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★★★★★

“I've been an artist/photographer since back in school....”

Written on: 13/12/2001 by Anthony Congiano. (1 review written)

Good Points
Fabulous outdoor photographs, long battery life, 340 MB IMB Micro Drive Support, produces sharp 8x10 prints, multiple flash modes, 3x optical zoom, multiple shooting modes including shutter speed-macro-landscape-aperture-night shooting and a host of others, simple 35mm look and feel and 30 second silent movies too!

Bad Points
Poor performance in low light situations unless you use a tripod, lens not threaded to accept additional telephoto lenses or filters, and Photo Editing is not including in the Casio software bundle.

General Comments
I've been an artist/photographer since back in school. Over all the Casio 3000ex is a fabulous camera and is by far the best digital I've ever owned, and I have had a few. There are a few finer points that I don't like, details will follow, but for the money, it is more than awesome. To see the Casio in all it's glory, you can go to my website www.congiano.com and click on the "photography" gallery; every photograph there was taken with the Casio.



The photos produced by the Casio 3000ex, in mid to bright light are phenomenal, it's out put rivals the bench mark Nikon 995, and while it's night vision mode requires a tripod or at the very least a deep breath and the hand-steadiness of a surgeon, it can produce exquisite night shots of land or cityscapes; reveling detail the naked eye cannot see. The camera has a good look and 35mm feel to it; and with it's support of the IBM 340 MB Mico-Drive (purchased separately), the Casio can store up to 256 high-resolution photographs at 2048x1536.



The camera works with either standard AA batteries or re-chargeable Nickel Hydride. The Casio does not drain the life out of the batteries quickly either. I've found that a set of rechargeables can last from 2 to 3 hours. Furthermore, during an all day trip to the zoo, I don't have to swap out the batteries until half way through the afternoon. Now, to clarify, I do typically shut the camera off or at least turn off the LCD in-between shots, but even so, the battery life is far better than one would expect.



The built in 3x optical telephoto or 35mm to 115mm (35mm equivalent) is a sweet touch; producing sharp photos at both wide angle and telephoto.



The exposure can be quickly set via the buttons to the left of the very sharp and clear LCD, which allows for a quick adjustments if, for example, the subject you're shooting is near a bright window with the sun behind them.



A few taps on the buttons atop the camera and you can choose from flash, no flash, auto, or anti-red eye mode. A tap the second button and you can pop into macro mode for acute close ups, portrait mode for a razor sharp subject with the background softened, or infinity mode to focus on a subject far, far away.



The Casio has several other modes that have to be selected via scrolling through the LCD menus; the two I get most use out of are "landscape" and "shutter priority" mode. Landscape keeps everything in focus, from the shrub that's a mere two feet away to the building way off in the distance. Shutter priority mode stops action as fast as 1/1000th of a second but loses clarity and color saturation in low light situations.



All in all I do love the camera, but as in all relationships there're always a few things that "erk-ya" and even within the most perfect partner, there is always room for improvement. The 3000ex is no exception.



Now then, I don't mean to be hyper-critical but, right off the bat, why doesn't the Casio 3000ex or it's big brother the 3500ex come with a threaded lens? If it wasn't for the 49mm adapter I picked up at http://www.actplus.net/dwh593/ I wouldn't be able to add any filters or telephoto lens to the Casio.



As far as telephoto lenses go, and yes I tried out a few before I found ones that worked well with the 3000ex, I would suggest the Phoenix 49mm 2x and the Eagle Eye 5x with 37mm to 49mm stepping ring.



I find if I move the camera's built in 3x telephoto to full zoom, the Phoenix 2x doesn't vignette at all and totals a 6x zoom or 230mm 35mm equivalent. The Eagle Eye does produce some vignetting and the slightest movement is of course magnified 15x, but so is the zoom! When you combine the cameras 3x zoom with the Eagle Eye 5x that 15x telephoto is the equivalent of a 575mm lens!!! I've found shooting at 1/320th to 1/500th of a second eliminates camera shake, and a quick crop of the image in Photoshop from 2048x1536 down to 1800x1300 (which is still a HUGE picture) eliminates all vignetting. For even more special effects, I use the Cokin A series filters with the 49mm A ring.



Now, remember earlier when I said "the photos produced in mid to bright light are phenomenal" well, in low light they unfortunately are not, or at least not if you're planning on actually holding the camera while you shoot. I have a very steady hand but unless I use a tripod, indoor photography really leaves something to be desired. Every other shot is typically blurry and if you're planning on shooting a slowly moving object, such as a fish daintily swimming in a tank at your local aquarium, you results will be sadly blurred 9 times outta 10.



The auto focus, which is radically cool and pretty quick in mid to bright light; fails to focus in most low light situations. The manual focus is irritating, when you need it most, like when your inside, the lights are down and you've hit the auto-focus 10 times but it just won't focus (AUGH!) you'll have to "try" to use the manual focus option. Notice I did say, "try".



To engage the manual focus you simply hit a button atop the camera, simple enough, but now here's the wacky part the buttons that usually control the exposure now control the focus. But you have to get to tapping those buttons fast or the manual focus quickly times out (AUGH!). Now, here's the wackier part once you have the object manually focused you have to pause for the manual focus option to sorta time out again, before the camera will actually allow you snap the picture (AUGH!). By the time you realize the auto-focus wont' work, and you've gone through the process of switching to manual, and tapped the buttons a few times, then waited a few more seconds for the option to time out, before you're permitted to take the picture, well . The subject you were shooting has long since, changed expression, turned, or moved away. (AUGH! yet again)



Getting the images out of the Casio 3000ex has it's highs and low as well. The USB connection is far faster then my old Agfa digital's serial port and transfers the photographs from the camera to my computer pretty rapidly. (About 200 images in 20 minutes) The Casio software then loads the images in HTML format and presents them to you via your web browser, this is both a good and bad thing.



The good thing is a simplistic thumbnail preview of your pix combined with a straightforward scrolling interface that my Grandma had no problem navigating. Just click a thumbnail and your picture shows up, click the familiar forward and back buttons and you can scroll through you photographs. The bad part is the browser resizes the HUGE 2048x1536 photo to a 640x480 version. You loose a lot of the detail and the average user will find them selves scratching their heads wondering "okay, now how do I edit the picture or send it to a friend"? The trick is, you can't edit the image from the browser you can't do anything from the default Casio image browser errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.



Instead you have to exit the Casio image software, bring up your favorite photo editing software, (purchased separately Casio doesn't provide one) and plot a course to C:Program FilesCASIOPhoto LoaderImage Library there you have to open up the folder, sorted by date, that contains the image you want to edit or change "phew, that was exhausting".



But, while it's software does lack editing and low light can be a challenge for the camera, the Casio 3000ex does produce some fabulous photographs in nearly all other situations. It's storage of up to 256 super high res pix is vast (using the 340 MB IBM Micro Drive purchased separately), it produces 8x10 print outs that are cherry, it's built it 3x optical zoom brings the action in close, and with exposure compensation, auto focus, built in flash, shutter speed-macro-landscape-aperture-night shooting, and a host of other "modes" this camera simply rocks. It even makes 30 second silent movies!!!



In conclusion, when you balance the low light focusing issues and wacky software quirks, against all pluses the camera has to offer the scales of the Digital World tip sharply in Casio's favor. There are a few annoyances but the Casio 3000ex, when combined with the IBM micro drive and lens adapter is dollar for dollar the best there is.

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