The Casio Exilim EX-Z110 doesn't have the sleek and sexy form factor of its siblings, but this 6-megapixel, 3x zoom camera offers a broad range of features -- including manual exposure controls and a wealth of scene modes -- that will appeal to an equally varied array of photographers. Its image quality falls a little short of good, and its performance is mixed, but casual photographers who want more than just a basic point-and-shoot may find this camera appealing.
Measuring 89 by 27 by 61mm and weighing 185g with batteries and media card, the EX-Z110 is small enough to fit snugly into your back pocket. Depending on how you hold the camera, however, you may accidentally trigger the menu button or move the mode dial with your thumb. Otherwise the control layout works well, even though several of the control keys -- playback, capture, menu and display -- lie flush with the camera body. We like the convenience of directly powering on the camera by pressing the record or playback key rather than using the separate power button on top.
The camera's 51mm (2-inch) LCD, which occupies about two-thirds of the Z-110's rear surface, works well under most lighting conditions and gains up in low light -- a good thing, considering the tiny size of the optical viewfinder.
Users will find a number of shooting modes, including an automatic Snapshot mode that also lets you change camera parameters such as ISO and white balance. The Easy Record mode allows limited changes via a simplified menu with settings for flash, self-timer and image size. It also provides text descriptions for each option. Users who want more targeted help can take advantage of the 28 Best Shot scene modes; explanations for each appear when you move the zoom lever. Finally, the EX-Z110 offers full manual controls. While the shutter-speed options are quite good, ranging from 60 seconds to 1/2,000 seconds, the camera provides only two f-stops: f/3 and f/4.4.
In addition to adjusting metering and autofocus, you can change saturation, contrast and sharpness. You can also increase or decrease flash intensity by two steps in one-step increments. The Quick Shutter setting helps eliminate shutter lag, and an antishake feature improves sharpness in low light. In the latter case, however, photos suffer from image noise caused by the boosted ISO.
The EX-Z110's performance wasn't bad, with decent start-up time and generally responsive autofocus. But you'll have to wait almost three seconds between shots when using the flash, and the continuous-shooting speed struggled to get to 0.7 frame per second at the typical shooting resolution. The flash powered down nicely in macro mode, even without manual adjustment of the flash intensity.