Customer Review

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Little Camera--Unusually Versatile at this Size and Price, July 24, 2014
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This review is from: Casio High Speed Exilim Ex-ZR700 Digital Camera Black EX-ZR700BK Japan Import (Camera)
Great Little Camera--Unusually Versatile at this Size and Price
I have always had Canon cameras, but recently had good luck with Fuji and Panasonic. Never knew much about Casio--which is apparently known for being very innovative but doesn't do much marketing in the U.S. I was planning to get a Panasonic SZ40 when I saw some impressive photos taken with the ZR700 and read some of the user reviews, I thought it would really be worth trying. (The white one is usually the least expensive, below $180, but right now the cheapest is black which Is the one I wanted and bought.)

Note: I still really like this camera--it is fun and incredibly versatile--but I have been noticing the chromatic aberration (CA) when I take landscapes at a distance. It is a common problem for pocket zooms--they work so much better zoomed in--but, still, it's unfortunate.

Japanese/English Manual.

First thing to know is that, yes, it comes with a little Japanese manual in the box. But you can download the user manual online at: http://support.casio.com/en/manual/manualfile.php?cid=001012012 . It's about 180 pages long--so not practical to print out--but the camera, though it has many setting possibilities, is pretty intuitive so you'll probably only need to read/look up (or even print) a few directions anyway once you get started. Since the manual is a little inconvenient, I'm including a few "starting out" tips below, that will hopefully shortcut the learning curve for you.

Charging:

There's a USB connector to your computer or to a wall plug (included). Either way, the battery stays in the camera while it charges. Someone said they had problems with the computer charging, but with two different PCs, I've had no problem at all. (To access the connection point on the camera, look at the side near the hand grip and lift up the little black plastic tab. The bottom opening is for an hdmi cable--not supplied--and the top is for the charger). The first time you charge takes about 5 hours.

LCD in Japanese:

Maybe mine had been briefly owned and resold as new (seems fine, so doesn't bother me). Because it had already been changed to English. As soon as you do this, you're going to feel how user-friendly the camera is. So here are the four steps:

1. Push the MENU button (little button far bottom right on the back of camera). On the left side, highlighted in blue is a camera icon. This is the "Recording Menu". Be sure you push the left side of the Control Dial on the back of the camera in order to highlight/select the camera icon. (You don't want to use it, just need to be positioned here for Step 2).

2. Now press the down button (bottom side) of the Control Dial to select the little "gear" icon below the "camera" icon. This gives you "Settings". Now press the right side of the Control Dial to enter the setting menu.

3. You'll have to scroll through the first two screens of settings. Ignore them till you get to the third one and see "USB". Right above it is "Language" (not sure if you'll see it in English or not but "USB" should be in English).

4. Press the right side of the Control Dial and you'll see English as one of your choices. Select it, then press "Set" in the middle of the Control Dial and everything will be in English.

**** Some Tips for Starting Out:

There are a lot of settings to scroll through and look at. But, first you'll want to find one to try. I recommend choosing either "Program AUTO" or "Best Shots" on the Mode Dial. (You should spend lots of time in "Best Shots"--not the "portrait" "scenery" etc. but the low light ones and the action ones.)

After you choose something on the Mode Dial, push the "Set" button on the middle of the Control Dial to enter any menu (Program AUTO, etc.) and then use the Control Dial (left-right/up-down) to choose your settings. Pressing the "Set" button twice will take you back to shooting mode. Or half press the shutter to get back.

To Focus and take Exposure: Half press the shutter.

"Best Shots" Mode (recommend: HDR)

If you go to "Best Shots" you'll find a lot of fun and useful modes to try. Oddly, I had good luck with Best Shots--> HDR (leave where it is on Level 3. If you want to change just use the Control Dial--press right to enter the HDR menu and then make your selection. But Level 3 doesn't give an "HDR effect". It just combines the photos in a very natural way (, especially good with scenes that are backlit or too contrasty).

(Note: If you want an HDR effect, go to ART on the Mode Dial. There are some fun settings there.)

Flash: If you want to use the flash you have to raise it by pressing the button on the top (left side) of the camera. I go to the settings menu (bottom right button near the edge of the back of the camera) and lower it to -2 because I don't like a big flash effect. Usually I'll just use BS-night scene or other low light setting instead.

Playback button: It is at the bottom right of the LCD screen, to the left of the settings button. Half pressing the shutter returns you to the shooting mode.

Seeing More Details about Modes:

The camera focuses and shoots very quickly, even if you're not on one of the high speed settings (it does very well at night without using any flash if you're in a low light mode.)

One more thing to know--is when you are changing modes with the Mode Dial, the bottom of the LCD screen says "Details Zoom". If you want to know more details about that mode (or one of the settings in "Best Shots" for example, just push the zoom button and you can read an explanation.

Other Good Modes:

This camera takes very good pictures--I was amazed how it captured action--and is very fun to use (there's a panorama mode on the dial. Also a great "Wide Angle" mode in Best Shots--only 3 pictures stitched together, like a mini-panorama. There's an easy 19mm one and a harder-to-use 15mm. The 19mm is easy and gives a good effect in bright light). Try a lot of the "Best Shot" options--very good for speed and light. The engineers have been great about using multiple pictures to keep the ISO and aperture as low as possible. "Sunset mode" did a better job than any other setting. "Anti-Shake", "Low Light/Night scenes", "Portrait", "Sports"--all really really good. On the Mode Dial, the "Focus Mode" gives you blurred background in Macro or you can Infinity focus in Macro automatically when you select it.

For a quick "burst" mode of action, turn the Mode Dial to "Triple Shot". I don't understand how it does it, but it takes a picture before you fully press the shutter down, during and after and you can choose. No blur at all when I tried it with a bicyclist. Amazing. Another one that does this is in Best Shot Mode (CS-AF...#6 on the list)

Custom Settings:

In "Best Shots" - scroll to the end and you see "Custom". You can create up to 999 custom settings! Just take a photo with the settings you like, then go to "Custom" and choose that photo. Any time you go to Best Shots and select that photo again in Custom, those are the settings you'll be in.

RAW / JPEG

If you want to shoot in RAW, go to "Best Shots". It's there. Great thing? When it takes a RAW shot, it also saves a JPEG.

Zoom

It says 18x optical zoom and goes up to 40x with a good digital zoom. (90x in a couple of modes if you use 10MB photos, I believe)

Conclusion:

The Casio ZR700 is a very electronically sophisticated camera, the way it merges multiple photos to improve focus and exposure. It is also very fast, very easy and fun to use. I think the ZR800 uses a different stabilization system (5 point rather than 3 point), but this is excellent so I didn't feel it was necessary, since the cameras are otherwise quite similar. This is a lot of camera and a really great price.

Update Added July 25,2014:

No Viewfinder, Only LCD. If you want to use it up to your eye, look online for the "Clearviewer" website. The man makes a magnifying lens that fits on the back via tripod mount (swings in and out). It's $36 for the regular $53 for the premium plus $7.50 shipping. Great little gadget--makes the camera more stable, too.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 24, 2014 8:18:57 PM PDT
Excellent and helpful review. Peace. John

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2014 10:29:45 AM PDT
Elisa 20 says:
Thanks so much for the feedback, John. I worried it might be too long--glad to know it was clear. :)

Elisa
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Elisa 20
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