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Casio Exilim EX-Z40

If you're on the go and want a fully automated, easy-to-use ultracompact camera with extraordinary battery life, a large LCD screen for reviewing shots, and an automated scene mode for just about every imaginable shooting situation, the Casio Exilim EX-Z40 packs a lot of capability into a small package. Its macro capabilities are outstanding and include manual focus applied to a zoomed-in central area.

However, this Casio offers mediocre image quality and lacks most of the control over exposure settings that more-advanced photographers demand. Its lack of shutter-speed adjustments, a sports scene mode, or a burst mode will cool the enthusiasm of sports and action photographers, too. Snapshooters who want a versatile camera to tuck in a pocket may be satisfied, but more-serious picture-takers will be happier with a fuller-featured camera.

The good:
Small size; 21 useful scene modes; decent macro capabilities; large LCD; doubles as a voice recorder; excellent battery life.

The bad:
Picture quality only average; no burst or sports mode.

What's it for:
Taking photos to print as large as 8x10; capturing 320x240 video clips; voice recording.

Who's it for:
Snapshot photographers.

Essential extras:
An SD/MMC card with a capacity of at least 64MB.

The bottom line:
This ultracompact 4-megapixel Casio provides only average picture quality, but its outstanding battery life and versatile scene modes should appeal to roving snapshooters.

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