|Casio Exilim EX-Z850 - Housing
The housing of the Casio Exilim EX Z850 consists of stainless steel, and simply radiates quality. The camera features a slightly rounded, yet angular design, and is of a compact size. It has an average weight of approximately 164 grams (including battery), which ensures the camera is pleasant to hold. The design is both modern and smooth, although not overly conspicuous. The camera is standard delivered with a re-chargeable Lithium Ion battery (NP-40), a USB cradle, a wrist strap, a CD-ROM with software, a USB and AV cable, and an A/C power adapter.
Casio Exilim EX Z850 - 3x optical zoom
At first glance, the reflecting aluminium coloured front side of the Casio Z850 may seem quite full. Upon closer inspection, however, it turns out not to be so bad; it is in fact only the prominent sticker and the lines of the housing that make it come across slightly crowded. Right from the centre, we find the 3x optical zoom, which has an average brightness of f/2.8 - f/5.1. The designer has chosen to position a large eye-catching ring around the zoom lens. It should be said that this ring - which is for decorative purposes only - does make the zoom lens look somewhat bulky. In the top right corner, we see an optical viewfinder with, next to it, a LED that serves as AF assistance illuminator and indicator for the record mode and the self-timer. An internal flash is integrated left of the centre. The microphone is formed by a miniscule hole entirely at the bottom of the zoom lens.
Casio Z850 - On/off switch & Shutter release
When looking at the Casio Exilim Z850 from above, we see that the amount of buttons is limited to two: the on/off switch and the shutter release button, which is surrounded by a ring that enables you to operate the optical and digital zoom. The on/off switch is very small, and lies sunk deeply into the housing. However, the switch remains easy to operate with a full fingertip, and is not likely to be pressed by accident. The shutter release button is positioned slightly higher, and feels pleasant under your finger. The camera's top side slants towards the back, and is equipped with two quick buttons for the record and play mode.
|Upon turning the camera, we see that half of its bottom side is taken up by the compartment for the battery and the flash memory card. The lid closes securely, and needs to be slid sideways in order to open the compartment. Right next to it, we see the interface through which the camera connects when placed onto the standard delivered docking station.
Casio Exilim Z850 - 2,5 inch LCD display
The camera's side features a small eyelet to which the wrist strap can be attached. The opposite side is equipped with a loudspeaker. Just as the top side, the side of the camera slants towards the back, and has a small ridge which houses two buttons that allow you to access a quick menu. This brings us to the back side of the Casio Exilim Z850. It is taken up mainly by a large format 2.5 inch display. Remarkable is the presence of an optical viewfinder, which, in my opinion, has become somewhat unnecessary as a result of the rise of large format monitors. The optical viewfinder is indeed quite small, and only shows 75% of the actual image. Two LEDs signal the status of the focus and the flash. Right of the monitor we find the well-known mode-dial, which holds the main programmes. Below it, we see a multi-controller and two buttons for the menu and the display of information on the monitor.
Casio EX Z850 digital camera - Quick menu
Despite the fact that the Casio EX Z850 is equipped with a 2.5 inch format monitor, the camera features a considerable amount of buttons. Several functions have been assigned their own button, whilst others can be accessed through a quick menu. The combination of quick buttons and direct function buttons proves an excellent solution to keep the many functions of the camera under control. Although the monitor has an attractive size, it does trail a bit behind as far as resolution is concerned (115.000 pixels). The Casio Exilim Z850 remains pleasant to hold, even though the camera lacks a small grip on its front side. In my case, this is solved by the mode dial on the camera's back side, where I rest my thumb, and thus find grip.