7.2 Megapixels In Your Pocket

When I think of Casio, I think mainly of the dorky calculator watches which kept all women a safe distance from me during my teenage years. “Kryptomack” watches are what we call them now.

So when I first heard about the Casio EX-Z750 digital camera, I naturally assumed it was some low-end throwaway device trying to fill the void between the VGA cameraphone and the high-end digital SLR.

Oh my was I wrong. Casio is back, baby. In a big way.

I picked up one of these babies for $379 about a week ago after reading reviews here, here, and here, and I have to say that in my opinion, this is the best all-around camera on the market. I won’t go over every single aspect of the camera since the reviews above are quite comprehensive in that regard, but allow me to spell out my top five raves:

  1. There is no perceptible shutter lag whatsoever. Official tests have it rated anywhere from 0.0017 seconds to 0.18 seconds, but in reality, it feels like zero. One of the major reasons a lot of people shy away from digital ultracompacts is that they can’t stand pushing the shutter button and having the camera take a second or so to actually take the shot, but this Casio is the first device to completely eliminate that issue. Other new cameras like the Canon SD500 are getting faster now too, but the Casio is the fastest.
  2. This camera is the size of an Altoids tin. My previous camera, the Pentax Optio S4, actually fit snugly inside of an Altoids tin, which was nice, but this one isn’t much bigger. Taking great photos these days is all about having a camera in the right place at the right time, and at this size, you really have no excuse not to have it with you at all times.
  3. Unlike most ultracompacts, the EX-Z750 allows you to enter shutter priority mode, aperture priority mode, or full manual mode. Want to keep the shutter open for 60 seconds? No problem. Although the F-stop range obviously isn’t quite as wide as a huge DSLR, it certainly offers almost as much overall configurability.
  4. This camera amazingly takes crystal-clear 640×480 MPEG4 video. At the highest quality setting, I can take 34 minutes of full-frame 29.97 fps video. At the next setting, about an hour. And at the lowest setting, over 3 hours! The quality is really quite shocking, as you’ll see from the sample video below. One of the coolest things about the video capabilities, however, is what people have been calling “Tivo-mode”. In this mode, I can keep pointing the camera for however long I wish and when I hit the shutter button, the camera begins recording from 5 seconds in the past. You can imagine how useful this is when you’re at an event and you want to catch the action but you’re not sure exactly when that may be. Why waste recording time when nothing is happening? Probably the only downside of the Casio’s movie recording capabilities is that the files come out as .avi files which you must then convert to QuickTime with something like ffmpegx. Or if you use a PC, you probably don’t care.
  5. Interface, interface, interface. This is the easiest-to-use camera I’ve ever operated.

Talk is cheap, so I’ll close with a photo sample and a video sample, taken yesterday on a bike ride to Pike Place Market. Pardon the shaky hands on the video please… I just had a mocha and was holding the camera with one hand.


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View Quicktime (10MB)
View AVI (21MB)

UPDATE: The AVI video codec which allows for native playback in Quicktime is now out! Download it here and throw it into your /Library/Quicktime/ folder.
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495 Responses:

  1. Jud says:

    Hi James and Tracy,

    James, would ahve responded earlier, but never received notice of your reply.

    Tracy, I did recieve notice of your post and thus checked in and read both, and I thank you both!

    I am a bit cautious now, which is a shame as eithre of these cameras really take me back to what I used to enjoy most about shooting- the candid shot and always aremed and ready! Old Kodak Pocket 40! Loved that camera! Then I got an SLR and it was a major production to take a picture.

    The feature I most liked about the Casio, from actually using it at one pint courtesy fo a stranger in the crowd, was the absence of lag time between pushing that shutter button and the pciutre being done- none! And it was night! Not sure if the Cannon has the same great improvement in this over my current Olympus super zoom, which I love, but the lag time! Oye!

    :)

    Jud

  2. Sam says:

    I gave back my Z-850 for a full refund 3 months after I bought it (I had a three months refund guarantee, regardless of whether I used it or not). I just could no longer be bothered with the problems (narrow field in the video, picture res crap when you cropping/zooming). Real shame, I really, really liked the camera otherwise.

    Will be looking for a new one soon. If Casio came up with a revised model which sorted these problems out, with great video, I would definitely buy it.

  3. nick says:

    welllll…I’ve had my z750 since first reading mike’s positive reviw. i’ve loved it dearly. until now, now that the screen busted. And i’;ve always had the damn lens error prob, and….

  4. David Sokolic says:

    I have had the EX-Z750 for a few months. When I take still shots it works well when outside. When I shoot inside in low light or when subjects move the photos are very very blurry. Not the great quality that others report. I keep thinking perhaps there is something wrong with my unit. Do others experience this? Should I try to get it repaired before the warranty runs out??
    — David

  5. Sam says:

    I’m somewhat new to the digital camera scene in that I only had the z-850 (before returning it last month). I was wondering if many other cameras have problems and huge threads with dozens of posts from disgruntled consumers. Is this the norm???

  6. Andrew says:

    “I was wondering if many other cameras have problems and huge threads with dozens of posts from disgruntled consumers. Is this the norm???”

    Sure is!

    :)

    Andrew

  7. Furbo says:

    CASIO EX-Z 850, European version HAS a 10 minute limit. I have a 4gig card and it shows that I can record up to 2hours and more, but when you start recording you’re limited to 10 minted. That sucks big time.

  8. thomas says:

    David Sokolic: Shooting in low light and getting blurry pictures? Well thats normal. Low light = slow shutter speed. All cameras will do this naturally. Either your hands will move or the subject will move. Try changing the ISO to 200 and taking the same shot. You can do that or try using flash…..that will light things up and allow the camera to take the picture at higher shutter speed….which then allows you to probably shoot at ISO 50 again :) Confused? Well its the basics…….learn the basics and you will start to take better pictures :) I dont recommend shooting ISO 400 with the z750. Its pretty grainy……. :(

    Hope that helps! Oh and HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!

    Thomas

  9. Molly says:

    Hi! Guys,

    I recently got a Casio Ex Z-1000. I hope someone can give me some suggestions regarding how to properly adjust/tweak the settings.

    Before I got this particular camera I read reviews online. But to my surprise, the pictures that I took with my Z1000 did not come out great! It’s grainy, blurry and has purplish effect/background on each photos. Is there anything I can do to adjust and improve the image quality? Am I doing something wrong? Or did I get a defect. camera?

    Comments will be greatly appreciated.

    -Thanks!

  10. EDWIN HISONA says:

    I had an EXZ 850 camera and had a problem with the flashing red light for the flash. I can’t used the flash. I sent already three times for repair in the Dover,NJ Casio repair center, and ended up the same problem. I will just returned it and want my money back.

  11. Danielle Fortenbery says:

    I recently bought a camera from casio back in May. I started having small problems with it until one day in August the lens would no longer go out, making it impossible to take any pictures. Facing this problem i called casio asking what would be the next best step. They had me send my camera to casio, leaving me without picture until they figured out what was wrong with it. They sent me a e-mail THREE weeks after getting my camera saying that it need repairs that would cost 137 dollars, even though i had just bought the camera three months before. I was so mad that i wrote a letter to casio explaining that whatever was wrong was not my fault and that it should still be covered. They refused to even send the camera back to me the way it was because they had already fixed the camera. so i was forced to pay to 137 dollars to get my camera back. They had both my mailing address and my house address. Casio wasn’t sure what address to send it to so they just help my camera. I called asking why my camera wasn’t to me yet and they said that it had been sent out. I called three days later because i had yet to get my camera, when one lady told me that they weren’t sure what address to send it to so they were holding it. I NEVER got an e-mail from them stating the problem they just pushed it aside. once i got my camera i took a few pictures and then charged. Once it was charged i turned the camera to be faced with another problem. The screan was all white and i couldn’t look at my pictures or take an. I am writing this blog so that anyone that is looking into a Casio should go with another company like Kodak. Casio’s customer service was horrible and they treated me like i meant nothing, and that my problems didn’t matter.

    DON’T EVER BUY A CAMERA FROM CASIO. YOU WILL WISH YOU NEVER HAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. shane says:

    hi ,when I transfer my photos and video from my z750 to my computer, I get the “Microsoft has encounted a problem and needs to close” message, which is being caused by the video. I delete the video and the message doesn’t appear again. Until I realised this, everytime I opened my photos folder that had video in it, the microsoft warning would appear. There seems to be contamination in the video content. Help!

  13. Javier says:

    That’s really weird shane. Did you try with different SD cards, or saving a small vid to the camera’s internal memory? I had a bad SD card that gave me this kind of trouble.

    Another option is that you may need to update the video codecs on your PC to access the videos.

  14. shane says:

    thanks for the reply javier. I can drag the error message aside and still open and play the video. No, I haven’t tried another card

  15. shane says:

    I forgot to mention,I installed VLC player yesterday but that hasn’t made any diff

  16. shane says:

    made a small vid as javier suggested using internal memory , but same problem. I can drag the message aside and continue to play the vid using vlc player, from both the sd card and internal memory

  17. Javier says:

    Maybe it’s not the video drivers, but the USB drivers instead. I really don’t know how to reinstall them :p

    Somewhere in device manager, heh. I’ll check it on my PC.

  18. Patrick_Holohan says:

    I have a z850, it has a ten minute limited while recording, I have updated this with several different firmwares and none of these remove the limit.

    Does anyone have a firmware update or a hack to remove this limit. I have 4gb and 8gb SD cards and cannot untilize these while recording.

    Thanks

  19. James Pickett says:

    “I have 4gb and 8gb SD cards”

    That may be the problem. There is a 2Gb limit for FAT16 (the normal filing system) that is only dealt with on recent cameras. No idea if this affects recording time, though. It’s not present on the Z750…

  20. Becky says:

    This is the fourth Casio EX camera I’ve owned, I would consider myself a faithful Casio camera user. However, within a month of purchasing the EXZ1000, the LCD screen cracked under no different circumstances than the previous 3 EX cameras were under. Cost to repair the screen, more than 1/3 of the cost to replace the camera. Customer service with Casio has a reputation of being less than helpful, and unfortunately, this has been my experience. I’m heartbroken to say that because of this issue, I’m currently researching a new camera manufacturer. Beware of this problem if you are looking for a new camera….

  21. Andrew says:

    Wow! The thread that lives on forever…

    Becky, sorry to hear about your camera.

    I’m also sorry to say that after a year of waiting, Casio has not released a camera that outperforms the 750 (in my opinion).

    Still waiting….

    Andrew

  22. Colleen says:

    Does anyone have any comments about the Casio Exilim Z75? Is this any upgrade (or downgrade) in your opinion? I’ve been a Kodak gal to this point, but got one as a gift. Any thoughts?

  23. James says:

    The Z75 looks very nice (and slightly smaller than the 750) but I doubt it performs any better. That’s not a criticism – I just think the Z750 was a high point in Casio’s development process. It small enough to be pocketable, but has all the options that photographers like. I’m sure you’ll enjoy your Z75, but look after that screen.. :-)

  24. Andrew Turner says:

    I’ve created a survey for the fans of the Z750 who might want to see Casio reconsider this jewel:

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/MySurvey_EditorPage.aspx?sm=XgOYnBNNzbVe06l9OwCr%2bnmu4rOV%2fX0MrnrAvO0WuqA%3d

    If you think you’d like to see Casio fix the few problems it had and maybe upgrade it, please do participate.

    Thanks!
    Andrew

  25. James says:

    That’s a nice thought, but I can’t see Casio backtracking like that. They probably don’t even have the case tooling anymore. Japanese companies (and most others, to be fair) hardly ever recognise when they’ve made something special* or if they do, are unable to reproduce it on succeeding models, which they insist on making, whether or not the world needs them! Rather like Microsoft, they are caught in this spiral of needing to update and ‘improve’ everything, which is probably why I keep using Windows 98 and some very old cameras!

    *The Yashica ML 50mm f2 lens and the Pioneer PL12-D turntable come to mind. The irony is that some things are successful because they stay the same (like the Beetle) but it seems to take a lot of corporate nerve to do that.

  26. Andrew says:

    Yeah, that’s probably true, but hey – if I didn’t do something, I’d always think I should be anyway ;)

    And, XP is way better than 98! But I prefer my Mac, and no, I’m not running System 7!

    cheers
    Andrew

  27. James says:

    I wasn’t trying to criticise – no harm in reminding Casio that they did something right!

    WRT XP, it’s OK on modern kit, but I don’t see why I should replace my computer just because MS has raised the stakes. Vista is ten times worse, of course.

    I have Linux, too, and it gets more attractive with every new version of Windows… :-)

  28. phil says:

    Just picked up a brand new 750 made in japan for under 200usd…been looking for a brand new one for ages!!!
    yooohooo!

  29. James says:

    May we know where?

  30. Okay, now I want it too.

    Damn it Mike! But this would be the pocket camera I’d get….

  31. Countdown to Florence

    In a little over a month, I will be moving to Florence, Italy for several months. I’ve never been out of the country, so I’m very excited. You can imagine how happy I was to see that new Gridskipper editor…

  32. It’s Arrived!

    Much to my delight, my brand new Casio EX-Z750 7.2 Megapixel digital camera arrived a few days ago. I picked one up after reading Mike’s review and doing a little bit of internet research. I picked it up for $325…

  33. Ron Baynes says:

    I have been using an EXZ750 for about a year and getting excellent results. After reading about difficulties with made-in-China versions, looked closer for manufacturing country and there it is “Made in China”
    Obviously this oesn’t prove that some or even most of the China models are defective but apparently there are exceptions to the rule. By the way,
    can anyone recomment a site to go to for a good deal on a Kingston memory card?
    RB

  34. […] I bought my first truly great ultracompact a few years ago, the Casio EX-Z750, I was in this boat. 7.2 megapixels in your pocket… what more could one possibly need? After eventually moving up to the excellent 7x zoom Casio […]

  35. cheyanne says:

    ok well i have a smalll problem i bought a sony digital camera in 2007
    and im trying to figer out how to get sound on it for the video..
    it does not say on the insturtion with the paer it came with..

    from cheyannr thankxs

  36. MikeF says:

    I’ve had the EX-Z750 for a bit over 3 years, but the lens error cropped up finally, last summer. I did nothing to cause it, I’ve always taken immaculate care of it. So disappointing, as I’ve loved this camera. But what I really don’t understand is that after this much time, with this problem effecting so many people, there aren’t some technical instructions posted somewhere on the web for people who are willing to tear into an out-of-warranty camera and take their chances fixing it. It must be the only thing that does NOT exist on the Internet.

  37. […] out on the Lake to snap some nice shots of the Boys in Blue and even shoot a bit of video. This little Casio EX-Z750 continues to amaze me. The video quality is stellar, especially for something that fits in your […]

  38. I’m not sure if anyone else is having this problem, but my SET button is no longer working. To make matters worse I took out my battery to try to fix it and now it asks me for the date every time I turn it on. Is anyone else’s SET button not working?

    Thanks!

  39. Frank Hammel says:

    Hi,

    I have the same problem with the SET button AND the ZOOM lever. Eventually they stopped working, which makes operating the camera quite hard :-) I cannot even install the new firmware (1.02) because that requires a working SET button. Obviously that happens quite a few times as I can read on other sites, but no solution to it yet. Please help if you can.

    Thanks !

  40. Pablo says:

    I have the same problem with the SET and Zoom buttoms not working. I sent it back to Casio (in England) and they want to charge me £82.99 to fix it. Hate them. I will sell it faulty on ebay and will never come near casio rubbish again. They are quoting me to replace the optical lensunit and optical stobe and the exterior case.

    Good luck

  41. Pablo says:

    I forgot to say the camera is still under guarantee but they claim damage has been sustained. Goofers. The fault it has is independent to a small tend on the case.

  42. Alistair G. says:

    Hi, please can you tell me whether this Casio Z750 camera is able to stay in the “Shutter Priority” mode, even when you power off and power back on, or do you have to go back into the menu system when you power back on because it forgets? I would really appreciate an answer to this. Same question for the Z850 if you get your hands on one.
    Many Thanks,
    Alistair G.

  43. Mike D. says:

    Alistair: Yes, it does. Both cameras.

  44. Wayne says:

    i bought the casio ex-z1000 at costco a couple years ago – and it worked fine until now – it goes into set date time and location mode every time it’s powered on – do you know of a fix for this problem? i have tried reset and reformat to no avail – is there a master reset trick? i would rather not have to send it in if there is a quick fix – let me kknow if you can help – thanks!

  45. Alistair G. says:

    To Wayne above, you probably already know this but when you change the battery and leave it more than a minute or something between batteries, it forgets the time since the internal capacitor discharges. Swap the batteries reasonably fast and it doesn’t forget the time. Maybe your original battery is dying and causing the camera to forget the time?

    Well I bought this EX-Z750 camera for 50 GBP from Ebay a few months ago and I love it. You can set the shutter speed to shutter priority and like Mike says above it remembers the shutter speeed that you set, next time you go to switch it on! So you only need to ever set it once!

    Only the Z750 and Z850 and the Fuji F31FD and latest 14MP Nikon can do this, that I am aware of.

    Also it can be run in Aperture Priority but you can only choose between 2 apertures, which are F2.8 or F4 at min. zoom, these 2 apertures go smaller as you zoom but max. out at F5.1 and F7.4 at the long end of the zoom. It has full manual controls and an optical viewfinder that zooms at the same time as the main zoom lens!, plus I wear glasses and can still see the whole frame of the viewfinder! Battery life is very good, low light noise performance is OK but quite a bit better when you reduce resolution. As usual ISO 400 is close to unusable except at very low resolutions.

    It won’t focus very close even on min. zoom which bugs me a bit, and on max. zoom it has to be a silly distance away, but it’s auto focus is actually pretty good. Pic’s are reasonably sharp and colourful with good contrast. The 3 limiting factors to this camera’s performance are the noise above ISO 100, the aperture that can’t be closed (slight softness to pic’s) and the lens won’t focus close.

    I find that the macro setting mode makes no difference to close focussing which I thought was odd. Screen is quite bright, replacement batteries are cheap, and it’s a reliable camera and very easy to use. The auto settings are very good. I use a mixture of auto and manual. I like that you have 5 settings for flash intensity, useful for close up’s in detail work. Screen is quite bright but the 850 is quite a bit brighter. So I use a 2.5″ Delkin DU2.5″-M pop up screen shield (shade).

    It takes good quality SD movies at 29.97 Frames / sec. with good sound with good frequency response at bass and treble ends BUT you can’t hold it steady enough as the camera is way too light for this function so everything shakes no matter how steady your hands. My Sony PC120E camcorder produces WAY better movies since it has a mass of around 600g which absorbs the shakes of my hand (my hands are actually quite steady compared to a lot of people) due to having much greater momemtum. Also the optical steady shot on the Sony makes quite a difference. There is NO steady shot of any kind on the EX-Z750. I use a Sandisk Extreme III 2GB SD card and it’s fine. You need outdoors conditions with reasonable light to use the full resolution on stills and see no noise in the pic’s. The screen picture magnification goes up to 8x. The lens zoom is 3x (optical). Digital zoom on the movies really sucks bad so never use it. There is NO optical zoom on movies while recording, which really SUCKS bad. The Sony kills it since it has 10x optical zoom for movies. So for movies it’s just about passable in a pinch, but for stills it’s a really great very flexible camera.

    Recommended.

    If I wanted a better camera I would want better low light (noise) performance (I DON’T WANT OR NEED MORE MEGAPIXELS), I would want the ability to CLOSE the cursed aperture to smaller than F4 (preferably to F8 or F10) on min. zoom, which would increase pix. sharpness greatly and increase depth of field, and I would want a quite a lot brighter screen because in daylight most of what you see is yourself reflected in the screen! (screen not bright enough). For movie mode I would want an almost miracle like optical image stabiliser, and the camera to be thinner, but HEAVIER to make movies stop shaking. All of these would be much more beneficial to the final image than giving me 1 more megapixels of noisy output…

    Cheers,

    Alistair G.

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