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Monday, May 11, 2015

Beauty of Malacca: Capturing moments with Casio EX-ZR3500

Media Familiarization Trip

Casio launches the EX-ZR3500, and its has gotten us bloggers excited. Known for making cameras exciting to use, this new addition to the family packs 12 megapixels of goodness, supported by full HD resolution and anti-shake feature to ensure the sharpest of shots. I was kindly invited by Casio on a 2 day trip to heritage-rich Malacca with some of my fellow blogger friend to put this baby to the test!



First impressions of the ZR3500

Its a sleek design with curve edges that fits easily in hand, and it relatively slim with its retractable lens; meaning its great to fit even into small compact handbags. It has inbuilt lens covers which is a godsend because I keep losing mine, being the klutz that I am. And interestingly, I noted a frontal shutter button so you can still have an easier, more stable grip if holding it up for a selfie.  



I'll be honest to say that I am actually not very digitally inclined so any camera that I use needs to fool-proof and easy to use. Of which, the Casio EX-ZR3500 is perfect with its multiple pre-settings under BS Best Shot, Time Laspe and Art Mode (creative filters) to bring out the best of your pictures and videos. I'll come to that abit more later in the review. It also packs an integrated optical image stabilisation which corrects shakes on five axes, so people with shaky hands like me can rest assured pictures stay sharp and perfect.



Tucked on the side is a Micro HDMI /USB cable which gives you the flexibility to view pictures on a larger screen and charge the camera at the same time, so that it doesn't take up more baggage space, add on to your load with multiple battery packs!




I seriously can't stop raving about the Motion Shutter setting! Now I can take wefies or outfit shots without having to set a timer and then running back flustered to pose. Simply set the motion shutter in the menu settings, then wait for a palm icon on the top right corner of the screen to appear. When you are ready, simply wave your hand pass the icon and it will start a 3 second countdown on screen before snapping. This is the ultimate fashion blogger must-have in a camera, I'd say!


Off to Malacca! But first, let me take a #Selfie


We set off on our little digital pilgrimage, a 3 hour long journey towards the cultural melting pot known as Malacca, where (insert historical fact here). Being the usual procrastinate, early morning trips meant I didn't have anytime to slap on make up. Instead, I managed to slather on some tinted Sun Block from The Face Inc. Perfect time for me to try out the its much raved Make-up mode.


I have to say, I'm pretty impressed. When compared side by side, not only does the Makeup Plus function automatically detects my face to even out my blotchy skin tone, smoothen my open pores and rough complexion, and even adds abit of glow for an overall flattering result! And unlike the popular editing app MeituXiuXiu which basically blurs everything including face features, the Make-Up Plus retaining the sharp resolution of eyebrows, eyelashes and hair, thanks to the camera’s bigger 1/1.7-inch back-illuminated CMOS sensor. 


Works well detecting multiple faces in a shot too!



Foodie Snaps & Dinner Entertainment

We got to a lovely Peranakan restaurant where we treated to a sumptious feast of traditional dishes. I tried taking the pictures under the automatic setting, and  found the colors looked just a tad flat but it may be due to white balancing the harsh fluorescent lighting.


Similarly under when we went for breakfast the following day at a popular dimsum spot (incandescent lighting), shots remain tight but the white balance is abit off. That is why it is recommended to set the camera under Food setting instead, where the macro filter enhances the coloration of food and makes the picture pop so much better! Don't the dishes look a whole lot more appetizing here?

The Sights & Sounds of Malacca Town
Our first stop was at Jonker Walk which is a popular shopping area which is a mish-mash of both modern world and yester-year. Get a decent foot reflexology, sip the local fragrant white coffee and shop up a storm with stores offering everything from apparel, lifestyle gadgets and quirky souvenoirs that are actually not tacky at all! 



(Taken in HDR Art Mode, Level 2)


(Shot in Premium Auto Pro)

 In close range, the ZR3500 provides a lovely bokeh blur automatically. 

What I like about the HDR settings is that it simultaneously takes 2 shots so that you have a normal plain shot as a backup should you decided to do any post-processing, as well as the HDR shot in its full enhanced glory. No need for fumbling back and forth to take the additional shot and missing out on the moment!

(Left shot taken in normal Premium Auto Pro)
which picks out the best setting for the shot if you are clueless on which to use.
(Right shot: take in HDR Art Mode, level 2)


Taking a moment to appreciate again the Makeup Plus mode of the Casio EX-ZR3500. At this point, any makeup and tinted sunblock had melted under the merciless Malaccan sun, and I'm quite the hot mess in real life. But I'm sure you can't tell from the picture below!



What's a visit to Malacca without checking out the residential historical sights? We made our way to some of the iconic landmarks of the state, Dutch Square and A'Famosa. It was like taking a walk back in time when I saw the terracotta-red colonial Dutch buildings, which also is a colourful trishaw pickup point, each outlandish vehicle carrying a popular cartoon or pop culture theme. Cute!


Shot in Panorama Mode


Left; no filters applied. Pictures are abit dull in the cloudy weather.
Right; using Pop Art Mode, colors are more vibrant and textures look more crisp.


A shot of Aldy Hotel from the hilltop, where we were staying.
Taken in Miniature Art mode, which uses partial blurring gives a rather focused, intimate look from afar

A short trek and we reached Saint Paul's Church, a historical site which was once a church reconsecrated for Dutch Reformed. Guarding the entrance is a statue of the patron saint Francis Xavier, where we were told the amazing story of how his body actually remained in pristine condition without decay even after his passing. When called for proof of sainthood, one of Father Francis Xavier's hand was cut off; and it is said that fresh blood actually flowed from it! The Father was canonised in 1622 and this statue was created in his honor. 


Shot of Saint Francis Xavier in HDR Art, Level 1


Shot of Carrie in Toy Box setting
Gives an intense darken focus for pensive mood setting, especially perfect for these church ruins.


It was also the perfect venue to play around with the creative controls of the Casio EX-ZR3500, where my fellow companions and I partook in some pretty hilarious videos. You can also slow down movements for dramatic effect at the simple turn of the setting dial! Here is one done by the talented Joe Teh of http://techielobang.com/.



On a related note, you can also check out its nifty Time Lapse function which I feel would make for great captures especially on sports trips where a whole long video duration can be shorten to focus on exciting bits! Since we're less of adrendaline junkies and more of hungry breakfast monkeys, let me interest you in a tintillating video of what goes down when bloggers do breakfast



(Shot in Soft focus)
 to give a dreamy soft focus filter to bring out the lovey-dovey from our resident faux couple!
 

One of my favourite features of the Casio EX- ZR3500: the 
Bluetooth Smart technology. By clicking on the button (indicated by the red arrow) it allows for the automatic transfer of photos taken, with a paired smartphone. You'll need to download the EXILIM Connect application though, and from sync it ("pairing") with your smartphone. Once done, photos are immediately transferred to the paired smartphone for you to share with your friends and family in real time. I'm excited because this means I can upload top-notch outfits shots instantaneously on my Instagram rather than download it manually on computer to send to phone! 


 
But that's not all; the wireless connection is also maintained even when the camera is turned off, and this allows the smartphone to control the camera remotely for convenient viewing and transferring of pictures. Using another app called Scene (a cloud-based photo album via EXILIM Connect), it allows you to create an album to organize, collate and share pictures taken easily. At this point, we actually took a huge load of wefie photos and I'm sure I speak for everyone that this is such a godsend function, sparing us the pain of slowly selecting and sending shots individually.

And how cute; you can even like and comment on shots that you or your friends took!
Exploring Jonker Street Night Market


One of the highlights of my trip, which I absolutely loved is exploring the Jonker Night Market, which came to life with food carts and push carts selling miscellaneous items. I absolutely loved the hustle and bustle the night scene, and capturing the mood of the marketplace was not a problem with its different night-time settings.
Shot in HS Night Shot



Shot of the Malacca River in HS Night Scene

Colors still remain vivid although its recommended to set the camera on a stable, flat surface because any movement will cause blur.



Shot in Monochrome Art Mode
Adding a touch of pensiveness with black and white. I like how the dark areas don't over-saturate but still retains texture in the pictures.

What I observed and like about the Casio EX-ZR3500, is that unlike most flashes which often give a harsh overexposed and overly white  result, this one instead gives a softened, glow even under the dimmest of lightings. I was told that this is the result of countless research and experiments to come up with the best configuration.


(Shot here with Auto Flash with Makeup Plus mode)
Under low dim lighting in the coach enroute to dinner




Final Thoughts

I'm quite the impatient person so the only think I would have to nitpick is that when using the special filter settings, it takes a bit of time to process. However, I guess you have to wait for the best things in life so this is but a small thing to worry about given its great performance. Given its capabilities, I love this as a travel camera and  I would also be thrilled if Casio could incorporate a touch-screen as well!


With memories as lovely as this, I found the Casio EX- ZR3500 perfect for sealing them into pictures. Jam-packed with exciting functions, convenience of photo-sharing/transfer and coupled with an easy to use interface, this is no doubt my pick for the ultimate travel (and beauty camera)! My first media familiarization trip has been nothing short of spectacular, and I truly have the Casio Team and lovely Nicole from Oglivy to thank for. Are you as excited about the Casio EX-ZR3500 as I am?



The Casio EX-ZR3500 ($579.00) is currently available in four eye-catching shades like White, Biege, Yellow and Pink and is retailing at all Casio authorized retailers.
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18 comments

  1. Nice camera! I love the pink colour one.. Looks nice... pinky!~

    http://cre8tonebabe.blogspot.com

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  2. Everything looks so perfect! I love the city and the camera too <3

    http://julisapratiwi.blogspot.com/

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  3. Malacca has some amazing food ! Will surely eat them all when I'm there!

    GIG Love
    xoxo Chaicy - Style.. A Pastiche!
    SAP on Facebook

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  4. That sounds like such a great camera, and the photos are all excellent, you've taken some fab shots x
    | Life as a Petite || Fashion, Crafts & Lifestyle Blog |

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  5. Wow this captures my heart seeing the result xD
    WOuld be a nice pocket camera ;D
    Thanks for sharing ^^

    VISIT MY BLOG❤

    ReplyDelete
  6. wow, sounds like the camera is really pretty good! but too bad I've already bought a new mirrorless cam recently.

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  7. loving the effects on Casio! Flip-up screens is always the best for bloggers :P
    http://popiahc.blogspot.com

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  8. Wow loved your pics!! And the makeup mode is amazing.. Nice camera!
    Madhu
    http://dendiva.com/

    ReplyDelete
  9. I recently bought a new camera and it's similar to yours! It's actually the Casio EX-ZR50, which I think is a newer model? Not sure. I love it too, especially the makeup mode! Haha.

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  10. Oh, I did not know that casio makes cameras. Btw, I love Malacca and that panaromic shot was so cool.

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  11. Now that's a cool camera!! You took some great pics! And surely had tons of fun in Malacca =)

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  12. Looks like a great camera, these are some great pictures

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  13. seems like an excellent camera! your pictures are so sharp and bright. i'm thinking to change my cam soon :)

    http://greenstoryblog.com

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  14. oh wow, the camera did a wow job on the skin! the pictures are great quality

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  15. aww what a great camera.
    its automatically edit your picture. you must compare with sony a5100.

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  16. Ahh you're so lucky to be able to go on a trip and experience this camera at the same time! your post further strengthened my resolve to get this model btw :p

    GIG love,
    gilliannong.com

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  17. i know i am suppose to be looking at the pics in general, but all i can think of is the FOOD! The spread you had for dim sum looks amazing!

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  18. Amazing photo! In the HDR Art technology for producing HDR-image is applied differently to the bright and dark areas of a scene to produce a beautiful and vivid pictures. You can simply get one of these tools http://besthdrprogram.com/ for edit your photos on PC

    ReplyDelete

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