(Pocket-lint) - It's been a while since a Casio compact made its way into the hands of the 'Lint, by and large due to a distribution downscale in the UK in October 2011. The quiet spell looks as if it might lift though, thanks to the new Casio Exilim EX-ZR1000 which, from what we've seen, looks like a quality compact.
The well-finished model may look like standard fare, but it has some excellent features that few competitor cameras offer: the front lens ring, for example, rotates to change settings which, upon pressing the rear "ring" button can be switched between focus, aperture, white balance and so forth. It's a real intuitive feature that usually only appears on high-end compacts such as the Olympus XZ-2, for example.
At just over 36mm thick - or thin, depending on how you look at it - the camera isn't super-slim, but feels right in the hand and, considering the 12.5x optical zoom lens - which extends from a 24mm wide-angle through to a long-reaching 300mm equivalent - that's none too bad in our books.
The autofocus system felt speedy to us too, as we tested a number of snaps on a miniature town scene that was set up in the background. The zoom nips through the range swiftly and smoothly and, overall, we were impressed by this latest Exilim.
For waist-level shooting the screen can be tugged out from the bottom and raised to a horizontal position.
Features such as a 30 frames per second continuous burst also mean it's a cinch to whirr off a stack of images. Don't expect to refocus for a moving subject, but still, that sort of speed isn't matched by plenty of other compacts out there on the market.
We don't know what the image quality will be like from Casio's latest, but previous Exilim models have often been underrated in their abilities which we've been impressed by, at least in compact camera terms. Well, assuming you don't dig too deep into the "crazier" art modes that are available.
As well as the shiny red model we got to play with there was also a black version on display, though here in Germany there's no final information about price or release date. If it's budget enough this looks like a winner to us.