Casio Exilim EX-S600
March 22, 2006
This new compact digital camera from Casio makes digital photography fun again. The new Casio Exilim EX-S600 camera sports 6-megapixel shooting capabilities, 3X zoom, and tons of picture modes into a very compact camera. The S600 also features other state-of-the-art features, including some to help you take pictures like a pro.
The small compact body measures about 3.5 x 2.0 x 0.5-inches, which is just a tad larger that your standard credit card. On the back of the device, there's a 2.5-inch LCD display that is pretty sizable for this small camera. Along with the LCD, there's some other controls that include a the 4-way navigational control, viewing/shooting mode switch, and a menu button. On the top of the device, the standard zoom and shutter control are present, but there's also the power button, which is ridiculously small for any size fingers. Overall, the controls are a little on the smaller size, so people with large hands might have a little difficulty pressing the buttons.
One of the neatest features of the EX-S600 is the "Best Shot" button. It's a button that you press that will bring up 35 different shooting modes on the LCD for you to choose which one is the best mode for whatever you're taking a picture of and the conditions you're shooting in. For example, some of the shooting modes include Portrait, Scenery, Sports, Sunset, Night Scene, Children, Fireworks, Natural Green, Food, and much more. You also have access to the standard ISO, white balance, flash mode, focus, and self-timer from the menu. You can store presents on the S600's internal 8MB memory, which also holds the 35 shooting modes.
Another awesome feature of the S600 is the Anti-Shake feature that automatically reduces blur from shaky hands or camera movement by reducing shutter time and compensating for the movement when taking the picture.
You also record movies on the EX-S600. It allows you to shoot MPEG-4 clips for as long as your memory card holds out, which is about 10 minutes on a 256MB card or an hour on a 1GB chip (using the 30fps setting). There's also a 15fps setting to allow for even more video to be saved on the chip, but you do sacrifice some quality.
In terms of performance, the Casio Exilim EX-S600 performed fairly well. When shooting pictures without the flash, the camera took just under 3 seconds in between shots and almost 4 with the flash enabled. Shuttle lag was about one second under any lighting conditions, which is actually not terrible at all. The flash, however, could be stronger as it's only effective for about up to 7 feet or so. The LCD also looks very good in all conditions except for direct bright sunlight. It allows you to choose between several brightness settings and a no-backlight mode for saving your battery power. In several tests, the battery lasted for an average of about 300 shots, which is satisfactory.
The image quality of the EX-S600 is mediocre at best for camera enthusiasts, but still good for the casual photographer. Pictures taken under typical conditions were not terrible, but at full blown up size, some smudging and color wash-out was apparent. Shooting in dark light made pictures sometimes look washed out and grainy.
In review, the Casio Exilim EX-S600 probably isn't for anyone who takes pictures professionally or everyday. However, if you don't take a lot of pictures and don't print them at a full 8.5 x 11 size, then you'll be happy with the S600. Its very small size and features make it a joy to use for the casual photographer.
Pros: Very compact size, good battery life, excellent scene modes, good movie shooting
Cons: LCD isn't good in direct sunlight, average picture quality
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