The Bottom Line
My review of the Casio TRYX camera shows that it's easily one of the most innovative and interesting beginner-level cameras released recently, perhaps since the DualView line of cameras from Samsung. Its camera body is surrounded by a plastic frame that works like a handle, providing flexibility.
Often times, though, a cool camera design and good photography results don't mix.
However, I was pleasantly pleased with the image quality. It has some quirks when shooting photos, but nothing impossible to handle. Throw in the sub-$250 price point, and my review of the Casio TRYX camera shows that it should be on the short list of anyone looking to provide a cool camera gift.
As with most beginner-level cameras, the Casio TRYX -- also called the TRYX EX-TR100 -- produces its best image quality with outdoor photos, shot in sunlight. I was very impressed with the camera's performance with nature-type photos, as the colors are really vibrant and accurate.
My Casio TRYX camera review shows photos shot indoors that don't require a flash are a bit flat, as are photos shot in heavy shadows outdoors. There just aren't many vibrant colors or as much contrast in these types of photos versus the TRYX photos shot in sunlight.
When you're ready to shoot a photo in low light that typically would require a flash, you'll encounter one of the first quirks you'll find in the Casio TRYX -- it has no flash. Instead, the TRYX uses a bright LED that's built into the camera near the lens to provide light to the subject.
Actually, the LED works pretty well for close-up photos, providing plenty of light, even in pretty dark shooting situations. One disadvantage is that the LED can cause some small glare spots on objects ... but, then again, so can small built-in flash units. One advantage of the LED is that it does not wash out objects when you shoot an extreme close-up photo, as can some small built-in flash units.
The downside to the LED is that it doesn't project its light as far as a traditional flash unit will, meaning you have to be pretty close to your subjects to record a usable photo. The TRYX's wide angle lens (21mm) makes it a little easier to move close and keep everything you want in the frame, which is nice.
One thing you'll notice when using the camera's LED over several minutes is that the camera's built-in battery will drain pretty quickly. This is the TRYX's biggest drawback, unfortunately. Most people will want to use this fun camera when going out with friends and family at night, where they may need to use the LED quite a bit, which will leave them with a low battery within several minutes of continuous use. And, because the TRYX's battery is built into the camera, you cannot simply buy and carry a spare battery to work around this problem.
The camera's touchscreen 3.0-inch LCD is great, offering high resolution. It's a little tough to see in bright sunlight, and it's a little susceptible to fingerprints, but it works pretty well. Having a touchscreen LCD contributes to the camera's battery issues, however. One cool feature of the touchscreen LCD is that you can set up the camera to snap a photo each time you touch the screen.
You aren't going to find any advanced features with the TRYX. It's designed specifically to be very easy to use from the second you take it out of the box, and it succeeds. The menu structure is extremely simple, and the TRYX has only two buttons: A shutter button and a power button.
Now to discuss the fun part: The design of the TRYX.
The camera body itself is mounted inside a narrow plastic frame, and you can rotate and swivel the camera around the frame in almost any direction. As you can see from the photos posted here, the frame ends up almost acting like a handle for the camera, making it easy to shoot odd-angle photos and to use the camera in almost any configuration that you would like. For example, if you are left handed, you can twist the camera so that the shutter button ends up on the left side of the camera, allowing you to shoot left handed. You can rotate the camera to easily shoot self-portraits, too.
You can use the frame as a "kickstand" or even use the frame to hang the camera. You also can choose to simply use the TRYX as a regular camera, leaving it in its natural position inside the frame. To find the USB, memory card, and HDMI slots, however, you will have to rotate the camera outside the frame.
The lens housing is extremely small, and it's placed on the far right side of the camera. Once you begin twisting and rotating the camera body, though, you may find yourself blocking the lens with your fingers from time to time. The TRYX's lens offers extreme wide angle capabilities, which is something you don't normally see on a beginner camera.
Unfortunately, the TRYX has no optical zoom, offering only a digital zoom that you must adjust using the touchscreen, which can be a hassle.
Still, the drawbacks are minimal for such a fun camera at a great price point. This should be on the short list of anyone looking for a uniquely designed camera.