A 10-megapixel follow up to the 8-megapixel Casio Exilim EX-Z850, the Exilim EX-Z1000 is more than just a resolution bump in Casio's Exilim Z-series compact cameras. It's more of a fork in the road. For about the same price, the Casio Exilim EX-Z1000 forgoes the optical viewfinder, the manual exposure controls and the shooting flexibility of the EX-Z850 in favour of a 16:9-aspect, a 71mm (2.8-inch) LCD and a more refined interface.
Slightly larger than a business card and less than 25mm across, the camera weighs just 170g with a battery and memory card. The Casio Exilim EX-Z1000 sports a simple interface with very few buttons. The direction pad controls all of the camera's functions -- you browse a list of the most commonly used image settings without touching the system menu. These settings are easy to check and change, thanks to a panel on the right-hand side of the screen.
The LCD's brightness changes based on the brightness of the subject -- for example, the entire display brightens when focusing on a TV screen. This feature is designed to make the display more readable in extreme illumination, but our reaction was mixed. It can be quite jarring when the screen suddenly brightens after you've locked and framed your photo, and it makes it difficult to judge whether the photo is properly exposed.
Beyond its 10-megapixel CCD, the Casio Exilim EX-Z1000 captures photos using a 38mm-to-114mm (35mm equivalent) lens with an aperture range of f/2.8 to f/5.4 and shutter speeds spanning 1/4 to 1/2,000 second. The camera has a sensitivity range of ISO 50 to ISO 400, though the High Sensitivity Best Shot mode can boost that setting to ISO 3,200. Like all Exilim cameras, the EX-Z1000 includes Casio's Anti-Shake DSP electronic image-stabilisation system.
Various settings, including ISO sensitivity, white balance, EV compensation and even focus, can be manually changed through the camera's display panel. If you don't want to bother with those semi-manual settings, the EX-Z1000 offers 34 scene presets, including novel options for photographing objects for online auction and head shots for different sizes of ID cards, as well as one for automatically retouching old photos on the camera.
Manual focus is easier to adjust on the EX-Z1000 than on most point-and-shoot cameras -- you use the control pad's left and right buttons to change the focal length while framing the shot. The camera lacks aperture- and shutter-priority exposure modes. The camera also has a 25fps VGA movie mode for capturing videos with sound. You can record movies up to the capacity of your SD card.
Despite a very responsive shutter, the Casio Exilim EX-Z1000 takes just slightly too long between shots. After a quick 1.8 seconds from power-on to first shot, the camera took 3.5 seconds between every additional shot -- even though shutter lag in bright light was a minimal 0.3 seconds and only 0.5 seconds in dim light. With the onboard flash enabled, that sluggish rate ballooned to 5.1 seconds between shots.
The camera's 8MB buffer isn't enough to handle the burst throughput required by 10-megapixel images -- the EX-Z1000 had poorer continuous-shooting performance than other snapshot cameras with a full-resolution rate of 0.4fps. You have a variety of options that can deliver speedier burst results, however.