Monday, July 9, 2007

Fauxtokina 2007: Casio speculation and predictions

  • Casio has found its market with the "bijou" Exilim series. Once upon a time Casio was among the front runners in digital cameras, but other companies jumped in and were able to leapfrog them. Then Casio managed to re-invest itself with the Z-series, which was first big in Japan, before starting to big quite popular in North America and Europe.
  • The Z-series is the most populous Casio lineup, usually having a 1/1.8" and a 1/2.5" line.
  • Just recently Casio jumped onto the 12mp 1/1.7" bandwagon with the EX-Z1200SR, which also added CCD-shift image stabilization. Casio had fallen behind in this segment as other companies managed to install either optical or sensor-shift stabilization to their 3x/4x "bijou" cameras. This allows Casio to catch-up. Being among the first to jump to higher megapixel sensors is not uncommon for Casio.
  • Their previous 1/1.8" cameras were the 10mp Z1000 and Z1050, which preceded the 8mp Z850 and the critically acclaimed EX-Z750 which was announced in February 2005. The jump to 10mp was also a move that had those cameras become more "bijou" than the Z850/Z750.
  • Their 1/2.5" cameras usually have 2-3 tiers, usually the top tier having the nicest/biggest LCD and such. The Z75 came out in late January along with the Z1050, while the previous line-up of 2006 consisted of the Z700, Z70, Z60 and the budget Z5... In 2005, they featured the Z500 and Z57, which replaced the 2004 models of Z55, Z50, Z40, Z30
  • One of the Casio experimetns was the tiny S-series using ceramic lenses. This was one of Casio's successful experiments and it continues with the S770 (Aug 2006), S600 (Oct 2005), and the one that started it all, the S500 (June 2005). Casio also released MPEG4 versions of some of these, such as the S600d.
  • The various AA-based lineups of Casio are on hiatus (or gone forever). The three-tier Z120, Z110 and Z10 were the last from Casio in August 2005. Also the Q-series said goodbye in December 2004 with the QV-R62, which preceded teh QV-R61, R41, R51, R40 and many more.
  • Casio's prestigious P-series saw its last action in August 2004 with the P7000, which came six months after the P6000.
  • Speaking of gone, the prosumer lineup of QV-5700 (Sept 2002) and QV-4000 (June 2001) were the predecessors of the P-series.
  • Casio does like to experiment but the P505 experiment (January 2005) did not produce any follow-ups. It was a camera with a high price and a short zoom ratio at a time where 10x and 12x IS super zooms were bursting onto the scene
  • Casio's latest experiment was the ambitious EX-V7 (January 2007), which looks great on paper, but the reviews so far have been rather disappointing.

    What to expect from Casio in the rest of 2007? (pure speculation!)
  • An 8mp 1/2.5" update of its portfolio, such as an 8mp version of the EX-S770 (August 2006), EX-Z700 (July 2006). The Z7x series just got an update in January with the Z75, but an 8mp version would not be a surprise either... Another possibility is a budget follow-up of the Z5 (May 2006), since their previous entry-level line-up of AA-based cameras is gone... Casio is not shy about doing six-month updates, so an 8mp version of the V7 may come out, but if I was Casio I would only do that if I was also able to fix some of the numerous problems pointed out in the professional V7 reviews.
  • Predicted names of speculated models: EX-S800, EX-Z800, EX-Z80, EX-Z6 and EX-V8.

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