The Casio Exilim EX-S500 is an ultra-thin camera that has a lot going for it, but I was ultimately let down by its poor image quality. The S500 is an ultra-compact camera that comes in your choice of three colors. It’s design is stunning and the orange body that I tested garners even more attention. The S500 features a 2.2″ LCD that could use some more pixels. Thankfully the screen is visible in low light situations. There is no optical viewfinder on the S500.
The S500 is a fast performer, with a one second startup time, low shutter lag, and fast shot-to-shot times. Low light focusing was good thanks to the camera’s AF-assist lamp. Photo quality is where the S500 falls apart. Images were too soft and too noisy — much worse than the competition. On the bright side, redeye doesn’t seem to be too horrible for a compact camera.
There are a few other annoyances worth mentioning. Like other cameras in this class, the flash is on the weak side. To transfer photos to your computer or to view photos on your television you must use the included camera cradle. Same goes for charging the battery, though at least you can buy an external charger to get around that. The camera includes just 8.3MB of on-board memory, which is hardly worth printing on the box. I’m also not a fan of Casio’s refusal to put a full, printed manual in the box. And finally, the S500’s continuous shooting mode was pretty slow, especially compared to cameras like the Canon SD400.
If the Exilim EX-S500’s photo quality was better I’d have no problem recommending it. However, it consistently disappointed me where other cameras do not. While it has a lot of potential, your money would be better spent on another camera.