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Casio EX-Z750 Test Review and User Guide
2006 KenRockwell.com

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Casio EX-Z750

I'd get it here or here

FILES, MEMORY and COMPUTATIONAL TRICKS top of review

Formats
File Sizes
Folders and File Names
Memory and Formatting
Data Transfer
In-Camera Image Tricks
Clocks and Calendars
Best Shot Mode Hacking
Raw Data Hacking

File Formats    back to top of page    back to top of review

JPG only for still images, which is all I want.

You have a full range of adjustments for image size in pixels 7 MP (3,072 x 2,304 pixels), also settings for DSLR format (3,072 x 2,048), 5 MP (2,560 x 1,920), 3 MP (2,048 x 1,536 pixels), 2 MP (1,600 x 1,200) and 640 x 480 pixels.

There are three levels for compression and quality levels Fine, Normal and Economy.

I've already covered movies here and for sound here.

EXIF Data

The files as they come from the camera have most of the data where it belongs, but the ISO settings aren't anyplace my software (Photoshop and iView) can find them.

Oddly in iView Media Pro 2.6.4 (Mac) shots made with manual (gray card) white balance read as "auto."

I have only copied the files straight from the camera or with a card reader. I have not transferred them using Casio's software which only runs on windows. Most times when I see anything lacking in the EXIF it's all fixed when read through the manufacturer's software.

A program here has been suggested as working to read the other data, however it only seems to run on windows.

Deleting

You may delete one file or all files. There is no way to delete a group of files, other than by locking (protecting) some and then deleting all. You can protect or unprotect all files with one command.

File Sizes    back to top of page    back to top of review

Normal JPG images are 2 MB at 3,072 x 2,304 resolution. Here's the rest of the details as I personally measured them:

 
High
Normal
Economy
3,072 x 2,304
4.3 MB
2.0 MB
1.1 MB
3,072 x 2,048 (3 : 2)
3.8 MB
1.9 MB
1.0 MB
2,560 x 1920
2.1 MB
1.7 MB
1.2 MB
2,048 x 1,536
1.6 MB
1.2 M B
600 kB
1,600 x 1,200
1.0 MB
700 kB
375 kB
640 x 480
181 kB
133 kB
84 kB

One oddity is that in Economy mode the compression is milder at the 2,560 x 1,920 setting than at the other resolutions. Thus the 2,560 resolution files are actually bigger than the 3,072 resolution files, all at the Economy setting. No big deal; in fact, since the 2,560 resolution Economy setting is really only halfway between regular and economy you just might want to use that setting for great results if card space is getting short. This oddity is also correctly indicated in the camera's remaining shots indication.

Like most digital cameras Economy isn't all that bad. I would suggest using the economy setting all the time if you're frugal with data as I am. Yes, at huge print sizes you may see a few artifacts if you know where to look, but it's certainly usable and not bad like the compression used for JPGs over the internet. If you're frugal try the 2560 Economy setting, which is just about as good as the 3,072 Normal setting but half the file size.

File sizes in this Casio are almost constant for each shot with very little variation scene-to-scene.

JPG files need to be bigger (more kB) to retain the same quality as a subject becomes more complex. A blank sky requires only a small JPG file size to look good, and a busy subject with a lot of edges requires a lot more kB to look good at the same resolution.

Casio as well as Nikon tend to write the same file size each time so you always get the same number of files on your card. Unfortunately this also gives a slightly lower quality for complex subjects and uses more bits than necessary for softer or mostly blank shots. This is a matter of opinion among math teachers and I consider this a suboptimal use of data.

I prefer the way Canon and Sony vary the file size with the subject, retaining the same quality in each image but varying the number of files you can get on a card.

With constant file size cameras like Casio and Nikon I'm tempted to turn up the quality for very busy subjects and turn it down for flat ones to make the best use of space. No big deal, I can't really see any difference.

Folder Conventions and File Names    back to top of page

back to top of review

The files are named "CIMGxxxx.yyy" I always wonder why manufacturers waste the first several characters with trivial stuff like "CIMG." It would be nice to have the ability to program our own file names such as XXXXxxxx.jpg

The images are in the folder ---/DCIM/100CASIO.

The EX-Z750 will cram up to 10,000 images in the same folder. This is similar to Nikon and far superior to Canon. Canon by comparison starts a new folder every hundred images, which means almost every time I shoot my Canon camera I have to transfer files from several different folders since I always shoot hundreds of images. Even if you only shoot a few images if you go from image number 598 to 601 on a Canon camera it puts them in two different folders requiring two separate copy operations. By comparison this Casio puts them all in the same folder so you can copy them all at once.

After CIMG9999.jpg it starts a new folder called 101CASIO and starts again at CIMG0001.JPG.

Memory     back to top of page    back to top of review

There is 8.3 MB of permanent built-in erasable memory. This is much handier than the throw-away memory card included with other cameras because you can use it at the same time as your regular card.

The EX-Z750 writes to internal memory if you have no card. It writes to your SD card if it's inserted. Likewise when connected to a computer through the cradle it addresses the built in memory with no SD card, and the SD card if one is inserted.

In each case you cannot see the built in memory if a card is inserted.

You can record and play and download with no card at all. This is very handy in hostile areas since you can surrender your memory cards to hostile authorities and still make your photos, videos and sound recordings. Also you can record files from a computer into the camera's built in memory, so you can bring in or take out sensitive data to or from a hostile facility. You will be able to play images recorded to the camera's memory if caught, however data files simply do not appear unless you connect the camera to a computer through the special cradle. If you make sure to put your SD card back in before a hostile authority checks your camera in its cradle there is no way to see that you have loaded the built-in memory with the enemy's sensitive data while you were in his facility. You'll need your cradle with you to load sensitive files to or from the enemy's computer.

It's easy to transfer images and files between built in memory and your computer. Just fire up the cradle with no SD card in the camera and hit the USB button to connect.

Without a computer it's easy to insert an SD card later and transfer the images from the camera's fixed internal memory. You'll need a computer to transfer other kinds of files you may have collected.

The EX-Z750 always stores certain user data, like camera presets, favorite, startup and shutdown images, in built in memory. This way they stay with the camera even if you go through many SD cards.

SD Memory Cards     back to top of page    back to top of review

My EX-Z750 works great with my 1 GB 32x Lexar SD card that bought here.

Lexar 1GB 32x SD Card

These SD cards are new for me since I usually shoot the larger CF cards. SD cards are teeny! They are so teeny I had to print up extra-small address labels to stick on my card for identification.

I don't know if there's a limit to maximum card capacity when 2GB and bigger SD cards come out. Since 1GB stores between 225 and 10,000 still images, an hour of video or two days of audio I don't think it's an issue. Your battery will die long before you can fill up a gig card.

I had a defective card and saw the CARD ERROR warning several times. That was bad. In every case simply turning the power off, pulling out the card and reversing the procedure cured this. Reformatting didn't cure the problem, since the problem came back again and formatting loses all your images. My EX-Z750 and S100 both took 2:20 to format my defective 1 gig card. I called Lexar and they immediately replaced my card; my new 1 Gig card formats in 10 seconds just it should. This goes to show the importance of buying name brand cards: Lexar knew exactly what the problem was and just replaced it.

Formatting

Standard professional practice is to reformat a card anytime it's put in a camera. This is not required; it's just good practice since anytime you connect the card to a computer it usually rearranges things or adds its own files. In rare cases these might make the camera do something funny or lose data. Pros reformat each time out of habit since they have no sense of humor when funny things happen to their images.

Mine takes 10.3 seconds to format a 1 Gig card and a couple of seconds to format a 256 MB card. If youre takes much longer than this you may have a defective card as I did.

Data Transfer     back to top of page    back to top of review

Just plug the USB cord in and it just works. Drag and drop your file.

It takes 42 seconds to download 100 - 1MB images (100MB total) through a direct USB 2 connection, and just as fast through my 7-port Kensington USB hub.

It takes two and a half minutes to download 100 - 1MB images (100 MB total) through a USB 1 hub, each to my Apple Mac iBook 800 MHz G4.

I didn't load and of Casio's software on my computer to do this; it just works on my Mac.

Sorry if you're on windows; I haven't bothered to try it. Problems on windows are usually due to the problems inherent in windows itself, not so much what you try to run on it. If you are having problems with your windows computer the best way to fix them is to make the ultimate upgrade and get an Apple Mac mini for $499 and start working like the pros.

Image Rotation    back to top of page    back to top of review

There is no autorotation.

In playback you can assign rotation flags to vertical or even upside-down images so they play correctly on most software. This is very easy to do. Since the Casio EX-Z750 allows instant scrolling through all the recorded images you just click through everything you shot and flip those that need it.

Pressing the rotation control flips the image 90 clockwise each press. I wish it was the other direction. Holding the camera vertically so the flash is above the subject as shown in the manual and as I hold it requires three quick presses to rotate 270, since you really want to rotate 90 counter-clockwise. Having the rotation button go the other way might save a little time.

In any case this is the easiest manual image rotation I've used in any camera because it's so easy to find in the menus and scroll quickly through the images. The response is instantaneous with no delay, so it's just a matter of more clicks, not time, to do this. We web designers always worry about keeping things down to the fewest number of clicks.

Startup and Closedown Images

It's easy to select an image or sound or even an obnoxious home movie to play every time you turn the camera on or off.

Selecting this will slow down the camera, since otherwise it starts and stops immediately.

The only advantage to selecting one of these is that on my slower cameras I have the startup image set to a photo of big letters saying "PROPERTY OF KEN ROCKWELL" with all my contact information in case the camera is lost.

I can make a shot 2 seconds after pressing the power button. It slows to four seconds if you choose a still image, since the still shows for two seconds. This slows down further if you choose an obnoxiously long movie.

I don't use a startup on mine since I don't want to slow it down. The best thing to do with this mode is to record an obnoxious movie on a friend's, spouse's or your boss' camera and set it so they have to look at you talking to them each time they turn on their camera.

To set this choose "start up" in the play menu and select the file you want with the left and right navigation keys.

These images are all deleted if you format the camera's built in memory without an SD card inserted.

Favorite Images

You may copy favorite images to a "favorites" folder in the cameras' internal memory. It resizes them to 320 x 240 and saves them even when you format or erase the SD card.

This feature lets you always have a slide show ready for passers by.

To show or save them go to "Favorites" in the play menu.

To read these in your computer first remove the SD card, in which case the USB connects to the camera's internal memory. Remember they are only 320 x 240 pixels images stored for in-camera display.

In-Camera Image Resizing

It's easy in the Play menu to resize (downsample) images to 2,560 x 1,920, 2,048 x 1,536 or 640 x 480. Just select "Resize" and hit OK. It stores a new smaller image with the same date and time as the original with a new file number. The original file is left unchanged. It won't upsize them; you have to start with an image larger than your target size.

In-Camera Image Cropping

It's also easy in the Play menu to crop an image. Casio calls this "trimming." Just select an image, choose how much to crop with the zoom keys, choose where to crop with the navigation keys and hit OK. It stores a new smaller image with the same date and time as the original with a new file number. The original file is left unchanged.

The options all have the same 4:3 aspect ratio and are automatically selected to the standard sizes of 2,560 x 1,920, 2,048 x ,536, 1,600 x 1,200, 1,280 x 960, 1,024 x 768, 640 x 480 and 32o x 240 pixels. The cropped image doesn't change pixels, it just trims off pixels outside of the chosen resolution's border.

You have plenty of flexibility to choose the location of the crop, however the size only goes in those broad steps.

Calendar and World Time    back to top of page    back to top of review

Would you expect anything less from Casio? The EX-Z750 has a perpetual calendar and world time clock built in.

You can call up calendars for any month on the LCD. The camera inserts the first shot made on each day into the days of the calendar! Of course there's only one day to show if you erase your card each day, but for my mom who shoots for weeks before downloading it's very cute.

Likewise you can get it to display the time anywhere on earth, and all this is easy to do.

Maybe someday they'll add sunset and astronomical calculations.

No Stopwatch

There is no stopwatch, however if you start recording an audio file you can read the elapsed time on the LCD.

Clock Accuracy

Mine runs slow 24 seconds per month. This is far better than any mechanical COSC Rolex, Zenith, IWC, Breitling, Vacheron Constantin, Ulysse Nardin or Patek Philippe, etc., and these watches cost ten to a hundred times more than this camera.

This isn't quite as good as a good quartz watch. For instance, my new Casio quartz analog watch runs within a second a month, which is extraordinary even for quartz. Normal quartz watches run within about +- 15 seconds a month. No big deal.

No Alarm

Unlike the S100 there are no alarms.

No Web Galleries    back to top of page    back to top of review

The EX-Z750 can't make in-camera web galleries as the S100 can.

Best Shot Mode Hacking    back to top of page    back to top of review

A utility here claims to allow you to do all sorts of under-the-hood stuff to make your own Best Shot modes as well as alter the ones in the camera. You people who want to do this know who you are; for normal people as well as my self you may safely ignoire this.

Raw Data Hacking    back to top of page    back to top of review

Somehow wasting hours in front of a computer masturbating raw data just to get the same exact result as shooting a nice, normal JPG doesn't make sense to me with this cute, perky, responsive and excellent camera.

If you insist, look here for possible instructions. Caution: the Z750 doesn't work in RAW; you have to be a hacker and computer programmer to make this work the very hard way using secret menus to record just one raw image at a time and do a lot of conversion manually in your computer. Bon Chance!

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