A generic monitor not specifically designed for photography isn’t going to deliver the colour quality we seek. Processing images on the BenQ SW271 gives the user a stunningly vivid colour range.
Casio Exilim EX-P600
- Comparatively small, feature packed
- Price, not for amateurs
A great option for the more experienced photographer, the P600 offers all the functionality you could want from an advanced camera; the only downfall is the four figure price tag.
Price$ 1,099.00 (AUD)
The 6 megapixel EX-P600 sets the standard for in-camera help systems. This model is easy to use, offers an extensive set of features and takes top-notch photos.
We had a hard time deciding whether the silver, metal-clad Exilim Pro would fit better into our compact category or our advanced camera category. It has all the creative controls of a typical advanced model, but at only 98 x 68 x 45mm and 225g, not the size and heft. It's pocketable, in a lumpy sort of way, and it has an impressive array of built-in help prompts that should appeal to sometime photographers. But it also has features we typically associate with higher-end models. It has, for example, nine types of bracketing. And while it is missing a flash hot shoe, it does have a flash sync connector.
The most immediately noticeable thing about the Exilim EX-P600 is the 2" LCD on the back. Turn on the camera and the status display on the LCD will catch your attention as well: it superimposes a graphical display of shutter, aperture, distance, and other vital stats over your image. Though it looks kind of cool, you'll need to consult the manual to figure it all out--a printed basic reference is included and the full manual is provided on CD-ROM in PDF format. If you prefer a more traditional display to the full detail graphical display, you can opt for one. One flaw of the LCD is that it stands out a little from the rear of the unit, leaving the display at risk of damage during rough handling.
The camera can take JPEG images in economy, normal and fine mode as well as TIFF files, up to a resolution of 2816 x 2112 pixels. Images are stored on an SD card, although the camera does have 9.2MB of internal memory. The SD card slot is accessed by a door on the bottom right rear of the unit that also covers the lithium ion battery.
The integral help system extends to many of the camera's settings. In shutter-priority mode, for instance, pressing the Set button brings up a sample of two photos, one showing the minimal depth of field associated with a low aperture value, and the other showing the long depth of field that you'd get with a high aperture value. Beneath the photos is a bar that shows you where on the depth-of-field scale your current aperture value falls. But for people who prefer the quick setup of scene modes, the Exilim EX-P600 has 25 of them, each with a brief description of what it does.
The camera's extensive bracketing options include exposure, focus, white balance, sharpness, saturation, contrast, portrait (which adjusts for skin tones) and two types of colour filter. Automatic, preset and manual white balance is also available.
The Exilim has a dual-menu system. Pressing the EX button brings up a short list of settings (white balance, ISO, metering, and auto-focus area) and pressing the Menu button gives you those and many other options. The 4X optical zoom starts at a 35mm equivalent of 33mm.
Images from the Exilim were good. A flash shot showed the best colour balance, but it was slightly overexposed and had visible noise (speckling) in dark, solid colours.
High-contrast outdoor shots had nice depth and well-produced tonal ranges, but a slight softness marred the fine details. Indoor shots displayed more depth and vivid colour range.
Casio's combination of buttons, dials, menu software and visual feedback through the LCD panel makes it easy for photographers to get the most out of this quality camera. The Exilim EX-P600 does everything desired of an advanced digital camera--and in a package that could almost be described as compact.
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