The Casio Exilim EX-Z550 is an unassuming camera that packs more options than most in its class, says Gavin Stoker at PhotographyBlog.com. Comparable in size to the older Casio Exilim EX-Z280SR (*Est. $150), the tiny, 4.1-ounce Z550 packs a bit more punch with a larger 14-megapixel sensor, a 2.7-inch LCD with double the resolution and a new processor that boosts operational speeds by 30 percent, Stoker says. The Z550 has 42 scene modes, in addition to extra shooting modes like Premium Auto (scans a scene and selects the best setting), Art Shot (mimics oil painting, crayon and watercolor) and night scene detection. HD video (720p), a dedicated video recording button, an optimized YouTube mode for easy uploads and in-camera editing round out the features.
With its small size, Stoker says the Z550 is hard to grip, and he agrees with editors at Steves-Digicams.com that the LCD is tough to see in bright sunlight. Still, the Z550 is easy to use, and image quality nabs solid grades for sharpness and well-saturated colors. Like other Casio Exilim point and shoots, the Z550's Premium Auto mode delivers the best results, while HD video quality is decent at best, say editors at Steves-Digicams.com. They also note that the Z550 doesn't have an auto assist lamp -- a standard feature on many digital cameras that helps the camera focus in low-light conditions. Stoker says the Z550 is an "unobtrusive snapper" with a modest outlay. It's about the same price as the best-reviewed Canon PowerShot A3100 IS (*Est. $125), but the Canon shoots only standard definition video.
Only Steves-Digicams.com and PhotographyBlog.com have tested and evaluated the Casio Exilim EX-Z550. There's also a review at Pocket-Lint.com, but it is by the same author as the one at PhotographyBlog.com. User reviews have yet to surface in great enough numbers to form a consensus.
Editors at Steves-Digicams.com say the Casio Exilim EX-Z550 is an affordable point-and-shoot with appealing features. They especially like the plethora of Best Shot modes, slim form factor and solid outdoor shooting performance. Their main complaint is the absence of an AF-Assist lamp for better focusing in "marginal" lighting conditions.
Review: Casio Exilim EX-Z550 Review, Editors of Steves-Digicams.com, May 17, 2010
On the surface, the Casio Exilim EX-Z550 may look run of the mill, but underneath it is "festooned with the latest gadgetry," says Gavin Stoker. The camera pulls ahead of its class with a greater range of creative options and a dedicated video button. However, the 4x zoom is modest, and images suffer from finicky white balance.
Review: Casio EX-Z550 Review, Gavin Stoker, May 6, 2010