At a mere 4 ounces, the tiny Casio Exilim EX-Z280SR offers an affordable entry-level option with a bonus: 39 automatic shooting modes. Most budget point-and-shoot cameras offer about 20 such modes, and editors at Which? magazine say the feature makes up for the Z280SR's lack of manual controls. The 12-megapixel camera also has a 4x zoom lens with a 26 mm wide angle, in-camera editing, HD video and a special YouTube video mode for simple uploads. Reviewers say the Z280SR is a cinch for anyone to use, and critics especially like the dedicated video button, which lets you instantly change from shooting still photos to recording video.
On the other hand, Nick Mokey at DigitalTrends.com says the Z280SR's selling points "don't quite hold water once you get your hands on it." He cites cheap plastic construction, and the 2.7-inch LCD has half the resolution of most LCDs -- a unanimous letdown for reviewers. Editors at Which? magazine say the image stabilization system is "hopelessly ineffective" and report a "grindingly slow" 4.5-second shot-to-shot time, whereas the Canon PowerShot SD1200 (*Est. $160) has a superior optical image stabilization system and clips along at 2.1 seconds between shots. Image quality rates highly overall, with exceptional outdoor shots, though the Z280SR churns out choppy HD video. For a better budget option, Mokey gives the nod to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS25 (*Est. $175), while editors at Steves-Digicams.com recommend the Canon PowerShot SD1200.
Professional reviews from DigitalTrends.com and Steves-Digicams.com provide in-depth, test-based evaluations of the Casio Exilim EX-Z280SR. Which? magazine also conducts comprehensive tests with numeric ratings of individual features, although their write-up isn't as extensive.
For Nick Mokey, the Casio Exilim EX-Z280SR looks nice on paper but doesn't hold up in the test lab. The camera performs acceptably for its "meager price tag," but flagship features such as the Dynamic Mode don't work very well. In addition, the LCD has an exceptionally low resolution and the lack of optical image stabilization hampers low-light shooting.
Review: Casio Exilim EX-Z280 Review, Nick Mokey, Dec. 17, 2009
The entry-level Casio EX-Z280SR is easy enough for anyone to pick up and use, yet it "sports more than just the basics," say editors at Steves-Digicams.com. They appreciate the simple control layout and one-touch video button, although they concede that image quality is okay and performance is nothing to get excited about.
Review: Casio EX-Z280 Review, Editors of Steves-Digicams.com, Nov. 30, 2009
3. Which? magazine
Although the Casio Exilim EX-Z280SR manages to squeeze a wide-angle lens and good features into a small frame at a tiny price, editors at Which? magazine find mediocre performance in tests. The LCD and picture quality garner average to below average scores, but the generous range of scene modes makes up for the lack of manual shooting options.
Review: Digital Cameras: Compare Features & Prices, Editors of Which?