Casio Exilim EX-Z300 Digital Camera Review$299.99
The Casio Exilim EX-Z300 has a layout we've seen a thousand times before in point-and-shoot cameras, mostly because it works pretty well. There are few visual flairs on the generally well constructed camera, though we aren't huge fans of the minuscule buttons on the camera back.
The Z300's front is almost completely flat, barring two small ridges, that look like a piece of paper folded then unfolded. One of these two crimps is located at the top right, just beneath the zoom control, the other runs horizontally across the middle of the left half of the camera. The lens sits in a small depression, where it lies neatly retracted while powered down. The oblong flash is to it's top left, and the auto focus assist lamp is to the right. Just beneath this lamp is the microphone. The Exilim logo is raised above the body of the camera slightly.
A practical, if uninspiring, design.
The petite camera's back is mostly taken up by the three-inch LCD, with a modest 230,400-pixel resolution. The rightmost one-inch is a strip of controls with four little raised dots on its upper left in the semblance of a thumb pad. Directly adjacent is a small button with a red dot in its center, which is used to stop and start video recording. Beneath that are two more small buttons, for Playback and Shooting modes, with their colored icons engraved directly on them. Moving ever lower, the circular pad with central Set button is used mostly for navigating menus, but has the Up direction hot-keyed to Display and the bottom to Delete/Flash. Finally, the bottom two buttons are Menu on the left and BS (Best Shot) on the right. All icons and descriptions are engraved, which means that they'll probably last through a fair amount of wear and remain legible.
Buttons are sturdy, but a bit small.
Left Side* (3.50)***Apart from two screws and a seam, you won't find much of interest on the left side.
Nothing much going on here**
The right side is more exciting than the left, but only marginally. In addition to the above-mentioned seams and screws, there's a grommet for the wrist-strap, and a protected micro-USB port for data and video output.
*The USB port and lanyard loop make this side more
interesting than the left
There's a broad strip of dark gray plastic running along the camera's top, which is highly reflective and gets covered with fingerprints in about the time it takes a pack of five-year olds to wolf down their Halloween candy. There's one button towards the left of the camera, marked by a magic twinkle, that is used solely for enabling makeup mode. Other than that, there's a power button, which doesn't have any tactile distinction to help stop you from pressing it, the zoom controls and the shutter button.
The black strip has a tendency to get smeared.
The right half of the camera bottom has six little holes over the speaker, and a small, flimsy-feeling tripod mount. The left half has the cover to the battery and memory card area, which is sprung quite powerfully, and has a bit of a tendency to launch open accidentally.
The tripod mount felt like it wouldn't take much abuse