Casio is known for its small cameras and the Exilim EX-S770 carries on that tiny tradition. This 7-megapixel ultracompact has a few irritating elements, but its size, style and speed make it a good choice for a pocket point-and-shoot. The S770 succeeds last year's Exilim EX-S600 by offering a higher resolution and an improved interface.
The S770 is a slim and attractive little camera, with a stylish metal body that's available in silver, blue or bright red. It weighs 145g and is only 18mm (0.7 inches) in depth, making it the perfect size to slip into any pocket. The camera manages to feel solid in the hand, but its small body still has drawbacks. The S770's buttons are quite small and flat, making them feel awkward under large thumbs.
Despite the irritating buttons, the S770 offers great control. The wider than usual LCD displays handy status information that users can thumb through to change camera settings without diving into the menus. This control scheme is leaps and bounds better than that of the S770's little brother, the Exilim EX-Z70.
The S770 comes with the same handy features as all of Casio's Exilim cameras. Casio's Best Shot modes offer users more than two dozen scene presets, including the auction-photo-optimising eBay mode. Digital image stabilisation helps reduce shake and blur when using the camera's 38-to-114mm-equivalent lens, though it shouldn't be confused with the more effective optical or mechanical image stabilisation offered by some other camera-makers. The camera only reaches ISO 400 sensitivity, leaving it somewhat underequipped for low-light or high-speed use.
The S770's 71mm (2.8-inch) LCD screen is quite bright, but washes out very easily. Since the display leaves no room for an optical viewfinder, users are forced to use the LCD whenever framing a shot, regardless of the lighting.
Despite a few quirks, the S770's performance was excellent. The camera powers up in only 1.2 seconds and can take a shot every 1.3 seconds thereafter. With the onboard flash enabled, shot-to-shot time increases to a still satisfying 2.4 seconds. Shutter lag measures a speedy 0.4 seconds in bright light and only 1 second in dim light. Burst mode was sluggish, pumping out 24 full-resolution images in 33 seconds for a rate of 0.7fps.
If even 0.4 seconds is too slow for you, Casio offers the Quick Shot mode -- when you press down quickly on the shutter release, the camera takes a photo without bothering to focus. Unfortunately, this is of dubious value. You might snap dozens of shots very rapidly, but when you get home to edit, email or print them, they'll be nothing but grainy blurs. Instead, press the shutter release down halfway until it achieves a focus lock, then take the picture. It takes some getting used to, but you'll soon be taking quick, focused photos.
Compared with the S770's great performance, its image quality disappoints. While it reproduces colour and highlights quite well, fine details tend to be softened by processing artefacts. Noise generally wasn't too bad, but since the S770 can only reach ISO 400, that isn't a big achievement. We also noticed some heavy purple fringing where dark and near-white objects contrast with each other.
The Casio Exilim EX-S770's slim, stylish form is hard to beat. It's colourful, completely metallic and small enough to take anywhere. It delivered excellent performance in our lab tests. Unfortunately, its iffy photo quality dulls the camera's overall glow. If you want an ultra-slim camera but don't think the S770 is for you, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T50 offers optical image stabilisation and higher ISO sensitivity if you can stump up slightly more cash.
Edited by Lori Grunin
Additional editing by Elizabeth Griffin