Of course, quibbling with the rudimentary nature of the video function is probably overthinking the YouTube experience. Basic, one-take clips are easy to shoot and incredibly simple to upload. The YouTube uploader software is clear and user-friendly. Once you have entered your account details, future uploads are one click away.
Casio credits the EX-Z77 with an anti-shake feature. This
method of minimising camera shake raises the light sensitivity to a
higher ISO, while increasing the shutter speed. We're not fans of this
fudged method of reducing blur from jittery hands, as a camera needs to
pull out all the stops at higher ISO levels to make it worthwhile.
Apart from the headline-grabbing whistles and bells, actual shooting control is thin on the ground. Disappointingly, you can only get as close as 100mm in macro mode. Crucially, there's no aperture or shutter priority modes, and an unwieldy manual focus. The only real control you get is in selecting from the preset scene modes.
Autofocus is reasonably quick, even in lower light, although the face detection is predictably patchy in darker situations. Even in decent light there is also some evidence of focus softening around the edge of images.
In low light, an ISO setting of 400 delivers surprisingly low noise, with an unexpected crispness of image. Sadly, ISO 800 is predictably noisy with plenty of purple fringing.
Colour is reproduced reasonably well on standard settings, although reds are a little pale. It is possible to alter the saturation up or down but increasing saturation fails to increase the richness of reds, instead leaving them with an orange cast. Contrast and sharpness are similarly adjustable but the effect is negligible. Increasing sharpness and contrast together highlights some halo effects on higher contrast areas and is best avoided.
The 38-114mm focal range isn't bad, although without optical image stabilisation the extreme end of the zoom will always tend to blur unless you remember your tripod. This isn't helped by some fairly heavy compression smoothing out detail for smaller file sizes. With the Web sharing function of this camera in mind, the loss of detail is forgivable but it doesn't make for great prints.
The Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z77 is easy to find fault with but that doesn't mean it's a bad camera. On the contrary, it's capable, reliable and user-friendly. It's just so resolutely average that we can't help focusing on the tiniest gripe.
As good as it is at everything
it does, the EX-Z77 is ultimately damned by faint praise. If you spend
all your time on YouTube and desperately want one-touch upload, the
EX-Z77 is as good as it gets. If you're after a decent camera for a
decent price, consider the Canon IXUS 70 or Fujifilm F40fd.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday