You usually have to choose between two types of digital cameras: slim-line beauties with large LCD screens or bulky enthusiast cameras capable of heavy lifting. The Casio Exilim EX-Z750 scores a coup by integrating these two schools of camera design -- or rather, squeezing the benefits of the latter into the tight-fitting trousers of the former.
The 7.2-megapixel EX-Z750 is the impressive spiritual successor to the handsome Exilim EX-Z55, a camera with admirable looks but disappointing image quality and a dearth of manual features. It offers the same 64mm (2.5-inch) screen and trendy sub-25mm-thick jeans-pocketable design as its forbear, but it brings a host of new features to the table, as well as solid performance and very good image quality. Though it still lacks some of the advanced manual features found in Casio's larger but similarly priced EX-P700, we're willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. If you're a photographer who craves style but also has a creative itch, the EX-Z750 is one of the few cameras we've seen that adequately addresses both.
The ultracompact Casio Exilim EX-Z750's brushed-metal frame looks great without scratching easily, and its bevelled edges won't dig into your hands at the corners. The rear of the 128g camera is dominated by the gorgeous 64mm LCD screen, which at its brightest can be easily seen in daylight, but can also be dimmed to save battery life. A screen this large is useful for distracting from the Z750's woeful optical viewfinder, which is so small and ineffective as to be largely useless.
This model retains the very appealing Exilim menu system, with a few new twists that make operations more efficient. Recording options, such as autofocus area and digital zoom, now live on a different tab to image size and white balance, so you can get to the functions you need more quickly. The drive mode and the EX button, which calls up frequently used settings, are squeezed onto the left edge of the camera's rear, just next to the LCD screen. One gripe we do have with the Z750's design is its dependence on the bundled dock for charging the battery and uploading images to your computer. Though we're hesitant to complain when the end result is a camera this sleek-looking, the dock creates more of a travel burden when you want to take your photos on the road.
The Casio Exilim EX-Z750's feature set may be its greatest trump card. As we've mentioned, it packs shutter- and aperture-priority modes into a camera-body size unused to such manual delights. The camera's lens moves quickly through its 3x zoom range, which corresponds to focal lengths of 38mm to 114mm (35mm equivalent). The wide-angle focal length of 38mm is too narrow for anyone hoping to take lots of indoor shots, but it's not entirely unexpected in a camera this slim.