images

 

I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for the test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISOsetting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all*that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested inthe information need wade through it!

 

Outdoor Portrait:

Excellent resolution and detail, but a tough tradeoff between contrast and saturation.

Low Contrast
Normal Contrast
The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why I set it up this way, and why I shoot it with no fill flash or reflector to open the shadows. The object is to hold both highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the Exilim Pro EX-P600 had a little trouble with the harsh lighting.

The shot at right was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, about average for this shot. I normally shoot this test with a camera's contrast adjustment set to the "low" position, if it has such an adjustment available. In the case of the P600 though, I felt that the low contrast option left the image a little flat-looking, and made the color too dull. (see the shot at right) On the other hand, with the contrast left at its default setting, I felt that the P600 lost too much highlight detail (the shot below right). I eventually chose the image shot with the low contrast setting for the main example here, but more consumer-oriented users would probably prefer the snappier-looking normal-contrast version.

Midtones are bright, though at the expense of some highlight detail. I chose the Auto white balance as the most accurate overall, though it wasn't much different from the Daylight setting. (The Manual setting was a bit warm.)

As noted, because I shot the main image with the P600's contrast adjustment set to "low," the overall saturation is low, with somewhat flat color and a vaguely washed-out look. (The camera's high saturation adjustment improves overall color though, see below.) Skin tones are somewhat pale and almost grayish, but the blue flowers in the bouquet are just about perfect. (Many digicams have trouble with this blue, typically producing strong purplish tints. However, the EX-P600 performs well here.) The strong reds and greens are quite subdued, but perk up with the higher saturation adjustment.

Resolution is really excellent here, with a lot of fine detail visible throughout the frame. There also seems to be relatively little loss of subtle detail to anti-noise processing. Shadow detail is high, but noise levels take a jump in the deepest shadows.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files P6OUTAP0.HTM through P6OUTAP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

Contrast Series:
These days, if a camera has a low-contrast option, I use it to shoot this test with, given how harsh the lighting is. Unfortunately, in the case of the P600, the contrast setting also impacts color saturation a fair bit (Ideally, a contrast adjustment wouldn't also affect color.) The series below shows the effect of the contrast adjustment, holding exposure constant between the shots.
Contrast Series
Low
Normal
High

Saturation Series:
The P600's color saturation adjustment seems to cover a very good range, and also seems to have only minimal impact on contrast and highlight detail. (In hindsight, the optimum setup for this test would have been to use low contrast and high saturation, but I don't get into that range of detail with cameras I test, given how little time the sun is at the right angle, and the relatively little sun we get here in Atlanta at that time of day.)

Saturation Series
Low
Normal
High



 

Closer Portrait:

Excellent resolution and detail, though again somewhat low saturation.

Overall results are similar to the wider shot above, flat color due to my use of the low-contrast option to help hold onto highlight detail. Midtones are bright, but as with the wider shot, at the expense of the highlights. The shot at right was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment. The EX-P600's 4x zoom lens helps prevent any geometric distortion of Marti's features, an important consideration in close-up portraits like this.

Resolution is outstanding, with sharp details in Marti's face and hair, and crisp edges on the greenery in the lower portion of the frame. Again, relatively little evidence of lost detail due to anti-noise processing. An excellent performance.

To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +1.0 EV, see files P6FACAM1.HTM through P6FACAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
Default Exposure
Night Portrait Flash
Default Exposure

Good intensity and coverage with the built-in flash, even at its default exposure setting, with good color as well.

The EX-P600's built-in flash illuminated the subject well at its default intensity setting, though color is just slightly washed-out overall. This is very unusual for this shot, as most cameras require a full +1.0 EV of exposure compensation to get their flash exposure up where it belongs for this subject. Color accuracy is also pretty good for a flash exposure. The camera's Night Portrait mode produced similar results, despite a slightly longer exposure. The exposure is just a hint brighter, with a slight orange cast on Marti's hair from the background incandescent lighting.

Normal Flash Exposure Series:

Intensity Settings
Low
Normal
High


Night Portrait Flash Exposure Series:

Intensity Settings
Low
Normal
High



 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance
Manual White Balance

Surprisingly good color with all three white balance settings.

This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability, given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs used for the lighting, but the EX-P600 did surprisingly sell with it. It was a bit of a toss-up for me, between the slightly cool look produced by the EX-P600's Manual white balance setting, and the slightly reddish cast of its Incandescent option gave the image. Both results were entirely acceptable, but I ended up going for the Incandescent result, as that image looked a bit more natural, more like the original scene. Notably though, even the Auto white balance option produced an acceptable (if slightly warm-toned) image, much better than most cameras I test seem to manage. The flower bouquet looks nearly accurate, though the blue flowers are just a bit dark with slight purple tints (to be expected, given the light source). Skin tones are a bit on the pale side, but still pretty good. The shot at right was taken with a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which made for slightly dark-looking images, but I felt that the results at +1.3 EV left Marti's shirt too blown-out looking.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.7 EV, see files P6INA/M/TP0.HTM through P6INA/M/TP5.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
ISO Series:
Image noise in these shots is almost non-existent at ISO 50, and barely visible in the blue channel at ISO 100. Going up from there, the P600 smoothly increases the anti-noise processing, trading off subject detail to keep noise levels under control. At ISO 400, while the noise is quite obvious, and the image fairly soft, the overall appearance is much better than I'd normally expect from a compact digicam with a 6 megapixel sensor.

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400



 

House Shot:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Excellent resolution and detail, though slightly warm color.

Though slightly warm, I chose the EX-P600's Daylight white balance setting as the most accurate overall here. The Auto setting resulted in a similar image, though with a hint more warmth. The Manual white balance produced good results, though the resulting image was too cool for my taste. Resolution is very high, and details are strong in the tree limbs above the roof, as well as in the front shrubbery and brick pattern. (The EX-P600's six-megapixel CCD stretches the limits of this poster as a test target, even though it was made from a 500MB scan of a 4x5 negative shot with a tack-sharp lens.) Details are slightly soft throughout the frame, and a little softer yet in the two left corners. It's important to note though, that the softness appears to be the result of conservative in-camera sharpening, rather than any optical limitation, since the images respond very well to unsharp masking in Photoshop(tm).




 

Far-Field Test

High resolution, slightly soft details respond well to unsharp masking. A slight overexposure makes it hard to determine dynamic range.

This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.

This is my ultimate "resolution shot," given the infinite range of detail in a natural scene like this, and the EX-P600 captures a lot of fine detail. Resolution is very high, and the tree limbs over the roof and fine foliage in front of the house both show strong detail. As we saw in the shot of the House Poster above, the image is slightly soft-looking, but responds very well to unsharp masking on the computer after the fact. There is some softness though, visible in all four corners of the frame, as well as evidence of flare, coma, and some chromatic aberration. None of these effects are worse than in most competing cameras though, so I don't count any of them as too strong a strike against the P600. A slight overexposure results in the camera losing all detail in the strong highlights around the bay window, but the shadow area above the front door shows good detail. Overall color looks very good, just a hint cool. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, sharpness, contrast, saturation, and color filter series.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
2,816 x 2,112
P6FAR2816F
P6FAR2816N
P6FAR2816E
2,048 x 1,536
P6FAR2048
-
1,600 x 1,200
P6FAR1600
-
1,280 x 960
P6FAR1280
-
640 x 480
P6FAR0640
-

ISO Series:
As we saw above, noise is almost invisible at ISO 50, increasing very gradually with increasing ISO. The P600's anti-noise processing seems to do a particularly good job of managing the noise without losing too much subject detail. The image at ISO 400 is again soft, but the noise appears to be surprisingly well under control as a result.

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400

Sharpness Series:
The P600's internal sharpening adjustments work quite well. As we've noted above, its default sharpness setting produces images that are a tad soft, but that respond very well to unsharp masking. The low sharpness setting extends that behavior yet a bit further, while the high sharpness option does a good job of making the image look crisper, without introducing too many objectionable artifacts. Overall, a very good job.

Sharpness Series
Soft
Normal
Sharp

Contrast Series:
The P600's contrast adjustment does a pretty good job overall, but does seem to affect the shadows a bit more than the highlights, and has the undesired side-effect of reducing color saturation along with contrast. (This is actually a natural consequence of cutting contrast, but some camera makers have managed to effectively decouple the two adjustments, making it easier to use both.)

Contrast Series
Low
Normal
High

Saturation Series:
The P600's color saturation adjustment is nice, providing relatively subtle steps between adjacent settings, but I'd really like to see twice as many steps of the same size, covering a little greater range. Still, a nice implementation.

Saturation Series
Low
Normal
High

Color Filter Series:
A wild and wacky set of color filters, really more of a gimmick than a useful photographic tool...

Color Filter Series
Black and White
Sepia
Red
Blue
Green
Yellow
Purple
Pink



 

Lens Zoom Range

A good 4x zoom range.

I routinely shoot this series of images to show the field of view for each camera, with the lens at full wide angle, at maximum telephoto (4x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The EX-P600's Canon lens is equivalent to a 33-132mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a fairly wide angle to a pretty good telephoto, a very useful range. Following are the results at each zoom setting.

Wide Angle
Telephoto
4x Digital Telephoto



 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Pretty accurate color with the Daylight white balance, very high resolution.

This shot is often a tough test for digicams, as the abundance of blue in the composition frequently tricks white balance systems into producing a warm color balance. The EX-P600's Daylight white balance setting did the best job here, as the Auto setting was much too warm, and the Manual setting a little too cool. Color at the Daylight setting looks pretty neutral, with a nearly accurate value in the blue robe, but saturation appears just a little low, to my eye. There's a trace of a purple tint in the robe's deep shadows, and a slight yellow cast to the white bird wings, but there's relatively little color cast overall. Resolution is very high, as the embroidery of the blue robe and red vest show great detail. (The original data file for this poster was only 20MB though, so cameras like the EX-P600 are definitely capable of showing more detail than the poster has in it.)



 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro Shot with Flash

A small macro area with good detail. Very good results with the flash as well.

The EX-P600 performed pretty well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of only 2.20 x 1.65 inches (56 x 42 millimeters). Resolution is very high, with excellent detail in the dollar bill, coins, and brooch. Details are soft in both the brooch and dollar bill, due to the limited depth of field this close, plus some corner softness as well. The image is slightly underexposed, and color balance is a bit warm, but results are still good. The EX-P600's flash throttles down pretty well for the macro area, though coverage is a little uneven.



 

"Davebox" Test Target
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Good overall exposure, good color, but slightly low saturation.

As the EX-P600's Auto and Daylight white balance settings were both a bit warm, I chose the Manual white balance for the main shot. Exposure is about right, just very slightly dark, and the camera distinguishes the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target without trouble. The large color blocks are slightly undersaturated overall, though the large additive primary color blocks (red, blue, and green) are fairly bright. Detail is limited in the shadow area of the charcoal briquettes, with a prominent noise pattern, but the camera does manage to distinguish between the bottom two swatches on the large gray scale, better than most cameras I test can manage. Overall, a very good performance, albeit with slightly understated color.

The results for the various series shown below are much the same as on the earlier targets, so I won't bother repeating my earlier comments here. - I still include these though, as the DaveBox gives readers interested in the camera's quantitative performance a good standardized target with standard colors and densities to work with.

ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400

Contrast Series:

Contrast Series
Low
Normal
High

Saturation Series:

Saturation Series
Low
Normal
High

Color Filter Series:

Color Filter Series
Black and White
Sepia
Red
Blue
Green
Yellow
Purple
Pink



 

Low-Light Tests

Good low-light performance overall. Autofocus system works well down to the lowest levels, except at ISO 50.

With a maximum exposure time of 60 seconds and maximum equivalent sensitivity setting of ISO 400, the EX-P600 has very good low-light shooting capabilities. The camera produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, at all four ISO settings. The color balance was slightly warm overall, with stronger warm casts at the lower exposures. Noise was low at the lower sensitivity settings, but crept up to a pretty high level at ISO 400, although "hot pixels" were virtually nonexistent at all exposure times and ISO levels. The camera's autofocus system worked well down to the lowest light levels, with the exception of the 1/16 foot-candle shot at ISO 50, which is blurry. (And, oddly, the 1/8 foot-candle shot at ISO 200, which really should have been OK. Even at that though, the P600's AF system does better at very low light levels than those of most cameras I test.) The table below shows the best exposure I was able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.

(Note: If you'd like to use a light meter to check light levels for subjects you might be interested in shooting, a light level of one foot-candle corresponds to a normal exposure of two seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 100.)

  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 P6LL0503.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see P6LL0504.JPG
5 sec
f2.8
Click to see P6LL0505.JPG
15 sec
f2.8
Click to see P6LL0506.JPG
15 sec
f2.8
Click to see P6LL0507.JPG
25 sec
f2.8
ISO
100
Click to see P6LL1003.JPG
1 sec
f2.8
Click to see P6LL1004.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see P6LL1005.JPG
5 sec
f2.8
Click to see P6LL1006.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see P6LL1007.JPG
15 sec
f2.8
ISO
200
Click to see P6LL2003.JPG
1/1 sec
f2.8
Click to see P6LL2004.JPG
1 sec
f2.8
Click to see P6LL2005.JPG
2.5 sec
f2.8
Click to see P6LL2006.JPG
4 sec
f2.8
Click to see P6LL2007.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
ISO
400
Click to see P6LL4003.JPG
1/3 sec
f2.8
Click to see P6LL4004.JPG
1/1 sec
f2.8
Click to see P6LL4005.JPG
1.3 sec
f2.8
Click to see P6LL4006.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see P6LL4007.JPG
3.2 sec
f2.8



 

Flash Range Test

A tendency to underexpose flash shots, with significant falloff at the furthest test distance.

In my testing, the EX-P600's flash underexposed the target even at the shortest distance of 8 feet, and its intensity decreased steadily from there. At 14 feet, flash power is very low. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.

8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see P6FLASH08.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.9
Click to see P6FLASH09.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.0
Click to see P6FLASH10.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.0
Click to see P6FLASH11.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.0
Click to see P6FLASH12.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.0
Click to see P6FLASH13.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.0
Click to see P6FLASH14.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.0



 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Very high resolution, 1,400 lines of "strong detail." Average barrel distortion, higher than average pincushion though.

The EX-P600 did very well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 800 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,400 lines, however. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,700 lines. (Some reviewers will doubtless rate the P600's resolution as higher than the 1,400 lines that I've assigned it, but I tend to be pretty conservative in this regard, feeling that it really isn't proper to rate a camera as resolving to a level at which the aliasing and other artifacts swamp the actual subject detail.)

Optical distortion on the EX-P600 is about average at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 0.8 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared only slightly better numerically, as I measured approximately 0.5 percent pincushion distortion, but that's quite a bit higher than average for pincushion distortion. Chromatic aberration is pretty low, showing about five or six pixels of fairly faint coloration on either side of the target lines, although there's more chromatic aberration at wide angle focal lengths than at telephoto ones. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) The images show relatively little softness in the corners, a failing I'm almost come to expect in digicam lenses. Overall, the P600's lens seems to be of fairly high quality.

Resolution Series, ~50mm equivalent focal length
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
2,816 x 2,112
P6RES2816F
P6RES2816N
P6RES2816E
2,048 x 1,536
P6RES2048
-
-
1,600 x 1,200
P6RES1600
-
-
1,280 x 960
P6RES1280
-
-
640 x 480
P6RES0640
-
-

Resolution Test, Wide Angle

2,816 x 2,112
(Fine, Wide Angle)
P6RESW

Resolution Test, Telephoto

2,816 x 2,112
(Fine, Tele)
P6REST

 

Sharpness Series
Sharpness Series
Soft
Normal
Sharp



 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

An accurate LCD monitor, but tight optical viewfinder.

The EX-P600's optical viewfinder is quite tight, showing only about 81 percent of the final image area at wide angle, and about 85 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor proved much more accurate though, showing about 99+ percent accuracy at both zoom settings. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the EX-P600's LCD monitor is essentially perfect in this regard, but I'd really like to see a more accurate optical viewfinder. Flash uniformity is better than average at wide angle, with just a little falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform, but with much lower intensity.



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<<Reference: Datasheet | Print-Friendly Review Version>>

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