The Bottom Line
For example, the Z16's LCD is sharp and bright, and it doesn't suffer from the screen glare that's common with budget-priced cameras. The image quality with the Z16 is pretty good, considering its starting price, and it's easy to use.
The Z16 is one of the nicer sub-$100 cameras around, but it only will appeal to beginners.
- Camera body is thin and stylish
- LCD has very little glare outdoors, and it's bright and sharp
- Camera is pretty easy to use, making it good for beginners
- Image quality is pretty good most of the time, and most photos taken in good light are sharp
- Flash works well from a few feet away to several feet away
- Focus is inconsistent in low light, and camera has no focus assist lamp
- Only a 3X zoom lens, and it does not move smoothly through zoom levels
- Overall focus is a little inconsistent
- Flash tends to wash out close-up photos
- Shutter lag is noticeable in low light photos
- Resolution: 12.1 megapixels
- Optical zoom: 3X (35.5-106.5mm)
- LCD: 2.7-inch, 230,400 pixels
- Maximum image size: 4000 x 3000 pixels
- Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion
- Dimensions: 3.9 x 2.3 x 0.9 inches
- Weight: 4.9 ounces (with battery and memory card)
- Image sensor: CCD 1/2.3 in.
- Movie mode: Motion JPEG
Guide Review - Casio Exilim EX-Z16 Review
For a sub-$100 camera, the image quality with the Z16 is pretty good, which is important. Low light photos aren't going to provide the highest quality, though.
I do like how the Exilim EX-Z16 provides a variety of high resolutions at different ratios. For example, you can shoot at 12 megapixels at the standard 4:3 ratio, 11MP at a 3:2 ratio, and 10MP at a 16:9 ratio. Such flexibility is nice to have.
For a beginner camera, the Z16 has some nice in-camera image-editing features. You also can shoot with a few special effects, such as sepia. Additionally, you have access to a few basic manual controls, such as the white balance and ISO settings with this camera, which can help with exposure issues.
The 3X zoom lens is a disappointment with the Z16. It offers no wide angle capabilities, and 3X is the smallest optical zoom lens you'll find on cameras made in the past few years. Additionally, the lens moves with jerks through its limited range, making it tough to achieve the exact magnification you may want.
The Exilim EX-Z16's autofocus is a hit-and-miss performer. In low light, the camera's focus is very inconsistent, in large part because the Z16 does not have a focus-assist lamp. However, if there is plenty of light, the autofocus works really well most of the time, whether you're shooting over distance or close up. If you're using the flash for a close-up, chances are good the photo will be washed out, although the flash does work pretty well from a few feet away.
As with most cameras in this price range, you'll notice some shutter lag, which may mean you'll miss some spontaneous photos or photos with moving subjects. You can shoot in "sports" mode -- one of 23 scene modes included with the Z16 -- to try to fix the problem of moving subjects. The scene modes help make the Z16 pretty easy to use.
I liked the look of the EX-Z16, as it offers a stylish angled camera body. The full-sized lens housing is off center, allowing the small, built-in flash unit to be centered, which results in better performance ... and which means you won't inadvertently block the flash or lens with your finger. You'll find the Z16 in four body colors.
As with many beginner-level, budget-priced cameras from Casio, the Z16 is light weight and easy to use one-handed.
The 2.7-inch LCD with the Z16 works pretty well, although it seems a little small with the way it's laid out on this camera.
One design problem I encountered involved the mini-USB slot, which is behind a panel on the bottom of the camera. The panel doesn't rotate far enough away from the USB slot, which makes it difficult to fit the USB cable into the slot.
Most companies don't bother releasing new cameras in the sub-$100 price range -- preferring to allow older cameras to fall in price to under $100 -- but Casio released the Z16 directly into that price range. Because the Z16 is a new model, it contains some nice features, making it compare favorably to other sub-$100 models.