I’ve been searching online for an Ultra Compact Digital Camera ever since I got my Canon Powershot S2 IS camera, only because it is not a "pocket camera", and it’s a bit too big to lug around every day. It great for everything else especially when you use the 12 times optical zoom.  So, for the past couple of months I have been doing my usual research, which entails reading through all the digital camera sites, reading reviews, forums, asking questions, pondering over every pro and con etc. Finally I decided on the Casio Exilim EX Z-850.

Casio Exilim EX Z850

Click for actual size.

I purchased it from PurelyGadgets.co.uk, they are locally based (In the Docklands). I originally purchased my Canon from them and their service was brilliant. I ordered the camera on Monday morning, and fetched it from their office on Thursday afternoon (ready to be used for the England vs Trinidad and Tobago game).

Some of the features I like so far:

  1. Large 2.5" screen – as well as a small optical view finder for when you don’t want to use the screen. The screen is very bright, and there are 5 settings to turn it up or down. In direct sunlight you are still able to see the screen.
  2. Manual Controls – It’s not just a point and shoot. There is a dial setting for Aperture and Shutter priority. It also has a manual focus mode, which  works very well; the central section of the preview is enlarged when you adjust the focus.
  3. Best Shot mode – There are no less than 34 (plus one custom ‘user’ mode), covering everything from the usual portraits, landscapes and night scenes to pets, ‘splashing water’ and food to special effects and modes for copying documents and text that remove perspective distortion. In each case a brief description is shown on-screen to explain how and when to use it.
  4. It’s flat out between shots – Focus speed, shutter lag, shot-to-shot times and so on are excellent, and overall the camera feels very responsive indeed to use.
  5. Excellent battery life – I’ve taken roughly 425 photographs so far and have not needed to charge the battery.

So overall I am very happy with the camera. Even the video is fine. I really don’t know what people are complaining about on so many of the forums. I’ve shot about 25 minutes worth of video and it’s bright, clear and smooth. Video can be set to 640×480 or smaller.The video for me was never going to be an issue, because the video option on the Canon S2 IS is out of this world. Even better than some DV camera’s.

Charger and battery

I also purchased a spare battery and charger from ibuynow.co.uk10/10 for speed & efficiency – I purchased the items on Thursday night, and it arrived this morning at 8am.

SD card.
And finally the flash memory. I purchased a 1GB SD card from Picstop.co.uk on Monday morning, (at the same time as I ordered the camera). The memory card arrived the following day (Tuesday). Their service is by far the best. For flash memory you cannot go wrong with this site. I highly recommend them.