Casio EXILIM Hi-Zoom EX-Z1200 Digital Camera

Here is the box for my new 12 Megapixel digital camera. The Casio EXILIM Hi-Zoom EX-Z1200 Digital Camera is the latest point and shoot from Casio. I had been looking at their 10 megapixel offering when I came across this model. Some people feel the Panasonic 12 megapixel Lumix DMC-FX100 for the same price might be worth purchasing. Actually you will see a big debate on if 12 megapixel is even valid with a point and shoot. The hardcore camera snobs will swear that it has to be SLR or nothing if you want the best picture quality. Some of the debate centers around the size of the optics. Granted megapixel alone shouldn’t be your only consideration when making a digital camera purchase. But for ease of use, durability and what I consider to be good picture quality. My old CASIO EXILIM ZOOM EX-Z120 7.2 Megapixel Digital Camera was hard to beat. Especially in the durability department. Many people have heard my story of how I dropped the EX-Z120 by the valet driveway at the Space Needle in Seattle. I think some people feel I’m exaggerating when telling the story. All I can say is it is true and I know what the EX-Z120 looked like after the crash to the concrete ground. What I also know is that the camera has continued to work and provide quality pictures from that point on. This is one reason I looked at Casio again when thinking about upgrading to a newer model. Granted is has only been about a year since we bought the CASIO EXILIM ZOOM EX-Z120. I’ll blame my mom and all her thin camera model talk. Although the Casio EXILIM Hi-Zoom EX-Z1200 isn’t really much smaller than the EX-Z120. Thing are laid out a bit differently and the camera seems a bit longer width wise. This was determined by placing both cameras behind each other.

There are some drawbacks that have been pointed out on other websites. The optical zoom is stuck at 3x. This is the same as what you get with the Z120. Using the digital zoom you can increase this to 12x. However I’ve seen where digital zoom seems to degrade the quality of the picture. Keep in mind this could just be user error on my part. I’ve always needed to take a bit more time to do some reading and explore more settings. The Panasonic 12 megapixel Lumix DMC-FX100 supposedly has a better optical zoom ( 7x ) than the Casio. So this a plus for the Panasonic model. However there have been complaints about noise showing up in the photographic product both cameras produce. At least one review stated that Casio has options to reduce the negative effects of zoom. I don’t think such an option exist within the Z120. I have seen some options in the Z1200 that could help reduce the problems I’ve seen in the past. This still doesn’t answer the question of why Casio names their products ZOOM but doesn’t really live up to the name when your looking at the optical and digital zoom numbers.

Another negative with the Casio EXILIM Hi-Zoom EX-Z1200 is the proprietary battery. My household bought an extra one. Because I take a lot of pictures and can run batteries down quickly with heavy usage. We will be purchasing an external charger at a later date. The EX-Z1200 comes with a small docking station. The camera plugs into the station through a data port on the bottom. You can connect a USB cable to this station and move your pictures off the camera. You can also connect the station to any video output device to view your captured video. The docking station also acts as a charger. To me it seems as if the charger doesn’t function when your using the USB feature. Not until you turn off the USB function by tapping the USB button at the front of the docking station does charging resume.

An overall negative of all electronics is the lack of good documentation. The Casio EX-Z1200 comes with a very helpful quick start guide. Yet once again we have a very thick manual that is very little help in regards to giving you help. I’m sure you have seen this before. A large booklet that you feel will be filled with long hours of helpful reading material. Only to find out in the end that only a few pages are there in your native language. This may reduce cost for a product sold worldwide. But it isn’t much help in regards to letting consumers solve problems themselves. Of course the company will tell you to just go to their website and download the PDF. Unfortunately with Casio they have followed this trend. Both Casio cameras I have purchased met this criteria. That said I’ve not bought to many electronics or parts that don’t follow this same path.

I had read some complaints about continuous mode not having a rapid fire mode. For me as long as the face recognition feature is turned off. I’m able to get more pictures fired off in continuous mode than I could with the CASIO EXILIM ZOOM EX-Z120. With that camera there would be a little bit of a pause between shots at times when the continuous mode feature was enabled. My limited testing has shown this not to be the case with Casio EXILIM Hi-Zoom EX-Z1200. I’m using a PNY 8GB High Capacity SD Card Class 4 SDHC. This is the middle of the road option for the new SDHC standard. Class 6 is the highest rated speed for SDHC SD cards. With Class 2 being on the lowest end.

The LCD viewing screen is definitely larger than the Z120 screen. While I was only unhappy with the CASIO EXILIM ZOOM EX-Z120 LCD screen in very bright conditions. I think I’m going to like the larger LCD screen of the EX-Z1200. It will be interesting to see how it performs under bright conditions. My feeling is this should outperform the lower end Casio model. For the price I would hope that I will be able to see a noticeable difference. The menus are basically the same in both Casio models. On the EX-Z1200 the button layout is much different. I’m not sure there are a lot less buttons. Honestly I would have to count. But I think some have been done away with. Looking at the older Z120 I see that the knob to select different modes has been done away with on the Z1200. That is now a button in the bottom right hand corner placed at the back of the camera. The select and arrow button is designed differently as well. Several other buttons have been reduced in size and moved.

The overall feel isn’t much different. It will take a minimal amount of time to get used to the new layout. What I’m still not seeing is some way to set favorites. Maybe I’ve just never dug into the right part of the PDF. But I’ve never found what I want. I want to set my own custom presets for BestShot modes. The Casio EXILIM Hi-Zoom EX-Z1200 seems to default at always starting at SnapShot mode. I would like the camera to start at the last mode I had set. I’d also like to be able to save my customizations to these modes. One of the things that has aggravated me with my older Casio is when you swap a battery, media card or the camera auto turns off. You are forced to reset all the options you want set. Even when you have some of these selected under the memory option. From what I can see there is no option to have continuous mode always on for all modes. I use that option constantly and am always having to make sure it is enabled. The only time I can’t use it is when using the flash.

Even with the few negatives I have to give Casio a thumbs up. There are some things they could do to improve their camera products other than just pushing the megapixels up and up. But after a good solid year of hard use my CASIO EXILIM ZOOM EX-Z120 works as it should and provides quality pictures. Even after the Seattle crash disaster that almost ruined my vacation last year. I will of course expect nothing less from our new Casio EXILIM Hi-Zoom EX-Z1200. Over the next few months I will definitely be putting this camera though it’s paces. My expectations may not be as high as some. What I can tell you though is I use a digital camera in a variety of weather and lighting conditions. I also take pictures of many different things. My point is I definitely put a digital camera model to heavy use. I baby my hardware to a point. For the past year the Casio EX-Z120 has met my expectations on most occasions. It has definitely held up to my usage standards. Although my batteries couldn’t stay charged well under the extreme cold during the Obama 2008 Presidential Run Announcement. I don’t feel this is the fault of the camera in any way.

By now you know my take on the situation. I don’t claim to be a camera guru. I’m not going to be able to get into a hardcore discussion on optics this or that. I’ve not gone out and used every model available. With that said. What you will get here is an honest opinion and details on my experience with the digital camera models I have used. I think it shows that I’ve tried to show the positive and negatives of both Casio models I’ve owned. My opinion is you should should keep Casio in the running when looking for a durable quality point and shoot.

There are a few new features that this Z1200 includes that you won’t get with the Z120. After playing around with these. I will try to do an update on these features and there performance.

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