Casio EXILIM EX-S600 Design

At 3.5 x 2.2 x 0.8 inches (89 x 57 x 21 millimeters), the Casio EX-S600 is one of the slimmest cameras I've tested. Though it doesn't have the nice wave-like ergonomics of the Nikon S5 and S6, the EX-S600 doesn't suffer from some of the design flaws I experienced with those models, namely accidentally getting my finger in the shot. Though it's made mostly of polycarbonate, the Casio EX-S600 has nice silver metal accents around the lens and across the faceplate including a solid metal fingergrip and raised metal lettering spelling out the EXILIM name. The metal accents are picked up in a silver band that runs across most of the top of the camera, and in the metal zoom rocker, multi-controller, and various buttons on the back.

The front of the Casio EX-S600 features the lens, flash, AF assist/self-timer lamp, and tiny microphone. A shutter-like, retractable lens cover protects the lens whenever the camera is powered off, sliding quickly out of the way when the camera is turned on. The lens then telescopes out from the camera body a bit less than an inch into its operating position. When powered off, the front of the camera is flat with only a small raised finger grip, so be sure to keep the wrist strap securely around your wrist when holding the camera.

The right side of the Casio EXILIM EX-S600 features only the wrist strap eyelet which juts out a bit obtrusively in the upper left corner.

The left side of the camera is smooth, slightly curved, and featureless.

The Casio EX-S600's top panel is a mostly flat, metal band, although a small ridge protrudes from the surface on the right side. The Shutter button is located on this ridge with the Power button next to it. The Power button is recessed flush with the surface to help prevent accidental activation when the camera is carried in a pocket.

The rest of the Casio EX-S600's controls are on the rear panel, along with a 2.2-inch LCD monitor. At the top of the panel (left to right) are a status LED lamp, and the Playback, Record, and Movie buttons, with the Zoom rocker button in the top right corner. A Multi-Controller rests in the lower right corner, with a Set button at its center. In addition to navigating menu screens, the Multi-Controller accesses a number of camera functions, depending on which arrow keys are pressed. The Menu and Best Shot mode buttons are between the Multi-Controller and the LCD monitor, with a tiny speaker located above the Menu button.

The Casio EX-S600's bottom panel is flat and smooth, featuring a metal-threaded tripod mount, the cradle connector jack, and the shared memory card and battery compartment. (Kudos to Casio for using metal for the tripod socket, rather than the more common plastic.) A sliding door protects the memory card and battery compartment, and slides out before opening. Inside, the battery and SD/MMC card slots line up side by side.


Casio EXILIM EX-S600 External Controls

Power Button: This tiny rectangular button, located on the top panel next to the Shutter button, turns the camera on or off.

Shutter Button: To the right of the Power button on top of the camera, this button sets focus and exposure when halfway pressed, and fires the shutter when fully pressed.

Playback Button: To the right of the Operation lamp, this button puts the camera into Playback mode. Through the camera's LCD menu, you can program this button (and the Record button) to also control the camera's power.

Record Button: Next to the Playback button, this button returns the camera to Record mode. As with the Playback button, this button can be programmed to control power as well.

Movie Button: Next to the Record button, this button will activate the movie mode and immediately begin recording a video clip.

Zoom Toggle Button: Located in the top right corner of the back panel, this button controls the optical and digital zoom in any record mode. In Playback mode, this button lets you zoom in on captured images, or select the index display mode to quickly scan the images stored in the camera's memory, nine at a time.

Menu Button: Sandwiched between the Multi-controller and the LCD monitor, this button activates the LCD menu display in Record and Playback modes. Pressing this button also cancels the menu display.

BS (Best Shot) Button: Pressing the Best Shot button in Record mode will bring you to a selection of 34 scene modes on three pages of screens. Scrolling from mode to mode and screen to screen is done with the arrow keys on the Multi-Controller. Choosing a Best Shot mode is confirmed by pressing the set button. Pressing either side of the zoom toggle button while in the Best Shot menu will bring up additional information about a particular scene mode.

Multi-Controller and Set Button: In the right corner of the camera's rear panel, this four-way rocker button features boxes indicating up, down, left, and right. In the center is the Set button, which confirms menu settings. In any settings menu, the four arrow keys navigate through menu options, highlighting selections.

In Record mode, the up arrow key cycles through the available LCD displays in each mode. Pressing it once displays the image with a full information display, while a second press adds the histogram to the display. A third press displays the image area only. In Playback mode, the first press displays limited image information, while a second press increases the information displayed and includes a histogram. A third press disables the information overlay and the histogram. The down arrow key on the Multi-Controller in Record mode cycles through the available flash modes, including Auto, Off, On, and Red-Eye Reduction.

In Playback mode, the right and left keys scroll through captured images. When an image has been enlarged, all four keys pan around within the view. When viewing images normally, the down arrow displays the delete menu, with options for deleting the current file or all files.


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