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Casio Exilim EX-Z280 review

Casio Exilim EX-Z280
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £134
inc VAT

Looks good on paper but considerably less so in practice; image quality is the main weakness


1/2.3in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 4.0x zoom (26-104mm equivalent), 112g

The Z280 is a good reminder of how much the camera market has changed in recent months. With its 12-megapixel sensor, slinky, brushed aluminium body, wide-angle lens, optical image stabilisation and HD video mode, its sub-£150 price is remarkable.

Its video capabilities are particularly impressive, capturing 720p HD video at a film-like 24fps, and with high-quality sound recorded at the same 44.1kHz sample rate used by audio CDs. With a dedicated video button, there’s no need to switch modes when jumping from stills to video capture. Video clips were sharp and well exposed but darker areas were noisy, even when shooting outdoors.

Sadly, the Z280 is less successful when it comes to taking photos. It’s painfully lethargic, taking an average of 4.4 seconds between shots in normal use, rising to 6.1 seconds when using the flash. The continuous mode ran at 0.3fps – that’s more than three seconds between each photo, and hardly constitutes a continuous mode at all. However, an alternative mode, labelled High Speed CS, offers some compensation by capturing eight 2-megapixel shots at 3.8fps.

Our image quality tests revealed further problems. Outdoor shots in bright light were generally impressive, but the lens produced chromatic aberrations in the corners of frames, resulting in indistinct details and halos of discoloration around high-contrast lines.

Even at the lowest ISO speed of 64, quite a lot of noise was visible, particularly around sharp details where the digital noise reduction appeared to be struggling to distinguish details and noise from each other. Worst of all were photos taken indoors, with flailing noise reduction leading to grubby photos with barely any fine details. Colour reproduction was excellent when shooting under artificial light, but by this point it was too late to salvage a good report for image quality.

The Z280’s specifications and price are tantalising, but by struggling in two of the most important areas – image quality and performance – no number of impressive features would be enough to compensate.

Basic Specifications

Rating **
CCD effective megapixels 12.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.3in
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 2.7in
LCD screen resolution 115,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 4.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 26-104mm
Image stabilisation optical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution 4,000×3,000
Maximum movie resolution 1280×720
Movie frame rate at max quality 24fps
File formats JPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)


Memory slot SDHC
Mermory supplied 36MB internal
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 250 shots
Connectivity USB, AV
HDMI output resolution N/A
Body material aluminium
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier 5.6x
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 112g
Size 55x98x20mm

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £134

Camera Controls

Exposure modes auto
Shutter speed 1/2 to 1/2,000 seconds
Aperture range f/2.6 to f/5.9
ISO range (at full resolution) 64 to 3200
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 6 presets, manual
Additional image controls contrast, saturation, sharpness
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 5cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, tracking, face detect
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer