A Great, All-Purpose Compact Camera

by Jeff Dorgay

Published February 2008

Barely more than 0.5 inch thick, the Casio EX-S880 is a great, little go-everywhere compact camera. At $249 (street price around $209), it might also make a great holiday gift for the photo enthusiast in your household. An 8MP camera with a 3x optical (4x digital) zoom, this is more of a snapshot camera than some of the serious compacts in the 12MP range, but it’s a good value and a lot of fun to use. Considering that 10 years ago a 1MP compact camera would set you back about $1,000, this is an amazing amount of progress!

Thin Is In

Thanks to its small size, the EX-S880 will fit in a pocket, purse or backpack with ease. Essentially the size of a credit card, this camera still manages to squeeze a 2.8-in. LCD viewing screen on the back, making it almost all viewfinder. The top surface features a shutter button, power on/off and buttons for switching between taking and viewing pictures, as well as how much data is available in the viewfinder. The rear panel has the standard menu buttons and the lens zoom controls just to the side of the LCD panels. Those of you with thicker fingers might find this one a bit challenging to operate!

Keeping with the thin profile, the EX-S880 has an integral lens cap, so you won’t have to worry about losing a wafer thin accessory. Even with the lens fully extended to telephoto position, this camera is only about an inch and a half thick.

Performance Parameters

The light meter in the EX-S880 has a center-weighted pattern that I found was a bit easily tricked by high contrast lighting situations. This was easily worked around by keeping the exposure control at -.7 to -1 stop in all but the most flatly lit situations. I tried taking a few shots at some of the recent concerts I was photographing, but the results were too erratic. Keep this baby in its comfort zone and you won’t be disappointed.

Using the EX-S880 as a general purpose, all-around point-and-shoot camera is where it is best suited. This is the camera that you want to keep handy for a quick trip to the zoo or the office party. It’s supereasy to handle; anyone can pick it up, turn it on and snap away.

The 3x zoom lens is the equivalent of a 38mm to 114mm lens on a 35mm camera, so it is essentially a slight wide angle to moderate telephoto lens. The maximum aperture goes from f2.7 at the wide-angle setting to f5.2 at the telephoto setting. There are three JPEG modes: Fine, Normal and Economy. You can get 210 shots per megabyte of memory, so there is some pretty major compression going on here.

I experimented with all three and found Economy too noisy for most situations and preferred to keep the camera in the Fine mode at all times. With the low cost of memory cards (the EX-S880 uses standard SD cards), I see no reason to use anything less than the camera’s maximum image performance.

There is an auto ISO function that worked well at adjusting to the amount of light on tap, along with manual settings of ISO 64, 100, 200, 400 and 800. The 800 setting offered good contrast, but a marked decrease in image sharpness, so I suggest if at all possible, keep the EX-S880 in the 100 to 200 ISO range for best results. ISO 64 is best used only in the brightest sunlight, but did offer the best image quality.

The big sticker on the front of the camera says that the EX-S880 is “YouTube™ ready.” I did not spend too much time with this, as I tend to not rely on my digital camera to capture video. However, I did turn the EX-S880 over to my teenage daughter and her friends for the better part of the weekend; they all thought the YouTube-ability of this camera was quite outstanding and I had a difficult time getting it back from them on the following Monday.

Speed Demon

Where the EX-S880 excelled was in how fast it turns on. Casio claims 1.0 sec from power off to being ready for the first photo, but it seemed instantaneous to me. Inexpensive compacts are often plagued by long shutter lag times, but the EX-S880 captures the image as soon as you push the shutter button. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear I was using a film camera!

When you engage the high-speed continuous shutter mode, you can snap four frames a second (only three with the flash on). I was able to rattle off about 15 shots in a row with ease, so if you are at an outdoor sporting event or wedding, you should be able to capture the action of the day without any trouble.

Image Quality

Picture quality was on par with the other inexpensive compacts I’ve used in this price range. However, after spending a lot of time with the premium 12MP cameras, I must say I’ve gotten a bit spoiled.

I mentioned earlier that I used the EX-S880 in its highest quality mode for most of the test period and this made itself evident when making prints. The low quality modes are only good for 5×7 prints, but shooting at low ISO with the Fine setting, I was able to make a good 11×17-in. print with minimal cropping. Same with the high ISO settings, small prints or on screen only.

The EX-S880 features anti shake, but again at a cost in image quality, so use this feature with care. There is a dynamic range expander that you can use at playback, but for the most part, it just blew the highlights in the photo out of range on a somewhat contrasty image. It was very useful though on dreary days. 

  • Size/Weight: 3.72-in. W x 2.38-in. H x .68-in. D, 4.5oz.
  • Image Sensor: CCD
  • Maximum resolution: 8.29MP total, 8.1MP effective
  • Zoom: 3x optical, 4x digital.
  • Lens Focal Length: 6.2 – 18.6mm (35mm equiv. 38-114mm).
  • Focusing capability: 15.75” to infinity, normal mode, down to 5.9” in macro mode.
  • Display: 2.8-in. TFT.
  • Manual Exposure Control: No.
  • Exposure Metering: Center-weighted.
  • Provided Accessories: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, USB cradle, USB cable, AV cable, Special AC adaptor, AC power cord, strap, CD-ROM.
  • Power Source: Rechargeable Li-ion battery.
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Contact:

2 Responses to “CASIO EX-S880”

  1. I was actually looking to buy picture frames but found your blog and thoroughly liked it. Many thanks

  2. Alkhawar says:

    Thanks Dear for posting such a great post.

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