updated 08:00 am EDT, Wed August 20, 2008
Casio Exilim Z300 Z250 Z85
Casio today began its prelude to the Photokina show with three new Exilim cameras for the US and elsewhere, two of which introduce a new automatic image tuning feature. The Zoom series tops out with the 10.1-megapixel EX-Z300 and the 9.1-megapixel EX-Z250, both of which include a new Makeup feature: the optional setting can dynamically improve the look of faces in portrait shots by either eliminating blemishes or reducing the impact of long shadows. They can also automatically correct overly dark faces or stitch together three shots to simulate a long exposure time.
The two compact cameras tout sensor-shift image stabilization as well as 720p video capture to H.264, rendering them friendly both to iMovie and other editing tools aware of the format as well as uploads to YouTube. A wide-angle, 28-112mm equivalent lens with 4X zoom also helps preserve wider or close-up subjects. Both the Z300 and Z250 will ship in October and will sell in a mix of colors for $300 and $250 respectively.
An entry Zoom model, the EX-Z85, keeps the 9.1 megapixels of the Z250 but switches to a traditional 3X zoom lens and shoots standard-definition 4:3 ratio video. In return, it adds features skewed towards beginners with an auto shutter mode that can either wait for a smile or until the shot is stable relative to its ISO settings. An Easy Mode can also reduce the settings to just the choice of flash, resolution and timer for those daunted by full access.
Scaling the features back lets Casio reduce the price of the Z85 to $180 when it ships in October.